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I Feed My Family Of Five For $100 A Week — Here's Exactly What A Week Of Meals & Groceries Looks Like For Us

There were some definite favorite recipes this week — plus a few I won't be making again.

Hi! I'm Sydney, a stay-at-home mom of three, and I make homemade meals for my Colorado family every week.

Sydney Martin

With three kids under 7, meal prep and meal planning are essential in my house. Figuring out all the meals ahead of time allows me to save time and stick to a budget (usually around $100) each week. 

Each weekend, I plan all my family's meals for the upcoming week. This includes choosing the recipes I will make — via the internet and cookbooks — plus the actual shopping.

A roster of recipes online

I cook pretty much every meal every day due to a severe peanut allergy in my household. We don't rely on much takeout for this reason. 

With meal planning, up-front preparation is key — but it's also the most challenging thing. Here are a few tips and tricks that I use each week:

1) I pick recipes with ingredients that can be used for multiple meals (and in multiple ways). This also includes getting creative with leftovers. Sometimes eating leftovers all the time can get old, but I try to remember that I can always use different components of my leftovers to create new meals.

2) I look at what's on sale. For example, this week I was able to get avocados on sale with a stackable coupon, honey for half off, and BOGO chicken thighs!

3) I buy the cheapest store brand most of the time. Unless it's something that I'm unable to use due to the peanut allergy (or if a different brand is on sale), store brand it is.

4) I ask my kids to help me! Feeding kids is a challenge. They change their minds constantly, and they seemingly get new taste buds every meal. When I ask them to help pick out recipes (usually by them looking at pictures), I find that they are more excited to eat them. 

My kids are small, so I'm really able to make $100 go a long way — as long as it's coupled with a plan.

Sydney Martin

Of course, you may need to alter your budget if you have teenagers or live in areas with a higher cost of living.

This past week, my groceries rang in at $103.15. This includes all breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I found my recipes online and input all my ingredients into my local grocery store's app.

The author's weekly grocery receipt
Sydney Martin

I find that as you continue to build your pantry, it's easier to spend within budget because you'll utilize staples you have already acquired. But for the purpose of this article, several pantry staples (like flour, oats, and brown sugar) were included in the $100 I spent. The only staples I did not include were olive oil and spices. 

Also, quick note that the cost of my groceries (above) does not include the delivery fee or the tip to my shopper.

I normally like to plan, shop, and start cooking for the week on Saturdays. However, this Saturday we were not going to be home until after dinnertime. I planned ahead and made sure to get my grocery list completed before we left for the day.

The author with her hand-written grocery list
Sydney Martin

While in the car, I was able to schedule our grocery delivery for a later time on Saturday evening, once we returned home. This meant that I wouldn't start my cooking until Sunday, but I would at least be able to hit the ground running with all my supplies first thing in the morning. 

I love grocery delivery primarily because it helps prevent impulse buying. (The last time I went to the store, I ended up with a ceramic porch pumpkin, a Captain Underpants book, and two loaves of bread I had to buy because my toddler smashed them. 🙃)

Here was this week's grocery haul:

The author's weekly grocery haul
Sydney Martin

(Produce: Onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, romaine, cherry tomatoes, beef steak tomato, red onion, avocado, green beans, parsley, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, pineapple, green apples, mushrooms, spinach. Meat: Chicken thighs, pork chops, bacon, Italian sausage. Dairy: Parmesan, shredded cheese blend, milk, Greek yogurt, eggs. Pantry items: Baguette, rice, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, flour, ketchup, black beans, mayo, honey, dijon mustard, sandwich bread, hamburger buns, brown sugar, soy sauce, oats, corn starch, pasta, rice vinegar, white cooking wine, sugar. Miscellaneous: Frozen hashbrowns.)

Two other things to mention when it comes to portioning out meals in my home: My oldest eats lunch at school, so that's one less serving to worry about. My husband comes home for lunch every day, but he doesn't eat breakfast every day (which I 100% disagree with because breakfast is the best).

Here's how my week went!

We had an extremely busy Saturday, so Sunday was all about taking it easy. In the morning I decided to do something simple that would also buy me more breakfasts throughout the week. I made Hash Brown Breakfast Cups.

Ingredients needed for hashbrowns
Sydney Martin

This was my first time making a recipe like this, so I didn't want to make too many additions on my first attempt. I kept these simple by following the recipe exactly and only seasoning with salt and pepper.

Also, when I received my grocery order, I noticed that the small bag of hashbrowns I requested was out of stock. I received the large 5-pound bag instead. 

I measured out my ingredients and combined everything together. I should have read my recipe before getting started because I discovered the recipe called for the hashbrowns to be thawed. Despite this, we carried on because if my kids are awake, they want to be eating. No time to wait!

Sydney Martin

I filled my muffin tin with the frozen hash brown mixture and pressed them into the cup shape about halfway through baking (instead of in the beginning, as the recipe instructs).

Sydney Martin

This method seemed to work OK for me. I took the hash browns out mid-way and pressed a spoon down to create the hash brown cup. Once the hash browns were completed, I cracked an egg inside each one. Then I put the muffin tin back into the oven for the egg to bake.

I always try to keep my kids busy while I'm cooking. Otherwise things typically turn sour fast when all of them start fighting with each other.

The author's daughter coloring
Sydney Martin

That's when art supplies come in handy!

Soon enough the eggs were ready. Like I said before, I kept these simple for my first time. Next time I would also like to add different breakfast meat and/or veggies! To help with cleanup, I would also highly recommend using muffin liners.

Sydney Martin

After breakfast, the whole family headed out for some activity. Everyone thrives on outdoor time, especially my toddler. I really try to make sure we spend every morning outdoors so that we can keep a peaceful household for the remainder of the day.

The author and her kids outside
Sydney Martin

Quick shoutout to all the crispy, crunchy foods this week that helped my youngest work on progressing her top front tooth. 

By the time we got back home, everyone was hungry and also tired. I wanted to keep lunch simple, but also delicious. Enter: BLTs!

Ingredients for BLTs
Sydney Martin

I'm not sure why I don't make these regularly. (However, after this week, I probably will!) I'm of the opinion that a good BLT has the simplest bread. I love to taste all the components inside the sandwich, and a cheap, white bread allows that to happen the best.

Usually when I cook bacon, I prefer to toss it all onto a sheet pan and pop it in the oven — rather than cooking it on the stovetop. I also always line my baking sheet with foil to help with cleanup.

Sydney Martin

While the bacon was cooking, I sliced my tomato and pulled out some spinach. I waited until the bacon was done to toast my bread so it would still be nice and warm upon serving.

BLTs are nothing gourmet, but the comfort makes them so satisfying!

Plated BLTs
Sydney Martin

For dinner I wanted to incorporate fresh veggies and keep it light since it was still a very hot day in Colorado. I decided to make One Pan Honey Garlic Chicken.

Ingredients for honey garlic chicken
Sydney Martin

One vegetable that my son absolutely loves is green beans. I can pretty much count on him eating well anytime I make them, no matter what I serve with. 

The entire recipe was made in one pot, which I appreciated when it came time for cleanup!

Sydney Martin

This recipe actually calls for skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. However, my shopper said that my grocery store was out of stock and replaced them with boneless skinless ones. (Due to this, I actually got BOGO chicken thighs, woo!)

I seasoned the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and then gave them a quick brown in my Dutch oven. I also used olive oil instead of butter for no reason other than olive oil is my go-to.

Once the chicken thighs were browned, I removed them from my Dutch oven and set them aside. I then added honey, brown sugar, garlic, and spices to make the sauce.

Sydney Martin

I then coated the chicken in the sauce, trimmed the green beans, and tossed them into the pot as well.

Everything turned out very tasty with this recipe. I think the chicken would have been juicier had I used skin-on, bone-in thighs — but the flavor was definitely there either way!

Sydney Martin

We ended up having enough leftovers for either the kids or one adult.

Monday started out with leftovers for the first two meals. I was able to quickly heat the Hash Brown Breakfast Cups and get my son situated for another week of school.

Leftover hashbrown cups
Sydney Martin

Everyone was looking forward to BLTs again for lunch. I kept the BLTs for my youngest two kids separated out so that it would be easier to eat for them.

Sydney Martin

(A few readers have asked why I normally separate my youngest's food when I plate her food. I take a baby-led weaning approach. This allows her to explore different flavors and textures while learning the mechanical requirements needed to eat different foods!)

The rest of the school day was spent at home learning and exploring.

The author's kid reading a book
Sydney Martin

Now, I am notorious for planning recipes that need bread (like a baguette or French bread) and then waiting until the end of the week to make it — which by then has me wondering how to salvage my now-stale loaf. I was determined to not let that happen this week, so I made North African-style Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce for Monday's dinner!

Ingredients for eggs in tomato sauce
Sydney Martin

This was a completely new-to-my-family recipe, and I had no idea what to expect. The ingredient list was short, and it looked delicious enough to give it a try! 

Prep was super easy: just chopping onion and garlic, sautéing everything, then adding diced tomatoes and tomato paste.

Sydney Martin

The recipe also called for harissa paste, but I was worried this would provide too much heat for my kids. After reading some of the comments on the recipe, I decided to skip the harissa and put in extra tomato paste instead.

After some time allowing the tomato mixture to thicken, I added the eggs and let them sit. Depending on how you like your yolks, you can finish the dish once the egg whites are cooked.

Simmering eggs in sauce
Sydney Martin

I cooked my yolks until they were hard. I did this so that my kids wouldn't panic when the yolk started running out all over. If I made this again, I would take out a couple of eggs early so that mine would be runny.

I plated each dish and put a baguette in the oven to warm.

Sydney Martin

This recipe says that it's best served with bread to help soak up all the tomato and eggs, and I was fully on board with that idea.

I was weary about my son's reaction to this meal because he doesn't normally like "red sauce" dishes — even spaghetti sauce. So I thought he would be hesitant about this.

Sydney Martin

But all the kids actually ended up loving this! They really liked the dipping aspect of the meal, and my son said this one was "a keeper." I was happy I ended up leaving out the harissa because this still had a bit of a kick for my kids and the weak one in the house. (Me!)

Plenty of leftovers to carry on to tomorrow too.

Leftover eggs in tomato sauce
Sydney Martin

On Tuesday, I woke up to a nice surprise: My husband was already up and making eggs for breakfast. He had also been amped up about the hash brown egg cups and finished off the remaining leftovers of those.

Sydney Martin

Normally the girls and I spend our days with just ourselves. I've recently been feeling really burned out of our normal activities, so this morning I took them to an outdoor story time put on by our local library.

Sydney Martin

Story time is something that I used to take my older kids to regularly before COVID. This was our first time going to one since and the first one ever for my youngest! The weather was beautiful, and it was nice to have someone else do the entertaining for a bit.

The girls were already looking very sleepy in the car on the way home, so I just reheated the leftovers we had in the fridge for lunch and got them to nap as quickly as possible.

Leftovers for lunch
Sydney Martin

The kids really didn't eat much at lunch so I wanted to have a snack ready to go when they woke up — and for my son to enjoy when he got home from school. I took a quick inventory and realized I was going to have quite a bit of leftover cheese this week. I decided to make Homemade Cheese Crackers.

Ingredients for cheese crackers
Sydney Martin

The ingredients were very minimal: butter, flour, cheese, and salt. 

I threw all of my ingredients together in my mixer and let it all combine together to form the dough. Then I wrapped the dough up and put it in the fridge for about 20–30 minutes.

Sydney Martin

Once the dough was chilled, I rolled it out nice and thin with my rolling pin. I'm no stranger to the homemade cracker, so I already had these fish cookie cutters on hand. (However, the recipe just has you cut little squares.)

Sydney Martin

Here's a similar fish cookie cutter, BTW.

These crackers ended up being a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that my kids love them. The curse is that my youngest loves them so much that she'll stand in the pantry and scream until you give her more.

Finished crackers
Sydney Martin

After their snack, my kids played outside and had some down time while I started thinking about dinner. My middle child held onto the last minutes of summer weather — running through the sprinklers.

The author's kid playing outside
Sydney Martin

Keeping with the warm weather theme, I incorporated some summer tones into dinner by making Sweet & Sour Pork.

Ingredients for sweet and sour pork
Sydney Martin

I wanted all of my ingredients to be prepped and ready before I started my cooking. I chopped all my produce and set it on a plate next to the stove so I could access it easily.

Prepping ingredients for the pork
Sydney Martin

I didn't need the entire pineapple for this recipe, so I cut the remainder into chunks and threw it into the fridge for snacking.

Sydney Martin

Back to the pork! After a quick dredge, I tossed the diced pieces into my air fryer. (The recipe has you cook the pork on the stove, but I wanted to make it easier.)

Air frying the pork pieces
Sydney Martin

I had one main mishap with this meal. After I had bought cornstarch, I later read in my recipe that I really needed corn flour. Oops! I thought it would be no issue since I've used cornstarch in the past. What I messed up was that I don't think I should have used 1:1 ratios for my cornstarch substitution. In my opinion, the coating was too thick.

Now it was about this time that some inevitable weekly chaos ensued. While wrapping up this meal, the kids were pulling my legs, wanting me to hold them, crying, fighting — you name it.

In the middle of it all, I went to the pantry and grabbed what I thought was rice,  rinsed it, boiled it, and let it sit covered. When it was done cooking, it was...orzo?? Wasn't on my grocery list, nor was it in my weekly budget. It was just what I happened to grab blindly in the pantry in a moment of near-meltdown.

Here was everything plated up with the rice. (Er, orzo.)

Sydney Martin

My family is always welcome to have more or less than what is on their plate, but we normally stick to a standard serving size for the adults and modified ones for the kids.

Personally, this wasn't my favorite dish due to the cornstarch mishap. My kids didn't really seem to love it too much either. We did end up having enough leftovers for my husband to have it for lunch, as he was the only one that really enjoyed it.

Leftover pork in Tupperware
Sydney Martin

If you've read my previous meal plans, you'll know by now that my kids love oatmeal. It made another appearance for breakfast this week — cooked simply with just milk and brown sugar.

Oatmeal cooking on the stovetop
Sydney Martin

We like a real thick oatmeal in our house! 

And just when I thought things were going smoothly for the middle of the week...

Spilled oatmeal on the floor
Sydney Martin

This happened! Thankfully I made enough that no one went hungry.

We ended up having a second spill a little while later, and by the time lunch rolled around, I needed a break. My husband ate the leftover Sweet & Sour Pork, and the girls and I finished off the BLTs.

Sydney Martin

I had already run out of the beef steak tomato, so I pulled a few cherry tomatoes out of the container that I had sitting in the fridge for later in the week.

When nap time was over, we had leftover Homemade Cheese Crackers. The snack was small because up next, I wanted to make muffins with the kids.

A bowl of cheese crackers
Sydney Martin

I wasn't originally planning on making muffins this week, but after assessing my breakfast choices for the remainder of the week, I realized I needed to throw something together.

Ingredients for oatmeal muffins
Sydney Martin

I didn't want to just throw away the remaining oatmeal, and my fridge was awfully full. So I quickly looked up some ideas on how to best utilize the oatmeal and  found Leftover Oatmeal Muffins.

The batter was really simple:

Sydney Martin

I didn't have baking powder on my grocery list this week, as I was not planning on this recipe, so if I were to have added that into my cost for the week I would have added $1.89. Thankfully, I did have this in my pantry already.

The muffins came out of the oven with a nice, round shape and looked amazing. I didn't have any raisins on hand to put into the batter like the recipe instructs, so I just went with plain oatmeal.

Baked muffins, fresh from the oven
Sydney Martin

I honestly don't think my kids would have been as excited about the raisin part anyway!

While the muffins were still slightly warm, the taste testers clocked in and got to work.

Sydney Martin

For dinner I was hoping to do something a little lighter since the first part of the day was a bit dense. However, I had a dentist appointment and a parent-teacher conference in the afternoon, so I was a bit pressed for time. To keep things moving forward, I settled on pasta: Mushroom, Spinach, & Sausage Spaghetti.

Ingredients for mushroom spaghetti
Sydney Martin

I actually used rotini instead of spaghetti because it's easier for my younger kids to pick up with their fork. 

This recipe does call for a decent amount of red pepper flakes. I only used about a quarter of the amount, and next time I would leave it out completely for my fam.

Sydney Martin

A quick saute of the veggies and browning of the meat were the two most elaborate steps of this meal.

The recipe also states that it makes four servings, but I found that to be a really large portion. We ended up doing six to eight servings instead and had plenty of leftovers!

Sydney Martin

By the time I headed over to the table to eat after getting the kids settled, my son had finished half his plate. Another hit!

The author smiling with her son
Sydney Martin

Just when we thought we had recovered from our midweek mayhem, my youngest woke up in an absolute MOOD on Thursday. Still, breakfast was eggs and oatmeal muffins!

Sydney Martin

I got my son off to school, and the girls and I headed out for some emergency outdoor time.

Sydney Martin

I was really hoping the fresh air would turn the day around, but if I'm being completely honest, we were out for about 30 minutes and ended up at Costco to get dog food instead.

Naps were certainly in order earlier on in the afternoon; we ate leftover pineapple and Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage pasta.

Leftover pasta and pineapple chunks
Sydney Martin

In the afternoon, I had two goals: make a snack and regroup. I picked a recipe for Apple Fruit Rollers that only consisted of two ingredients! Easy.

Sydney Martin

I diced an apple and tossed it into my blender with the honey. I skipped the part in the recipe where it has you boil the purée because my blender has the ability to also heat things.

I put a silicone mat on my sheet pan and smoothed out the purée.

Sydney Martin

The recipe calls for the rollers to bake on very low heat for six hours. After reading some of the comments on the recipe, I decided to check them after about three hours. I was excited because I was initially able to roll them very well. However, as they started cooling, they became very brittle. I decided to just break them into chip-like pieces instead. The flavor was great, and the green apple gave it a nice tart flavor. I would try checking these every hour next time to see if they would roll better.

Thursday evenings are always very busy and my most stressful day and time of the week. My son has soccer practice, and the girls get to clock some park time while I fret over how hungry they're going to be when we get home.

The author's kids playing outside
Sydney Martin

I try and prep nearly everything I can before we head to practice to ensure my kids get eating as soon as possible. 

I thought that Black Bean Burgers would be the perfect fit for our hectic Thursday evening. I was able to form the burgers earlier in the afternoon and set in the fridge to chill until I was ready to warm them. I also prepped some sweet potatoes that I planned on turning into fries in my air fryer.

Sydney Martin

I cut my produce and then sautéed in my pan while I mashed my black beans. Once the vegetables had cooked down, I added them to my burgers and formed the patties.

I also prepped some sweet potatoes that I planned on turning into fries in my air fryer.

Sydney Martin

The kids ate burgers on regular buns, but I decided to put my burgers on some spinach because they were pretty dense already!

Sydney Martin

My son was baffled by these. He said, "They taste exactly like beans!" So let's be clear: There is no illusion that these taste like hamburgers. My son ate great, my youngest ate OK, and my middle child looked at her dinner and said she was full. 😬 Needless to say, we had plenty of leftovers.

By Friday morning, I was running out of breakfast ideas. Then I remembered we never finished the bread from our BLTs earlier in the week. I quickly made some French toast drizzled with honey.

Sydney Martin

For lunch, I finished off the pasta, and the girls ate hardboiled eggs, homemade crackers, and apples. When my son got home from school, he finished the remaining Homemade Cheese Crackers.

The author's son eating cheese crackers
Sydney Martin

Dinner Friday night was Honey Mustard Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Salad. The majority of the prep work for this recipe was making the marinade/dressing and chopping vegetables.

Sydney Martin

I cooked the bacon on my stove. I also recently got a new kitchen gadget called a FryWall that catches all the grease splatters! 10/10 recommend!

I served this one family style at the table.

Sydney Martin

I did put the red onions on the side because my husband is not a fan. Everybody thought this recipe was great! The highlights for the kids were the usual suspects: chicken, bacon, egg, and avocado.

My husband would not stop talking about the Hash Brown Breakfast Cups all week. I had far more hash browns than needed the first time around due to my shopper's XL substitution — so I decided to make him another batch for breakfast on Saturday.

Sydney Martin

My son requested the leftover French toast in addition to his eggs.

Off we went to my son's soccer game!

The author watching her son's soccer game
Sydney Martin

For lunch, we finished the leftover salad and black bean burgers.

Sydney Martin

Saturday evening, we took the kids out to the pumpkin patch. We ended up eating dinner there because they had a grill with hot dogs and burgers — and my kids decided it would not be the full patch ~experience~ without them.

The author and her family at a pumpkin patch
Sydney Martin

Sunday breakfast was egg cups and the last of the pineapple.

Leftover hashbrown cups and pineapple
Sydney Martin

Once breakfast was cleaned up, I started working on my plan for the following week.

After scheduling my next grocery order, I took a quick inventory as to what I had to work with for lunch.

Stray veggies, eggs, and chicken from the author's fridge
Sydney Martin

Leftover chicken, stray carrots, air fryer fries, eggs, apples, and spinach.

I made another quick honey-mustard marinade for the chicken thighs, pan-fried them on the stove, and then sliced them into bites. I had one final recipe remaining that I hadn't made yet — 2-Ingredient Dough Pretzels — and I thought honey mustard would be the perfect pairing with it.

Sydney Martin

On to this week's final recipe: 2-Ingredient Dough Pretzels. I absolutely love pretzels of all varieties, so I was really excited to have nice, warm ones fresh out of the oven with lunch.

Prepping 2-ingredient dough pretzels
Sydney Martin

The two ingredients required for this recipe are flour and Greek yogurt. 

I used my mixer to make the dough and then divided it into eight equal parts. Again, I used my silicone mat to help with sticking.

Sydney Martin

Once I rolled out each piece of dough, I twisted them into a pretzel shape and then brushed with some egg and salt.

While I was making this recipe, I thought about putting the pretzels in a baking soda bath before baking. But since it was my first time making it, I decided to stay true to the recipe and see how they would turn out on their own.

Baking pretzels in the oven
Sydney Martin

Despite the egg wash, my pretzels didn't brown up as much as I would have liked. If I made these again, I also would go ahead and drop each pretzel in the baking soda bath to add the fluffy, salty taste we all know and love from the mall.

Once the pretzels were out of the oven, I threw a little bit of everything on a plate and made a bit of a smorgasbord lunch. I put a little olive oil, salt, and pepper on the greens and called it good!

The plated chicken, salad, and pretzel
Sydney Martin

And that was my week! As mentioned, I understand that not everyone can stay home to cook — and that people enjoy the experience of going out to eat. This is just what works best for my family, our needs, and the stage of life we are in. (Put another way: Have you ever brought a baby, a toddler, and a 7-year-old to a restaurant and had things work out perfectly?? 😂)

I also acknowledge that my kids are small and $100 goes a long way for us. Others may need a bigger or smaller budget depending on the number and age of people they are cooking for.

However, I hope that this provides some inspiration in new recipes, new planning ideas, or how to work with whatever your budget may be. You can find more of my articles with a week's worth of plans here, here, here, and here!

You can also find me on Instagram at @sydneyinsuburbia, where I post all of the recipes my family eats every day. Thanks for reading!

How does your household approach groceries or meal planning each week? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.