Top 3 Recipes: Cooking For the Entire Week On A Budget

As a recent college graduate and a current unemployed person, in these last few years I’ve been looking to save money wherever I can. And, honestly, who isn’t?

One of the biggest money drains I have to budget for is my groceries. I eat gluten and soy free, and those specialty foods can get incredibly prices. I mean $6 for a half-loaf of bread? You gotta be kidding me! I try and pass those items as often as I can, and use them sparingly when I do buy them, but still it makes budgeting tricky.

Over these last few years, I have compiled some pretty stellar recipes that don’t require any specialty items and can last almost an entire weeks worth of meals. Depending on where you shop (I shop primarily at Aldi), these recipes can be made for under $10 and last a single person 6-7 meals. As long as you don’t mind left overs and repeat meals, these recipes will satisfy both you and your wallet.


Hearty Quinoa Stew

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cartons of Vegetable or Chicken Broth
  • 1 bag of Baby Carrots (You are welcome to add other veggies as well)
  • 1 bag of Small Medley Potatoes or 3-4 Normal Potatoes (I prefer small medley potatoes)
  • Your favorite spices (I use turmeric, ginger, garlic, curry powder, salt and pepper)
  • 3 cups of Quinoa (Rice or other similar substitutes work as well)

Recipe:

  1. Cut your potatoes and carrots into small pieces approximately the size of the tip of your thumb.
  2. Pour your broth into a large pot and add spices until you get a well seasoned broth. Easy tip for how many spices to add is to start small, only add 1/2 teaspoon at a time of each spice. Taste regularly to determine the flavor you prefer.
  3. Once the broth is hot and spices have reached a desired level, add your cut up potatoes and carrots to the pot.
  4. Bring the stew to a boil then turn it down to let it simmer. Stir regularly to cook evenly.
  5. The stew will be ready when the potatoes and carrots become soft.
  6. Prepare the quinoa or rice in a rice maker or pot. There should be instructions on the amount of water you should use for the starch you have purchased on the package.

To Serve and Store:

  • Put the quinoa in a bowl and pour the stew over top. That’s it- it’s ready to eat!
  • For Fun: sometimes I’ll add a scrambled egg or two on top for some extra protein.
  • To store put you quinoa and stew in separate containers and put them in the fridge. Use separate containers so that the quinoa doesn’t become soggy.

Rice, Bean, and Veggie Medley

What you’ll need:

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 1 Onion (red or yellow work best)
  • 1 bag of Spinach
  • 2 cans of Black Beans
  • 3 cups of Rice
  • Spices (I prefer Tajín, but you can use your favorite spices on this one)

Recipe:

  1. Put your rice into a pot or rice maker and follow the package instructions to cook.
  2. Put your beans in a pot and bring to a medium heat. Stir the beans regularly to ensure they are evenly cooked and don’t stick to the bottom of your pot.
  3. While the beans and rice cook, cut your bell pepper and onion into small diced pieces. You can add these to your beans when they are well heated if you prefer cooked veggies, or you can leave them raw.

To Serve and Store:

  • Once everything is cooked, put a handful of spinach into the base of a bowl. Add your rice onto your spinach; then, add your veggies and beans. Mix it all together and add your desired amount of spice.
  • For Fun: I will also often add and egg or two to this recipe for added protein.
  • To store place your rice, veggie mix, spinach, and beans into four separate containers to ensure nothing goes soggy, and place them in the fridge.

Simple Curry

This recipe is credited to my college roommate, Justine. She is like %90 of the reason I know how to cook anything at all, and everything she makes is incredible.

What you’ll need:

  • Cumin Seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Curry Powder
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Oil of your choosing
  • Veggies of your choosing (potato, carrot, spinach, onion, etc.)
  • 1 carton Vegetable or Chicken broth
  • Coconut Milk (optional)
  • Peanuts (optional)
  • Chickpeas (optional)

Recipe:

  1. Start by putting your desired spices in a pan toasting them with oil. Cut up your veggies (the pieces don’t have to be small) and add them to your spices to cook.
  2. Pour 1 carton of vegetable or chicken broth and 1-2 cans of coconut milk into a pot with a teaspoon of salt and heat to a boil. If you chose not to use coconut milk, just use a second carton of vegetable or chicken broth.
  3. Add your toasted and seasoned vegetables to your pot and lower temperature to a simmer. Regularly stir and taste your curry to see if it needs additional spices. Add spices as needed.
  4. Once your veggies have softened, add peanuts and simmer for a few more minutes.

To Serve and Store:

  • Pour your curry in a bowl over rice or any starch, or simply eat it as a curry soup.
  • Top with cut up cilantro for added flavor.
  • To store simply pour the curry into a container and refrigerate.

These recipes have saved me so much money over the years. As someone who doesn’t mind eating the same thing for a number of meals in a week, these are delicious and only get better the longer they keep. Each of these recipes will last about 1 week in the fridge before any veggies get wilted or anything begins to sour. Honestly, you’ll love these recipes so much you won’t mind eating them a few times in a row either.

Let me know: Will you be trying any of these recipes? Have you already tried some? Which is your favorite?