The weekly menu

Since a lot of people have been interested in our budget friendly meal planning, here’s what we had this past week.  [Spoiler alert: they’re all really inexpensive dinners]



Egg noodles with teriyaki tofu, broccoli, & cashews

The organic broccoli was leftover from one of last week’s dinners.  The roasted salted cashews are a pantry staple.  The egg noodles were on sale at WF (we used half of the 1 lb bag/$1.69).  The organic tofu was from WF (I baked the whole block/$1.69).

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As usual, the ‘fu was pressed for 2-3 hours, then baked for 35 minutes at 350.


Added both the pasta and the broccoli to the boiling water.  Waited until they were cooked then drained them.


Crushed nuts in the meantime (using the bottom of the measuring cup).


And then put it all together…

I didn’t take a photo of the teriyaki sauce I used, but it’s by Asian Gourmet and for some reason I can’t find it anywhere online to provide a link.  It’s ingredients are better than most I’ve seen in stores, so I hope it’s not discontinued.


Kyle had seconds and there were zero leftovers.  This was a really quick and easy meal to throw together and we both loved it (oh, and did I mention it costs practically nothing), so it’ll probably be a new staple.



Baked potatoes with the works


It’s so rare that I make potatoes in the oven (the microwave is so much easier), but crispy skin just makes these so much better.

You can cheat and nuke them in the microwave first, which will decrease the oven time, but I planned ahead so I had the time.

Scrub the potatoes, prick with fork tines, coat in olive oil and salt, and bake for 60 minutes at 425 degrees.

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I let them rest a bit (~10-15 minutes) before serving.  In the meantime, I prepped the toppings.


You can use whatever you want, but we went with:

  • corn (thawed from frozen)
  • Lightlife smkoy tempeh “bacon”
  • daiya cheddar (for me), regular cheddar (for Kyle)
  • Chobani plain greek yogurt
  • avocado


Mega yum, right?


This was SUCH a satisfying meal.  Neither Kyle nor myself had room for dessert.




I made it the way I always do, with tofu “ricotta” using Sabra hummus.  I also added Chobani plain 0% Greek yogurt layers.  We had nearly everything for the recipe already in the fridge/pantry, including hummus, greek yogurt, and lasagna noodles, so I only had to buy marinara sauce and tofu at the store.

This is actually entirely for Kyle.  I am lasagna-ed out.


I had a millet, veggie, seitan combo instead.

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The millet was leftover from the sticky orange tempeh dish, the veggies were from our baby shower, and the seitan was home-made from the previous week.



Pasta with veggies

This was Kyle’s request.  He likes noodles, but he really likes noodles with veggies.  We had a few different kinds of pasta in the pantry already and for the veggies, I just grabbed whatever we had in the crisper drawer (leftover kale, carrots, bell peppers) and freezer (green garbanzo beans and corn).

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I used two kinds of whole wheat spaghetti for his (left) and rice noodles for mine (right).

And then I topped them both with olive oil (we both love the organic 365 kind – it’s really flavorful!).  His got parmesan, mine got nooch.  Sometimes all you need is simple.


This meal hit the spot.  I think I like olive oil almost as much as I like Earth Balance.  It’s a close call.



Tofu tortilla soup


My bestie (and FPIC) Ethel sent a recipe my way last week and we decided to veganize it for our dinner date.  Since we are both on a budget, we split the ingredients and ended up with a lovely soup to share.  Our meat-less version of the recipe is below.


Tofu Tortilla Soup [vegan, gluten free]


  • 1 block tofu
  • 1 large (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, diced (or diced tomatoes)
  • 1 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 can of corn (oops, just realized I forgot this!!)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • optional: top with fresh cilantro, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado


Either throw everything in a slow cooker and leave for 3-4hrs on high, or cook it on the stove top.

For the stove top method, first sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil.  Then add veggies (carrots, bell peppers, corn) and vegetable broth.  While that part heats up, bake the tofu.

For the tofu, simply drain it, cube it, and toss with olive oil and salt.  Then bake it on a baking sheet sprayed with non stick for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  I didn’t press the tofu first because we were short on time (read: hungry).

Next add the rest of the ingredients (beans, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and spices).

Once the soup has returned to a low simmer, add in the tofu and let simmer (on medium heat) for ~10-20 minutes more.

Top with crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, avocado, and/or cheese.


All three of us were in LOVE with this soup.  All we added on top were chips (365 tortilla chips are GF).


Highly recommend!

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Comments (22)

  1. stacy

    This might sound like a stupid question, but what’s the reason for pressing or not pressing tofu?

  2. Jordan

    I LOVE your weekly meal updates. I usually make at least three of them a week!

  3. Kristen

    i love your really great, easy, and cheap meal ideas! i am always looking for new meals to make, and these are great ideas!

  4. Elise (Post author)

    thanks kristen – glad you find them helpful (and yummy, i hope?) 🙂

  5. Elise (Post author)

    not stupid at all! i press the tofu when i want it to have a more dense, chewy texture. since the water is removed by pressing it, it packs the tofu to create a really firm consistency. that way it has a bite to it, unlike soft tofu that has that, well, tofu-like texture.
    i do this when i want it to be like a “meat” in a recipe.
    i skip the pressing step when im going to scramble it or use it as a replacement for something else in a recipe (ie eggs, cheese, dressing) where the shape/texture of the tofu wont matter.

  6. Elise (Post author)


  7. Beth

    your meals always put mine to shame! They look so yummy! I wouldl have no idea how to “press” tofu or make these meals. I have no cooking skills!

    Are you not doing low fodmap anymore? Just asking because I was wondering if maybe it didn’t help you. I’m not finding much relief and I don’t want to be on this restrictive diet and miss out on my yummy foods if I don’t have to. But not sure what to try next to soothe my upset tummy. 🙁

  8. Elise (Post author)

    can you please stop asking about my fodmaps diet while im pregnant. ive already emailed you and written posts explaining my situation. thanks.

  9. sarah w

    Thanks for always giving new ideas. I like to make these simple dishes for myself but now I’m finding my kids love them too. They love a bunch of sauteed veggies on top of Israeli couscous. I’m going to try the baked potatoes this week–what kid wouldn’t love a baked potato with lots of toppings for supper? 🙂
    BTW, I loved your shower post with your grandma! She is awesome! Especially for stalking you on your blog and plotting revenge! You must love her!

  10. Beth

    wow, okay. Just looking for answers for myself. I’m in so much pain and thought you would be a good resource. I won’t bother you anymore. 🙁

  11. stacy

    Beth, I’ve tried to help u too, numerous times, but it seems like my advice goes without any response. Healing the gut is a long process and it is not easy. Often u have to employ numerous options, theories, and methods. Also, ur course of action must change as ur body changes. Further, the approach can be multi layered, so u need to work in stages.

    Again, my suggestions are
    Get ur zinc level tested, copper, and other basic blood panels, also thyroid
    Get a cdsa to check for dysbiosis and gut function. Great Plains labs takes insurance if md ordered
    Read fast tract Digestion, which takes fodmaps to a higher level
    If needed, get food allergy tested
    Digestive enzymes and probiotics, efas like fish oil

    Make a foood/symptom log to track ur progress. Eat whole foods in simple combinations. Sleep. Exercise as tol

  12. Maryann

    Did you see this it is pretty accurate and funny, I hope you dont get a bee in your bonnet

  13. Elise (Post author)

    Haha. Other vegans are the worst! So many of these were awesome.
    “remember how this all began with me just politely…”

  14. Ttrockwood

    Awesome week of meals there! I became vegetarian while still a kid (um, 11 or so- rest the fam was soooo not) and i remember my mom making baked potatoes and i loved picking the toppings i wanted. Baked sweet potatoes and hummus and avocado are a current favorite!

  15. Sarah

    Hello from Australia!

    Congratulations! Elise you look absolutely wonderful, entirely happy and healthy.
    I wanted to run something by you, what are your thoughts on extra virgin coconut oil?

    Best wishes,

  16. Elise (Post author)

    hi sarah – in what regard? flavor? use in baking?

  17. Sarah

    There seems to be some conflicting information available on it. Some say it’s exceptionally good for you, whilst others argue that its high saturated fat content makes it a poor choice. What’s your perspective?

  18. Elise (Post author)

    well its hard to answer since im not an expert on it. id have to do more research before forming much of an opinion. in the past, all data (that ive seen, and/or trusted) has shown saturated fat from plant based food (ie coconut) doesnt have the same effect in the body as the saturated fat in animal based foods. and im referring to cardiovascular health when i say that. but theres always new research so im not sure about whatever the latest stuff says.
    if you want to comment w a link feel free. im generally skeptical of sources that arent university based or sponsored by a company/group that has ulterior motives (or reason to want a study’s results to prove one thing over another).

  19. ethel


  20. Maygirlsrock

    Love the soup! It was a huge hit for the whole family! I stumbled across your blog through Pinterest and have been using your recipes daily- THANK YOU for sharing!!

  21. Elise (Post author)

    awww…thats so nice to hear! thanks for the comment. im glad youre enjoying the recipes 🙂

  22. Pingback: Happy Meals

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