Three Square Meals + Some on $5 a day, The Third

In the September and October 09 issues of Single! Young Christian Woman, I gave you two of four parts of a 16-day program I’ve worked out so that you can eat healthy on $5 a day. This here is the third. Just like before, I’m gonna give you four day’s worth of menu and shopping list, as well as the shopping list for a starter kit of ingredients that’ll last you for at least three months, in most cases. Yur gonna have to check back with me in the next issue of Single! Young Christian Woman, to get the final menu and shopping list for days 13 through 16. But with this here menu and the other two, you can get started saving money while you eat healthy.

Now I know $55 for a starter kit sounds a little outrageous, but it will average out to be less than a dollar a day because of how long the ingredients last. Add it to the $4-a-day menu and yur eatin’ for $5 a day.

Some things on this menu are made with items leftover from the first and second four-day shopping lists. If you are seeing this for the first time, what ya really otta do is go back to the first four-day menu and start there. Then go on to the second four-day menu, then add this one for a total of 12 days of cheap, healthy eatin’. But if you wanna be stubborn and start with this 4-day menu, then you’ll have to buy the things that you were supposed to have left over from the previous menus. I’ve included that list below for the hard-headed.

Now, let’s review the ground rules.

1. Shop smart. No fancy schmancy markets – you need a Kroger or a Wal-mart or some other low-priced store and even then, you need to buy the store brand when you can to make this work. I don’t list a size on these products, so just get as large a container as you can without going over the allotted price. For the spices, if you have a Wal-Mart Superstore, look for their large spice bottles for $.50 each instead of paying for name brands. If not, go to the local dollar store to buy yur spices. And a disclaimer: prices vary so much from store to store and then when you take into account different regions of the country, well, this iddn’t no exact science. I’m ballparkin’ figures here and I believe you can get mighty close to the total amount regardless of where you live, as long as you shop smart.

2. Surely you notice a little repetition in these menus and that there aren’t too many fancy foods on them. Newsflash: You can’t eat fancy foods on $5 a day. And if yur just feeding yurself, well, you’ve got to have a little repetition to use all the food that was in the package. Again, budget food does not usually come in single servings.

3. As always, I’m learnin’ ya how to cook healthy. Give it a try – I just know you can learn to love what’s good for ya.

$50 starter kit

Salt                        $2

Pepper                        $1

Ginger                        $2

Chili Powder            $1

Cinnamon            $1

Basil                        $1

Oregano            $1

Cumin                        $1

Brown sugar            $2

Molasses            $2

Baking powder  $2.50

Baking soda            $1

Whole wheat flour $3

Vanilla                        $2

Mayonnaise             $2

Pesto                         $3

Bullion Cubes (chicken and beef)            $2 each

Lemon juice                        $2

Jalapeno peppers            $2

Olive oil                        $5

Balsamic vinegar            $3

Soy sauce                        $3

Worcestershire sauce $2

Apple cider vinegar            $1

Canola Oil                        $3

Cooking spray                        $3

BBQ sauce                        $1

If any money left over, buy parmesan cheese ($2.50), a box of crackers ($2.50)


Should have some left over from the First 4-day Menu

Corn tortillas


Apple sauce

Frozen peas

Should have some left over from the Second 4-day Menu

Peanut butter                        $2

Cereal                                    $3

Carrots                         $1

½ Gallon of Milk            $2

Spinach tortellini             $3

Raisins                                    $1.50

Shopping list #3

Eggs                                    $1.20

Bread                                     $2

8 oz Cheddar cheese block            $2

1 lb ground beef            $3

Kidney beans                        $.80

Tomato paste                        $.40

Enchilada sauce (small can)            $1.20

Bag of apples                        $3

Can of tuna                        $.60

Tomato                        $.50

Syrup                                    $1.50

Fresh Garlic                        $.25


4-Day Menu


Day 9

Breakfast – cereal w/ milk

Lunch – patty melt (4 oz. beef patty on bread with 1 oz. cheddar cheese)

Snack – raisins

Dinner – chili

Desert – apple pie (find yur favorite recipe and substitute oil for shortening in the pie crust)


Day 10

Breakfast –eggs and toast

Lunch – tuna salad

Snack – carrots

Dinner – enchiladas

Desert – leftover apple pie

Day 11

Breakfast – oatmeal w/ apples

Lunch – egg salad sandwich

Snack – peanut butter toast

Dinner – tortellini, peas, pesto

Desert – apples ‘n oat sprinkle


Day 12

Breakfast – pancakes

Lunch – leftover chili

Snack – apple

Dinner – breakfast tacos

Desert – peanut butter cinnamon toast


10 Minute Chili

Brown ½ pound ground beef, drain. In dutch oven (the big pot that came in your cookware set!), bring to boil over medium heat: one can tomato paste, one can kidney beans, 2 cups of water, three beef bullion cubes dissolved in 1 cup boiling water, spices to taste including chili powder, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, and jalapeño, if you dare. Add browned beef. Let simmer until you get so hungry you can’t stand it. It only takes a coupla minutes to pull this together, but the longer you let it simmer, the better it’ll taste. And the leftovers are gonna be even better!

Gringo Enchiladas

Brown ¼ lb. ground beef, seasoning it with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic and chopped jalapeños, if you want. Drain. Shred two ounces cheddar cheese. Using the back of a spoon or a basting brush, coat both sides of four corn tortillas with canola oil and warm them in a skillet or griddle over medium heat for about 90 seconds each side – don’t let ‘em get crispy. Coat the bottom of a small cake pan with enchilada sauce, then slap those tortillas in the sauce, one at a time. Put a row of beef and just a sprinklin’ of cheese in the center of the tortilla, then roll it up, ending with the seam side down. Repeat for the other tortillas, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the rolls – until they’re swimming in it, and sprinkle the rest of the cheddar cheese on top. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubblin’.

Apples ‘n Oat Sprinkle

Peel (or not!) and core one apple and cut it in thin slices. Put em in a bowl and coat with one tablespoon syrup. Coat a single-serving au gratin dish (what, you haven’t bought one of these yet? What in the world are you waiting on? Buy one now!) with cooking spray and dumpy the syrupy apple slices in. In a cup, mix ¼ c. raw oats, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon together, and then coat the mixture in2 teaspoons canola oil. Sprinkle the oat mixture over the apples and bake, covered in foil for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Then remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Toast

Heat yur oven to 425 – or use a toaster oven if you have one – and lightly coat one side of a slice of bread with peanut butter, using maybe one teaspoon. Spread one teaspoon brown sugar and sprinkle cinnamon over the bread. Toast on medium, or bake for a few minutes in the oven, watchin’ to take it out when the peanut butter and sugar start bubblin’ together and the bread turns to toast. Eat warm. Yummy!

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