This post was sponsored by the Indiana’s Family of Farmers. You get to learn about affordable ways to prepare food. I get a few extra bucks in the Royal coffers. The post and opinions are 100% mine. No editing was done by anyone. I’m sure you could find some grammatical errors if you read it again. Read more on my disclosure policy.
Some people head to office supply stores. Others go to Target. I hit ALDI for Back to School essentials. I thought it would be fun (read: I need it to survive) to put together a $50 ALDI Back to School Meal Plan for you (and me). It was a priority that the meals were quick and easy to prepare and favorites of my kids. No fancy pants, chop all day, and cook all night recipes. I’m talking tried and true family meals that you can knock out in 30 minutes (and sometimes less). You’ll get 5 dinners, plenty of leftovers for lunch or a leftover night, and more than enough for a large brunch on Saturday morning to boot – all for $45.48.
There are 8 other ALDI Meal Plans on my site – all where you spend $50 or less! And this is the cheapest one yet. I came in slightly As always, I don’t account for things like spices or kitchen staples (salad dressing, flour, eggs, milk, butter, oil, rice, syrup etc.). You may have other items on hand to punch up a dish and add some pizazz. I’ll make suggestions when I can. Because many of you have asked, this is a plan for 4 people. There are some allergen sensitive items that you might have to replace or alter. I will add gluten free suggestions, too. If you have more people in your family, you’ll want to add more food.
Without further ado, here’s what I bought:
Large Eggs $0.69: Eggs have fluctuated in price all the way down to $0.49 this summer and I have LOVED it. I picked up a dozen for you to use to make French Toast and some Scrambled Eggs to celebrate making it through a week of school!
Fresh Ground Turkey $3.29 (2): We’ll use ground turkey for both the Chili and the Spaghetti Meat Marinara this week. I love that it’s lean. However, if your family prefers beef, you could save even more money. Or if you want the extra lean beef you could pay $3.99/package. Plenty of options about so as always feel free to tailor things to your preferences.
Pork Tenderloin $3.83: Often, I’ll buy the larger pork tenderloin at ALDI to save by getting a bulk price. However, that means I have to spend extra time preparing it. This week, I opted for a smaller option just so that we wouldn’t get sick of eating pork and I would have to do too much chopping/freezing/processing. Easy is the name of the game when it comes to Back to School Meal Planning.
Never Any! Black Forest Ham $3.29: We really like the Never Any! ALDI Brand. It features products that don’t have preservatives or nitrates. I don’t always buy all meat this way but I like having an affordable way to choose this. We’ll be making Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with this package. My guess is you might have enough left over for another sandwich or two. Again, there are more affordable lunch meat options (most were around $2.49) you could use to drop the price further.
Center Cut Bacon $3.49: What’s a Saturday morning brunch without bacon? You won’t need to use this until the end of the week.
Extreme Bacon Pizza $5.99: True confession: I don’t cook everything from scratch. Occasionally we pick up a deli pizza from ALDI. Many times, I’ll just get the Cheese Pizza for $4.99. That thing is enormous and we can easily get two meals out of it. But this week’s speciality was a pizza named the Extreme Bacon Pizza. It’s pretty much sacrilegious not to buy something with the words Extreme and Bacon in the title. If your family has gluten allergies, ALDI has a couple options for you. There are smaller pizzas in the freezer section that aren’t too bad with gluten free crust. Or there’s a boxed mix for gluten free crust you could pick up, too. Homemade would be cheaper in the long run, but it’s not always an option for every family. I get that. You may need to vary this one.
Cheddar Shredded Cheese $2.99: Our meal plan features Naked Burritos and Chili so I opted for the slightly more affordable per ounce shredded cheddar cheese. You could toss some on the spaghetti too if you don’t have parmesan or mozzarella on hand. It’s a fairly large package.
Deli Sliced Cheese $1.79: We’re having Grilled Ham and Cheese so I bought this package of sliced cheese to use. We always snag the Colby Jack but there are a number of varieties. You can either use double cheese or use the leftovers on eggs on Saturday morning.
Organic Pasta Sauce $1.89: This is another occasion where I opted to buy the organic pasta sauce but you could shave a few pennies off by purchasing the regular sauce instead if you like. There’s also a gourmet line of sauces at ALDI that clock in at about the same amount.
Organic Salsa $1.89: Same song, second verse. The King of Free loves the organic salsa and swears he can taste a difference so I always purchase it. We’ll use the salsa on our Naked Burritos. You’ll have leftovers, too. Chips and Salsa could be a snack or side dish during the week if you’d like.
Crushed Tomatoes $0.95: It’s insanely hot here but the Princess Eldest has been begging for Chili. I fix a quick and easy Black Bean Turkey Chili that is her favorite. I love how easy it is to prepare.
Black Beans $0.59 (2): Snag two cans of black beans. One you’ll use for the Turkey Chili and the other pairs with your Pork Naked Burritos.
Restaurant Tortilla Chips $1.19: Divide the chips between Naked Burrito Night and Chili Night. They function as a side dish and there should be plenty for both.
Organic Linguine $1.29: This is another dealer’s choice item. We like a thicker noodle in the organic pasta line, but you could get spaghetti, brown rice spaghetti, or any other pasta. ALDI has an incredible variety of pasta, featuring gluten free, whole wheat, organic, and more
Oat Bran Bread $1.39: I meant to pick up 100% Whole Bread (which is actually a little cheaper) but the shelves were bare. This is a pretty tasty variety, too though. We’ll use the bread for Grilled Ham and Cheese and French Toast. You could purchase a loaf of gluten free bread for $3.99 (you might need 2 if the entire family is gluten free)
Mandarins $2.49: I love little oranges! They taste like candy and come in their own little wrapper. It’s the perfect fruit side dish since you do zero to prepare it. Plus this is a HUGE bag. We’ll use them for two meals but you will have way more than you need.
Baby Carrots $0.99: I know you’re gasping right now. I’m alway haranguing you about buying full sized carrots and doing the peeling and chopping yourself. But give yourself a break this week (and me, too). Ain’t nobody got time for that when the kids are doing homework and have to get up before the rooster crows. We’re keeping it easy and using these bad boys as a side dish a couple of nights. You’ll have leftovers, I bet.
Red Grapes $1.58: This bag was bulging. We’ll be able to use it for at least two side dishes during the week!
Romaine Hearts $1.99: This is one of the only items that will require a bit more prep. You’ll need to chop the lettuce up to use to top your Naked Burritos and make a simple side salad for the pizza night and the spaghetti night. I think you’ll have plenty leftover for lunch, too.
Here’s my receipt proof! I left $4.42 for you to buy extras or as the Princess Eldest suggested for treats! If you had $0.57 more you could buy another entire pizza and have dinner for a 6th night.
Print the entire $50 ALDI Back to School Meal Plan Grocery Shopping List PDF.
And here’s what I made:
Spaghetti with Meat Marinara
No Knead Garlic Bread
I’m not sure classic family comfort food gets any better than this. Brown the ground turkey, drain, and add the Organic Spaghetti Sauce to the pan. Boil water with a bit of salt and olive oil and then add the spaghetti (or linguine if you’re like us and like a thicker a noodle). Use the Romaine to prepare a very basic salad. You could also chop a few baby carrots up to toss in with your greens. I’m going to modify this very basic No Knead Garlic Bread recipe and use what we have in the kitchen to make it. Wash the grapes and divide them on to plates. Oh-so-easy.
Naked Pork Burritos
Served with Rice, Black Beans, Salsa, Cheese, and Lettuce
Toss the pork in the crockpot with taco seasoning in the morning. Add onions or minced onion if you have it, too and enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Allow to cook on low throughout the day and then shred with a fork. We buy rice in bulk so I’ll prepare a two cups of it for everyone to use. Drain and rinse a can of the black beans. Cook on low for 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve them. Allow everyone to build their on Naked Burrito with their favorite toppings. You can also put a handful of chips on the side for each person.
Grilled Ham and Cheese
Baby Carrot Sticks
Listen friends, midweek my brain begins to hurt and I need help keeping my crap together. A very basic meal like this one is what I need to get us over the Wednesday hump. I know it’s not gourmet but it’s one of my kids’ favorites and I don’t mind it too much either.
Extreme Bacon Pizza
We have Community Group on Thursday nights so a basic meal is best. Pizza baked at home is about half the price of delivery minus the tip. I’ll add some greens to the side and some orange slices, too to try to make it a bit more healthy.
Chili with Chips and Cheese
The Princess Eldest would say I’ve saved the best for last. My Simple Turkey Black Bean Chili is her absolute fav. Plus I’ll be able to fix it in the morning right after everyone takes off for school and let it slow cook all day long
Center Cut Bacon
YES. You made it through the week. Why not sleep in and then fix a large brunch for the family. You have more than enough eggs and bread to make a basic French Toast and some scrambled eggs. You could even put a bit of the salsa in the eggs for a southwestern flair. We love cooking bacon in the oven (less mess and fewer chances of me setting my skin on fire). And you could serve some fruit on the side (whichever you have left) if you can get them to quit eating the French Toast long enough.
My guess is that you’ll have plenty of leftovers in the fridge that you could pull off a smorgasbord leftover night for Saturday, too. All in all, this isn’t a bad plan to keep everyone fed and yourself from going crazy during one of the busiest times of the year. It just takes a little planning and intentionality. You can do it!
How many dinners can you make with $50 with Back to School limits in mind? I’d love to know what plans you use or what recipes are your favorite. Leave me some comment love and feel free to ask questions!
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