In a few short months, we will be welcoming a new member to our family. With all the changes that will occur, we know that our finances will be one of the biggest adjustments we have. Over the last few weeks, I have been working a little more on our budget and setting a few financial goals for when Baby J arrives.
One of the best ways to save money is to eat at home. It’s healthier and you can save a lot of money by not going out to eat. We typically eat at home on a regular basis, but there are definitely nights of the week when I am too tired to cook or I didn’t plan anything for dinner. That’s when we end up going out and spending more than what we would spend if I had planned and prepped a meal at home.
I am a huge fan of my weekly meal planner (you can read all about it here) and I use it every Sunday or Monday to plan our meals for the week. One of my goals is to plan meals for the ENTIRE week, so we are eating out less.
I don’t always shop at the same grocery store and typically bounce around from Cub Foods to Costco to Target to Trader Joe’s. My newest grocery store addition is Aldi. It’s not my favorite store, but I am starting to like it more and more for a few reasons: 1) I am always surprised when they tell me what I owe. $51 for a cart full of groceries? Yes, please! 2) It seems pretty environmentally friendly. You need to bring your own bags to pack your groceries (or you can buy some if you forget). 3) They have an expanding organic section and the prices are hard to beat.
The only thing I have a hard time with is their limited selection of items. If you need something specific for a recipe, you sometimes have to make a second stop at another grocery store, like Cub Foods. Cub has everything.
Anyways, I meal planned on my way home from the cabin this weekend and made a grocery list. I decided to go to Aldi and filled my cart with mostly produce and ingredients for our meals this week.
Because I am pregnant and it's winter, I am craving warm, comfort food. I decided to make a creamy ham and pea pasta, and thanks to shopping at Aldi, I only spent about $4.73 per person on this meal. We also have leftovers for the entire week and I was able to save and freeze some of the unused ingredients.
Here is a breakdown of the financials…
- Frozen Sweet Peas $0.95 (Used about ½ a bag, so about $0.48 for this meal)
- Half Turkey Ham $4.90 (Used half and froze the rest, $2.45 for this meal)
- Parmesan Cheese $2.49 (Used about 1/6 a container…$0.42 for this meal)
- Red Onions $1.89 (Used 1/6 of bag…$0.32 for this meal)
- Sliced White Mushrooms (8 oz.) $1.89
- Lemons (bag of about 6-7 lemons) $1.49 (Used 1 lemon…$0.22 for this meal)
- Heavy Whipping Cream $1.69
- Farfalle Pasta (2 boxes, 12 oz. each) $1.98
- Nutmeg Already had on hand, no cost
- Salt " "
- Pepper " "
- Butter (1/2 stick or ¼ cup) " "
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese " "
Total $9.45 or $4.73 per person (with a week of leftovers)
Ham & Pea Pasta
- ½ Onion, chopped
- 8 ounces White Sliced Mushrooms
- Olive Oil (drizzle in pan before cooking onions)
- Zest of 1 small Lemon (could have almost used only ½ lemon)
- ½ stick (¼ cup) Butter
- ½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 16 ounces Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 ½ Cups Diced Cooked Ham (or substitute Turkey Ham)
- 1 ½ Cups Frozen Sweet Peas
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- Pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
- 24 ounces Farfalle Pasta (or pasta of your choice)
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese to taste (sprinkled on top of completed meal)
1. Begin by prepping the ingredients.
- Wash produce.
- Chop onions.
- Rinse mushrooms.
- Dice turkey ham.
- Zest the lemon.
Note: If you don't own a zester, you can peel the very outside of the lemon, avoiding any white pieces, and finely chop the yellow stuff.
2. Drizzle olive oil in a cooking pan and cook the onions and mushrooms over medium heat. Break apart larger pieces of mushrooms as you cook.
3. Add butter and lemon zest. Stir together until melted.
4. Add grated Parmesan cheese and heavy whipping cream. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.
5. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Mix in turkey ham and frozen sweet peas, increasing heat to medium-low.
6. Cook Farfalle pasta (or pasta of your choice) and drain.
7. Add cream sauce to the pasta. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve warm.
And voila! Cheers to a little comfort food on a cold winter day.
If you happen to drop some turkey ham on the floor, you might be lucky enough to have two automatic vacuum cleaners nearby.