Minimalist Menu: Real Food on a Real Budget


Welcome to my Minimalist Kitchen! I'd love to have you come over to our little log home in the woods and have a cup of tea at my kitchen table. You would definitely be greeted by the smell of fresh bread and the infectious giggling of children. Aren't your children always hungry it seems? Mine sure are, and thankfully a Minimalist Menu makes it easy. 

 When cooking for a large or small household, simplicity is key and it saves money in totally practical ways. Here's my best tips:

1. Buy quality ingredients as basic as possible. Children don't need processed snacks, fruit is better. Sugar cereal? Total waste of money. I'd rather shoot myself in my foot! The resulting behavior is bad and so is the nutrition. I choose 50 lb bags of oatmeal for $25 each. I do quick oats so that the kids can soak it in milk and eat it uncooked with peanutbutter and yogurt.

2. Add water. Seriously, this is my go-to for everything. If you were sitting here in my kitchen chatting, you'd see me add water to swish around in the yogurt container. Then, I add that water to the bread dough pictured above. Mind you, the yogurt container was pretty much emptied by my 4 year old power-eater. However, instead of scraping it out, water is faster. Minimalist that I am I cannot let it go to waste and it makes my honey flat-bread soft. Keep reading for the recipe below.

3. Plan simple meals. Often I will declare a "Snack Meal." This means we have smoothie and oatmeal. Or all the leftovers in the frig must get eaten no matter how weird the combo. The kids laugh and put ketchup on everything. No problem! I have a hard-core rule in my kitchen, "Eat what you have and then you can have more." This principle has literally saved us thousands of dollars!! Before you've finished your first cup of tea, you'll probably hear me quote this rule at least six times to my 4 year old just because he needs to hear it again. Truth.

And here is my Minimalist Menu. By having "Theme nights" the children know what to expect and I can be flexible depending on what is in season locally:

Monday: Ethnic night

Tuesday: Lentils in the Crockpot

Wednesday: Soup and Salad

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner

Friday: Protein/Rice/Veggie

Saturday:Homemade Pizza

Sunday:Leftover/Grilled Veggies

I always make enough of the main meal to have for lunch the next day. That means, whatever we eat for Monday night is Tuesday lunch also. This pattern is a complete life and sanity saver!! Breakfast is oatmeal, yogurt, leftover pancakes, or self-serve eggs (again kid-cooking skills are the best!).

And finally, my favorite easy bread recipe that saves time and money.

4 cups of oatmeal or spelt flour

1/4 to 1/2 cup of yogurt or whatever amount is left in the container. Plain Greek yogurt works best. You can rinse out a large plain yogurt container with water to save from having to scrap it out. 

2 cups of warm water, stir into the flour and forget about it on the counter as you chase away a 2 year old who wants to play cars in the dough. Feed the baby, listen to the teenager, and remember about 2 hours later that the bread is soaking. Don't worry, you SHOULD forget it because it turns out better that way. No yeast needed. The yogurt acts to soften the dough.

 Add 1 teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt

1/4 cup local honey. Stir and plop a bunch onto a coconut oil greased pan. This is FLAT bread so you can make it pretty much anyway your heart desires.

Bake at 350 degrees until cooked in the middle about 20 minutes. Super easy, super cheap, and yummy. For the photo above I used Spelt, although we are almost entirely gluten free, it works out fine for our family. These are not set in stone amounts or ingredients but high quality ingredients always work best.

What are some of your Minimalist Menu ideas? I always love to swap recipes and share a good cup of tea.