Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Will you help me plan three at-home meals a day for one week, for a family of four?

Asked by Dutchess_III (44650points) June 7th, 2012

Say, one adult, an 8 year old, a 10 year old, and a 12 year old. Also, if you want to, break it down into what the entire meal would cost.

For example:

Breakfast: Cheerios ($1.07 for 4 servings,) orange juice ($1.40), toast (.60.)

Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup.

Dinner: Roast beef with veggies and bread.


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40 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’ll do Thursday’s menu.

breakfast: scrambled eggs with toast
lunch: chili dogs
dinner: beer can chicken, mashed potatoes, some kind of veggie

Sunny2's avatar

What’s your budget? Roast beef is more than mine allows. You have kids. Where’s the milk? What is the level of your cooking skills?
I know when I read most pre-planned menus that are published, you’d end up with a lot of leftovers, so I don’t suggest using those. I’d go to the library and ask for some sources that might help you.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Get some MREs for one meal. Depending on where and how you buy them they are anywhere from $5 to 10 per meal, but they will last for 10+ years.

I put a case in my truck every fall for emergencies. The scouts like it when I break out the old case and let them have it when the new case comes in.

chyna's avatar


Breakfast: Oatmeal, toast, low fat milk.
Lunch: Tuna fish sandwich, corn chips, milk
Dinner: pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans, water or low fat milk
Snack: popcorn

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Sliced bread of your choice with a hole cut out in the center, put in butter swipped skillet.

Crack an egg into the slice of bread, place the cut out piece of toast on top and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Flip that over to grill on the other side and serve with a ice cream scoop of corned beef has or a sausage patty.

Banana cut in a few chunks or eaten whole.

Big bowl of tuna fish salad mixed with chopped vegies and boiled egg whites
½ pita pocket or crackers on the side

Giant mixed green salad with whatever vegies
Slice of frozen pizza

JLeslie's avatar

Of course the joke would be if I answered—order in.

Breakfast: Croque a la JL. 8 pieces white sandwich bread (I use Wonder bread) soak in egg (or egg beaters if you watch your cholesterol). Fry like french toast, very little butter/margarine in the pan, it is not deep fried. Cook one side then flip and add ham to the cooked side on 4 of slices and swiss cheese on the other 4 so the ham and cheese warm up and melt. Place the bread with cheese on top of the ham once melted and serve. Some people like syrup on it. Not sure how much that costs? Maybe $7? Depends on the ham and cheese you buy. Eggs and bread are cheap, so if you want very inexpensive meals you can just make the french toast. No milk! Don’t add any milk to the egg, makes the toast mushy.

Lunch: crisp bed of iceberg lettuce with large diced tomato, black olives, and cucumber with tuna salad on top. A little salt and fresh squeezed lime or lemon for “dressing.” I don’t toss the salad, I present it with the lettuce on the bottom (chopped) then a bunch of tomatoes in one spot, a bunch of cucs in another and the olives in another around the tuna in the middle. Cost: $12

Dinner: Sirloin steak. Rub with Good Seasons Italian dressing seasoning packet dry, do not make the dressing. Don’t be shy with the amount of seasoning, both sides. Cook top of stove, coat pan with olive oil (again don’t deep fry it) or grill. If you cook it stove top you can finish it in the oven or do it competely top of stove, but be sure to cook the sides. Red potatoes tossed in butter (I use have butter half oil barely enough to coat, I can eat them dry, but my husband likes a little butter) and Italian parsley. Lastly grilled or roasted asparagus to finish the plate. Cost: $30? Not sure?

JLeslie's avatar

Sorry for the double post, but I just now noticed a lot of people said tuna salad. I’ll change my lunch to shredded chicken and bean tacos. Cost: $12

And, the dinner the same sirloin with a side of salad made with the same Good Seasons Italian dressing used for the steak instead of potatoes and asparagus. But, again the steak is dry rub, and the salad dressing prepare as the packet says.

augustlan's avatar

Breakfast: Cereal and milk
Lunch: Wraps (roll up whatever you like in a tortilla… can be lunch meat & cheese with lettuce, or a veggie wrap, or left overs from dinner the night before), a piece of fruit and some pretzel sticks
Dinner: Ham steaks, mac & cheese, and green beans.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK. NOW I’m hungry!

@Sunny2 Forgot the milk! Hey…we went through a gallon a day when the kid were little, so that isn’t a concern. :) Roast beef: The stores frequently have “Buy one get one free.” So basically you can get two roasts for about $3.00 each. And each roast lasts for about three or four days, so it’s pretty cheap, but delicious, eating!

And left overs are wonderful! You don’t have to do much but heat up, and as a working mom, I really appreciated that. In a minute I’ll post a dinner that we had frequently that involved left overs.

@JLeslie I’ll bet your Sirloin dinner actually costs about half of that. The meat is expensive but the rest is veggies, and they really aren’t.

Awesome left over dinners:

Dinner, day one: Spaghetti with mozzarella cheese. After dinner separate the hamburger spaghetti sauce into two portions.

Dinner, Day two: Goulash . Boil up the macaroni noodles and mix it in with one of the spaghetti sauce portions. Add shredded cheddar cheese and a can of stewed tomatoes, until, at the age of 10, your non-picky eater son says he hates those chunks of tomatoes. After that, just add a can of tomato sauce (or puree the stewed tomatoes..which is a hassle and is just another mess to clean up.)

Day three: Taco burgers. Add some salsa to the last of the spaghetti sauce, simmer down till it’ll stick in a ball. Put on hamburger bun, add cheese. I’d put lettuce and tomato on mine.

Other things you can do with the left over spaghetti sauce is make baby pizzas. Put sauce on English Muffin, cover with Mozz. cheese and bake for a while (I prefer just tomato sauce rather than the spaghetti sauce that has hamburger in it.)

Burritos with green beans.

So MANY nutritious, inexpensive meals. Short of actually adding them up, would you say we’re looking at about $10 to $15.00 a day to feed the hordes?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, and @JLeslie I’ll add up your chicken and bean taco:
Chicken: You can buy a big old sack of boneless, skinless chicken breast for about $7.00. $5.00 on a good sale. There are about 10 in the sack. You’s only use one piece of chicken for the whole meal,especially since you are supplementing the taco fillings with the beans which are very inexpensive (especially if you cook them up yourself.)
Cheese, which is the most expensive part of the meal: About $.80

So: Chicken $.70.
Beans: $1.00 (for a whole can. Lets assume you’d use a whole can, but you probably wouldn’t)
Lettuce: Maybe aybe $.20 (and the kids would probably pick it off anyway, so save the money and no lettuce!)
Tomatoes: Ditto. Pennies. Maybe $.20
Salsa: $.08 (about 2 tsp per taco.) Which they probably wouldn’t eat either!
Taco shells: Assuming everyone ate two tacos, you’re looking at about $1.36 for 8.

So, you’re looking at about $3.50 for the entire meal, not $12.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Make that $4.25, which is about 1.07 per person.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Sirloin is pretty inexpensive actually.

Dutchess_III's avatar

[redacted! misread your post!]

So how much do you think you would spend cooking a sirloin steak dinner for yourself and three kids?

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe the sirloin is $10 when I buy for my husband and me, and I usually have some left over. Not sure? I don’t look carefully at the price and register it in my brain. I know the New York Strip I sometimes buy him is much more expensive. So, maybe $13 with the kids? Good seasons and dressing $3? Salad veggies $3? if the kids won’t eat salad I would add some rice, very cheap. So, I guess more like $19—$20.

Your chicken is much cheaper than what I would pay. But, I agree not $12, but close to $10 I think. Chicken I think more like $4, beans $1 (plus a little onion because my husband prefers refried bean so I make them that way when he eats with me) usually no lettuce on our tacos, homemade salsa verde and/or pico de gallo Just under $2, and cheese $2. Tortillas under $2.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie Ok, so you can figure about 1½ steaks to feed you and three kids. So
$7.50 / 4 = about $1.90 per person in steak. The veggies, about $.20 per person. So your whole steak dinner is less than $3.00 per person. And that’s an expensive meal for a family of 4!

Re the tacos: Would chicken be $4.00 per piece? If so, that’s almost more expensive than the steak! As for your numbers, a whole jar of pico is under $2.00, and you can figure about 20 servings in the whole jar, so that’s about .10 per serving. Figure two servings per person at .20 per person. The cheese would be close to a total of $2.00, so that’s .50 per person. Tortillias come 10 or 12 to a box. Lets figure 12. That’s .17 per shell. Total of .34 per person (assuming two tacos each.)

Still wondering about the chicken, but let’s say it really is $4.00 per piece. You’d only use one piece. that’s $1.00 per person.

Grand total:
0.2 Salsa
0.5 Cheese
0.34 Shells
0.25 Beans
1.00 Chicken

$2.29 per person

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Chicken $4 total, not per person. I am always talking total total, not per person in my examples.

My tortillas are fresh, married to a Mexican you know, and a bag is less than $2 I think? So, probably the torillas will only be $1 actually.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So that’s $1.00 per person, because you’ll probably only use one piece and split it up between the four people. You have other fillings in the taco, so you’d only need a bit of chicken. Not a whole piece per person. (Plus you’ll have at least one kid who’ll whine, “I don’t like chicken!” so you leave chicken out of theirs and put a little more on everyone elses!:)

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think two breasts for the whole family. I make it with a little broth, slow cook and then shred/pull apart.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Next time you make those, look at how much chicken you actually put in. If you didn’t have the beans, then yes. I could see ½ a breast per person. Maybe. That’s a LOT of chicken!

I still don’t understand if you’re saying the chicken you buy is $4.00 per piece.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Ok, I’ll check next time how much we use. I mean $4 for the two breasts and a little boullion. Do you think I am way off in price? I’ll have to pay better attention next time I buy it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

:) OK, so that is $1.00 per person for the chicken.

Coloma's avatar

Here’s a delicious and multiple serving pasta salad you can eat several days in a row.

Boil up a package of small shell macaroni
Add 2 large cans tuna fish
Minced red onion to taste maybe ½ cup
1–½ cups small cubed cheddar cheese
A jar and a half of diced sweet pickles.
Mix with lite mayo to your taste and chill for a couple hours.

Everyone loves this and it makes about a dozen servings or more.

Coloma's avatar

BBQ up a boatload of chicken drumsticks, several dozen or more and serve with side dishes and salads over a few days. Baked beans, potato salad, etc. :-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie I’m going to the grocery store in a minute. I’ll check ya chicken for you!

@Goose Girl…one of my favorites is macaroni noodles mixed with stewed tomatos and tomato sauce and lots of pepper. It can last over several days. I load each serving with cheddar cheese. It is SO good!

BTW, there is a user on another thread who says this food is “paltry cruft.” (I like that new word! But it doesn’t apply to our food, people. :) So many people think it’s expensive to eat nutritionally, and it’s not.

Damn I’m hungry!

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III My mom only likes me to buy Tyson’s or Perdue. I can’t get Perdue here anymore, and Tysons I can only get frozen. Once in a blue moon I buy the brand Kroger sells. Anyway, my chicken might be a little more expensive. I also sometimes short cut and go with a friend to Costco for their ready made roasted chickens. I hadn’t remembered that until now, and use the breast for tacos sometimes, although the flavor is not quite right. I think that whole chicken is $7? Do you know?

Sunny2's avatar

@Dutchess_III Doesn’t sound to me like you need any help. You’re doing a better job figuring it all out than I can. Congratulations.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Sunny2 Well, I ran a day care for 3 years, as well as raising 3 kids of my own. I now have 5 grandkids. This wasn’t a question along the lines of “What do I do?” I just wanted to see what everyone had to say. My bottom line was basically, “How much does it cost?” I should have specified that.

@JLeslie I have the stats! The most expensive chicken was for 3 pieces at $5.48. It was $3.36 a pound.
The same chicken (boneless, skinless breast) in the sack was about 8 or 9 pieces for $6.98, $2.33 a pound.
So for your chicken you actually were in the ball park at $4 for two pieces. Even at that the meal was inexpensive. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Thanks! I am curious to look over my grocery expenses per month. It’s just my husband and me. I am about to start dieting, well eating better for overall heath and weight loss, so I also want to compare the grocery costs for the last 30 days vs the next 30 days out of curiosity.

Dutchess_III's avatar

: ) Well, according to the experts your bill should go up!

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t think mine will go up. It will be interesting to see if I am wrong. If I switched to all organic produce then probably it would.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What exactly is “organic” anyway?

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Doesn’t your market have a separate organic produce section? I think it is fruits and veggies grown without chemical pesticides.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My grocery stores have fruit and vegetable aisles, of course. But nothing stated about anything being “organic.”

bkcunningham's avatar

The United States Department of Agriculture sets the standards for the “organic” labeling.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham That’s funny because they also set the standards for non-organic labeling! Therefore the two products must be very similar.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III They probably only carry organic if the general market around them will pay higher prices. Where you shop are people fairly tight financially? I don’t think for instance my Walmart has organic, but my Kroger does. Do you have Organic milk in your stores? My Walmart does sell organic milk.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hell, I don’t know! I don’t see any signs and stuff. We shop at Dillions.
This community has poor and affluent, side by side.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t know Dillons. Are a lot of your items from local farms? You are near to a lot of farming north and south of you that could easily bring in produce for all seasons.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, we’re in the bread basket, of course, but nothing grows here in the winter. I really don’t know where it all comes from.

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