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May 2017

Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 7, Dinner

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

20170528_210532Can you eat for a week on just $50?

Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

Day 7, last day of the challenge, dinner:  It's the last meal of the challenge, do I treat myself or do I stay on the under budget track?  How about both?    How does slow smoked meatloaf glazed with a spicy BBQ sauce sound?  Both treating myself and staying on the conservative path in meal spending, I created a meatloaf for the grill.  The recipe has three meats, ground beef, pork sausage, ground veal...  It's mixed with onion soup mix, red chili flakes, some cayenne pepper, dry yellow mustard, black pepper, seasoning salt, garlic powder, Worcestershire, Louisiana Hot Sauce, along with 3 eggs and some bread crumbs soaked in whole milk.  I smoked the loaf in a cast iron skillet for about two hours.  For the last 10 minutes of cooking time, I hit the loaf with a BBQ glaze.  It was delightful and just look at that smoke ring of flavor pictured below!  And while this meatloaf cost about $11 to prepare, a couple thick slices - OK three slices - for dinner came in under the per meal guideline of $2.38.    It was another dose of YUM and a great way to end the challenge!  During the course of the week I ate on a budget, but ate well, consuming a variety of foods.  I cooked, ate restaurant food, enjoyed a variety of dishes and was also able to put some leftovers in the freezer and/or share with friends.   Some folks didn't think I could do this challenge and no, a person can't if their habit is to eat fast food for lunch and/or dinner every day.  But eating inexpensively (and well!) in a combination of cooking your own meals, coupon shopping and taking advantage of grocery store sales is very do-able!

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.00
Lunch:  $2.65
Dinner:  $2.38

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $6.90
Day 6:  $6.47
Day 7:  $7.03

Grand Total:  $45.31, that's $4.67 under budget and no Ramen in sight!

Need some meal ideas?  Go to the Bachelor on the Cheap You Tube Channel

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Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 7, Lunch

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

Can you eat for a week on just $50?

Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

20170527_192149Day 7, last day of the challenge, lunch:  With some leftover grilled chicken in the fridge, I decided to go Buffalo......  I reheated the chicken by simmering it in some Buffalo sauce... butter, Lousiana Hot Sauce, a little smoked paprika, a dash a vinegar.....  I toasted a bun, melted a slice of American cheese on the chicken and topped it with some Ranch dressing.  On the side I had a Southwest salad.  It was a fantastic lunch and only cost me about $2.65 to prepare.  TIP:  Leftovers are delicious!  And if their present form doesn't thrill you, re-purpose them!  That's what I did with this lunch.  That leftover TexMex grilled chicken paired well with the Buffalo sauce, creating some great flavor!

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.00
Lunch:  $2.65

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $6.90
Day 6:  $6.47
Day 7:  $4.65 (breakfast & lunch)

Grand Total:  $42.93 so far and comfortably under budget!   One more meal to go and there's no Ramen in sight!

Need some meal ideas?  Go to the Bachelor on the Cheap You Tube Channel


Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 7, Breakfast

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

Can you eat for a week on just $50?

Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

20170528_074218Day 7, last day of the challenge, breakfast:  So on the last day of this challenge I whipped up a couple of breakfast burritos at home.  Breakfast burritos are so easy to put together and the best thing about it, pretty much anything goes.  Whatever you have on hand will work as long as it's a combination of meat, cheese, eggs and bread.  For mine this morning I sauted some chopped onion in olive oil, threw in some red pepper flake, salt and pepper and let those flavors marry a bit.  Then I threw in some heavy cream to let that get happy with the seasonings.  Then I tossed in some leftover meat (whatever you have on hand works), roughly chopped, and let that all simmer for a minute or two.  Then I poured in some lightly scrambled eggs seasoned with seasoning salt and garlic powder and stirred to incorporate.  I served the eggs on two warmed tortillas with melted American cheese.  It was another dose of YUM!   This meal cost me about $2 to prepare and I had all the ingredients on hand, no special trip to the store required.  TIP:  It pays to have a well stocked pantry and fridge.

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.00

An excellent and DELICIOUS start to the last day of the challenge! 

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $6.90
Day 6:  $6.47
Day 7:  $2.00 (breakfast)

Grand Total:  $40.28 so far and under budget!   Looks like I can eat pretty well for lunch AND dinner and there's no Ramen in sight!

Need some meal ideas?  Go to the Bachelor on the Cheap You Tube Channel


Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 6, Dinner

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

Can you eat for a week on just $50?

Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

20170525_190355Day 6 dinner - Pizza Hut:  Sometimes it pays to bitch.  About a month ago I made on online order to Pizza Hut, they gave me a 45 - 55 minute delivery window and they missed that by about 25 minutes.  So when I followed up on the delivery time by calling the store, they weren't professional at all, they didn't even try to explain the situation, they weren't apologetic or reasoned, it was like, "You'll get your pizza when the delivery driver gets there....."  So with that attitude being thrown in my face, I complained to corporate and yes, Google reviews are a powerful thing!  I received not one but two "Free Pizza" coupons in the mail from Pizza Hut corporate, and not just basic pizza, anything I wanted!  Corporate apparently gets it, the local Pizza Hut store does not.   So tonight for dinner I am enjoying my favorite, a thin crust (brushed with garlic butter) pepperoni and mushroom pizza.  This meal cost me $0.00!  It's another dose of YUM and having a beer with the pizza was a plus!   Lite Beer from Miller, it has 1/3 less calories than regular beer and tastes great!  Tallboys.

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $1.89
Lunch:  $3.25
Dinner:  $1.33

The total for the day is $6.47 and I've got leftovers!

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $6.90
Day 6:  $6.47

Grand Total:  $38.28 so far and under budget!   Having pizza and beer on this kind of a budget?....  Imagine that, delightful!  

Need some meal ideas?  Go to the Bachelor on the Cheap You Tube Channel


Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 6, Lunch

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

20170526_152756Can you eat for a week on just $50?

Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

Chicken tacos for Day 6 lunch:  Yesterday I grilled up a bunch of TexMex marinaded chicken thighs and I enjoyed some of that chicken on a nice salad for dinner.  Today, it's chicken taco time and I'm going to add a little heat.  To warm up the chicken I'm sauteing it in jalapeno salt infused canola oil.  Then when building the tacos, I'll hit that meat again with a hot taco sauce and a cumin/jalapeno crema.  This meal cost about $3.25 to prepare.  It's another dose of YUM!   

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $1.89
Lunch:  $3.25

That's a bit over budget for the two meals, I've got just $2 left on the daily budget.  I'll have to take advantage of a coupon for dinner! 

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $6.90
Day 6:  $5.14 (breakfast & lunch)

Grand Total:  $36.95 so far and under budget!   Looks like I'm going to handle this challenge without having to break out the Ramen! 

Need some meal ideas?  Go to the Bachelor on the Cheap You Tube Channel

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Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 6, Breakfast

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

Can you eat for a week on just $50?

20170526_112233Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

It's Day 6 and time for breakfast.  It's a day off for me and I have the luxury of time so I'm going to cook.  Needing to do something with some hamburger buns that are getting closer to expiration, I decided on a breakfast sandwich.  I fried up two eggs over easy with some jalapeno salt and pepper and topped them with two slices of American cheese.  I then threw some black forest ham in the pan and toasted up a hamburger bun dressing it with garlic and a little more of that jalapeno salt - I love that stuff!  The sandwich was delightful.  This meal only cost me about $1.89 to include a couple cups of coffee.

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $1.89

Under budget so far for the day. 

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $6.90
Day 6:  1.89

Grand Total:  $33.70 so far and under budget!  I've been eating well, dining in, to go orders, burgers, Chicken Teriyaki, breakfast sandwiches, having some veggies too....  I'm off to a good start on Day 6, it looks like I'm going to handle this challenge without having to break out the Ramen! 

Need some meal ideas?  Go to the Bachelor on the Cheap You Tube Channel


Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 5, Dinner

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

Can you eat for a week on just $50?

Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

20170524_185340It's Day 5, time for a healthy dinner!  I've been eating well, as in some VERY satisfying food, but some of those meals haven't exactly been some of the healthiest.....  So it's time for some salad!   One of the easiest ways to eat healthy but still satisfy that caveman mentality when it comes to food is to eat a salad loaded with grilled meat.  That's what I did with tonight's meal, rabbit food + grilled meat = YUM!   And here's the kicker.....  If you are a coupon shopper you can really take advantage of some food producer deals!  I picked up a Dole southwest salad  at the store for free using a Dole coupon and dressed that already fantastic ready-to-eat salad with some grilled chicken.  I prepped some chicken thighs with that southwest theme in mind, marinading the chicken with some canola oil, cumin, black pepper, jalapeno salt a little cayenne and a bit of lemon juice.  The chicken was grilled to perfection (of course) and this Dole southwest salad mix is a winner!  By adding some grilled chicken to it, I've added another layer of great flavor to create one VERY satisfying dinner!  It's another dose of YUM!  This meal only cost me about $2, the cost of grilling up some chicken thigh and enjoying a couple of adult beverages.  The salad was free, courtesy of the Dole company and a 'Free Salad' coupon.

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.40
Lunch:  $2.50
Dinner:  $2.00

The Dole salad coupon kept me under budget for the day!  It pays to coupon shop.

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $6.90

Grand Total:  $31.81 so far and under budget!  I've been eating well, dining in, to go orders, burgers, Chicken Teriyaki, breakfast sandwiches, having some veggies too....  And there's been no Ramen on the menu!  For now anyway....

Need some meal ideas?  Go to the Bachelor on the Cheap You Tube Channel


Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 5, Lunch

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

20170524_210510Can you eat for a week on just $50?

Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

It's Day 5, time for lunch and have you noticed?  No leftovers yet.  It would be so easy at this point - day 5 - to feed on leftovers, I am after all a leftovers kind of guy for lunch, but I'm trying to stay away from doing that to demonstrate that you can have a variety of foods, conveniently, inexpensively on a $50 a week budget.  So if you're into the flavor of Buffalo Chicken, this lunch dish is for you.   Shredded Buffalo Chicken served over a bed of hash browns with cheese and topped with green onion.  It's another dose of YUM!  This meal cost me about $2.50 and just 15 minutes to prepare.   This puts me a bit over budget for the day, so I'll have to get a bit creative with the evening meal.  TIP:  Canned chicken is a MUST HAVE in your pantry.

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.40
Lunch:  $2.50

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $4.90 (breakfast & lunch)

Grand Total:  $29.81 so far and under budget!  I've been eating well, dining in, dining out, burgers, Chicken Teriyaki, breakfast sandwiches....  And there's been no Ramen on the menu!  For now anyway....

Need some meal ideas?  Go to the Bachelor on the Cheap You Tube Channel

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Bachelor on the Cheap Challenge: $50 to eat for a week, Day 5, Breakfast

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

20170525_084747Can you eat for a week on just $50?

Breaking it down by the day, that's about $7.14 per day or $2.38 per meal.

It's Day 5 and a Taco Bell breakfast!  Here's another meat, cheese, egg and bread combo that tastes good and is Bachelor on the Cheap friendly, Taco Bell's grilled breakfast burrito. I enjoyed two sausage and egg breakfast burritos this morning.  Taco Bell offers three different burritos for your morning meal and I think the sausage is the best of the bunch.  The burritos only cost me $2.15 and throw in some Orange Juice from my fridge and my total was $2.40, just a couple pennies over the per meal budget but still way under budget for the challenge. 

Meal totals for the day:  

Breakfast:  $2.40

Cumulative total for the Challenge:

Day 1:  $7.25
Day 2:  $6.90
Day 3:  $6.55
Day 4:  $4.21
Day 5:  $2.40 (breakfast)

Grand Total:  $27.31 so far and under budget!  I've been eating well, dining in, dining out, burgers, Chicken Teriyaki, breakfast sandwiches....  There's no Ramen on the menu.....  for now.... 

$50 to eat for a week, are you up for the challenge?