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My husband and I are on a budget yet we want to make sure we eat healthy and gluten free. I go shopping once a week after I meal plan. I have found that meal planning and detailed shopping lists save us lots of money. Of course, also not going shopping on an empty stomach helps! I usually shop at Costco, Trader Joes and Natural Grocers. Between the three stores I can get the best prices and a good selection of organic and gluten free foods. We buy all organic and gluten free, so if it doesn't say it is below, just assume. We have a lot of the same types of foods each week. For example, each week there is some type of pasta, maybe it's tuna noodle casserole, or cheeseburger pasta or spaghetti squash and meat sauce. I always know I need a meat, noodles and sauce each week. We also have baked chicken each week. I might add different seasonings, it may be a whole chicken or just breasts, but I know each week we will have chicken and potatoes and a vegetable. I thought I'd share one of my weeks with you so you can get ideas to create your own meal plan that is cost effective, and not full of things kids won't eat.
Here's my menu for one week:
Breakfast- Gluten Free Puffin cereal. On Sundays I need something quick so we can get to church on time. I then brought slices of pineapple and melons with to church for their Sunday school snack.
Lunch- Taco Salad, with organic corn chips, organic ground beef, lettuce, raw cheddar, and red peppers, organic sour cream and salsa on the side.
Supper- We had a breakfast for supper night and did turkey bacon, poached eggs, and home made gluten free cinnamon rolls.
Snacks- carrot sticks and apple slices with nut butter
Lunch- shredded chicken sandwiches on gluten free bread, (the chicken was from a whole chicken I cooked on Sat. ) apple sauce, carrot sticks, and a gluten free molasses cookie
Dinner- Gluten free pizza using my recipe
Breakfast-left over cinnamon rolls and eggs
Lunch-almond butter and jelly sandwich on gluten free bread, apples, carrot sticks
Dinner- baked chicken, mashed potatoes and steamed mixed veggies
Snacks- yogurt with berries
Lunch- organic hot dogs, french fries, carrot sticks
Dinner- Cheese Burger Pasta: I use brown rice/flax noodles. Cook the noodles, and brown ground beef. Then in a casserole dish I mix 1/2 the noodles, 1/2 the beef, whipping cream, sour cream, salt and cheese. I mix up another dish with the rest of the noodles, beef with whipping cream and spaghetti sauce, diced peppers, and covered with cheese. I bake both of these for about 20 minutes on 350. One of my children are allergic to tomatoes so thus I make two separate dishes when we do a spaghetti type dish.
Snacks-apples and yogurt
Breakfast- eggs on gluten free bread toasted in the oven (we don't have a toaster).
Lunch- Left over pasta
Dinner-Chicken soup. I use organic broth from Costco, and add chicken, potatoes, cook until soft and then add frozen veggies. I also throw in any left over meat or veggies.
Snacks- apples, carrots, yogurt
Breakfast- Gluten free cereal with bananas in it. We like puffins, or Kind granola
Lunch-Left over soup
Dinner- Tacos with non gmo corn shells, organic beef, shredded lettuce and peppers, along with raw cheese (I get mine from Trader Joes...it's cheaper than Azure or other coops and it tastes good.)
Snacks: vitamin smoothie: which has mixed frozen berries, yogurt and milk along with vitamin green powder, and kind bar.
Breakfast- Gluten free pancakes, turkey bacon and eggs
Lunch-relish tray with carrot sticks, sliced cheese, turkey peperoni slices, olives, apples, cucumbers
Dinner-Gluten free chicken pot pie. I buy a gluten free frozen two pack of pie crusts. I then follow the recipe on the back, except I use potato starch to thicken the gravy. I use chicken, potatoes and mixed veggies. I use a bag of frozen mixed carrots, peas and corn. I do sautee them in oil with onions before adding them to the gravy. I use the second pie crust as a top, I have to re-roll it out after thawing it and then lay it over the top and vent it. This meal takes a little more prep time but it has become a FAVORITE! I usually have the most time to prepare dinner on Saturdays.
Snacks- fruit, kind bars, and sometimes air popped pop corn for a family movie night or maybe even some ice cream.
I do not usually make deserts with my meals, but I do usually bake a desert about once a week, either cookies, apple crisp, cinnamon rolls or something sweet. I usually bring it with to events so we don't have the temptation of eating all of it ourselves. We can literally do that in one sitting!
I hope this list of menu ideas helps you. I know when I first went gluten free there were all these crazy menu plans with foods I'd never heard of or tried. I knew I needed to stick to basic things I knew my family enjoyed but tweak them to be gluten free, organic and healthier.
Good luck in your menu planning!