Gluten Free Easy Breakfast Cups Recipe
Paleo on a Budget – Tips for Meal Planning & Gardening
This is part two of Paleo on a Budget. Part one (in the March/April 2017 issue) discussed tips on how to save money by making your own staple ingredients like salad dressings, marinades, and taco seasoning. Now I am going to focus on meal planning, food shopping, gardening, and prepping.
Meal Planning and Prep: Plan your week ahead. Check your calendar and make note of any weeknight activity. For instance, if Charlotte has a volleyball game at 6:50 p.m. on Thursday, we need to eat early and something quick and light (no one needs a kid throwing up on the court). Make the meal plan on one side of the paper and the shopping list on the other side. I often break it up into the different stores, depending on needs, like produce or bulk items.
Prep Ahead: This may include slicing meat and placing in a marinade before sticking in the freezer, dicing vegetables for snacks or dinner, etc. Try to make a family event out of it. Put on some music or a football game and get it done. It will save you hours during the week when time is most precious.
Keep it simple: Trying recipes that appear complicated end up, well, complicated. Don’t stress yourself out buying 50 million ingredients for one recipe that will sit in your pantry until the next zombie apocalypse.
Grow your own: I’m not saying you need to start an urban garden to feed the masses, even though it may seem just as daunting. I had never gardened until I moved from New Jersey to Iowa. Each year, we get a little better, grow a little more, and learn fromboth our successes and failures. Seeds are an extremely affordable way to begin, with little or no money investment other than the seeds themselves.
Start small: Begin with a tomato or pepper plant in a planter; this also holds true in residences with little or no yard. Kale is one of the hardiest plants I’ve ever grown. It can continue to grow from June through October and just a couple of stalks makes more than enough for a family.
Grow herbs: Have you ever looked at the price of fresh rosemary at the supermarket and your eyeballs popped out of your head? Yeah, me too. You need very little space or skill to grow herbs both indoors and outdoors all year round.
You don’t have to be fancy: If you can’t afford grass-fed beef, it’s OK. Really. I promise. There are no Paleo police to hunt you down even though sometimes it may feel like it. Don’t let the idea of being “perfect” affect your dedication to feeding your family the best you can.
Skip the Paleo “treats”: Many of the Paleo baked goods recipes (muffins, brownies, etc.) are made from high-cost ingredients. Consider them as they are – treats.
- 1 pound bacon $3.99/lb = $3.99
- 12 large eggs $1.38/dozen = $1.38
- ¼ cup sweet onion, diced ($1.28/lb), 2 oz = $0.16
- 1 large bell pepper, diced ($0.68/ea) = $0.68
- Kosher or fine sea salt, to taste (nominal cost)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (nominal cost)
Cook the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until halfway done. Remove and place on paper towels. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the onion, bell pepper, salt, and pepper. In a muffin pan, wrap the pieces of bacon along the bottom and sides to form cups. Pour in the egg mixture evenly, about ¾ full. Bake for 20 minutes or until the eggs are set.
Total recipe cost = $6.21 for 12 egg cups, or $0.52 per serving.
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