The Plan to Eat Podcast

#15: How We Create Meal Plans on a Budget

May 04, 2022 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 15
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#15: How We Create Meal Plans on a Budget
Show Notes Transcript

This week, Roni and Riley pull back the curtains on their own meal plans and how they plan recipes to save money. This episode is full of tips they found helpful for saving money on groceries, but a highlight of their meal plans was intentionality. The simple act of planning recipes with a purpose did a lot to help them stick to a budget. We hope you learn a few tips and tricks from this episode!

Read our blog detailing the tips shared in this episode and see pictures of Riley and Roni's meal plans:

Find the recipes Riley and Roni talk about in this episode:

Baked Lemon Pasta
Melt-in-your-mouth Chicken
Cheddar Zucchini Waffles
One Skillet Chili Bake 

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I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.

Roni: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us today. On another episode of the Plan to Eat podcast, we are going to be talking more about budgeting today. Riley and I have both been personally focused a little more on budgeting recently, and we've come up with some really great tips and tricks to help you also stick to a budget.

So we're going to kind of go over what our meal plans have looked like recently, and some of the ways that we have been saving money at the grocery store. 

Riley: Yeah, I'm really excited to talk about this because cracking down on the budget is something that I think we probably all have to do periodically. Um, and so while these tips might not be revolutionary, they were super helpful for me. And just things that I learned along the way of trying to spend a little less money at the grocery store this week.

Roni: So Riley, what did your [00:01:00] meal plan look like? Kind of as a generality for the week. 

Riley: Yeah. So let me pull it up because I. I really planned hard this week. Um, yeah, so I did things like, I'm just gonna read them to you. We had some banana bread and quiche for breakfast. I had a variety of chicken meals, which I'll go into more, a little bit later, but, um, it's kind of how I utilize.

Like one ingredient across my week. We had salads top with chicken. we had actually made like a chicken salad with boiled eggs and other ingredients, for lettuce wraps. We had chili enchiladas, um, and then we are having elk burgers and then just some real basic, uh, protein, sweet potato and green beans.

What about you?

Roni: Nice. Yeah. So we had a similar chicken theme for the week. 

Riley: Low-cost protein.

Roni: yeah. yeah, so we had this, chicken burritos on our list, ramen, ramen noodle bowls. And this one, [00:02:00] skillet white chicken chili from a half-baked harvest, uh, which was really awesome. then beef and cabbage stir fry that we served with rice, sheet pan kielbasa potatoes and green beans.

then for breakfast, we just stocked up on like smoothie stuff and mostly ate leftovers for lunch. 

Riley: I got that on my list too. I, I only planned dinners mostly. And so I, you know, maybe my meal plan doesn't sound that exciting, but I definitely have more things. On the list, which I'll talk about in a little bit, but definitely smoothies was one. Um, my goal was really to try to utilize what I already had in the freezer and just like focus on, okay.

I gotta use up what I've got. And so using up some of the frozen fruit that I had on hand, really easy way to make a quick and a yummy smoothie.

Roni: So why don't you, talk a little bit about why you made some of these decisions for you.

Riley: Yeah. So I think the theme of the next couple of weeks for me is just intentionality. Really needed to save some money at the grocery store. And so, I set my mind on a budget for each week of like what my [00:03:00] goal was at the store. And then I was very intentional about going through my freezer and finding the things that have just been orphaned there.

You know, like, I I've said this on the show before. There'll be times when I buy things at the grocery store, because I have more room in my budget. And so I'll find something on sale, like, extra chicken breasts or ground beef or like a bag of like, you know, bag of rice or trying to think what else I randomly buy, um, maybe like a pre done, like cauliflower pizza crust or something like that.

I've got a little extra room in my budget. I grabbed those things. Cause I know that I need the occasional quick meal or I need the occasional. Sporadic spontaneous. Wasn't planted eat at home tonight kind of meal. And so I have a couple of those kinds of things that had just kind of been living in my freezer for a little while.

And so I just spent a lot of time looking through what I had, in my pantry, like my canned goods and my freezer, and really tried to plan the majority of my meals around those ingredients. So that was kind of my process. Um, [00:04:00] let's see, what else did I do? Yeah, so my process was kind of like those main pieces and like what could I make with this ingredient?

You know, I use my filters. In the recipe book to search. Okay. I've got ground beef. What could I make? That's exciting. It's more interesting than just fill in the blank or I've got chicken. What can I make with it? That's a little more exciting. And then utilizing those ingredients throughout multiple meals, help me save money too, because, um, like for example, I bought like two rotisserie chickens.

From Costco was only about $10. But I ended up making four meals with them plus leftover. So my estimation is that that fed us for about 10 meals. And so that chicken became chicken enchiladas. It became this chicken soup. It became the chicken on my salad. It became the chicken on my, in my, uh, the chicken salad mixture that I made.

And then I also made bone broth. So I actually didn't have to buy chicken stock or chicken broth at the store either. So that $10 really stretched along way. Now it feels like I'm rambling and I probably didn't even answer your question, but that's kind of the process that I went through to get started. Just [00:05:00] looking and being very intentional in looking at what I had and really planning around. Let me use up what I've got at home because it's already purchased. 

Roni: Yeah, 

Riley: What, what about you? What was your process?

Roni: Well, so I mostly, uh, when I am thinking about planning for a budget, I often try to think of like, what are things that. Obviously recipes that we enjoy and things that we want to eat, but also things that don't really require that many ingredients you know, less ingredients equals less money.

So, uh, yeah, so, I mean, like for our trip, our chicken burritos, I kind of, I guess I did something similar to you where I was like, what are the things that we already have at home? Like, we pretty much always have, you know, like a can of black beans, pretty much always have like hot sauce or salsa or something at home.

So then it was like, the things that I really just needed to buy were like the tortillas and the chicken and maybe like some sour cream or. then similar with the ramen bowls, we, um, I like this kind of like fancy style of ramen noodles. Like I don't just buy the like top ramen ramen noodle [00:06:00] packs.

I buy like a little like fancier brand, honestly, it's, they're only like $2 for a pack they're still really affordable, but I think that they taste a lot better. And then with something like that, I'll just use, you know, like whatever, like the leftover chicken as the protein in there, you can boil an egg and put it in there.

Like literally whatever leftover vegetables you have, you can either just like put into the, into the ramen, and kind of like, let it. Get soft in the yolk, in the broth, or you can, you know, like saute things that are a little like cruciferous vegetables. You could like saute to get them a little softer right off the bat.

My husband has previously said that I could get him to eat any vegetable wanted by making it in a ramen bowl because it's just like, cause it's just a really versatile meal. 

Riley: Yeah. 

Roni: for the ramen bowls, like if I'm trying to save money, Like I already have the chicken. I already have ramen packets at my house and then I'll just buy like some bok choy or something.

It doesn't have to be like full of so many things to still make a really yummy meal. [00:07:00] And then for the things like the, um, chicken chili baked and the beef and cabbage stir fry, the chicken chili bakes, probably the one recipe that I had to buy more items, the most items for, for the whole week, it makes so many leftovers.

It's like a humongous pot of food. Similar to your idea for the chickens, like just this chicken chili big probably gave us, like eight different meals, six or six to eight different meals. so that was awesome. And then, the beef and cabbage stir fries does like a similar thing. Like it's just some ground beef and then it's shredded cabbage and carrots.

And then when you serve it with rice, it's just like a really hearty meal. And the, the sauce that you put on it is like soy sauce. sriracha I think there's a little bit of brown sugar and. Uh, uh, toasted Sesame oil and those are all condiments that we always have on hand at my house. So literally the only thing that I need to buy is potentially the three main ingredients that the beef, the carrots and the cabbage, or like if we have some [00:08:00] of the things like, I know I have ground beef in my freezer right now, I know I have a whole thing of carrots in my refrigerator that, you know, like all I had to buy was a small head of cabbage for that one recipe.

Really similar to you. I just kind of like went through the things that I already had and figured out what recipes I could make, um, to basically not have to buy every single ingredient for the recipe that I was making and then focused on leftovers. So the chicken chili baked already, the standard serving size is already large enough to provide a ton of leftovers.

But like the beef and cabbage stir fry, I doubled the left. I doubled the serving size so that'd to give us more leftovers. Just focus on simple meals because in general, I find that like a simple ingredients list makes me spend less money. When I go to the grocery store. 

Riley: Totally. That was one of the things that I tried to do is just not overdoing the sides or not overdoing the main, like, focusing on, okay, I've got these items, this is going to be a great meal. It's, you know, it's like a, like a one-pot meal or like a. Uh, you serve this with rice, like that kind of thing.

Just trying to really simplify it. The salad is the [00:09:00] meal, the salad top with chicken and all the other veggies is a meal. not to overdo it and try to like over plan, I guess. Cause I'm, over-planning causes me to buy more things, the store, I found the whole process, just to be a lot like Tetris, like, okay, so I'm having this chicken and gnocchi soup.

I already have the chicken or do you have the bone broth already have the gnocchi? All I need. The cream, the veggies, like I think it's carrot, celery, onion, and spinach. okay. But I'm going to use all of those ingredients except for the cream of course, on my salads that we had. And so, or then I'm going to use a spinach in my smoothies, like just, okay, how am I going to utilize these ingredients to their maximum potential?

Cause I'm going to buy a whole. Of carrots, I'm going to buy a 

Roni: yeah. 

Riley: bag of celery. I mean, another way to do it would be just buying a few stocks, a celery, or just a few carrots. Cause you can do that at some grocery stores, but really tying to try to Tetris it all together and figure out, what ingredient can I carry through?

It's kind of why I use chicken in so many meals, but that's boring, but you know what? We're on a budget this week, this month, I guess, a 

I should [00:10:00] say. We're always on a budget, but a strict budget. And so like how, what can I do to just like, make them make the most out of this? But also still making really yummy things, you know, but just trying to simplify it a bit and carry those ingredients through everything.

Roni: Yeah, I think that's a really good way to just in general, try to create a meal plan is to just, I know that in the past I have been really excited about trying new recipes and sometimes the recipes. Don't mix with each other at all, you know? And so you end up buying, you know, five different vegetables for this recipe and five totally. different vegetables for this recipe.

And you know, like when you have to buy something like a whole head of cabbage and you only gonna use half of it for a recipe, you don't want that second head of the cabbage to just go to waste and you just throw it away or put it in your compost, you know? So looking at your meal plan, I know you mentioned, like in the recipe book and plan to eat, you can use the with ingredients filter to then, you know, type in cabbage and find a different recipe to be able to use that in.

And, you know, you can type in multiple ingredients as [00:11:00] well. Like if you're kind of on like an Asian inspired food kick, you know, like you can type in like soy sauce, a chili oil, and you know, like all of these different things to then find multiple recipes that might have those similar flavors.

You know, maybe after a week of having the same flavors, you might be over it, but at least you're getting the maximum value out of the stuff that you bought.

Riley: Yeah, totally. I get caught up in variety. Like I get caught up in like, okay, we'd have to have something unique every single night. And I think that I do that enough that when I have the weeks where it's a little bit more of similar ingredients, there's, there's forgiveness for my, from my family. I was like, we have variety. Sometimes we have some similarities sometimes, and it's fine. 

Roni: Yeah.

Are there things, for your, in your shopping list that you would normally just add kind of Willy nilly that you decided, like, we can just wait on that? We don't need that right now. 

Riley: I a good question.

You know, one thing that I did is, you know, I already said intentionality was kind of my theme around everything, but I was really intentional about shopping [00:12:00] at home. You know, I always say on our show is so important and I really do that. But I think I did it also with spices really intentionally this time include like, okay, I've got Rosemary soup, calls, Rosemary.

I don't know, like I'm making a meal that already has the things I have and not branching out, or like doing a little bit more substitutions spices can add up so fast. And so really just looking at what I had and thinking. I've got enough chili powder. I don't have to buy another one this week.

I've got enough for the recipe. I think we usually throw in things like I always buy eggs. I always buy bananas. I always buy these things, but the bananas have been going bad at my house a lot lately, which is why we had banana bread this week. And so I just didn't buy, I mean, none of that's a super cheap addition, a really easy way to have a great snack for your family.

That's super inexpensive, but I just didn't buy any this week. because there was no need because people haven't eaten them up in this joint. So. We can take a pause on the bananas. Yeah, I think that was, that was just a couple of areas where I was trying to be like, I don't need to just throw these on there because they're in the recipe and I'm going to run out.

Like I don't, I just [00:13:00] don't need to buy that right now. It's not in my meal plan. So no chili powder, no taco seasoning. I can use up what I've got and then no bananas. Um, yeah, and then we also had a lot of eggs this week, so I actually didn't have to buy eggs either. Which is something I always add to my list.

Always. Yeah.

Roni: I agree. I often have, what's the word I'm trying to, what's the sentence I'm trying to get out of my mouth. I often like to stock up on like household goods, some reason, you know, like I like to have, you know, an extra, package of toilet paper or an extra thing of trash bags or an extra thing of, you know, like, bathroom cleaner or whatever.

so when I was thinking about like being. Budget-friendly. I was like, I already have these things and like, they're really not, I'm not going to run out in the next week, so it can just not be on my meal plan this weekend. There won't, there's no harm, no foul in that, you 

Riley: Yeah. Yeah, totally. That's a great one. That's a great thought too. I didn't have to buy any of those items this week, but that's just something to note, like the things you always buy, you don't have to always buy them if [00:14:00] you're not needing them right now. 

Roni: Yeah.

Or like, 

Riley: Yeah. 

Roni: we'll keep an extra tube of toothpaste or something around the house and I'm not really sure why. I think I just, that's probably just the environment that I grew up in was like, we didn't want to run out of stuff and have to be like, we don't have any toothpaste right now.

So, uh, we usually have an extra of those kinds of things around. Just kind of realizing that it's like, I'll go to my bathroom and be like, we got a holding full toothpaste tube of toothpaste. If I could get those words out, you know, we don't need to buy that right now. So yeah, that's just, if, if you happen to be like me and you like to stock up on those extra things, um, just think about that in regards to your budget, because that kind of stuff can be really expensive And add up really quickly.

Riley: And I, my husband called them his backups. 

Roni: I mean. 

Riley: he'll me to buy him like a backups. I'm like, I, we joked that he ends up with backups for his backups because always is telling me to by himself. And then I go and put it like where the soap goes there's two [00:15:00] other containers and I'm like, not need to buy soap for you.

And he's like, well, what if I run out? I'm like in seven months when you run out, I can go buy you. I just did like an overhaul of my bathroom and just tried to like just trash stuff that like, I'm not using, I don't need, it's taken up space. found a bunch of toothbrushes. I found a whole bunch of tubes of toothpaste.

Bodywash so that was actually a really, it was helpful for me to do in conjunction with my, really strict budgeting month. because. I didn't. I knew I already had them. I don't need it by myself anymore soap I happened to almost be out. I already have it. So me and you end up stocking up on stuff accidentally, through your bathroom or go through your pantry and just see what you've got, take inventory.

And then, you know, you don't have to buy all those extras that you, feel comforted by buying because you just want to have it on hand.

Roni: Yeah, If you're feeling like in the spring cleaning mood, uh, it might be a good idea to go through and spring clean, not only, you know, like your kitchen cabinets and your cupboards and everything, but [00:16:00] maybe go through, you know, the closet or the cupboard in your house that you keep all of your other.

Riley: Yeah, just together extras. 


Roni: What's that word? 

Riley: items. I'm not sure.

Roni: Yeah. I guess the place where you keep all of your household items and just make sure that you're not going to be buying some, you already have three of. 

So what were some of the other things that you kept in mind when you. Making your meal planning on a budget. 

Riley: Well, let's see. Um, so I was really intentional about shopping home. And then I also shopped in the store, which. I am such a huge fan of grocery pickup, but actually shop in the store this time. Just to see if there was anything on sale or like where I could get something cheaper. And, uh, I did still total up my list in my grocery app.

But I just had some time and knew I wanted to shop around a little bit before I made all my purchases. And so shopping in the store was something that. I did this time that I don't normally do. Uh, I mean, I feel like it's a bit contradictory for me to even say this because it is such a money saver for me to use the grocery pickup [00:17:00] app because I total it up as I go.

But it was a good opportunity for me to go into the store and actually shop in the store and remember. Uh, this is actually a way I could save money if I'm really focused on actually only buying what I need and focus on my actual list. Then it's an okay. You know, it's okay for me to like do the old way, go into the store.

Shocker. I texted Roni and I told you that I was going in the store and you're like, you're going in the store. Literally haven't done that in so long. But it was good. It was good for me to be reminded, about how to like shop in the store and find the cheaper item and like, be fine with just like buying, buying this other brand or that other brand or the, you know, like the on sale, the clearance section kind of peruse those kinds of things.

And then another thing I did, which sometimes I'm bad about is utilized coupons. I remembered my paper coupons. I took them with me to the store. I had some really great ones this time, like a 20% off my entire order. super helpful for a budgeting type budget month for us. Um, so saved a ton of money that way.[00:18:00] 

Yeah. So those were some extra ways that I, you know, just like really tried to focus on saving some extra money.

Roni: Yeah. I think that, you know, I am the, one of the, two of us who always actually goes physically grocery shopping. But I do find it really. Uh, on the one hand, I do find it that sometimes I will spend more money because I'll buy some extra things, but I do find it helpful to be like, you know, if I do want something, that's like, if you want banana, like I've had bananas for our breakfast smoothies.

And it's like, well, I don't need perfect bananas. In fact, I would actually prefer the, kind of like over brown bananas because they blend up a little bit easier. I mean, I don't know if you can do that through grocery delivery, but, um, you know, I often in the grocery store go and pick out those things that are like set aside in the place where they're like, these are going bad.

So like you can buy them at a discounted price. And I'm like, I really don't care if they go bad because I'm either going to put them in a smoothie before they really do get kind of gross or I'm just going to freeze them and then, you know, use them whenever we need them. 

Riley: Yeah, that's really good. [00:19:00] I I've just gotten so used to doing it the way that I do it that, um, I forget, I forget that there are those helpful other ways of like going in and like looking at the clearance sections and stuff like that. So it was good for me to mix it up a little bit. 

Roni: Yeah, well, and then I'll also do things like, So. with the, white chicken chili bake, uh, you know, after the very first time that I made it, I realized like, oh, you could pretty much make this with any other kind of meat as the protein, except for like pork chops or something. And so I thought like, oh, well, if I go to the grocery store and instead of like, if chicken isn't on sale, but ground beef is on sale.

Like I would just buy a package of ground beef for this instead of buying chicken. So just like, you know, it might be just the savings of a couple of dollars, but I think it's those little things that you really can only kind of make an on the fly decision for when you're at the store and seeing the sale signs. 

Riley: Yeah, absolutely. Um, It was really good for me to go into the store with the mindset I'm not buying extras. I don't care what is tempting to me. I don't need any [00:20:00] flowers today. You know, I don't need anything extra, like just, I think it's just, uh, some of it is mindset for me. I mean, I've mentioned being intentional and how that's a theme, but I mean, I guess I'm saying the same thing here by saying my mindset, but going in and.

I'm not going to get sidetracked by buying the extra items. I'm going to buy what's on my list. I'm going to get in here. I'm going to get out. I'm going to use my paper coupons. I'm going to save money. I'm going to have a low budget week. It was good for me to just like, kind of go in with that really with that focus. 

Roni: I think that's important too, because there are lots of times when I don't go in with that mindset because, you know, for whatever reason, I just don't care at that point in time. If I stick to whatever I 

Riley: Yeah. 

Roni: my grocery budget be. Yeah. You know, extra cans of sparkling water, or I'll just randomly walk through the, the chip aisle, you know, and buy things.

And you know, some of that is like, well, I, know that it makes my husband happy when I come home with some of these extra things, but it's also when you're really trying to stick to a budget, it's much easier to write. Be tempted to be like, oh, maybe I could walk down the chip [00:21:00] on. And I was like, no, we agreed.

Okay. We agreed, Roni, me and you, me and myself, you know, we agreed before walking into the grocery store that this, that we were sticking to the budget today. So I do think that's a really important point.

Riley: Yeah. I, I mentioned that I bought those rotisserie chickens at Costco. But Costco is certainly a store. Oh, and target. Those are stores where I can get very easily sidetracked, and end up buying the thing that is tempting to me, or it looks like a good deal or whatever. Or it's just, uh, I'm spending money at target, but I don't need to spend it all.

Every buddy listening is like preach girl. Um, I hope cause then I'll feel like I have people on my side, but all of that say just, I'm not even gonna go. I'm not even going to go into those stores. I don't need to buy anything extra or stocked up on the goods that we buy at those places. We're good.

So I think, you know, kind of choosing to say, I don't need to go to those stores. is a store actually need to go to, and I'm sticking to my budget. I think that I get, I just get busy and I don't tell myself, Hey, Riley, we're sticking to the [00:22:00] budget today. I don't know, actually making a point of it and like kind of slowing down a bit and saying, We got to focus. We got to focus on this, so

Roni: As an aside, uh, over the weekend, my husband was going downtown and the place that he was going was right next to target. And so he was like, do you wanna go with me? And I was like, I don't really want to go to the store that you're going to. And he was like, well, target is right next door. And he was like, don't you need something at target.

And I was like, there is never a time when I don't need something to target.

Riley: I know.

Roni: But I didn't go because I didn't need to spend the money at target. 

Riley: Good for you, good for you, way to make a good choice. Um, so I thought it'd be really fun if we played a little game with each other. Um, I, I kind of did this with myself. went through my pantry and I looked at the ingredients that I had and I thought, Hey, what can I make with this? And I mean, I said we could use the filters.

But I thought it might be helpful for us to just riff a little bit like four ingredients that we have on hand, throwing out ideas. [00:23:00] This is one of the hardest parts of meal planning is deciding what to eat. particularly when you're just looking at random ingredients in your pantry or your freezer or your even your fridge, it can, you can feel stuck.

Like, I don't know what to do with these items. I don't have anything. I have nothing to eat. That's the thing. I was like, oh, if you have nothing to eat and then my husband will go look and he'll be like, well, we do have a lot of things to eat. You just got to rearrange it into a meal. Um, and so I thought we could play a little game or we talked about what we have in our pantries and then you, and I could throw out ideas about what we could make with those things.

What do you think? Okay. Um, all right. I don't know exactly how we're going to play, but it was just the idea that I have. Um, okay. So you've got a frozen pie, crust, ground beef. What else? You got cheese. What you gonna make?

Roni: Um, oh, okay. Well, so I've never made this before with a crust because I think their recipe is supposed to be [00:24:00] keto recipe, but there is this recipe that I really love. That's like a taco pie. And so you could totally make that with that. And literally, I think the only other thing that you would need would be eggs and maybe like some milk then some like seasonings or something like that.

And so you could make that even without having the pie crust, because you can just make it in like a pie tin without any crust. That was like the original recipe. But, um, yeah, that's a super yummy recipe. I would totally make that. 

Riley: Perfect. That's great. Um, all right. Frozen vegetables, frozen protein bag of rice. 

Roni: Stir fry. 

Riley: Yeah, maybe that one made out of was too easy. Okay. Why don't you throw out some gradients and we'll, we'll we'll think

Roni: Okay. Uh, let me think of what I have in my refrigerator right now. You, what you had this written down, so it was easier for you. You're you're throwing me through a loop here. 

Riley: I've got like 30 meals. 

I like on like, on this list of like what to do with these random [00:25:00] ingredients. 


Roni: Well, we'll try, we'll try to share that in a blog post or something so 

Riley: Oh yeah. That's a great idea.

Roni: Um, okay. So let's see right now I have eggs, cheese tortillas. I mean that, that one's kind of easy, but 

Riley: I'm just thinking like you could turn it into like a breakfast enchilada casserole. 


Roni: like breakfast quesadillas 

Riley: no breakfast quesadillas is which, let me just say breakfast for dinner at any time, right? I mean let's. 

Roni: I actually don't know how we haven't talked about that yet, 

Riley: Yeah. 

Roni: for dinner is definitely an easy solution. It's also a really inexpensive solution. We always have stuff at my house to make waffles. We always have eggs at my house. Um, so Yeah.

breakfast for dinner is always an easy and inexpensive solution. 

Riley: Yeah, that is something that it is a go-to at our house. 

Roni: Yeah. 

Riley: like you, we always have those kinds of ingredients. So the thing, let me know, like breakfast. Breakfast enchilada, casserole, breakfast, burritos, whatever, whatever it is, waffles.[00:26:00] I know you some thinking zucchini cheese, almond flour, uh, makes those all day.

I dream about food breakfast, like zucchini waffles, 

Roni: yeah. 

Riley: feels really random, but like makes a really delicious waffle, right. We'll try to link to that in the show notes, 

Roni: Yeah. So, um, I think it's the next podcast. That's going to come out after this. Uh, we interviewed Carolyn from a blog site that she runs, that's called all day. I dream about food and she has this recipe for like ketos, zucchini and cheddar waffles. And I made those over the weekend and they're really, really good.

I normally don't have breakfast foods, like something like a waffle, like a quote-unquote baked. Good. That's not a. Sweet, you know, like it's rare for us to do that as like a savory thing, but.

it was really awesome as a savory thing. And then just kind of do some, like, you know, over medium eggs on top was super good. 

Riley: Nice. Um, you know, this is a little bit random, but one thing that I actually really like is savory oatmeal.[00:27:00] And I will do that as a side bar. And in a veggie of some kind, maybe that sounds super weird. I prefer savory oatmeal over sweet oatmeal. Everybody like don't run off the road because I said that if you're listening to this in your car, um, but yeah, I, I'm not a huge sweet oatmeal person.

Roni: Is that a Southern thing? Is that like a, you don't put sugar in your grits kind of a thing. 

Riley: Oh, well, I absolutely do not put sugar in my grits, but my mom doesn't like oatmeal, so we didn't eat it growing up. I don't think I even ate oatmeal until I was like 22, yeah, confessions on the podcast. Uh, and so when I started eating it, it was 

Roni: Um, 

Riley: like a fitness related like choice. It's such a, you know, 

Roni: Stan staple in fitness. Yeah. Fitness diets. yeah. 

Riley: exactly. And so I was like, I'm seeing it, all these meal plans, like, okay. I guess I'll just try it. And so I ended up to make it with, um, like salt, garlic and. Like red flakes, [00:28:00] red Chile, crushed, crushed, 

Roni: crushed red pepper 

crushed red red chili flakes. Yeah. 

Riley: Yeah. Um, then like some butter and water. Really good. 

Roni: Wow. 

Riley: Maybe that's super weird than other people would hate it. My husband is a bit more hesitant on it than me. Um, but I really like it. And now my daughter really likes it too. So.

Roni: I don't think I've ever eaten savory oatmeal before, but I'm interested to try it. I don't think that I'd be able to convince my husband to eat it, but I I'll probably, I would try it for 

Riley: Okay, maybe I'll make it for you sometime. 


Uh, well, so we can stop playing the game, but let me run through some other things that I had on my list. Let's see. Frozen chicken and rice noodles, quick pad Thai, karaoke sauce, canned pineapple on a rice, a little vegetarian teriyaki bowl. We almost always have like rice and cans, chicken, which can easily make like a white chicken chili.

Um, let me see. I said I had 30 and I guess we talked about a few of them. [00:29:00] 30 was wrong people. Um, I exaggerate a lot, but, we always have like canned vegetables. So like, like quick and easy surface, like, um, in an egg, add some sauces of some kind. Like you said, you always have teriyaki or so you always have soy sauce at home and like some more Asian flavored things, uh, Sriracha, that kind of stuff.

They're about to get. Um, you don't have to have like a specific pad thai sauce. You can throw that together with those kinds of ingredients really easily. Oh, another one was frozen ground beef and leftover rolls. So like if I made rolls with dinner one night, turn that into sliders. So 

Roni: Um, 

Riley: them into the next day.

And make some sliders. 

Roni: like, 

Riley: do that with like leftover mushrooms and do like, kinda like, like a little mushroom slider, if you wanted a vegetarian version or if you didn't have any protein at home, um, those kinds of things can be really delicious too. 

Roni: yeah, like a sloppy Joe's. 

Riley: Oh yeah. That's a great idea. 

Roni: I haven't had sloppy Joes in years, but that sounds pretty good. 

Riley: Yeah.

but I mean, you probably have tomato sauce or you might, a lot of people have those kinds of [00:30:00] ingredients 

on hand. 

Roni: even just like some barbecue sauce or something like that to, I think that's part of the thing. Uh, About this. And I know that, uh, Riley, and I've talked about it a little bit before. It's just like the freedom to like play around with your recipes and feel like, just because maybe you don't have one ingredient, the recipe is going to fail 

Riley: Yeah. 

Roni: it's going to be totally disgusting.

You know, a lot of times. Uh, I think that I have an ingredient at home and then I take it off my shopping list because I didn't do a very good job of shopping at home. I actually did that this last week. I, that I made that beef and cabbage stir fry, and was like, oh, I for sure have toasted Sesame oil at home.

And I had only enough for like one tablespoon and it was like, just added a little extra of the other things to the sauce, to like, give it enough volume and. It was great still. So I think just being able to play, play around a little bit with the things that you have, is really important when you're thinking about saving money and just like trying to make some new meals, you know, [00:31:00] 

Riley: Yeah, you could do like a, like a, like a little Mexican rice bowl kind of thing. We always had green chilies. We almost always have like dice tomatoes. Um, and so like mixing that up with maybe a little bit of salsa or cilantro or lime juice, like what have you got on hand? Maybe with some rice or another kind of, like grain side, you know, like that would be really good with some keenwah.

It could potentially be really good with some lentils. Um, you know, your meal can taste good, even if you just made it up. 

Roni: Yeah. 

Riley: just like throwing a bunch of stuff together, or you must always have pasta. So I looked up a couple of recipes that were considered like budget friendly recipes. One of them was this like lemon chicken, like a baked lemon pasta.

Oh, sorry. There's no chicken in it. It's just lemon And so it's just pasta and lemon and cream and cheese. 

Roni: Hm. 

Riley: you know, if you put half and half in your coffee, you got it. Or you got like some, 2% milk or something, you can still make that, veggie ramen pad Thai. So use up some of those you've, you know, you talked about.

Using ramen, it's a real. Cheap way [00:32:00] to make some really unique meals. It doesn't just have to be though a little microwave, a bowl cup of ramen thing. You can take that ad and if you've got any kind of frozen vegetables, um, maybe some like rice cauliflower or something, you gotta mix all that up into like a yummy pad Thai.

This baked chicken that was just chicken breasts with some like different like on hand kind of ingredients, like in some seasonings, a one-pot chicken and rice. And then I also just want to plug budget bites again because. All of her meals on her website are broken down by cost per serving. And, um, I think cost of ingredient is that's how it's broken down.

So you can go in and you can look, okay, this is $2 per serving, but you may have all of those ingredients on hand except for one. And then it's way cheaper because you already have all those things purchased. So this week's grocery bill is not going to include that cost per serving. It's going to only cost you what, I don't know, the protein or the mushrooms or the.

You know, the, the special pasta that you want to use for that, it's only going to cost you that extra ingredient. Um, so just plug those kind of places. Google is your [00:33:00] friend, so Google budget-friendly meals, um, you can find a lot of things like that. 

Roni: Yeah. that's great advice. 

Well, I feel like we have given a lot of different tips and tricks here. We've talked about a ton of recipes. We're going to do our best to link to so many things in the show notes. We are also going to have an accompanying blog post that'll go along with this Riley and I will both include screenshots of our meal plans.

So you can kind of give an idea of how we organize these things and you know, like the amount of time that we were shopping for. So definitely check the show notes. That's where we'll link the blog post. And yeah, we just thank you guys for listening and we hope you enjoy this episode. Hope you got some really great tips out of it.

If you are not already, please subscribe to the Plan to Eat podcast. You can subscribe and download on any of the major podcasting platforms. If you want to message us, you can contact us at And thanks for being here.