Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Long-Awaited, Hotel Room, $5 or Less Meal Plan, Week 1

AKA, you too can eat in a hotel room, without a stove, for less than $5/dinner (oh, and that's a collective $5, not $5 per person)!



Bit of background:
When we arrived here at Fort Carson, our house wasn't ready. Instead, we had 10 days booked at on-post lodging, then extended that another 10 days. We were told we had two rooms with a kitchenette to join them. Perfect! So along with the necessities, I added one of my crockpots, a small electric frying pan, the toaster oven, and the rice cooker, figuring I'd have a fridge and cook top in the kitchenette.

However, my interpretation of a kitchenette and theirs were a wee bit different. We had a sink, two microwaves, and a mini fridge in each room. One mini fridge froze *everything* while the other barely kept things cool. It was a hoot, really. Hence, most of my "this is what we can eat" planning went right out the window, since pasta is a staple of quick & easy cooking (no way to boil water) and I kind of bank on being able to store food in a fridge.

However, after a couple of days of eating out on the road, we were all tired of restaurant food & its prices, and a little sick to our stomachs from it all. So after a few grocery store trips, we managed to come up with two meal plans of 5 meals each, along with a bonus soup each week. Prices are based on Colorado Springs pricing (which I found higher than Dallas). Shopping varied between Safeway, King Soopers (a Kroger affiliate), Albertson's, the Commissary on post, and some basic necessities at the Dollar Tree (they sell HFCS free ketchup, along with cheap spices).

At that, the food's simple, it's reasonably healthy, but not all-organic, perfect balances, less veggies than I'd like, and we did a lot of raw fruit as snacks just to up the fruit/veggie count. If you're expecting well-planned, gourmet meals, this is not the place. However, it's not bad, considering the lack of storage, appliances and the fact we had to live in a hotel for three weeks. And it's way better than takeout!

Without further adieu, week 1 of hotel living, the meal plan!

Day 1: Shaun's Pseudo Stir Fry (don't ask, it's his thing)
1.5 lb ground beef @ $1.92/lb = $2.90
1 bag frozen mixed veggies = $.69
1 oz garlic (32oz jar @ $4.99) = $.16
3oz soy sauce (20oz @ $2.29) = $.34
3 cups steamed rice (6cents/serving, from the web) = $.36
Total = $4.45
Servings = 1 for me, F, B, 2 for Shaun, plus 1 leftover lunch for Shaun
6 bowls at $.74/bowl
Dinner only = $3.74
Directions: Saute ground beef & garlic in electric skillet, drain fat, add frozen veggies & soy sauce, lower heat and cover to steam, serve over steamed rice (we buy 20lb bags of rice and cook in a rice cooker, this may vary if you buy Minute Rice)

Day 2: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Faith's Birthday)
2lb Split Chicken Breast (5lb @ $5.30 sale at Safeway) = $2.12
1/2 bottle HFCS free BBQ sauce ($1.25/bottle) = $.62
6 slices cheese (10 slices at $2.29) = $1.38
6 fluffy buns (8 @ $2.36) = $1.77
Total = $5.89
Servings = 1 for me, F, B, 2 for Shaun, plus 1 leftover sandwich for Shaun
6 sandwiches at $.98/bowl
Dinner only = $4.91
Directions: Place chicken breasts in crockpot, cover with BBQ sauce and a bit of water, cook on low all day, remove bones at end, then shred, mixing with sauce to cover. Slice rolls, top with chicken and cheese (and onions if you're my husband, but I don't like onions on my sandwiches). Since it was Faith's birthday, we just had cake and ice cream after this.

Day 3: Taco Stuffed Baked Potatoes
1.18lb ground beef @ $1.92/lb = $2.27
Taco seasoning = $.47
1/3 container of sour cream (@ $1.25/container) = $.41
1/2 bag of shredded cheese (@ $2.29/bag) = $1.15
5 potatoes (10lb bag = 33 potatoes @ $2.49 = 7.5 cents each) = $.38
Total = $5.89
Servings = 1 for me, F, B, 2 for Shaun, no leftovers
5 potatoes at $.94 cents/potato
Dinner only = $4.68
Directions: Thankfully, you can microwave baked potatoes. Put several fork holes into each side of each potato. Place in the microwave for about 2 minutes per potato (I cook four at once, so 8 minutes), when done, flip to the other side, microwave another 8 minutes (or whatever number of potatoes you have). This does assume your microwave works properly. Ours did not, so it took longer. It's really not surprising, given the fridge issues we had too. Now, using the electric skillet, sauté and drain the ground beef, add taco seasoning and water, cook as directed. Slice the potatoes in half, mash up the insides a wee bit, top with a bunch of taco beef, cheese, sour cream (and onions, once again if you're Shaun). We actually really like this as meal instead of regular tacos. In my head, potatoes are healthier than tortillas.

Day 4: Citrus Stir Fry (possibly my husband's favorite meal)
1.01 lb Beef Round Tip (50% off at Safeway) = $3.27
1 bag frozen mixed veggies = $.69
1 package Italian dressing (4 for $3) = $.75
1 oz soy sauce (20oz @ $2.29) = $.11
4 oz orange juice (64oz for $2.19) = $.14
2 oz oil (can't find where the breakdown of this is, but) = $.14
6 servings of rice = $.36
Total = $5.37
Servings = 1 for me and B, 1.5 for F, 2 for Shaun, plus 1 leftover lunch for Shaun
6.5 bowls at $.83/bowl
Dinner only = $4.54
Directions: Shaun's favorite stir fry recipe, serve with steamed rice

Day 5: Italian Chicken with Rice & Veggies
2lb Split Chicken Breast (5lb @ $5.30 sale at Safeway) = $2.12
1/2 bottle Italian dressing ($1 @ Dollar Tree) = $.50
1 bag microwave steamed veggies = $.79
6 servings of rice = $.36
Total = $3.77
Servings = 1 for me, F, B, 2 for Shaun, 1 more split by F&B&me
6 servings at $.63/each
Dinner only = $3.77
Directions: Chicken in the crockpot, cover with Italian dressing and water, cook on low all day, remove bones but don't shred. Steam rice, steam veggies in microwave according to directions, serve.

Bonus Weekend Soup - Leftover Chicken Crockpot Soup:
1lb Split Chicken Breast (5lb @ $5.30 sale at Safeway) = $1.06
1/3 bag of carrots (baby carrots @ $.89/bag) = $.30
1/3 onion (onion at $.59/each) = $.20
2 oz garlic (32oz jar @ $4.99) = $.32
5 cubes chicken bouillon (25 cubes for $1 at DT) = $.20
Soup only = $2.08
Directions: This is not my typical chicken soup recipe, but it worked OK. I usually use more herbs, more veggies, a better stock/bouillon, and I really prefer cooking chicken soup on a stovetop. But in a pinch, this will do. Use precooked chicken, I actually cooked the third breast with the previous day's Italian chicken. Dice the onions and carrots a lot, since you can't sauté them easily without a stove. Shred chicken, discard bones, put it in the crockpot with everything else and cook on low all day. I actually didn't use all the chicken in the soup, I used most of it for chicken salad sandwiches to go with the soup. We all prefer a more broth-based soup anyhow, but make it to your taste.

Like I said, less than exciting food, but it's filling, well-priced, and reasonably healthy. Obviously, I didn't count salt/pepper in the mix since I couldn't figure out how to price it. We bought a salt/pepper pack at the Dollar Tree and we are still using it almost 2 months later, so I am guessing it's pennies at best. We also go through a lot of fruit, but I don't usually price/measure that, it's just chopped up in the fridge for the kids to eat whenever they'd like.

Week 2, coming soon!

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday on OrgJunkie!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

2 comments:

  1. This is great! Wish I could get some of your prices for meat where I am at!

    ReplyDelete

 

© Shannon Carino 2006-2014, Design by Custom Blog Designs
Graphics by Missy B Designs, Fonts courtesy of Fonts for Peas