Next Week's Meal Plan: 5 Budget-Saving Dinners for the Week Ahead

Next Week's Meal Plan: 5 Budget-Saving Dinners for the Week Ahead

Meghan Splawn
Mar 28, 2017
(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

You guys, this weekend I totally blew my grocery budget for the week at the farmers market. As has become an almost annual tradition, I spent a small fortune on two giant buckets of local strawberries. I have zero regrets. I'll turn those strawberries into a small batch of jam and some fruit leather, and freeze what we don't eat fresh for smoothies. But this splurge means I have to be thrifty when it comes to meal planning this week.

Luckily I have a well-stocked pantry and freezer to help me stretch my dollars this week. I'll also be cooking with less meat and relying on one of my favorite cheap meals: breakfast for dinner.

Here are the five budget-saving meals my family is eating this week.

(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

Welcome to this week's meal plan!

Planning my weekly meals is a habit I enjoy. Since I'm frequently asked by friends and family what I'm cooking for dinner each week, I thought it'd be useful to share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you're just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you're an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here's a peek at how I'm feeding my family this week.

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

Monday: Slow-Cooker Minestrone

Last week, after our Monday meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup, my daughter pointedly said, "You know that other soup like this you make, but with all the stuff like beans and macaroni in it? I like that better." So, lo and behold, minestrone is on the menu this week!

I'll be skipping the cabbage in this recipe and adding a handful of dry macaroni noodles in the last 30 minutes of cooking with the zucchini. I'm counting on plenty of leftovers for lunches for me this week.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Tuesday: Spinach and Refried Bean Quesadillas

Quesadilla Tuesday doesn't have quite the ring as Taco Tuesday, but this super-customizable staple is in regular rotation at our house. I'm going to mash up some black beans leftover from last week's nacho-making in lieu of the refried beans called for here, and I'll use thawed frozen spinach to make this recipe even faster.

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

Wednesday: Chicken Schnitzel

Paired with bread-and-butter pickles, applesauce for the kids, and a hearty green salad for the adults, schnitzel is a family favorite. I'm using Kitchn's pork schnitzel how-to as a template, but swapping the pork for chicken breast that I'm pulling from the freezer. Splitting two breasts and pounding them thin is a great way to stretch proteins on a lean week.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Thursday: French Toast

Breakfast for dinner is a great way to make a budget-friendly meal that still feels special, and French toast is probably the greatest example of this. Eggs, sugar, milk, and butter are already in my fridge — the only cost for this dinner is a loaf of bread. I'll roast some cubed sweet potatoes as home fries and serve some of my budget-busting berries on the side.

(Image credit: Kristin Teig)

Friday: Pizza on the Grill

Friday night is always pizza night, and this week I've invited our new neighbors over for pizza al fresco. They'll be bringing some toppings and we'll provide the dough, a big salad, and kid-friendly crudités. I'm a little nervous about grilling pizza dough for the first time this year with an audience, but grilling pizza is like riding a bike, right?

I love reading about your meal plans, too! Your turn — what are you cooking this week?

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