Delectable Dime

meal planning on a budget

On the Go

Delectable Dime

On the Go by Faith Escher

Meal planning can be so effective and helpful, but what happens when you don’t plan with your schedule in mind? What happens when you shop for a labor-intensive week, but find yourself on the run, unable to prepare and eat the wonderful meals you planned?

It can be so disappointing when you put so much time, money and energy into shopping, and then find that you are unable to create a final product. Maybe you are heading out of town for a vacation and you find yourself leaving lots of great produce behind because you ran out of preparation time due to packing. Maybe you are going camping and realize that you won’t have the appliances or utensils necessary to assemble the recipes you hoped to make. Or maybe you meal prep for work and find that by the time you arrive at work your salad is wilted due to lack of refrigeration and your soup can’t be warmed up because your thermos is metal and can’t be placed in the microwave.

I’ve recently started packing food for my lunches at work and have realized that there are a few things I always need to consider:

  • Can I prepare it in advance? Since soggy bread, brown avocados and wilted salad are not among my favorite things, I have learned the importance of keeping my food in separate containers until it is time to assemble it.
  • Will I have access to what I need in order to prepare it? Soup should be warm and smoothies should be cold, so I have learned to make sure that I will have the necessary appliances to prepare and keep my food.
  • The most important thing I’ve learned is, is it something I am actually going to eat? After bringing too many uneaten bruised bananas and PBJ’s home and buying lunch out, I realized it’s not effective to pack easy lunches that you are not going to eat.

With these tips in hand, this week’s recipes are packable and delicious and I have included tips on how to eat them best.

On the Go

On the Go

Total Budget: $100 or less

All recipes serve 4

NOTE: Garlic (2) = how many recipes the ingredient garlic is used in. For example, “Garlic (2)” means we will be using garlic in two of our recipes for this week.

The Shopping List For All 5 Dinners

  • 1 Large garlic bulb – $0.50 (3)
  • 32 oz Brown basmati rice – $2.29 (3)
  • Soy sauce or Tamari – $1.99 *GF version is usually more expensive (2)
  • 1 Package of all tri-color bell peppers – $3.29 (3)
  • 1 lb Cashews – $5.99 (1 + Snacks)
  • 1 White onion – $0.89 (1)
  • 1 Bag of avocados – $5.00 (3)
  • 2 Lemons – $0.78 (2)
  • 1 Lime – $0.19 (1)
  • 1 Can of chickpeas – $0.99 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of green onions or scallions – $1.00 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of fresh parsley – $1.50 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of fresh cilantro – $1.00 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of mint – $2.50 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of dill – $1.75 (1)
  • 1 Box of mixed greens – $2.50 (2)
  • 2 8 oz. Containers of seasoned & cooked tempeh – $5.50 (2)
  • 1 Purple cabbage – $1.00 (2)
  • 1 Sweet potato – $1.00 (1)
  • 1 Can of coconut milk – $1.29 (1)
  • 1 Container of rice vinegar – $1.99 (1)
  • 1 4 oz container of red thai curry paste – $2.55 (1)
  • 16 oz French green lentils – $2.99 (1)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard – $1.79 (1)
  • 1 8 oz bunch of radishes – $0.99 (1)
  • 12 ounces frozen shelled edamame – $1.69 (1)
  • 4 9-inch whole-wheat tortillas – $3.00 (1)
  • 1 cup salsa – $1.69 (1)
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans – $0.99 (1)
  • 1 16 oz Bag of frozen corn – $1.29 (1)
  • 16 oz of cherry tomatoes – $2.29 (1)
  • 1 Carrot – $0.99 (1)
  • 1 16 oz Bag of frozen peas – $1.29 (1)
  • 2.7 oz container of firm tofu – $2.50 (1)
  • 1 0.9 oz container of turmeric powder – $2.59 (1)

$65.00 – $70.00  *Prices may fluctuate depending on tax, store, sale and season. I paid $69.87 this week.

If you followed us last week you already have the following; however, if this is your first week you will need to make these additional purchases (appx $19.74) or substitute with ingredients you have in your cupboard.

  • Salt and Pepper shakers – $3.49 (4)
  • 1 Container of maple syrup – $7.99 (1)
  • Olive oil –  $3.99 (5)
  • 1 0.9 oz Container of ground cumin – $2.28 (2)
  • 1 0.9 oz Container of cayenne pepper – $1.99 (1)

Recipe No. 1

Thai Tempeh Buddha Bowl | Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Source: Fitmittenkitchen by Ashley | Link to instructions

Buddha Bowl:

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • ⅓ Container seasoned & cooked tempeh
  • ⅓ cup cooked freekeh *
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded purple cabbage
  • ¼ cup roasted sweet potato, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped avocado

Cashew Curry Sauce:

  • 1 Tbs cashew butter
  • 1 Tbs coconut milk
  • ½ Tbs coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp red curry paste

Note: *Freekeh is an ancient grain similar to farro or brown rice. You can use any grain for this dish–I used brown rice. When packing this meal on the go, put everything together in a microwavable and portable dish except for the mixed greens the purple cabbage and the avocado. The mixed greens and chopped cabbage can go in another dish and be added after you have heated the other ingredients. For best results bring the avocado with you in a separate Tupperware and bring a small knife to cut into it right before serving for ultimate freshness.

Recipe No. 2

Lemony Lentil and Chickpea salad with Radish and Herbs | Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Source: CookieandKate.com | Link to instructions


  • 2 cups dried black beluga lentils or French green lentils
  • 2 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon dressing:

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons’ worth)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For Serving:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 big bunch of radishes, sliced thin and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup packed fresh, leafy herbs, chopped (combination of mint and dill recommended)
  • Optional garnishes: sliced avocado, handful of fresh leafy greens

Note: This recipe can be made in advance, packed in a tupperware and then refrigerated until ready to eat. For best results I would pack the avocado, and fresh leafy greens separately and then add them just before serving. I usually also add some extra mint and dill right before serving as well.

Recipe No. 3

Edamame Hummus Wrap | Cook Time: 35 Minutes

Source: EatingWell Test Kitchen | Link to instructions

  • 12 ounces frozen shelled edamame (about 2¼ cups), thawed
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tahini*
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage**
  • ½ cup sliced orange bell pepper
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 8- to 9-inch spinach or whole-wheat tortillas

Note: *Since I didn’t have any tahini I added a little extra olive oil and lemon instead. **Use purple cabbage instead of green cabbage, since it’s already on the shopping list. In packing this meal, I suggest that you premix all of the ingredients and put your preferred serving size into a container that can be refrigerated, take the tortilla separately between paper towels or in a bag and then assemble right before serving to avoid the tortilla becoming soggy.

Recipe No. 4

Mexican Tempeh Quinoa Salad | Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Source: PopSugar.com | Link to instructions

  • 1 cup quinoa*
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 (8-oz.) package tempeh, diced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh corn (or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, diced

Note: *I used brown rice. I recommend putting your serving size in a bowl, but adding the cilantro, avocado, and tomatoes right before serving. Make sure that you bring a small knife so that you can cut the cherry tomatoes and avocado at work. I also recommend bringing extra lime and salsa to add an extra kick of freshness before serving.

Recipe No. 5

Simple Vegan Fried Rice | Cook Time: Under 20 Minutes

Source: SimpleVeganBlog.com | Link to instructions

  • ¼ cup Basmati rice*
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 2.7 oz firm tofu
  • ⅛ tsp turmeric powder
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

Notes: *Use brown basmati rice. Fried rice is one of my absolute favorites, many times I eat it by itself, but if you find that it’s not filling enough on its own, I would recommend eating it with cashews and some nori seaweed snacks!


Ashley, & FitMittenKitchen. (N.D.). Thai Tempeh Buddha Bowl. Retrieved June 2, 2017, from

fitmittenkitchen.com website: http://www.fitmittenkitchen.com/thai-tempeh-buddha-


Cookie and Kate. (2014, April 22). Lemony Lentil and Chickpea salad with Radish and Herbs.

Retrieved June 2, 2017, from cookieandkate.com



Eating Well Test Kitchen. (2015, July). Edamame Hummus Wrap Recipe. Retrieved June 2, 2017,

from www.eatingwell.com website: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/251218/edamame-


Simple Vegan Fried Rice. (2015). Retrieved June 2, 2017, from simpleveganblog.com website:


Sugar, J., & Pop Sugar Fitness. (2016, March 26). Mexican Tempeh Quinoa Salad. Retrieved June

2, 2017, from www.popsugar.com website: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Mexican-Tempeh-Quinoa-Salad-35360978



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