Ditch The Takeout

Step #1 - Getting Your Mindset Right and Family On Board

 

Hey girlfriend. I am so glad that you are here and checking this out. It’s good to know I am not the only one who’s made dining out a hobby and then wondering where all our money has gone.

 

If I can be honest with you, I had been bitter and even a bit resentful for the past year or so. Paj & I had made some not so great financial decisions and we were both frustrated. I kept saying we need to save we need to save. I had the mentality that I needed to make more money! Then one day it hit me, how can I sit around being bitter if I’m not willing to do something about it. So instead of focusing on all of the larger bills, I decide to talk a look at smaller ones. I knew we had a problem with dining out so decided to start there.

 

I logged in to our bank account and ran a report for the last 30 days. I dumped it into an excel spreadsheet and put an x in the column next any dining out expenses. I did not include Target runs or the grocery store. After sorting and adding it all up, WOW was that a shocker. Like my jaw literally hit the floor. We had literally been spending my previous monthly salary in DINING OUT! What? I was SICK.

 

From that moment on I decided to make a change for our family. I presented my case to Paj and he was immediately on board. I think we were both in denial before actually doing a little research and tallying it all up. Tiarra was all for it as well as she loves home cooking and family time.

 

Assignment:

  1. Download or print out your bank statement for the last 30 days. Add up how much was spent dining out

  2. Present it to your family. Let them know how important it is as a family to be smarter with income. Be sure to add that they’ll not only feel better eating at home, but you’ll be able to spend more quality time together.

Step #2 Getting Prepared

 

So what was next? I decided to start cooking at home. This requires a plan. Otherwise you go to the grocery store and come home with odds and ends and then left wondering what’s for dinner and then just dining out. NOPE not this time. It wasn’t going to happen. So I made a meal plan. I searched one of my favorite Apps “All Recipes” and went to work. Together we picked out some main dishes for dinner and then made a grocery list. At the grocery store we primarily stuck to what was on the plan, what was on the list. 

 

In one week we saved $615 from simply eliminating dining out, with the exception of our family day and/date night. We also both agreed that we felt closer to one another as we spent more quality time together.

 

Assignment:

  1. Write out a meal plan. Determine the main dish for dinner for the next 4-5 nights.

  2. Download my Grocery Shopping template and fill it in.

Step #3 - Setting a Budget, Tracking and Sticking to it

 

When setting a budget I suggest sticking to $100 per person/week. Adjust that amount based on your own personal income and goal. The envelope tracking is the easiest way to make sure you are staying on track. Take an envelope and on the back draw a line longways down the center. On one side of the line you will track your grocery spending and on the other we can call that your fun money. Next you’ll want to place cash in the envelope or just use it as a tracker. If you’re using cash you would put $300 for a family of 3 for groceries and then the amount you decide for your fun money. Every time you go to the grocery store add that amount to the grocery side of the envelope. If you go over for that week, it gets subtracted from your fun money.

 

Be sure that your spouse, significant other, room mate or whomever knows that you are serious and make a deal to hold each other accountable. So when one of you hints that you’d really like to go for pizza, you can remind each other of your new system. Having a goal is always extremely helpful. What would you like to accomplish by saving all this money? Pay off debt? A new house? Vacation? If you have something to work towards it will be easier to stay on track.

 

I can’t wait to hear how you did your first week. Think about how exciting it will be to not only save money and watch your bank account grow, but to feel better from not dining out and spending more quality time with your loved ones.

5 Main Dish Recipes

Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken

Ingredients:

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

 2 teaspoons garlic powder

 3 tablespoons lime juice

Directions

  • In a small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, thyme and parsley. Sprinkle spice mixture generously on both sides of chicken breasts.

  • Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons garlic powder and lime juice. Cook 5 minutes more, stirring frequently to coat evenly with sauce.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef for Sandwiches

Ingredients:

3 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon onion salt

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf

1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

Directions:

 

  • Combine water with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.

  • Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.

  • Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef for Sandwiches

Ingredients:

3 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon onion salt

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf

1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

Directions:

 

  • Combine water with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.

  • Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.

  • Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork.

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ

Ingredients: 

6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce

 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing

 1/4 cup brown sugar

 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  • Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.

  • Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ

Ingredients: 

6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce

 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing

 1/4 cup brown sugar

 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  • Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.

  • Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Lemon Cream Pasta with Chicken

Ingredients:

3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 lemon, quartered

2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided

1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

 1 (8 ounce) package rotelle pasta

 1 cup heavy cream

 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place chicken in a lightly greased baking dish. Squeeze lemon over both sides of the chicken breasts and season both sides using 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink inside.

  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, season the chicken broth with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

  • Cut cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir into cooked pasta, along with the cream and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving.

Lemon Cream Pasta with Chicken

Ingredients:

3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 lemon, quartered

2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided

1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

 1 (8 ounce) package rotelle pasta

 1 cup heavy cream

 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place chicken in a lightly greased baking dish. Squeeze lemon over both sides of the chicken breasts and season both sides using 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink inside.

  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, season the chicken broth with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

  • Cut cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir into cooked pasta, along with the cream and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving.

Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers

 

Ingredients:

4 medium red, yellow, orange or green bell peppers cut in half, seeds removed

2 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 lb raw chicken breast, chopped

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp sea salt (or himalayan salt)

1C tomato sauce (low sugar)

2C cooked quinoa

1C canned black beans, rinsed

1C frozen corn kernels

5 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

1 TBSP lime juice

1C shredded monterey jack cheese

Hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375

  2. Place bell peppers skin side down in a large baking dish, set aside

  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat

  4. Ad onion, cook stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until translucent

  5. Add garlic, cook stirring frequently

  6. Add chicken, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper; cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until chicken is not longer pink

  7. Add tomato sauce, quinoa, beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until heated through

  8. add heaping 1/2C of chicken mixture to each pepper half. Cover lightly with foil.

  9. Bake for 35 minutes or until peppers are tender, remove foil

  10. Top each pepper evenly with cheese.  Bake for 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

  11. Served sprinkled with cilantro and hot sauce (optional)

BONUS ITEMS TO ALWAYS HAVE ON HAND:

Ingredients for your favorite sandwich.  (Low Sodium Turkey Deli Meat, Muenster Cheese, Baby Spinach, Sliced Tomatoes, Red Onion, Dijon Mustard, Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins)

Beachbody Snack Bars** Chocolate Peanut Butter or Cherry Almond

Favorite Flavor of Shakeology** (A Yummy Total Meal Replacement Shake). Café Latte, Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla or Greenberry. Also available in Vegan

Frozen Waffles

Frozen Veggies

Eggs

Turkey Bacon

Instant Oatmeal

**ask me for more info on Snack Bars and Shakeology including how to order and save 25%

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