Care to join me?? I think its time for a grocery challenge. We’re all trying to save money these days, and I thought I’d throw in my 2 week grocery bill and how I did it.
My bill this week (for about 2 weeks) was right around 100.00. 80.00 of it was done at the grocery store, but the majority of my produce was purchased at the local swap meet (the cherry auction for locals.)
About 25 of that went to non-food items. I bought some containers to put my bulk flours and mixes and such into. I heart Snapware by the way.
I did all of my shopping this time at WinCo (for you local gals) and took full advantage of their bulk section again. I LOVE that bulk section ladies!! LOVE IT.
The plan of attack is simple. I make a menu, using whatever is lingering in my freezer/fridge/pantry. I then write a list along-side the menu list of all the things I need for each meal. If I have an abundance of a certain ingredient at home, I build the menu around that/those item(s).
Ok, so here goes. I dont have my receipt in front of me, so I’m just going to review it without exact prices this time. Next time I shop I’ll save it and be more detailed.
Apples, Bananas, one mango (for the little girl I’m watching during the week), fresh basil (three bunches for pesto), 10 pound sack of potatoes,fresh honey from the “do not lift lid or bees will escape” box, blackberry honey to be exact! In the bulk section I picked up a teeny bag of pinenuts for my pesto. I did it this way because they are 19.99 a pound. I picked up roughly a half cup so I could make two batches of pesto. I also picked up about 2 or 3 pounds of semolina flour for pasta making, whole wheat bread flour, spelt flour for sourdough baking, baking soda, blueberry muffin mix ( a ton of this), cat food (yes, cat food), and pinto beans. I only needed one sack of chicken breasts from the meat dept. They were on sale for 3.50! I had some in my freezer, along with a value pack of ground turkey, so I knew I had enough meat for the menu. I picked up 2 gallons of milk, 2 small cartons of half and half, and a little jug of coffee creamer in the dairy row. I grabbed a big can of ovaltine in the cereal aisle, skipped cereal alltogether, and moved on to the register.
At the swap meet, I bought 2 heads of cabbage, lemons, limes, tomatoes, serrano chilis, a pound of jamaica flowers, and two carne asada tacos with cilantro, lemon, and salsa. LOL!!
So just to give you an idea of how these ingredients were used this week, heres a few menu items we enjoyed:
1.) Bean tostadas: pinto beans, soaked overnight, boiled with a bit of salt and a spoonful of lard. Yes, I said lard. Deal with it people. LOL! I pulled out my tortilla press and corn masa mix and pressed out the number of tortillas I’d need and crisped them up in a bit of oil. I chopped up some cabbage, cilantro, and tomato, and tossed it with some lemon juice and a pinch of salt to top them with. I made up a batch of salsa for the week, so we had that to spice things up. Voila. Dinner.
2.) Tamales with beans. Pulled some tamales out of the freezer (we made 17 dozen on new years day), served with the leftover beans. Ta-daaa!
3.) Pesto chicken over pasta: Blended up some pesto (1/4 c toasted pine nuts, 1 bunch of fresh basil, pinch of salt, 1/4 c parm cheese and 1 cup of olive oil blended), poured it over my trusty chicken breasts, and baked it covered at 350 for about 30 minutes. I served it over homemade pasta from my semolina flour and eggs that I got from my moms chickens. These are the very chickens I blogged so much about a while back. Glad I still get some of the benefits, lol!
4.) fancy dancy chicken sandwiches: Canned chicken (I had 2 cans left from a costco trip a while back), drained and mixed with mayo. I made my own mayo by blending 1 room temp egg, 1 room temp egg yolk, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1.5 TBSP lemon juice (about half a lemon) a generous pinch of salt, and 3/4 cup-1 cup olive oil. Blend the first ingredients well, then slowly add the olive oil to the blender while its running. Just like that, you have fresh mayo, and you know whats in it. I spread this on a piece of toasted bread, topped that with a few basil leaves and finely sliced tomatoes, added another piece of toasted bread, and then repeated the chicken and topped it again, club sandwich style. It was pretty and tasty. I think I’ll try making basil mayo next.
5). “Tacos Flojos” This is what Art’s grandma named this particular method of taco making. It tranlates to “lazy tacos”. Take corn tortillas (I use homemade, but she uses store bought these days), fry them in a bit of oil, and add canned chicken seasoned with a little pepper to the tortilla before folding it over to make a taco. This way, the tortilla gets cooked up, and the chicken ends up heated. This process also takes the “canned” flavor out of the chicken. We topped these with some homemade salsa from earlier in the week, and some of the cabbage/cilantro/tomato mix we had left from days before. I think we had beans still too….
6.) Homemade mac and cheese: I had 1/2 of a big block of velveeta in the fridge, and even though that stuff lasts forever, I wanted to use it up. I had the little shells I like to use already, so my only out of pocket expense was milk and butter (oh yeah! I bought butter at winco too!) I made it this time with the whole wheat flour, (the roux I mean) and I really liked the way it turned out. Served it with fruit and jamaica.
Tonight, we’re having deviled eggs (to use up yesterdays mayo and the eggs mom brought), soup, and sandwiches. I’ll probably make chicken noodle soup with homemade egg noodles. YUM. Sandwiches will likely be grilled chicken and mozzarella cheese sandwiches with basil mayo (yeah I’m gonna give it a shot) on homemade spelt sourdough. Yum.
How about you? Anyone in for a challenge? You really CAN feed your family on less, but it truly does take some planning and preparation. Its so worth it though. As a homemaker, I see it as a form of respect to my husband too. I may not bring in the cash, but I can certainly stretch it, and save money for him. Its almost a form of income when you think about it. The more I save, the better!!