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Healthy recipes to feed a family of 4 for $15 or less?

Posted Nov 23 2009 10:02pm


***Here are a few healthy recipes to eat at home to feed your entire family without hurting your wallet***

Ironically a few days ago, I had a post about cheap food stand foods after noticing a sandwich board announcing a full jumbo hot dog + can of soda pop combo deal as a mistake at $2.50.

If you missed that post, you can still catch it here: The $2.50 unhealthy meal is unbeatable.

I can tell you that I was jumping up and down for joy when my local grocery store put out a flyer with some great recipes for families of 4 people for $15 or less.

Now, don’t worry, I did inspect the menu choices to make sure that we weren’t talking about poor quality foods, but I was quite impressed with the menu.

I should point out that these recipes come from Loblaws grocery store which is one of the biggest grocery market chains in the country. Not only does Loblaws offer an incredible food shopping experience, but they master the art of putting out their own private label foods that keep us all running back to the store for more.

I cannot tell you how many foods in my food pantry are labelled “President’s Choice®”! I just love the quality and price point.

Here are three menus that won’t hurt your pocket book. I have kept the ingredients as generic as possible because I know some of my readers won’t have access to Loblaws private label foods. Obviously, the recipes from the flyer use “President’s Choice ®” ingredients for the most part, but you can easily find all the ingredients listed below at pretty much any grocery store!

So here are a few suggestions to feed a family of 4 for less than $15 and STILL serve good food:

1) Chicken a la King recipe


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

>>> IngredientsforChicken a la King recipe <<<

8 oz (250 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts

¼ tsp (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter

1 large onion, diced

2 cups (500 ml) sliced mushrooms

2 tbsp (25 ml) all purpose flour

1 cup (250 ml) 2% milk

1 cup (250 ml) chicken broth

1 sweet red pepper diced

1 bag (375 g) of extra broad egg noodles

>>>PreparationforChicken a la King recipe<<<

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

2. Season with pepper

3. In large frying pan, melt 1 tsp (15 ml) of the butter over high heat (you might want to use a bit of olive or grape seed oil to prevent your butter from burning).

4. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes, or until no longer pink.

5. Remove the chicken with slotted spoon and reserve in a bowl.

6. Melt remaining butter in a pan and cook onions for 2 minutes, or until softened.

7. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned.

8. Reduce heat to medium-high.

9. Slowly stir in milk to make a smooth sauce, then chicken broth.

10. Add red pepper to pan.

11. Cook mixture, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.

12. Return chicken to pan and heat through for 1 minute.

13. Serve over cooked noodles.

Krizia’s note: I rarely cook with butter at home unless I’m making a béchamel. For this recipe, I would simple go with grape seed oil, which has been my cooking oil of choice for many years. The fact that the recipe calls for 2% milk instead of cream, this cuts back on fat and makes this quite healthy. I would be tempted to make mine with 18% cream the time I prepared this recipe to see the difference in taste. That said, this is a tasty and quite inexpensive recipe.

2) Four Peppercorn Stroganoff pie recipe


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

>>> IngredientsforFour Peppercorn Stroganoff pie recipe <<<

2 tbsp (25 ml) olive oil

8 oz (227 g) sliced mushrooms

1 lb (500 g) inside round steak cut in ¼-inch (5 mm) thick slices

1 bottle (350 ml) Peppercorn sauce (the recipe calls for PC Memories of Lyon 4-Peppercorn Sauce. You may be able to find a substitute and if you cannot then you might want to use one of your favourite flavouring sauces that doesn’t contain too much sugar)

2 tbsp (25 ml) chopped fresh parsley

½ pkg (250 g) capelli pasta (This elongated pasta is thinner than spaghettini. If you cannot find capelli, you can surely use any shape of pasta you prefer).

>>>PreparationforFour Peppercorn Stroganoff pie recipe<<<

1. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat half of oil over medium-high heat.

2. Cook mushrooms until golden and tender, about 5-6 minutes.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to an 8-inch (2 L) glass baking dish.

4. Return frying pan to medium-high heat.

5. Cook steak for 2 minutes or until medium done.

6. Pour the cooked steak into the sauce.

7. Cook both for about 1 minute.

8. Stir in half of the parsley.

9. Pour the finish mixture into a baking dish and stir to combine with mushrooms.

10. Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF).

11. In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 3 minutes or until barely tender.

12. Drain. Toss with remaining oil.

13. Drop pasta into four separate piles on top of beef mixtures, mostly covering beef.

14. Bake in centre of oven until pasta is slightly crispy, about 10 minutes.

15. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.

3) Bacon-Topped Turkey Meatloaf


Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

Serves 4

>>> IngredientsforBacon-Topped Turkey Meatloaf recipe <<<

½ cup (125 ml) croutons (You can make those at home and you’ll find loads of recipes on the Internet and you can actually avoid the hydrogenated fat that most store bought croutons contain. Obviously, if you can afford to buy your croutons at shops like Whole Foods Market, than you should be okay when it comes to adding healthy croutons to your recipe)

½ cup (125 ml) 2% milk

2 tbsp (25 ml) unsalted butter

1 large onion, finely diced

1 egg (I’d choose a free-range egg or an organic free-range egg if possible)

1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard

1 tbsp (15 ml) grinded steak spices

1 lb (500 g) extra lean ground turkey

5 slices of naturally smoked bacon

>>>PreparationforBacon-Topped Turkey Meatloaf recipe<<<

1. Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF).

2. Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray (I’m not a huge fan of cooking sprays and would most likely use grape seed oil or coco nut oil to oil my pan).

3. In bowl stir together croutons and milk.

4. Soak until croutons are softened.

5. Meanwhile, in non-stick frying pan, melt butter over medium heat; cook onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until soft and golden.

6. Set onions aside to cool for 5 minutes.

7. Using fork, mash croutons.

8. In large bowl, stir together onions, crouton mixture, egg, mustard, grinded steak spices.

9. Using your hands or wooden spoon, gently mix in turkey without compressing meat until thoroughly combined.

10. Do not overwork the mixture.

11. Transfer mixture to centre of prepared baking sheet.

12. Using hands, shape into loaf about 20 x 10 x 4 cm (8 x 4 x 1-1/2 inches).

13. Lay strips of bacon lengthwise along top of load, slightly overlapping them.

14. Bake in centre of oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until instant read thermometer reads 74ºC (165ºF).

15. Let cool for 10 minutes.

16. Using two metal spatulas, transfer to cutting board and slice.

17. Serve with roasted potatoes and a side order of frozen corn.

Krizia’s two cents: Bacon is bacon. There’s no point in trying to make bacon healthy because it’s not. It tastes good and ads flavour to your recipes.

Do I eat bacon? Yup, and my bacon of choice is Italian. I LOVE pancetta and I like to joke around and say that if anyone came out with an “eau de pancetta”, I’d gladly wear it as a perfume. I limit the pancetta I eat to once in a while because I know it’s a weakness, but I have not cut out pancetta from my diet since many of my favourite Italian dishes call for it (if those Italian ladies can eat pancetta and look the way they do … so can I).

Turkey bacon is a joke in my opinion because you are fattening a lean meat to mimic pork. In fact, David Zinczenko, co-author of Eat This Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution, also highlighted this same point on a recent Oprah show. Canadian bacon is better than turkey bacon (period).

You should NOT be eating pounds and pounds of bacon because your artery will have a fit as you age.

Also, I’ve witnessed too many people cooking bacon in loads of butter or vegetable oil. In some cases, it’s been so bad that I honestly thought I was going to pass out from the horror scene. Bacon is fat so if you need to use a bit of oil to avoid that it sticks in a stainless steel pan, try wait until the bacon as cooked somewhat so you can determine if there is need to add more oil. Just don’t dump oil first and then let the bacon bathe in all that unnecessary fat.

For this Turkey Meatloaf recipe, the chef at Loblaws used extra lean ground turkey (which contains little fat) and the point in adding bacon is to ensure the meat is not too dry during the cooking.

Main photo by

Photo of chicken a la king recipes by glen edelson

Photo of Beef Stroganoff by naotakem

Photo of meatloaf by rick

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