I feel like I’ve been doing this forever, but here we are at Week 5. In a moment where I embraced my Type A tendencies, I decided to try to keep the budget within $30, and I was surprisingly close, at $42.13. My sous-chef in crime wants to use chicken at every turn, but by jumping into food prep early, I can steer the meals away from chicken and rely on plant-based produce or good old bulgar to provide meat so it can be an option for multiple weeks without devoting 1/6th of the budget to one ingredient. Here’s this week’s dinner menu:
- Chicken Burritos (using tortillas from July…)
- Chicken/Tomato/Kalamata Olive/Pasta Skillet (I need come up with a more convenient name for that)
- Frito Pie
- Flatbread Margherita Pizza (we found the caterpillar feeding off the basil, so hopefully we won’t have to buy it anymore)
- Pesto with Rotini and Fresh Tomatoes
The burritos were only added because I wanted to use the tortillas, but the ingredients are inexpensive (depending on what you use; I got Roma tomatoes, black beans, limes @ 60¢ each, avocados @ $1.25 each, plus chicken and lime we already had) and it’s a favorite take out order here.
The Chicken/Tomato/Kalamata Olive/Pasta Skillet was so amazing last week, I had to add it again. We had to run out to get tomatoes (because someone juiced the ones we had the night before) and pasta (I had no idea we were finally out), but it was nearly effortless and so rewarding and meets my benchmark of minimal dishes to clean up. It also helps get greens in, though I think heat cooks out a lot of the nutrients.
Frito pie is another crowd(/budget) pleaser, calling for Fritos/corn chips and chili. Last fall or the fall before, I saved a bit of my killer slow cooker chili thinking it would elevate this dish, but I was disappointed. This dish doesn’t need to be dressed up because it’s perfect the way it is, for what it is. If anything, I would try to find a way to deep fry this dish if I ever tried to modify it again.
The flatbread pizza is relatively quick and easy. Given our pest problem, I was hesitant to include it, but we can stretch out the basil by chopping it before adding it to the pizza. Mozzarella is expensive and doesn’t go a long way, but every now and then it’s worth it (but I won’t be doing Eggplant Parm and Flatbread Pizza in the same week again).
We still have some Pesto leftover from last week (or the week before?), so I included this as an easy out – we have pasta and we have pesto. I expect this or the Frito Pie to be a throwaway because this week is our anniversary and we probably won’t feel like cooking after we celebrate.