This last week was another snow-filled week for us, with me and little man venturing out only to take the dog out. So, I've had lots of time to dream about gardening, catch up on reading during nap times, and come up with some other creative uses for our kitchen scraps besides composting (which I'll share in a later post). But I also had some time to think about our menu for March.
March is, for most areas, the beginnings of spring. Around here, that's a hotly debated topic, as the old timers don't ever set anything in the ground for spring planting until Mother's Day. But grocery stores can give us the illusion of spring time, with all the berries and spring greens that show up (who am I kidding, they're there year round!). But we still try to eat seasonally around here, which means mostly winter foods and what we have in the freezer and pantry. So, here's our menu for the month:
zucchini, banana, and flaxseed muffins (using frozen shredded zucchini and frozen bananas)
cranberry oatmeal muffins from Muffins A to Z
"pumpkin" chocolate chip or pumpkin seed muffins (we use frozen pureed winter squash)
egg (using fresh, free eggs from dear friends) and cheese sandwiches on homemade french bread or rosemary olive oil bread
cranberry coconut breakfast cookies
marmalade muffins from Muffins A to Z (See link above)
baked oatmeal from Simply in Season
leftovers filled in with homemade yogurt, homemade applesauce (frozen or canned from the fall apple gleaning), or homemade cookies
crockpot soups including vegetable barley soup, potato soup, vegetarian chili (I finally came up with a recipe I like), black bean squash chili, rosemary white bean soup (I haven't tried this one yet, but I like all her other recipes) * We try to have soup at least once a week because it makes the budget stretch and makes great leftovers for lunches.
quiche with mushrooms (bought on the clearance produce rack, sauteed, and frozen), asparagus (we trim the ends off and chop them to use in other dishes), onion, and ham (frozen from Christmas)
chicken/turkey pot pie with green beans (frozen from summer CSA), mushrooms, onion, asparagus, and corn)
winter squash pancakes (from Start Fresh) with fruit (either citrus or we still have some peaches in the freezer from the summer) and bacon (little man loves these pancakes and it's a good way to sneak in more nutrients)
fried rice with homemade egg rolls (we skip the pork and just use more veggies in them to cut costs)
spicy noodle veggie stir fry with homemade egg rolls
homemade pizza with pesto or white sauce (just discovered this white sauce and love it!)
lentil sloppy joes with steamed or roasted veggies and oven fries
whole wheat pasta with pesto, salad, and garlic toast
black bean burgers with steamed veggies or oven fries
enchiladas with orange and lime rice (just zest and orange and sprinkle lime juice after preparing rice)
Beans and rice with fixins and corn bread
loaded mac and cheese with broccoli and sausage or ham
popcorn (made with air popper #2--little man pulled the other one off the counter, broke it, and felt horrible for it!) with garlic salt, cheddar powder, or taco seasoning
homemade cookies of the week
homemade bread with butter or jam
homemade yogurt with fruit
homemade cocoa (we buy our cocoa and powdered milk in bulk to make this more affordable)
I tried to provide more links here so that those of you looking for recipes to fit a $100 a month grocery budget know where to start. Some of these are made more affordable by getting the produce in season and freezing it, or by purchasing ingredients in bulk (flour, cheese, corn meal, cocoa powder, spices, etc.). We also can quite a bit of summer produce in the form of salsa, jams, pesto, sauces, etc. to make our winter plentiful.
If you have any questions about our recipes or how we manage to feed our family on $100/month, feel free to ask! (And I promise we do... we've only spent about $160 total for 2015 so far on groceries. We spent more than that for just our last month's electric bill!) I'd love to hear from you!