Dollar Tree Dinner – Pizza Party!

Fun times ahead – pizza party at home, let the kids help, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Pizza crusts, $1.00 each – $2.00 total
Cheese! $1.00 each = $2.00 total
2 cans corn, $1.00 each = $2.00 total
Chocolate Pudding! $1.00 = $1.00
Pretty good supper! Pizza & a veggie & chocolate pudding for dessert – yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚
Enough for four people . . . plus a whole extra pizza leftover for seconds.


2.00 – 2 crusts
1.00 – can of pizza sauce (sorry, forgot the picture)
2.00 – 2 cheese
2.00 – 2 corn
1.00 – 4 puddings
$8.00 total / 4 people = $2.00 per person

(and remember, there’s another pizza, too!)

If you liked this one, you might like these, too.
Dollar Tree Dinner – Italian Night
Dollar Tree Dinner – Holiday Picnic
Dollar Tree Dinner – Hot Soup on a Rainy Night
Budget Battle – Micky D. vs. The Groceries

All this was purchased at the Dollar Tree in Nacogdoches, but no guarantees about any of this info. Things definitely change.

This post is just for my personal entertainment and encouragement, but it’s okay with me if you want to enjoy it, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Budget Battle – Mickey D. vs. The Groceries!

First, please welcome . . . world famous Mickey D!

Known far and wide for a big smile, big shoes, and big calories (plus all sorts of other controversial topics), Mickey D has been a winner of big buck$ for many years. But no shame here – if you’ve decided to take Mickey D out for lunch, that’s okay by me (I have done the same now and then, for sure!). *

In this corner we have the classic combo #1, for $7.13.

(This is commonly considered as one meal for one person.)

Picture of a meal at McDonald's, showing hamberger, fries and a drink.

Next, direct your attention to . . . . The Groceries!

A former champion fallen on hard times and scorned by many, The Groceries have recently been making a comeback, one smart dollar at a time.

In this corner, we have groceries purchased for $7.13.

Kroger receipt for $7.13

Yes, that’s right, two receipts for the exact same amount.

(Extra thanks to the self-check-out employees at Kroger on North Street for their kind and patient customer service as they helped me get the onions to exactly the right weight so this post could work out perfectly. )

For the fast food meal, I could not figure out any other photos to take. I bought it, I ate it, (it was yummy!) and that was that. To calculate nutritional info for this meal, or others, please visit their main nutritional website here.

For the buy-groceries-and-cook-at-home meal, read on for more details.

Here’s what I bought!

picture of groceries, potatoes, peppers, onions, and sausage
bag of potatoes for 2.49
green pepper for 59 cents
Yellow peppers with a price for 88 cents

About the kielbasa and onions, I forgot to take a picture of those price tags, but you can see their price in the receipt shown above.

So then I brought home the groceries and made this huge pile of food! I served 4 people today for brunch and had 4 servings leftover, either for second helpings now or for lunches this week = total 8 servings.

table set for four people
serving bowl
plate of food

I sliced the peppers carefully so that each plate could have a decorative topping to add beauty to the plate. The rest of the peppers were chopped up small and added to the pan to cook with the other ingredients.


For the fast food meal – $7.13 / 1 serving = $7.13 per serving

For the cook-at-home meal, $7.13 / 8 servings = 89 cents per serving

More cheap meal ideas here:

If you enjoyed this one, you might also like these…

Dollar Tree Dinner – Holiday Picnic
Dollar Tree Dinner – Italian Night
Dollar Tree Dinner – Hot Soup on a Rainy Night

This post is purely for my entertainment and encouragement, but it’s okay with me if you want to enjoy it, too. No affiliate links to click and nothing to buy.

All food purchased in Nacogdoches in October 2019. Prices definitely will change. No guarantees.

I don’t hate McDonalds, sometimes it’s just what I want and I eat it right up. Nonetheless, it is both cheaper and healthier to avoid fast food as often as possible, so that’s what I try to do. I encourage you to invite The Groceries into your home, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Free PDF Cookbook download here:

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4.00 a day

Dollar Tree Dinner – Holiday Picnic

It’s picnic time!
(Lakeside Park, Nacogdoches)

Whether it’s a special holiday or just a pretty day at the park with family and friends, Dollar Tree has you covered for affordable picnicking fun. This meal was all purchased at the awesome Nacogdoches Dollar Tree.*

* This is not an ad or an affiliate link; I get nothing and there’s nothing for you to click, anyway. This “Dollar Tree Dinner” series is purely for my personal entertainment, but it’s okay with me if you enjoy it, too. ๐Ÿ™‚


Hot dogs & chips
Peanuts for snack
Pudding for dessert

* Dollar Tree Dinners usually have water to drink – save money and eat healthy, two for one! This was a special occasion party meal, though, so I added soda this time.

Hmmmmm, that hotdog looks a little pink! But no worries, this was just for the picture. We cooked the hot dogs all the way through before we ate them (and you definitely should, too!)

The Dollar Tree Dinners are all based on four servings simply for consistency in comparison.

Some thoughts about the ketchup and mustard. I expect most people already have these in their fridge (we certainly did). But I went ahead and bought them new for the meal, just for the sake of the activity having accurate costs. They add not even a whole cent to the per-serving cost (based on the “per serving” notes on the container), but they did add $2.00 to “today’s shopping trip” cost. So, if you already have those in the fridge, you could have saved $2.00 today!

Why peanuts?

These added a little something extra to snack on while people were visiting before and after the main meal. They are also a valuable plant-based protein, for extra nutrition. (Don’t serve if someone in your group is allergic!)


Buns – $1.00
Hot dogs – $1.00
Chips – $1.00
Peanuts – $1.00
Pudding – $1.00
Soda – $1.00
$6.00 – basic cost today in the store could be as low as $6.00 total

Possible Extra Costs ?
$1.00 Ketchup (if you don’t have some at home already)
$1.00 Mustard (same)
$1.00 Chips (I got two kinds, for variety, but one bag serves 5, so really only needed one to serve this meal)
$3.00 more possible items

Basics + possible extras – $9.00 – still under $10.00


.125 – buns
.125 – hot dogs
.025 – ketchup
.008 – mustard
.20 – chips
.166 – peanuts
.083 – soda
.25 – pudding
.982 = 98 Cents for this meal for one person

*I’m certainly not an accountant. This is just doing basic division of total price/servings = cost per serving. Remember wondering, “When will I ever use this?” Now you know when!


Bun – 110
Hot dog – 110
Ketchup – 20
Mustard – 0
Chips – 150
Peanuts – 170
Pudding – 100
Soda – 100
(it says 60 on the package, but we had a tall glass, so I added a few extra calories to account for that)

TOTAL FOR THE MEAL – 760 calories

I realize that’s a lot of calories for only one meal, but we decided to go for it anyway.

A party meal once in a while is good for morale!

*Definitely I am not a nutritionist or dietician or anything official. These counts are based directly from the consumer-friendly packaging that anyone else can see and use, too.


The photos show the table set for four people . . . that means there was a lot of food leftover! You can invite more people to the party , or some people can have more than one serving (teenagers, anyone!?)

Italian Night
Hot Soup on a Rainy Night

Dollar Tree Dinner – Italian Night

Tonight was Italian night at the Dollar Tree.

The menu was:

Spaghetti with tasty sauce

Veggie balls
Steamed veggies
Almost gelato with almond biscotti

All items were purchased at our awesome Dollar Tree in Nacogdoches.

Where is Italy?
See it on a world map right here!

Total cost = $6.00

(Not $6 โ€œeachโ€ but $6 total for this full table of food, with some leftovers not shown in photo!)

First, let’s talk about that spaghetti.

You can see it says “50% More Free” and it was so much spaghetti! I was careful to use only as much as I estimated would be in a regular box, and even doing that, I still had more spaghetti than we needed and put some in the fridge. Plus, there was still a lot left in the box, plenty for another meal later. For the sake of this post, though, we’ll call it “$1.00 worth of” spaghetti, as if it were a regular box.

Next, the sauce!
This was a basic plain sauce, just a “flavor”, not “chunky”. I didn’t add anything to it, but in your real world, I’d recommend chop up anything you might have extra in the fridge, leftover veggies, bits of onion, whatever, and add all that in. Spaghetti sauce is very forgiving that way.

The can said 40 calories per serving, and 5 servings in the can. But I used it all, on four plates, so that puts it at 50 sauce calories per plate.

These veggie balls were delicious! I was happily surprised at how tasty they were and would definitely get them again. That said, they did stay quite soft, even when baked in a hot oven, and they did not keep the ball shape even for a moment once the fork reached them. I broke them up into the sauce on individual plates tonight, but next time, I would just do that right in the pan, which would spread the flavors throughout and also add more texture to the sauce.

I was disappointed that there were not 12 in the box, which I would have assumed as a standard (3 per serving, 4 servings per box), but oh well, there were only 9, so that was that. You may notice one plate has none – that’s because of allergies. There were more left on the pan, not shown in the picture.

Because there were fewer than an even 4, I’ll call that only 100 veggie ball calories (instead of the 120 shown on the package).

A trip to Italy traditional includes gelato, so “ice cream” it is.
It’s not fancy, I agree, but it seemed to fit the meal. This package said 1/2 cup per serving and 6 servings. I’m not sure how they measured that, because I used a measuring cup on purpose to try to be exact, and I only got 4. Which worked out fine, but still, though you should know. 90 cal on the box, plus a little more, I guess, so 100 cal -ish each ?

The biscotti package had enough cookies for each serving to have 4, but I was confused, and only put 3 in the dishes, and then ate up the rest myself, while wondering why there were these “extra” pieces in the package!

Calorie & Cost Summary

I am definitely not an official nutritionist, or dietary advisor of any sort, so I’m just doing some regular basic math based on the labels and per-serving info, the way those labels are intended to use by regular people.

Calories Per Plate

Spaghetti – 200 calories
Sauce – 50 calories
Veggie balls – 100 cal
Steamed mixed veggies – 50 cal ?
Ice cream – 100 cal
Biscotti – 140

Total Calories – about 650 (ish) (it’s for supper, after all, not a snack)
Total Protein – about 14 g (ish)

(sorry I forgot to take a photo of the veggies, but I think I remember they were 50 calories a serving)

Cost Per Plate

.25 spaghetti (1 box / 4 plates)
.25 sauce (1 can / 4 plates)
.25 veggie balls (1 box / 4 plates)
.25 veggies on the side (1 bag / 4 plates)
.25 dessert (1 ice cream / 4 bowls)
.25 cookies (1 box / 4 servings)


Total Cost Per Plate – $1.50 (ish….maybe another few cents in tax?)

A good price for a full meal of real food, including dessert!

Learn Italian!

Now try a few words and phrases in Italian! Here are some places to try. (not affiliate links, I’m not selling, just fun places I like for languages.)

Duolingo – popular free language-learning site

Pimsleur – try a free 30-minute conversational lesson today to go along with your meal – it’s fun!

(after that, there is a fee, but the free lesson is really free)

Hot Soup on a Rainy Night

(This meal was sourced entirely from Dollar Tree in Nacogdoches.)
(cost per meal = 95 cents)

It was a dark and windy evening and about to rain . . . soup and bread seemed like the perfect meal for a cozy supper tonight.

Vegetable Beef Soup
French Baguette
Raspberry Sherbet
Fudge Mint Cookie

There are many different options for soup. There were at least four brands of things like “beefy vegetable” or “vegetable beef” and I choose this particular brand for no particular reason other than I liked the picture on the can. They also have several chicken options, chicken & veggie, chicken & noodle, hearty chicken, etc, plus our old standby of classic Tomato.

This soup was indeed very thick – it would work fine to add a little more water and maybe an extra can of of beans or corn, if you’d like to extend it even further.


French Baguettes – such a fancy name adds a special fancy feeling to the meal, and I think meal time is about a lot more than just re-fueling the tank (at least most of the time, anyway). Emotional connection and a pleasant experience matter a lot.

These breads were the item that inspired this whole meal. They caught my eye and I thought they looked perfect to cut into four pieces and then it was a quick jump to add soup with them.

These needed about 6 minutes in a hot oven and they were great just like that, right out of the package. You might also add a bit of butter or garlic powder, perhaps?

I think they will also work beautifully sliced in half again, longways, and used like garlic bread with spaghetti or lasagna, or perhaps sliced in rounds, to make dipper chips for hummus, pimiento cheese or tuna salad? So many options to try!

I have always loved sherbet and still do.

I used raspberry tonight, but Dollar Tree also has orange sherbet available.
(We have both in the freezer right now!)


I added the cookie just as a little bonus at the side of the sherbet, to look pretty and add another special touch to the dessert.

These cookies tasted just like their packaging implies they might. I think they would work just fine in any recipe that calls for a different brand of similar cookies in similar packaging.

Visit Shangriladoches on Facebook, too.
See you there!

Back-to-School Potluck

Back-to-School Potluck!

Bring some goodies to share & let’s meet all the new friends for the semester!

This event is hosted by Amtgard’s Sun Fall Abbey, Kingdom of the Wetlands.

Info from their FB page:

The Republic of Sun Fall Abbey is an Amtgard park that plays in at Pecan Park (826 Starr Ave) in Nacogdoches Texas, right next to Stephen F Austin University. We meet on Sundays, starting usually around 12:00 pm. Our park is in a college town, so during the summer months, and Dec/Jan our attendance drops to just the people who live in town. The vast majority of our populace are ‘newbies’, and every week brings a new set of day 1 people. We are a very high-energy park and, in our opinion, the most fun thing around. We often host Fighter Practices, or Arts and Sciences Nights, periodically through the week and they are announced on this group’s wall.

Library Events – July 2016

JULY 2016

ย All events are subject to change.
Please call the Library for updated info and any recent changes.
More info: Call 936-559-2970

July 12, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
AGES: 7-11 years
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Ninjas are stealthy and ninjas are masters of self-control and ninjas are awesome! Come learn and practice your ninja skills with an hour of ninja fun.

July 13, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.
AGES: 10 years and older
Pre-reg is required. Why wait? Call today!
More info & register: 936-559-2970

July 15, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.
Adult Event (18+)
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Youโ€™re invited to taste and compare organic vs. chemicals, home-made vs. restaurant, and many more pairings. Can you really tell the difference? Come find out!

July 16, 2016 at 2:30 p.m.
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Learn how to get the most out of your available gardening space and make plans for fall plantings.

July 18, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Cool off at the Library while you learn to make delicious and nutritious smoothies.

Tasty samples will be available!

July 19, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
All ages.
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Join us in an engaging hands-on celebration of cultures, as we learn about various countries represented by some of the many families right here in our very own Nacogdoches. Big city diversity in one of the friendliest small towns in America. We have the world right here!

July 19, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.
(Regular event on the 3rd Tuesday)
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Join your friends for some friendly competition in Spades, Dominos or whatever youโ€™d like.

July 22, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.
AGES: 10-17 years
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Find out if you have what it takes to triumph in target challenges and team combat. Please bring your own Nerf gun. All guns may be checked and will be subject to approval by the Library staff.

July 25, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
AGES: 10 years and older
Pre-reg required for this event. Why wait? Call today!
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Our Hackathon will provide lots of leftover pieces from chips to wires to scrap metal. Learn how to recycle odds and ends to create cool and clever jewelry. Pre-reg required for this event. Please pre-reg by July 23, 2016.

July 26, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Bring your own picnic and blanket and food for your family. Weโ€™ll provide storytime, fun and games. Enjoy a great family picnic indoors, without the need for bug spray or sunscreen.

July 27, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.
AGES: 10-17 years
Pre-reg required. Why wait? Call today!
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Remember the classic board game, โ€œHungry Hungry Hipposโ€ ? Make yourself a part of the game in this large scale human version! Please note that pre-reg is required for this event. Please call before July 26th.

July 29, 2016 at 6;00 p.m.
All ages welcome.
More info & register: 936-559-2970

Bring the whole family for over-sized games, books, dominoes and more. There will be something for everyone.

March 28 – Save the date!

feb salad

The date for Spring Fling at the Nacogdoches Farmers Market has been announced already so be sure to get that on your calendar and plan to attend. This is a great family-friendly event, with even more vendors than usual, plus a special children’s area, (often with petting zoo) and special music and special everything. It’s a fun time!

More info will be posted at the Farmers Market main site as it becomes available.

Check here for more info.

More info here and at the Nacogdoches Events Calendar.

Halloween party-prep for teens

With Halloween just around the corner & Halloween party planning underway, now’s the time to learn more about edible decorations to fit the occasion and the public Library is here to help.

Gather your friends together and get signed up for the teen workshop about how to make delicious decorations this Thursday at 5:30 p.m., just in time for the big event on Friday.

Advance registration is required for this particular workshop, so remember to give the library a call to let them know you want to attend.


Library Website Here.

Nacogdoches Events Calendar Here.

Food Manager certification training class

Even the names of foodborne illnesses sound scary & awful. Terms like Cryptosporidiosis, Amebiasis, Campylobacteriosis and Vibrio Infections are enough to inspire anyone to want to learn more about food safety and how to protect yourself, your family, your clients and your customers from illness caused by unsafe handling of food.

Texas A & M is ready to help.

Course Name: “Food Safety: It’s our Business”

Offered by: Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service

Class location: Nacogdoches County Extension Office (near the courthouse)

Fee: $125 (valid Driver’s License is also required)

Re-test fee: $40

Certificate: Food Manager Certification (valid for 5 years)
Enrollment in the class does not guarantee you will pass the test or receive your certificate.

The fee includes all materials and the testing packet.Study materials available after you have paid the fee.