Weekly Dinner Deals is back on Cheap Thrills! We show you how to put together great meals with the week’s sales. These deals can be price matched, or you may have bargain items in your freezer or pantry. Meals serve a family of four, two adults and two kids. If you have a tween or teen, or very hungry adults, you may need to increase quantities.
It helps to have the basics on hand. Salt and pepper, herbs and spices, oils, bread crumbs/Panko, milk, etc. I also keep canned tomatoes and lo so canned or frozen vegs around, as well as grains (especially brown rice), whole-grain pastas, and pre-portioned cooked chicken and burger. Stock up when these are on sale, and you’ll be cooking up Cheap Thrills with ease.
Purchase:whole cooked deli chicken 4.99 at Bag N Save with mailer coupon 4 oz boneless center cut pork chops 5/$5 at Bag N Save with mailer coupon 1 dozen large eggs .59 at Bag N save with mailer coupon green onions .59/bunch at Bag N Save cucumber .49 at Bag N Save Our Family rotini pasta .91 at No Frills Farmland rope sausage 2.99 ( – .75 coupon = 2.24) at No Frills brown rice .76 at Target frozen vegs .88 at Aldi two nectarines .25 each at Aldi romaine lettuce 1.99 at Bag N Save baby carrots .76 at SuperSaver
Have On Hand:non-stick cooking spray or olive oil your favorite salad dressing salt and pepper parsley and other herbs plain yogurt (~2.00 for large container at Aldi)
The deli chicken is already cooked, so heat it up for the first meal: slice breasts and portion thighs and drumsticks. This makes six servings (2.50 for the day’s chicken). (After dinner, pick the meat off the chicken, including wings and any uneaten portions.) Serve dinner with brown rice (.10/serving, make extra and freeze), and a side of sliced cucumbers (half = .25) marinated for half an hour in plain yogurt, salt and pepper. This meal will cost about $3.50.
Pan-grill four pork chops ($4) — cook the fifth and save for another meal — in a sprayed or oiled grill pan after trimming and sprinkling with salt and pepper. Halve and pit two nectarines (.50) and grill alongside chops. Cook peas (.88) per package instructions, sprinkle with parsley and a chopped green onion (.10). Serve with a green salad made with romaine (.75) and your favorite dressing. This meal will cost about $6.00. This is the most expensive meal of the week, and a real splurge for our family. You can reduce the amount of meat by cutting the chops into cutlets for young eaters. Use the extra meat later in the week (or for a sandwich for lunch!).
For another meal, use leftover chicken, which should be enough for another meal for four (2.50). Cook rotini, drain and cool. Chop half a cucumber (.25), two green onions (.20), and a few carrots (.10); add to cooled pasta. Mix in chopped chicken and 1/2 cup of your favorite salad dressing. Serve chicken pasta salad on romaine leaves (.50). This meal will cost about $3.55.
Slice the rope sausage (2.24) into coins and pan-fry till brown; drain. Cut remaining carrots (.69) into thirds and cook/steam. Heat leftover rice (.40) in microwave. Chop two onions (.20). Combine all, adding parsley and pepper. Serve with a side of steamed green beans (.88). This meal will cost about $4.40.
Finely dice the leftover pork chop ($1). Chop the remaining onion (.10). Combine the chop, onion, four beaten eggs (.20), your favorite herbs, and salt and pepper. Pour into a sprayed or oiled pie dish (top with leftover shredded cheese, if you have any around), and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until set; let sit 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with a green salad made with romaine (.75) and your favorite dressing. This meal will cost about $2.05.
To make your life easier, prepare as many ingredients in advance as you can. Make the rice and pasta on the weekend (undercook a bit, and refrigerate or freeze in meal-sized containers). Chop and slice the vegs in advance. Tear, rinse, dry and bag the lettuce (with a dry paper towel, bag left open) for the week (reserving large leaves for the chicken pasta salad dinner).