Make Ahead Meals on a Budget


After grocery shopping on my morning off I decided to make some meals and Christmas gifts. I still had the ham bone from Thanksgiving, so I decided to make a boiled dinner.

5 lb bag of potatoes – $0.99

2 lb bag of carrots – $1.19

head of cabbage – $1.67




A simple $3.85.

I washed and cut up the vegetables, adding them to the pot with the ham bone and let boil for almost 1 1/2 hrs as I continued with my cooking.


Next I made these to die for caramels. I’ve used this fail proof recipe countless times over the last 2 years. Everyone loves it. I’m sure it is going to be  big hit this Holiday.

The recipe I found here: Giver’s Log

The ingredients needed aren’t anything too out of the ordinary.

Butter – $1.69

Corn syrup – $2.49

Brown sugar – $2.19

Condensed milk – $1.39

Vanilla – $1.00

Candy thermometer



$8.76 bought me more than enough ingredients for 2 full batches.



I highly suggest reading the recipe through before starting. Also, follow it very closely the first few times. It honestly is quite easy and comes out great, but one simple mistake could ruin the whole batch.


During the time when you are waiting for the caramel to boil and reach temp (which takes about 30 min) you will need to be stirring almost continuously. I used this time to catch up on my favorite TV show. Keeps my mind busy and I get to see what I’ve missed. Win win.

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You also need parchment and wax paper (I found both at the Dollar Tree)

Don’t skimp on these, they make the world of difference.



Boiled dinner is still cooking, caramels are cooling, and I begin my freezer meal.


I browned a pound of ground turkey and added a jar of sauce. Then I made one box of mac and cheese according to the box. Mixed the two together, divided into freezer bags, and DONE!

Easy, cheesy dinners for one.


Box of mac and cheese – $0.39

1 lb turkey burger – $1.69

1 jar of sauce – $1.19

Yum for only $3.27

After that was in the freezer I put together a trail mix for my Christmas Gift Baskets.

Bag of party mix – $2.29

Bag of chocolate chips – $1.29

Mini marshmallows – $0.89

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$4.47 made 7 bags of Holiday goodness.


I am going to put a bag of the trail mix and a bag of caramels in my Christmas Gift Baskets that I had made in an earlier post. I am so excited about how they came out. Keep a lookout for a post with the completed project.


Less than 2 hrs later I am done and ready to enjoy some of the boiled dinner.


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