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talljasperman's avatar

I'm making a meal plan for two weeks for one adult male do you have any suggestions?

Asked by talljasperman (21858points) June 3rd, 2015

Can you tell me of your meal plans? My budget is $250 for two weeks from a big box store in Red Deer Alberta.

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27 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

GQ. Will you provide us with more information first? Here are some questions:
* Is this only for you or for others as well?
* Are there any dietary requirements or goals?
* Is there a budget?
* What is the availability for shopping and storing supplies?
* What cooking utensils are on hand?
* Any personal preferences, like an ethnic cuisine, hot or mild, savory or sweet?

talljasperman's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Just me. More protein and vegetables. $250 for two weeks. CO-OP groceries store with in walking distance. Have a pot a pan and two cookie sheets. An oven and microwave and toaster oven. Simple American/Canadian food. Have only plastic bags for storage.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

No refrigerator or freezer?

talljasperman's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yes I have a fridge and small freezer.

marinelife's avatar

I would buy two whole chickens. Roast them at 350 degrees for about an hour and a quarter (depends on weight). Pat dry with paper towel and lightly rub outside of chicken with olive oil first.

Initial meal: roast chicken with veg of your choice (some good options: green beans, broccoli).

Subsequent meals: chicken and cheese enchiladas (other ingredients needed: tortillas, sour cream, avocado [for guacamole], Mexican sauce [I like Herdez Green Sauce mild or medium], onion [diced and sauteed], jack cheese [or pepperjack]. Saute the onions, shred the cooked chicken, place some chicken on tortilla and sprinkle with onions, cover with 1 Tbsp. green sauce and a little grated cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in pan. Repeat. Cover the top and sides of the tortillas with green sauce and sprinkle generously with more grated cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 min. Serve with guacamole and sour cream.

Then you can make chicken salad sandwiches (celery, mayonnaise & diced, cooked chicken, chicken soup (use the chicken carcass to make broth), chicken casseroles such as chicken a la king or chicken divan.

Whole chickens are a great start to a week of meals. If you get tired of roasted chicken, you can cut off the legs and wings and broil those. Serve with vegetables (like homemade coleslaw or sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob), then roast the remainder of the chicken to use for leftovers.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Why not look through this cookbook (the link is to a pdf) and choose some meals that you’d like to try making? Most of the recipes look easy and tasty. And you’ll save yourself lots of money. $250 for two weeks for food for one person is a lot. You can use the extra money to buy things that you won’t use every week, like a few spices and condiments. If you do this every time, you’ll have a fully stocked kitchen soon.

Edit: @marinelife‘s suggestion is excellent. Roasting a chicken provides food for quite a long time, if you can resist the temptation of tearing it apart and devouring it in one go. So delicious. :)

LostInParadise's avatar

Invest in a vacuum freezer bag sealer. Cook a week’s worth of stew at one time. Freeze part of it. Make sure to mark the bag with contents description and date. It will take a little while and some additional spending at the beginning, but you will end up with a fair amount of variety. Then when you want a meal, just pull a bag out of the freezer and put it in boiling water until it heats up. Stews work best, because you can combine meat and vegetables in a single meal.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@LostInParadise The OP is a real beginner. I would avoid advising an investment in any equipment until he has some confidence. A box of large freezer bags would suffice until he gets into a routine with making meals ahead.

But yes, for a person living alone, it’s necessary to freeze things a lot. Things that can be bought cheaper in bulk, like meats and bread, should be broken into smaller quantities as soon as they are bought, and frozen until needed. And soups, stews, etc. can also be frozen as ready-to-eat meals.

So, put freezer bags on the list, @talljasperman! And maybe some plastic containers if you don’t already have some in the kitchen.

talljasperman's avatar

So I went to Safeway and got a day old rotisserie chicken and a salad kit some broccoli and dip and some cola. Also a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@talljasperman Well, that is less healthy than roasting your own chickens, but definitely a huge improvement over KFC. Well done.

flutherother's avatar

I would recommend cooking mince (ground beef) on its own or with bolognaise sauce and freezing it to microwave as required to eat with potatoes or pasta. Cheese is always useful to have with toasted bread from the freezer as a snack.

Kardamom's avatar

Bake your own Chicken it will be much cheaper than buying a whole pre-cooked chicken.

Buy a whole, uncooked, chicken rather than one cut into pieces. It will be cheaper. This Video shows you how to cut up a chicken.

Buy a big block of cheddar or jack cheese. Never buy smaller packages, and never buy pre-sliced cheese, it’s way more expensive. Take the big block, cut it up into smaller pieces, then wrap those smaller pieces in plastic wrap, and put them into a big ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer. Thaw out a piece in the fridge overnight.

Buy a big jar of spaghetti sauce and divide it up into 1 or 2 cup portions into freezer bags. Lay the freezer bags flat in your freeze so they don’t take up as much space. Thaw over night in the fridge for spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or Minestrone Soup or Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Make and freeze soup. It’s cheaper than buying small cans of soup. Here are some tips for Feezing Soup. Here are a bunch of Cheap and Easy Soups

Buy a large package of tortillas. Open the package of tortillas and insert a piece of aluminum foil or plastic wrap in between each of the tortillas, then put the whole package in a large ziplock freezer bag and store them in the freezer. This way you can pull out one or 2 at a time (or several if you want to make Enchiladas) and they’re much cheaper than buying a small package. But you need to put the foil or plastic in between the individual tortillas, otherwise they’ll stick together and you won’t be able to separate them without breaking them apart.

Buy a large bag/tub of prepared salad greens and plan to have a large or medium sized salad with both lunch and dinner. It’s cheaper to buy heads of lettuce, but unless you are willing or inclined to prep and clean and cut up a head of lettuce, you are better off buying a prepared package, but don’t get the small ones from the regular grocery store, they’re super expensive, buy one of the big packages from someplace like Costco, they’re much cheaper for how much you get. But you must eat it, otherwise you’ll be wasting your money. Don’t get iceberg lettuce, either. It has almost no nutritional value. Get something like This or This. Your best bets for salad greens are any of these: Organic Baby Lettuces (Red & Green Romaine, Red & Green Oak Leaf, Red Leaf, Lollo Rosa, Tango, Butter Lettuce), Organic Red & Green Chard, Organic Mizuna, Organic Arugula, Organic Radicchio, Organic Baby Spinach.

Here are some yummy sounding, budget friendly Freezer Meals to make.

You might find some things you like on this list of 100 Cheap Meals for $1 per serving

Here are a bunch of Inexpensive Pasta Dishes

You need to add more fresh vegetables to your diet. Pizza is a good way to add those veggies. You can make pizza with Pita Bread (which can be bought in bulk and frozen in the same way as tortillas) or tortillas, or pre-made pizza shells (if you can get them on sale and then freeze them) or you can make your own Pizza Dough Here are some Great Veggies to put on pizza.

You should keep a well stocked pantry. You might have to lay out a little bit more money in the first place, but if you have these items in your pantry, then you will always have something to grab, quickly, to make an inexpensive meal. As follows:

Beans (canned and/or dried). Buy canned beans when they’re on sale. On sale here in the U.S. means 99 Cents or less for a 15 oz. can of beans. You can also buy bigger cans of beans, if they’re less per oz. than the smaller cans, then divide them up into freezer safe containers to freeze. Dried beans are even more economical than canned beans. Here is how to Cook Dried Beans

Here’s a Chili Recipe using canned beans.

Here’s a Chili Recipe using dried beans.

Here are 3 recipes for Soups With Canned Beans

Here is how to make Soup with Dried Beans

Here’s some recipes for Pasta and Beans as follows:

Beans and Tomatoes

Penne Pasta with White Beans and Spinach

Italian Pasta Fagioli

Also for your pantry, you should have several kinds of dried pasta such as Spaghetti and Macaroni and Lasagna Noodles and Asian Buckwheat Soba Noodles

Also for the pantry you should have some cartons of low sodium Chicken Broth and Beef Broth

And some seasonings such as dried oregano, dried chili flakes, dried granulated garlic, black pepper, Kosher or sea salt, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon.

For baked goods, you’ll want to keep some all purpose flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and Old Fasioned Rolled Oats

You’ll probably want to keep a good selection of nuts/seeds in your freezer. Nuts and seeds are nutrition-dense, can be added to salads and baked goods and breakfast cereal, waffles and pancakes, and can be stored for long periods of time in the freezer. It’s best to only store small amounts of nuts in the pantry, as they can go rancid fairly quickly. In the freezer you can keep them for about a year, and they’re much cheaper to buy in bulk. I would suggest peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds.

For the fridge, you’ll want fruits and veggies that are both relatively inexpensive and nutrient dense. I would suggest White Button Mushrooms, and Carrots, and Broccoli and Sweet Peppers and Sweet Potatoes and Oranges, and Red Seedless Grapes and Berries

Here are some recipes using the above items:

Mushroom Recipes

Carrot Recipes

Broccoli Recipes

Pepper Recipes

Sweet Potato Recipes

Orange Recipes Mixed Greens with Oranges, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans and Orange and Avocado Salad, and Orange and Apple Salad, and Orange and Jicama Salad, and Orange and Beet Salad, and Orange, Chicken and Feta Salad

Red Grape Recipes Chicken Salad with Grapes, and Greens with Grapes and Feta Salad, and These Recipes with Grapes

Berries and Other Fruit Recipes

Have fun and good luck to you : )

LuckyGuy's avatar

^wow… I bow my head in shame.

@talljasperman A cooked rotisserie chicken is a great deal! Usually they are about $5 and should be good for at least 4 meals. You can buy a bunch of kale too. $2 for a bundle that will last you a week. Use it in salads or put in in egg omelets. Which brings me to eggs. They are a super bargain. Buy 18 at a time for about $2.50. That will last you 2 weeks. Also buy a loaf of bread for $2. It, too, will last for a week. Get a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly and have PB&J sandwiches for lunch. Only eat one sandwich. The jars will last for 2 weeks. A gallon of milk. and a big box of cheap cereal will last you a week as well.
Whatever you buy make sure to not eat the whole thing in one sitting. Look at the labels and the calories. You are not very active so aim for 2000 – 2200 calories per day.
You will feel so much better.

anniereborn's avatar

You have a 500 dollar a month food budget for just you? Color me jealous!

Jaxk's avatar

When I was living on my own away from home a few years back, I’d buy 10 Banquet TV dinners and keep them in the freezer. If I wanted a steak I’d broil one but if I was in a hurry or busy with other things, the TV dinners were quick and easy. They sold for 10 for $10. At a buck apiece it’s hard to go wrong. If I was real hungry, I’d eat two of them.

ibstubro's avatar

That’s about $18 a day.

Throw whatever strikes your fancy in the cart, and if you go over $250, make them remove the most expensive items.

I’ve been behind this shopper more than once.

jca's avatar

If you’re paying with cash, try not to spend the whole $18 per day and put some savings aside for something else. If paying with food stamps or EBT card, then you can’t do that.

Buttonstc's avatar

For inspiration, there’s a great show on Food Network called “Rachel Ray’s Week in a Day”

She demonstrates how to systematically do all your cooking on one Sun. or Sat. to last you all week. Gives you the ingredients you need to buy, etc.

The nice part about the show and her style of presentation is that she uses everyday ingredients and she doesn’t get overly “cheffy” (for lack of a better word). There’s no fancy techniques or ingredients and clearly aimed at the average home cook. I think you might enjoy it.

Currently, it airs at 7:00 AM (EST) on Sun. and Mon. so record it if you’re not much of a morning person. Plus, it makes it easy to rewind in order to watch a particular instruction again.

talljasperman's avatar

Update : I bought 2 cooked chickens some coke and mixed prenuts and a bunch of almost ripe bananas. Also a loaf of bread for snacking with pb.

ibstubro's avatar

How long does this shopping spree need to last you, @talljasperman, and what was the bill? One day?

talljasperman's avatar

Under $50 and $10 taxi.

ibstubro's avatar

One day? One week?

Darth_Algar's avatar

$50 for two days?

jca's avatar

@Darth_Algar and @ibstubro: He wrote above that he has 18 dollars per day for food in the budget. 18 to 25 dollars per day for food is a big food budget in my opinion.

Kardamom's avatar

Yes, $18 per day is a huge amount of money to spend. If one is working on a budget, you should be able to manage to eat for about six dollars per day or less. That’s why he needs to buy items that can be used in multiple ways, for multiple meals. Things need to be prepared in advance and frozen, to be used later.

Here’s a list of 44 Foods for one dollar or less per serving.

ibstubro's avatar

I was the one that made the $18 a day post.

More relevant was the recent $50 expenditure.

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