A Dollar Tree menu plan that will stretch your budget and challenge your thinking on what you can make from the Dollar Tree.
You Made WHAT with Dollar Tree food ingredients?
That’s the reaction my husband had when I put cheap meals for 2 on our table over the last week from this Dollar Tree meal plan I created.
These meals were made entirely from ingredients found at the Dollar Tree…and there were no beans or rice in sight.
Hint: nothing against beans and rice, but I feel like those are the “easy” recipes to make from dollar stores and wanted to stretch your thinking and challenge myself on this.
So, why Dollar Tree meals?
- there aren’t other grocery options nearby
- you’re really low on funds until your next paycheck AND the pantry is looking bare (you might want to check out my emergency financial assistance article)
- your grocery bill is starting to double the average grocery bill for your household size (raises hand)…
- you’re doing a no-spend challenge and need a few meals to get you through
- you’re tired of charging last-week-of-the-month’s food on a credit card to hold you over to your next paycheck, and you want to “make it” this month (FYI: here’s how to make the transition from credit card to cash only)
Not to mention knowing how to do this – how to survive on an extreme budget amount each week – is a great skill to have.
No matter what the reason is, I’m glad you’re here.
Pull up a Dollar-Tree-sized block of real cheddar cheese and a spatula, and prepare to be inspired!
Pro Tip: Did you know you can get cashback on what you buy at the Dollar Tree? That blew my mind. I was already using ibotta and Fetch to scan all my grocery store receipts in – and started doing that with my Dollar Tree food receipts, too! Remember – you can scan the same receipt into each of these apps to get more cashback.
Dollar Tree Menu Plan
What can I eat for $20 a week? OR, wondering how can I eat for a week on $15?
I’ve created the following Dollar Tree Meal Plan with that in mind.
This is not the most extreme Dollar Tree eating budget – you can certainly cut some of the ingredients, or throw in some rice & beans meals for cheaper alternatives to the recipes below.
That’s because my goal in doing this was to not only create an extremely budget-friendly menu plan, but one that was ALSO very appealing and (dare I say) exciting.
After all – who among us is willing to stick with something to save money if our taste buds aren’t at least semi-interested?
Note that this is a menu plan for two people – if it’s just you, then make half of these recipes and eat the leftovers for the second half of your week (cuts your costs down, even more!).
1. Broccoli, Sausage, Potato Hash (with Homemade Cheese Sauce)
Servings: 3 servings
Items to Buy from DT: package of broccoli (12 oz.), package of sausage (7 oz.), can of white potatoes, mild cheddar cheese (4 oz.), and 1 cup of shelf-stable milk, 2 tbsps. flour
Approximate Calories: 498 calories/serving
This is, in my opinion, my flagship Dollar Tree meal. My husband and I both enjoyed it, and I would definitely make it again. I even had leftovers for lunch the next day (leftovers I looked forward to!).
Psst: please excuse the cheese in this photo – I had the heat on too high.
Open the can of potatoes and drain them. Put into a pot with water, until just boiling. Drain again.
Defrost the sausage. Heat a frying pan with a little oil, and mash up the sausage until it’s ground. Cook through. Drain the grease (and keep it to use as your “fat” throughout the week).
Add the potatoes.
Make the cheese sauce in a saucepan by combining 1 cup milk with 1 cup cheese, and 2 tbsps. flour. And season to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder if you’ve got it).
Cook entire broccoli package according to instructions.
Assemble the dish by adding everything into the cheese sauce pot and stirring it up.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to the Dollar Tree anyway? Get yourself a meat masher. They will change your life…at least your kitchen life. And for $1.25? What a steal. Here are 6 other Dollar Tree Food Hacks.
2. Green Bean Casserole with Sausage Biscuits
Servings: 3-4 servings
Items to Buy from DT: 1 frozen bag of green beans (or 1 can), 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 bag of crispy fried onions, 1 bag of biscuit mix, 1 7-oz. frozen pork sausage, 1 cup shelf-stable whole milk
Approximate Calories: 687 calories/serving
Is green bean casserole part of your Thanksgiving dinner? Turns out – the Dollar Tree has every ingredient you need to make it for any night of the week.
Plus, I decided to pair them with some sausage biscuits.
Defrost the sausage.
Cook the French bean casserole according to French’s original recipe.
While that’s cooking (30 minutes), cook the sausage in a frying pan until fully brown. Drain the sausage grease (keep this to use in future recipes) and set aside.
Prepare the biscuits according to the directions. Add in the sausage.
Bake the biscuits according to the directions on the package.
Serve up your hot biscuits ‘n’ French bean casserole!
3. Chicken BBQ and Mashed Potato Mounds (with Veggies)
Items to Buy from DT: 2 cans of chicken, 4 tbsps. BBQ sauce, 1 boxed instant mashed potatoes, 1 1/3 cup milk, 1 bag of buttered carrots
Approximate Calories: 715/serving
I’ll be the first to admit – I’ve basically avoided the thought of canned chicken my whole life.
Canned tuna? That’s fine.
But canned chicken? Well, the idea just seemed…off to me.
During this Dollar Tree Menu Plan creation, I decided it was time to give it a go. I mean, one can only eat so much pork sausage in a week, amiright?
Cook the mashed potatoes according to package directions. Keep warm.
Open and drain the chicken. Add 1 tbsp. of some sort of fat to a pan, and heat the chicken completely through. Add in 4 tbsps. of barbecue sauce and make sure it’s all coated. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the buttered carrots, according to the package.
Serve by putting a mound of mashed potatoes on the plate, then topping with your chicken BBQ portion, plus half the onions and peppers.
Hint: want more recipes? Check out these Dollar Tree dinner ideas.
4. Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancake Tray Bake
Servings: 9 servings (3 breakfasts for 2 people, plus 3 main dishes in a lunch)
Items to Buy from DT:1 box pancake mix, 1 jar of peanut butter, 1 jar of jelly
Approximate Calories: 307/serving
I was watching Nadiya: Time to Eat on Netflix (love that lady!), and got inspired to make her Pancake tray bake…well, the Dollar Tree version.
Just 45 minutes later and using only three ingredients, I made a delicious breakfast!
And since it has peanut butter & jelly in it? Well, it dubbed for a few lunch main dishes. Score.
Dollar Tree version instructions:
Add 2 ¼ cups water to the pancake mix, per the instructions and mix together. Microwave peanut butter for 20 seconds to loosen it up. Put pancake mix into 8 X 8 pan (I thought it would spill over in the oven, but it just made it!). Put big dollops of peanut butter and jelly onto the pancake mix, and swirl around with a butter knife. Bake at 375° F for 50 minutes.
Hint: looking for Dollar Tree meals for a week? Pair these meals here with my Dollar Tree Lunch ideas.
Items to Buy from DT: Jar of minced garlic, bag of gnocchi, 1 cup parmesan cheese, 1 cup shelf stable whole milk, 1 frozen bag broccoli, 2 tbsps. fat (butter, but since it’s not sold at DT, I used leftover sausage fat from the other night), 2 tbsps. flour
Approximate Calories: 765/serving
Seriously…who knew there was potato gnocchi at the Dollar Tree?
Instructions for your Italian Romance Dinner Night:
Cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions. Drain them.
Cook the broccoli according to the instructions. Drain it. Puree it in a blender or food processor (or just chop/mash them up).
In a saucepan, put the 2 tbsps. fat you’re using (in my case, the leftover sausage fat), and sauté 1 tbsp. garlic for 2 minutes or so. Add in the 2 tbsps. of flour and whisk to form a roux sauce.
Add in 1 cup of whole milk, and whisk to remove any bumps.
Add in 1 cup of parmesan cheese.
Add in the broccoli puree and gnocchi, then stir everything together.
6. Parmesan Mac ‘n’ Cheese ‘n’ Peas
Items to Buy from DT: 1/2 box macaroni pasta (or rotini, like I found), 1/4 cup container grated topping, 1 block 4-oz. real cheddar cheese, 1 cup shelf stable whole milk, 1/2 bag of frozen peas
Approximate Calories: 489/serving
I love a good mac’n’cheese night. And adding in some greens makes it a bit more healthy.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Cook the frozen peas according to package directions. Drain.
Psst: fun story there…I bought a 14 oz. bag of peas and carrots from the Dollar Tree and, as you can see from the photo, it ended up being (I’d estimate) 80% carrots and 20% peas.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, add 1.5 tbsps. of some kind of fat (oil, leftover sausage grease, etc.). Add in 1.5 tbsps. of flour, and whisk until it’s smooth and there are no more lumps.
Add in 1 cups of milk, and whisk until smooth.
Add in the 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Stir until smooth.
Add in the cooked pasta and cooked peas until everything is combined. Season to taste.
7. Leftovers Night
If you make this Dollar Tree menu plan for two people as is, you’ll notice something we did: there will be leftovers.
Leftovers that you can use for lunches (or you can make these Dollar Tree Lunch Ideas), OR, leftovers that you can save up for leftovers night, where everyone gets to pick what they’d like to heat up and eat.
Helps cut the cost down, too.
8. Broccoli Cheddar Soup ‘n’ Biscuits
Items to Buy from DT:1 bag of frozen broccoli, 1 block of 4-oz real-cheddar cheese, 1 cup shelf-stable whole milk, 1 package cheddar biscuit mix, 1 can white potatoes
Approximate Calories: 652/serving
I used to love making broccoli soup when I was in my 20s, and just got out of the habit of doing so. Here’s to more of broccoli soup in my life!
Make biscuits according to package instructions.
Cook frozen broccoli according to package instructions. Chop up 2-3 potatoes (I put those and the broccoli in a saucepan with a steamer basket and lid). Shred the block of cheddar cheese.
In a blender, add the hot broccoli, 1 cup of milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and potatoes until pureed.
Serve the broccoli soup with two biscuits each.
Dollar Tree Menu Plan Grocery List
- 2 frozen bags of broccoli (12 oz.)
- 1 frozen bag of green beans (or 1 can)
- 1 frozen bag of peas
- 1 bag of frozen buttered carrots
- 2 7-oz. frozen pork sausages
- 2 cans white potatoes
- 2 shelf-stable whole milk containers
- 3 blocks 4-oz. real cheddar cheese
- 1 container parmesan cheese
- 1 bag of flour
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 bag of crispy fried onions
- 2 bags of biscuit mix
- 2 cans of chicken
- 1 bottle of BBQ sauce
- 1 boxed instant mashed potatoes
- 1 box pancake mix
- 1 jar of peanut butter
- 1 jar of jam/preserves (I chose raspberry preserves)
- 1 jar of minced garlic
- 1 bag of gnocchi
- 2 tbsps. fat (since butter is not sold there, I used leftover sausage fat)
- 1 box macaroni pasta
To be honest, if you make this Dollar Tree meal plan, then you’ll have more than 7 nights of meals. My husband and I certainly did. You can use the extras for leftover meal nights, or for lunches, or to feed another person. Your choice!
You can also use these Dollar Tree meal ideas:
Here’s where to find the recipes in the image above:
- Healthy Office Snack Ideas from Dollar Tree
- 7 Struggle Meals that Don’t Suck (from Dollar Tree)
- Best Dollar Tree Lunches on a Budget
- Dollar Tree Casseroles and Dinner Recipes
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