Get ready for some delicious meals on an empty nest budget.

We’ve had about two months in the empty nest, and life is beginning to take on a new rhythm.  One of the adjustments has been transitioning from hectic meals with teenagers and their friends to cooking and planning meals for just the two of us.

Initially, we found ourselves eating out or eating separately as we got the hang of our newfound freedom.  But, in an effort to stay on budget and in our same size pants, we’ve begun to eat at home again.

Recently, I took a trip to my favorite grocery store, ALDI.  Here’s what $100 bought for the two of us and how I plan to make it stretch.

Here’s my complete haul.


  • 2 bags chips
  • 1 bag pork rinds
  • 1 package chocolate cookies


  • 1 loaf gluten free bread
  • 1 bag gluten free crackers
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 3 can tomato sauce
  • 1 jar fruit spread
  • 1 jar almond butter
  • 1 jar pesto sauce
  • 1 box gf chicken stock


  • 1 bottle coffee creamer
  • 1 package goat cheese


  • 1 package spring mix salad
  • 1 package (4) organic avocadoes
  • 1 (3) package fresh garlic
  • 1 bag mini potatoes
  • 1 bag clementines
  • 1 bag honeycrisp apples
  • 1 box sliced mushrooms


  • 1 gf cheese pizza
  • Albacore tuna steaks (3)
  • Jumbo scallops


  • Deli Sliced salmon
  • 2 lbs ground beef (90/10)
  • Stew meat (1 lb)


  • Salmon/Cream Cheese/Avocado
  • Sliced Apple/Almond Butter
  • GF toast with fruit spread
  • Toast/Avocado/Eggs (already had)
  • Fried potatoes/Eggs


  • Spring mix salad with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes from my porch garden
  • GF cheese pizza with clementine
  • Almond butter/Fruit spread sandwich
  • Dinner leftovers


  • Scallops with pesto sauce over rice or pasta (already had both)
  • Chili with beans and ground beef
  • Beef and mushrooms in the instant pot
  • Tacos with ground beef (had shells) and spring mix salad
  • Grilled tuna steaks with garlic potatoes and fruit
Don’t forget to bring your quarter for a cart!

Don’t get stuck in a meal rut. Venture out and try some new recipes without the risk of breaking your budget. ALDI stores aren’t available in all markets, but this type of grocery is becoming more popular, so there’s probably something similar near you. Come back and share your favorite finds!