Mindful family


A blog about mindful living, health, parenting and money.


Living on the road has meant that we had to get used to cooking in a very small kitchen and limiting the complexities of our meals. But we still try to have a diverse meal plan each week and try to keep it as healthy as reasonably possible. We have always been conscious of balancing the cost of a meal with the nutritional value as well as the taste preferences of the entire family. Our meal choices are not always the healthiest options but we always try to cover all the major food groups. 


Today I’ll share three quick meal ideas we rely on pretty regularly since moving in the RV. 


1. Vegetarian Chili


This one is the easiest and it normally provides enough for two dinners or a dinner and a leftover lunch. 


Ingredients and cost:

  • 1 can of red kidney beans, $1
  • 2 cans of pasta sauce, $2.50
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, $1.25
  • 1 cup of textured vegetable protein (TVP), $1
  • 1 onion, $0.25
  • A few cloves of garlic, $0.20
  • One other veggie. Normally we use chopped broccoli or peppers, $2
  • Some Basil, salt and chili powder, $0.10
  • 2 cups of water
  • Bread on the side with margarine, $1


Total Cost: $9.30 (cost per meal = $4.65)


This is by far the cheapest and simplest meal we make. I normally make it in the instant pot (slow cooker function) and let it cook for a few hours. If we don’t have electricity, I can also make it on the propane stove with a big pot. 


If you have never tried TVP or don’t know what it is here is a link to it at Walmart. It’s a great meat alternative for chilis, spaghetti sauces and other recipes. You just add it to anything with equal parts water and let it cook. Inside a sauce or chili, it really tastes and appears just like real ground beef. I’ve made this chili for many people who would not even have known it was a vegetarian one. I love the flexibility of this meal. I can easily make more if we are expecting company. 


2. Kraft Dinner + Raw Veggies + Cashews


Yes… We eat Kraft Dinner. This one is the laziest of our meal ideas. It could also be considered the least healthy one, but it’s the kids’ favourite and covers all the food groups. 


Ingredients and cost:

  • 2 boxes of Kraft Dinner, normally $1-$1.50 per boxe but could be as low as $0.75 if you buy a case on a great sale. 
  • Raw veggies (we normally cut up carrots or peppers), $2
  • About 1-1.5 cups of cashews on the side, $2

Total Cost: $6


So the instructions on this one are pretty simple. We cook 2 boxes of KD. Then we make the kids’ plates with a small side of cashews (protein) and veggies. We reserve this meal for busy days when we want to put together a quick dinner. We can normally have this one ready in 15 minutes or less. 


3. Burgers + Veggies + Potatoes


This is one of our more expensive meal ideas but we rely on it at least once a week during the summer. Again, this meal is super easy to prepare and cook. The prep is less than 5 minutes (cutting the selected veggie) and cooking is 15 minutes or less. 


Ingredients and cost: 

  • A 4-pack of Morningstar Veggie Burgers, $5 (available at pretty much every grocery store now in the freezer aisle)
  • Pack of hamburger buns ($2, but we only use half so $1).
  • Roasted or BBQed broccoli of peppers, $2
  • A can of sliced potatoes in a pan or on the BBQ, $1
  • Condiments, $0.25


Total Cost: $9.25


There are a lot of brands of veggie burgers now but our favourite is the Morningstar Brand. 


Not only are they the best priced veggie burger, they are the best tasting. They come in a variety of different flavours (spicy black bean, Mediterranean chickpea etc.) and have 11g of protein per burger. 


Again, all the items are pretty flexibly cooked. I can cook on a BBQ, on an electric stove or even in a large frying pan on my gas stove. 

mindful parenting 
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