Feed your entire family for $50 a week

Posted at 3:00 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 12:11:47-04

Feeding a family can be tough - $200 a week tough! That's what the average family of four spends. Jared Cotter and nutritionist Teresa Hansen cut that down to $50 with three nutritious, but frugal shopping tips.

1.  Don’t Cut Coupons

Cutting coupons can be a full-time job. That's why most of us don't spend the time doing it, but we're missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings. Coupon apps are the answer. Tell the app what and where you usually buy and it will source the best deals for you to print out. You can even have the savings applied directly to your grocery store loyalty card.

2.  Don’t Impulse Buy

The average American spends 50 percent more than they intend on impulse buys. Try splitting your list into three sections: Protein, Produce and Pantry. This way you'll go straight to those sections and avoid wasting time and money going down the center isles where most of the unhealthy, processed foods live.

3.  Be Fearlessly Frozen

Obviously veggies are very important to anyone's diet, but, a lot of people are a little afraid of the frozen vegetables. Don't fear frozen fruits and veggies. They have been flash frozen, which means they have been preserved at their peak freshness. This makes them at times healthier than fresh produce, which can be twice as expensive.

WEB BONUS INFO:  One Week $50 Meal Plan for a *Family of Four

Staple pantry items are not included. Most people have basic cooking products such as spices and cooking oil already, but you can include them in your budget if you don’t. The dollar store is typically a good place to stock up on inexpensive but handy cooking essentials. (See attached Recommended Staple Pantry List).

There is a meal planned for every breakfast, lunch and dinner, which does include leftovers.  Sometimes food tastes better the next day!  Take advantage of any food leftover from the previous day’s meals and save yourself some time and money. 

Don’t Cut Coupons. Cutting coupons can be a full time job; that’s why most people don’t do it. But you’re missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings! While making your list, download coupon apps instead. Tell the app what items you usually buy and where you usually shop and the app will source for the best deals for you. Print them out or have the deals automatically applied to your grocery store loyalty card. Try, SnipSnap, and Saving Star.

Plan Around Protein & Don’t Fear Frozen. Meat is the most expensive part of a meal; go through the ads that week and figure out what is on sale and build your meals around that. If you have leftover meat, don’t be afraid to alter your menu for the week to incorporate it. Using leftovers is a priority over cooking new meals. Also, don’t fear frozen fruits and veggies! They have been flash frozen mean they have essentially been preserved at their peak freshness, making them healthier than those in the produce section that can be twice as expensive.

Protein/Produce/Pantry. Even with a shopping list people still end up spending 50% more than they intended on impulse buys; for us that means a difference of $50 dollars! Use Teresa’s shopping method and group your shopping list into these three categories: Protein, Produce and Pantry. You’ll go straight to these sections and avoid spending time and money in the center isles where unhealthy items live.

Fruit makes an excellent snack. It may be more convenient to purchase pre-packaged, inexpensive and typically less healthy snacks, but when following a strict food budget, healthy snacks can be as easy as a piece of fresh fruit.  This allows you to stay full between meals while also getting necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs. The following is a list of fruits that are likely most affordable in January and February (Remember: menu is seasonal; adjust as necessary):

  • Grapefruit
  • Tangerines
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Pomegranates

Serve up the sides. Aim to fill half your plate with vegetables.  Veggies are full of fiber to help you feel full faster and are an important part of any diet. A side salad or cup of mixed vegetables pairs perfectly with almost any main entrée.

Weekend Meal Prep. Prepare main proteins on the weekend to save time during the week! If you only have one crockpot then slow cook chicken on Saturday and Pork on Sunday.

*Those with allergies or other dietary needs should consult their doctor.

The Menu






Day 1


Baked Blueberry Oatmeal


Tuna Salad on Whole Wheat Bread


Chicken + Spinach Enchilada Bake


Day 2


Buttermilk Pancakes


Chicken + Spinach Enchilada Bake


BBQ Shredded Pork with Sweet Potatoes


Day 3


Potato, spinach, & Egg scramble


BBQ Pork Sandwich


Sloppy Joe Fries


Day 4


Buttermilk Pancakes


Egg Salad on Whole Wheat Bread


Buttermilk Potato, Chicken + Cheddar Casserole


Day 5


Potato, Spinach & Egg Scramble


Buttermilk Potato, Chicken + Cheddar Casserole


Ground Beef & Black Bean Quesadillas


Day 6


Buttermilk Pancakes


Egg Salad on Whole Wheat Bread


Shredded Pork Twice Baked Potato


Day 7


Baked Blueberry Oatmeal


Tuna Salad on

Whole Wheat Bread


Vegetable Soup

The Shopping List


Pork loin roast (4 lbs)                                 $1.77/lb

Chicken thighs (5 lbs)                                $1.49/lb

Eggs (2 dozen)                                           $.99/dozen

Tuna (4)                                                      $1.00 each

Ground beef (3 lbs)                                    $1.99/ lb


Blueberries (1 pint)                         $.87

Russet potatoes      (5lb. bag)                     $.87

Frozen spinach (16 oz)                               $1.49

Sweet potatoes (1 lb)                                 $1.49/lb

Frozen broccoli (16 oz)                              $1.99

Frozen mixed vegetables (16 oz) x 2         $1.00 each

1 bunch kale                                               $.99 each

1 yellow onion                                            $.50


Bread (whole wheat)                                  $1.19

Buttermilk (1 qt)                                        $1.99

2% milk (1/2 gallon)                                   $1.69

Cheddar cheese (16 oz)                              $1.67 each

White corn tortillas (30ct)                          $1.79

Oats (18 oz)                                                $1.99

Sour cream (16 oz)                                     $1.00

Green chili enchilada sauce (16 oz)            $1.39

Black beans x 4                                          $.79 each

Weekend Meal Prep

Slow-Cooker Shredded Chicken

*Ideal slow cooker size: 6-8 quarts


5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 cup chicken broth OR water

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper


1.Place chicken in bottom of large slow cooker (it should fill up your slow cooker almost right to the top).

2.Season chicken with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

3.Pour water or broth over chicken and cover.  Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours  

4.When chicken is cooked through and tender remove from slow cooker and place on cutting board.  Using two forks shred the meat.  

5.Allow chicken to cool before storing in refrigerator in sealed container.

Cook’s note: Cooked chicken will be used for the Chicken + Spinach Enchilada Bake and the Buttermilk Potato, Chicken, & Cheddar Casserole recipes

Slow-Cooker Shredded Pork

*Ideal slow cooker size: 6-8 quarts


  4 pounds pork loin roast

  1 cup broth or water

  1 tablespoon garlic powder

  1 tablespoon onion powder

  1 ½ teaspoon black pepper

  1 tablespoon kosher salt


1.Season pork roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and then place in crockpot.

2.Pour broth or water over entire roast.

3.Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

4.Remove roast from crockpot and shred using two forks.

Cook’s note: Cooked pork will be used for the BBQ Shredded Pork with Sweet Potatoes and the Shredded Pork Stuffed Potato recipes.


Baked Blueberry Oatmeal


1 ½ cups oats

¼ cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 ½ cups 2% milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla, optional

1 cup blueberries


1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ cup oats


1.Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.Line the cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners and grease the papers.

3.Stir together the oats, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl

4.Whisk in the milk, egg and vanilla.  Allow mixture to sit for 15 minutes to thicken. Set aside.

5.Using your fingers or a fork, crumble the butter, brown sugar, and oats together.

6.Fill the cups of the muffin pan about three-quarters full.  Top each one with 4-6 blueberries and about 1 tablespoon   butter/sugar crumble topping.  

7.Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

8.Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pan.  Keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week.  Reheat in microwave when ready to eat. 

Potato, Spinach, & Egg Scramble


8 eggs

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1/3 cup milk

2 medium potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained

¼ teaspoon salt


¼ teaspoon pepper



1.In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cumin, salt and pepper; set aside.

2.In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add potato. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are lightly browned and just tender, about 8 minutes.

3.Add thawed and drained spinach. Cook about 1 minute.

4.Pour egg mixture over potato mixture in skillet. Cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to set on bottom and around edges. Lift and fold partially cooked egg mixture so the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes or until egg mixture is cooked through but still glossy and moist. Remove from heat and serve at once.


Breakfast Cont.


Buttermilk Pancakes (makes 2 dozen pancakes)


2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk 

½ cup water          

¼ cup oil

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt


1.Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, water and oil in mixing bowl until well combined.

2.In a separate bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3.Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until ingredients are fully combined.

4.Heat griddle or nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon butter or oil to pan.

5.Pour about ¼ cup batter for each pancake.  Cook about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown.

6.Serve with fresh fruit.


Open-Faced Tuna Sandwiches


2 (5 oz) cans tuna, drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted


  1. Place tuna in a bowl and break apart with a fork
  2. Add oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Evenly spread tuna on 4 slices of toasted wheat bread and serve.

Open-Faced BBQ Pork Sandwiches


1 cup leftover BBQ Pork

4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted


  1. Reheat leftover pork in microwave until warm, about 1 minute.
  2. Evenly spread pork on 4 slices of toasted bread and serve.

Open Faced- Egg Salad Sandwiches


4 eggs, hard boiled

¼ cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted


1.Cut up hard-boiled eggs into small pieces and place in bowl.

2.Add mayo, salt and pepper. Mix well.

3.Evenly divide egg mixture among 4 slices of whole wheat bread.  Garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or green onion, if available.

Dinner: Day 1

Chicken & Spinach Enchilada Bake


½ teaspoon chili powder 

½ teaspoon cumin           

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds shredded chicken thigh meat

8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained

½ cup sour cream

10 corn tortillas

1 (16 ounce) can green chili enchilada sauce

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


1.Preheat oven to 375 F.  

2.Mix together chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, shredded chicken, spinach and sour cream.

3.Line greased baking pan with 6 corn tortillas, spread half chicken mixture, cover with another 6 tortillas, and then spread remaining chicken mixture on top. Cover with another 6 corn tortillas.  

4.Evenly pour green chili enchilada sauce on top or corn tortillas.

5.Top with cheddar cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Dinner: Day 2

BBQ Shredded Pork with Sweet Potatoes



3 sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 pounds shredded and cooked pork

1 bottle BBQ sauce



  1. Thoroughly wash sweet potatoes. Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Place on greased or foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive or canola oil and season with kosher salt.  Toss to evenly combine.
  3. Bake potatoes in preheated oven at 425 F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Serve shredded pork with BBQ sauce and sweet potatoes

Dinner: Day 3

Sloppy Joes Fries


3 russet potatoes, about 1.5 pound

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 pound ground beef

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¾ cup ketchup

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

2 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)

1 bag (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables, prepared


1.Make the fries: Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Cut the potatoes into thin wedges; toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and half teaspoon chili powder on a baking sheet.  Spread in a single layer and roast until golden, turning halfway through, about 30 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

3.Add the beef and the remaining ½ teaspoon chili powder, garlic powder and cook, breaking up the meat until browned, about 5 minutes.

4.Add the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and ½ cup water

5.Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened slightly, about 8 minutes

6.Divide the fries among plates.  Top with beef mixture, cheddar, and fresh herbs such as green onion or cilantro if possible.  Serve with mixed vegetables

Dinner: Day 4


Buttermilk Potato, Chicken & Cheddar Casserole


2.5 pounds cooked, shredded chicken

1 (12 oz.) pkg. steam-in-bag fresh broccoli florets

3 Russet potatoes

½ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Pierce holes in potatoes and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake potatoes in oven for 45 minutes or until tender.
  4. Cool for 10 minutes then remove potato skins and mash potatoes.
  5. Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 F.
  6. Cook broccoli according to package directions.  Combine chicken, broccoli and next five ingredients (through pepper) in a large bowl.  Stir in eggs and 2 ounces cheese (about ½ cup).  
  7. Spoon mixture into a 9-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 15 minutes.  
  8. Top with remaining 3 ounces cheese (about ¾ cup).  Bake for 10 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Dinner: Day 5


Ground Beef & Black Bean Quesadillas


  1 pound Ground Beef

  1 teaspoon chili powder

  1 teaspoon garlic powder

  1 teaspoon onion powder

  ½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

8 corn tortillas

1 cup shredded cheese

             sour cream for topping


1.Heat oven to 400°F. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings; season with salt and pepper, as desired.

2.Stir in black beans; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until thickened and heated through.

3.Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tortillas on baking sheet, overlapping slightly, if necessary.

4.Sprinkle 1/2 of cheese evenly over tortillas. Spoon beef mixture evenly over cheese; top with remaining cheese and tortillas. Spray top tortillas with cooking spray.

5.Bake in 400°F oven 8-10 minutes or until quesadillas are lightly browned and edges are crisp. Top with 1 tablespoon of sour cream.  Cut into wedges to serve.

Dinner: Day 6

Pork and Kale Twice Baked Potatoes


4 medium potatoes, skin on, scrubbed

1 tablespoon olive or canola oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups shredded pork

salt and pepper to taste


1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.Pierce scrubbed sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet.

3.Bake potatoes for 30-35 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

4.While potatoes bake, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add kale, garlic powder and onion powder.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until kale is wilted, transfer to a mixing bowl.

5.Let potatoes cool for 5 minutes once you take them out of the oven (leave the oven on).

6.Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the cooked flesh (you may need to leave a thin layer of flesh close to the skin to keep the skin from tearing).

7.Place scooped-out sweet potato flesh into the mixing bowl with the kale and set the skins aside (you'll use them later).

8.To the bowl, add most of the cheese (reserve a few pinches to top the potatoes) and the butter and use a fork to mash the whole mixture together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9.Divide the mixture between the empty potato skins and evenly divide shredded pork among potatoes.  Top each with a pinch of the shredded cheese and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top begins to bubble and brown. Serve immediately.

Dinner: Day 7

Vegetable Bean Soup


1 28-ounce petite diced tomatoes (with juice)

1 cup chopped onions

4 cups broth

1 16 oz. bag frozen mixed soup vegetables

2 can black beans

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

  1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in large stockpot.  Heat over medium heat for 10-12 minutes.

(Recommended) Staple Pantry Items

Oils, Vinegars, and Condiments

Oils: canola, extra-virgin olive oil, vegetable oil

Vinegars, balsamic, distilled white, red wine



Dijon mustard

Soy sauce

Hot sauce


BBQ sauce


Kosher salt

Black pepper

Dried herbs and spices: bay leaves, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

Spice blends: chili powder, curry powder, Italian seasoning

Vanilla extract

Canned Goods and Bottled Items

Canned beans: black, cannellini, garbanzo, kidney


Peanut butter

Preserves or jelly

Low-sodium stock or broth

Canned tomatoes: crushed, paste, sauce


Tuna fish
Grains and Legumes

Breadcrumbs: regular, panko

Dried lentils

Pasta: regular, whole wheat

Rice: brown and white

Other dried grains: quinoa, couscous, barley

Baking Products

Baking powder

Baking soda

Brown sugar

All-purpose flour

Granulated sugar

Honey, maple syrup

Refrigerator Basics

Unsalted butter

Cheese: sharp cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella

Large eggs


Plain yogurt: regular or Greek

Freezer basics

Frozen fruit: berries, peaches

Frozen vegetables: broccoli, bell pepper and onion mix, corn, peas, spinach

Storage Produce


Onions (red, yellow)


Dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, apples

Nuts or seeds: almonds, peanuts, almonds, sunflower

How much do you spend each month feeding your family? Join the conversation on our Facebook page, @TheListShowTV.