Weeknight Meals on a Budget

Weeknights are busy, but we still want to get a warm, semi healthy meal on the table! I put together a week’s worth of meals for a family of 5. 1 shop list reusing several ingredients, just a little prep on Sunday and you should be in and out of the kitchen in about a half hour each evening, all for around $100! Food prices are going up and up, so planning is our best strategy to keep our grocery bill from doing the same! Most of these dishes should leave you with some leftovers for lunches, as well as some leftover ingredients to throw together another dish or 2.

This past week I teamed up with Maureen Kyle of WKYC’s Mom Squad and we hope that this helps you to get delicious food on the table faster! Let me know if you have any questions, enjoy!

Grocery List:

  • Basil (I recommend freeze dried, so that you can keep it up to a month in your fridge and continue to enjoy it in future dishes)
  • 1 Baguette
  • 16 oz Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 2 Cans or 1 Jar Enchilada Sauce
  • Chicken (Package of 2 Chicken Breasts-alternately a Rotisserie Chicken)
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • 1 lb White Rice
  • 1-8 oz Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Jars Marinara Sauce
  • 16 oz Ditalini (or other small pasta)\
  • 1 Bunch Kale (Baby Kale=No Prep:)!)
  • Parmesan Cheese Block
  • Onions (3)
  • 3 Cans Cannellini Beans
  • 1 Pkg Kielbasa
  • 2 lb Carrots
  • 2 Crowns Broccoli
  • 1 pkg Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1-2 Pkgs Udon Noodles (I prefer the fresh ones that are precooked)
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Fresh Garlic

Here is a quick list of items that I normally have on hand, but if you do not, you will want to grab as well:

  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Cumin
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Stick of Butter
  • Lemon
  • Sesame Oil
  • Sriracha or Garlic Chili Paste

Sunday Prep:

I always like to chop a few onions and package them up for the week, it makes things so much easier. Between my cutting board not tasting like onions right away, and just having them on hand! I often will chop up some garlic as well. Many of these recipes will have us using a microplane to grate the garlic and save time as well.

We also want to precook our chicken. From fresh or frozen, you can poach your chicken on the stovetop to prepare it. Bring water to a boil, and add in chicken breasts. Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes. It will be ready for chopping or shredding and using all week! Alternatively, you can purchase a rotisserie chicken and shred the breasts for our meals, and use the rest for sandwiches and lunches!

I also recommend cutting your vegetables ahead of time to save on prep. Cut the broccoli into small florets, cut zucchini in half lengthwise and into 1/2″ slices & cut 3-4 carrots into 1/2″ slices. All of this should only take about 30 minutes & we are ready for Monday!!

Chicken (or Vegetarian) Enchiladas

Prep time: 15 minutesCook time: 25 minutesTotal time: 40 minutes


Delicious enchiladas are a great weeknight option. Add a side of Mexican rice and some chips and salsa and you’re in business! If you would like to add in some extra nutritional value, I like to mash up a baked sweet potato and spread a bit of that on the inside of each enchilada before stuffing. (You could add baking a sweet potato to our list of Sunday prep, if you are doing the full menu).



  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Sprinkle 2 T of cheese, and some chicken to the center of a tortilla & roll up. Lay into a 9 x 13 pan, seamside down. Repeat. Over and over and over again! You want to pack them in fairly tight to fit as many as possible
  3. Once you have your pan completely filled (give a count and make sure it is the amount you think your family needs – I would say about 15 for a family of 5 is good)
  4. Pour the sauce to completely coat the top of the enchiladas. (Any open areas can dry out.) Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. You can top with cheese if you have any extra. Ready to serve, while they are baking, start your rice!!


  • While the enchiladas are in the oven, start your Mexican rice.

Mexican Rice (Note, double this recipe, if you would like to serve it with Sheet Pan Dinner on Wednesday)



  1. Heat the oil on medium heat. Add the dry rice and sauté for 1 minute while constantly stirring.
  2. Add all dry spices (I suggest premeasuring them together into a bowl, so your rice doesn’t burn.) & garlic, sauté 1 more minute.
  3. Pour in water & tomato sauce. Bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, stir and lower to a simmer. Add sprigs of cilantro on top & cover with lid. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, then it is ready to serve!

Tuesday: Pasta Fagioli with Baguette & Lemon Butter



  1. Begin by sautéing onion in 2 T olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with Salt & Pepper.
  2. Add in garlic & saute 1 minute. Pour in all liquid ingredients.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except for basil, and let simmer about 30 minutes. While it is cooking, make lemon butter!

    For Lemon Butter:
  4. Place softened butter in a bowl, grate lemon zest and garlic over the top.
  5. Add basil, salt & pepper & mix thoroughly. It is ready to spread on Baguette!!
  6. Taste soup for seasoning, top with grated parmesan cheese & serve with bread & butter, yum!

Wednesday: Sheet Pan Sausage & Vegetables

A Sheet Pan Meal with Some Different Veg:)



  1. Preheat Oven to 375
  2. Toss together the sausage & veggies in a large bowl.
  3. Coat with olive oil & toss with seasonings
  4. Bake on parchment lined sheet tray for 25 minutes, serve over rice!

Thursday: Asian Noodle Stir Fry



  1. Sauté onion in 2 T vegetable oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add all vegetables and cover – let cook 2-3 minutes, until veggies have softened a bit.
  3. Add sauce and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes
  4. Toss in noodles & chicken and cook 2-3 minutes, until heated through. Check for seasoning – add more soy or heat as needed. Stir in herbs and enjoy!

Friday: Calzones

Here is an opportunity to use up leftovers!!

Cut your premade dough into equal parts. Roll into circles, using a floured surface. Once rolled out, add in marinara, cheese and any toppings of your choice. Seal the edges and bake at 400 on parchment lined trays for 10-12 minutes, checking for doneness. Enjoy!!

Can Also Make Personal Pizzas!!

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