Friday, March 26, 2010

Menu time

Well it's past menu time but here's what we've been eating this week: 

Lasagna with french bread
Tuna cakes
Chicken pockets
Salsa Chicken burritos
Ham and bean soup
Baked Ham and scalloped potatoes
Ham and noodle casserole

It's been yummy so far and I will be posting the recipes soon!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Twilight Cupcakes

Ok so I know this isn't exactly a saving money post...but it's still food related. My neighbor is having a Twilight party tonight for the release of New Moon on DVD. So I thought I'd make some fun treats to bring to the party. Werewolf and Vampire cupcakes. If you want how to pictures check out for the werewolf ones and  for the vampire ones. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

So I know I haven't updated in a few weeks. I actually haven't gone grocery shopping for anything more than bread, milk, eggs and small other day to day items since the last time that I posted. All of that extra meat that I bought on my last shopping trip really helped. We also have had a family party, date night and pizza night, so I haven't had to make dinner everynight. I haven't posted any new recipes because I haven't really made anything exciting to share. Just typical Tuna casserole, chicken casserole, chicken soup and grilled roast beef and swiss cheese sandwhich type things.

I have also been frustrated because the past two weeks I have not gotten my grocery store ads in the mail. So I was lost. If I don't have my ads I can't make my menu! But since my pantry is running low and my fridge and freezer and near empty I need to menu plan.....tomorrow since tonight we are eating Irish at my mother-in-law's house!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Going European

Mediterranean Herbed Tenderloin and French Rice

I bought a Hormel Tenderloin that was already marinating in Mediterranean Herbs and olive oil. So I just popped it in the oven and made some rice to go with it. I found this recipe for French Rice that was pretty good. 

1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of long grain rice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

In a saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and the rice. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, pepper, pepper flakes and remaining salt. Add rice and toss to combine.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

I used and altered version of Giada De Laurentis' recipe for turkey meatballs. 
1 small onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup of dried bread crumbs
3 Tbsp ketcup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (you can get this at most grocery stores and it's not expensive)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb ground turkey 
3 Tbsp olive oil 
Simple Red sauce (recipe follows)

Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs.Place into your crockpot. Then add the tomato sauce. Cook on low for 7 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

When the meatballs are cooked through, cook the Whole Grain Spaghetti noodles as per package directions and then drain them and added them to the crock pot.

Red Sauce

1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 (14oz) cans of diced tomatoes Italian style, undrained
1 (8 oz) can mushroom pieces and stems, drained (optional, I don't use this)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp salt

Cook beef, onion and garlic in a skillet over med heat until beef is brown; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chunky Chicken Soup

Here's the recipe of the day:

Chunky Chicken Soup

1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 can of chicken broth
2 cups of water
2 cups assorted vegetables (such as sliced carrots, bell peppers, broccoli florets etc. You can use fresh, frozen or canned vegetables. I used Broccoli florets, red bell pepper, yellow squash and asparagus)
1 envelope of Italian dressing mix
1 cup MINUTE rice or small shell pasta
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 

Stir together all ingredients except the parsley in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover; Simmer until pasta is tender. Stir in parsley. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. 

This soup was tasty though not as good as chicken soup that you cook all day. When you're short on time it's a great dinner fix.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shopping Day

So I got my week's shopping done today. I went to two stores this week Fresh Market and Smith's. 
So here's my menu for the week:

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs
Beef Roast with Mashed potatoes
Chicken tenders with Potato wedges
Pork Tenderloin with noodles
Tuna casserole
Chunky Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Chicken and rice casserole

As always I went to my pantry firstand then made my shopping list for the remaining foods I need to complete my meals. My shopping list for this week's menu is: 

Fresh Market
1 box of Barilla Whole Grain Pasta (shells) $0.88
1 dozen large eggs  $1.50
2.15 lb Beef Roast  $7.50
1 lb Ground Turkey $1.57
1.61 lb Chicken Tenders $2.88
1.7 lb Hormel Pork Loin Mediterranean Herbs and Olive Oil $5.99
1 lb Cheddar Cheese $3.99
1.05 lb Asparagus $2.09
3 Yellow onions $0.86
Western Family Frozen Orange Juice  FREE

Total: $27.26


Red Pepper  $1.50
Garlic  $0.39
Yellow Squash  $0.69
1.25 lb Broccoli  $1.24
2 cans of Chicken of the Sea Tuna $1.00
2 gallons of milk  $3.33
1 lb Land o Lakes Lunch Meat  $2.99
4 lb bag of frozen chicken breasts $5.99
1 box of fruit loops $1.67

Total: $22.13

Grand Total: $49.39

A couple of notes here. I got free orange juice by using a coupon from the Fresh Market ad. When I bought 1 dozen eggs I got the orange juice.
Also at Smith's when you bought four boxes of Kellogg's cereal you got two gallons of milk for free. As you can see I only have one box of cereal in the list and a price beside the milk. Since we will only eat part of one box of cereal in a week my need for the week is one box not four. I bought all four to get the free milk but the other three boxes will go into the pantry to use another week.So the list here only reflects what I will use this week, not nescessarily what I bought (I'll talk more about this is a minute). To figure out the price of the milk I just figured that I bought 6 items for $10 (four boxes of cereal plus the two free gallon of milk) so divide $10 by 6 items and you get a price of $1.67 each.

Ok I as I mentioned before I bought more than I needed for the week. This is how I stock my pantry and how I have things on hand that I can use in later weeks. When there is a great sale on something that I use frequently I buy more of that item and store it in the pantry or freezer. That way when I need it I have it and paid typically less for it then I would if I bought it later and it wasn't on sale. 

Also most of the time if you buy an item in bulk it saves you more money than if you buy a smaller portion. For instance I will only use about half of the 3.22 lb of chicken tenders that I actually bought this week (which is why only half of that is reflected in my shopping list), but had I only bought 1.5 lb of chicken tenders I would have probably paid nearly $3 or $4 dollars a pound. This way I paid more this week but I can use rest of the chicken next week and save some money.

Most of the grocery stores have twice yearly Case lot sales. This is a great opportunity to take some of the money you have been saving on groceries each week and stock your pantry. I like to buy things like diced tomatoes, black beans and baking goods (flour, sugar, chocolate chips etc....)

If you want a list of "pantry/freezer" items that I bought so you can get an idea of how much I spent on those items here it is: 

1.61 lb chicken tenders  $2.88
3 lb Ground Turkey (it came in a 4 lb package)  $4.71
4 cans of chicken of the sea tuna  $2.00
Kraft salad dressing $2.50
3 boxes of cereal  $5.00
Pork roast  $6.03

Total: 23.12

So in all I spent $73.02 but I can use the meat in those pantry/freezer items for 7 more meals. It was worth it to spend a little more this week to save more later. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Garlic Pork Roast

I haven't gone shopping for the week yet. That's on the list for today. I wanted to share a really yummy recipe we used last night though. I had a 3 lb Pork Sirloin in my freezer so I took it out for dinner last night. I found a recipe for a pot roast online and modified it to our liking. The kids LOVED it and asked for seconds. 

salt and pepper
6 cloves of garlic,slivered
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of chicken stock (or broth)
1 bay leaf

Place the onion chunks in the bottom of a 6 qt crock pot. Place the roast on a plate. Rub all over with salt and pepper. Cut slits all over the roast and stuff slivers of garlic in them. Cut some of the slits deeper and some more shallow. Place the roast on top of the onions. Pour the water and the chicken stock over the meat. Add the bay leaf. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours (or until a meat thermometer reads 170F). 
If you want to make a pot roast just add carrots and potatoes to the crock pot.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm back...kicked up a notch

We've had a rough few weeks around here and anything non-essential to getting through the day was put on hold, including this blog and the budget that comes with it. But I'm happy to say that I'm back. Instead of trying to play catch up from what I've not posted I'm just going to start with this week's menu and shopping list. 

Also I am going to start posting my recipes daily. I thought that would be a better format for the blog. I'm also starting a new fitness program and along with it an eating program that requires a specific number of portions from the different food groups. At first I was pretty concerned that this will affect my budget grossly. If you have ever looked at a meal plan for a fitness program they want you to eat things like Salmon, Halibut and Swordfish all in one week (which is exactly what they suggested in my guide book). Well I decided to take the "Portion approach" to my food plan. That means that I will be making my own menu based on the number of portions from each food group I'm supposed to eat and what's on sale that week. I'm determined to keep my budget at $50 and prove that you can eat healthy and follow a fitness plan type diet and not break the bank. 
I guess my blog just got kicked up a notch!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Last week's recipes

Wow it's been a crazy week and again I am behind. I haven't had a chance to get my recipes on here until now so here they are:

Brats and Sauerkraut 

This recipe is so easy. You take a package of Brats and you line them in the bottom of a crock pot. Then you take a jar of  Sauerkraut and you dump it on top of the Brats, juice and all. Then you let it cook on low for 7-8 hours. Season with some pepper. You can eat it on a toasted  bun or just as is.

Country Style Pork Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Corn

1 cup Ketchup
1 onion, diced
2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1-2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  1 tsp chili powder
   1 can coke

In a crock pot pour coke over the ribs. Bake 6-7 hours. Pour off excess juices. Mix above ingredients and pour over ribs. Bake 45-60 minutes more.

Manicotti with Green Beans

Red Sauce (recipe below)
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed (optional)
2 cups small curd creamed cottage cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional, I don't use this)
1/4 tsp pepper
14 uncooked manicotti shells
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Make red sauce. Heat oven to 350 F. Squeeze spinach to drain, spread on paper towels and pat to dry. Mix spinach, cottage cheese, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and pepper. Spread about one-third of the sauce in ungreased 9x13 baking dish. Fill uncooked manicotti shells with spinach mixture (I just use my hands and pack the mixture down into the shells with my's the easiest way I have found to fill the shells). Place shells in sauce in dish. Pour remaining sauce evenly over shells, covering the shells completely. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until shells are tender.

Red Sauce

My family loves this sauce. Josh has always hated any type of red sauce since he was younger. I made this sauce one night and substituted cooked Italian sausage chunks and he loved it and couldn't get enough. You can use this sauce for any of your pasta dishes.

1 lb ground beef (you could substitute Italian sausage cut into chunks and browned)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 (14oz) cans of diced tomatoes Italian style, undrained
1 (8 oz) can mushroom pieces and stems, drained (optional, I don't use this)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp salt

Cook beef, onion and garlic in a skillet over med heat until beef is brown; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Crock Pot Cabbage Soup

1 lb ground beef
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
1 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
3 (10.5oz) cans beef consomme, undiluted
2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes (I like the Italian style ones)
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
salt and pepper to taste

Beef Consume: Beef consomme is not the same as Beef broth. I have found that Campbell's makes a beef consomme and that's the brand I usually use. However check with your grocery store to see if they carry it, not all of them do. For instance I for mine at Macey's but Walmart didn't carry it.

Brown meat; drain well. Place meat in a 4 quart slow cooker; stir in water the remaining ingredients except the rice. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Increase heat to high setting; stir in rice. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes or until rice is tender.

Iowa BBQ Pork Chops with Baked Potatoes and Peas

4 pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick (I think we had 8 thin pork chops and had enough sauce for it)
1/2 packet Amazing Taste for Pork (seasoning packet found at the fresh meat counter at Macey's)

1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp vinegar (I just used Rice vinegar)
3 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp orange peel
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Moisten pork chops with water and coat well with seasoning mix. Place in shallow baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Combine sauce ingredients in sauce pan and heat for 5 minutes. Pour into blender and puree. Cover pork chops with sauce and continue baking for 10 minutes.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

I got this recipe off of the back of a Campbell's Soup can and my family loves it.

1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked regular long grain white rice (NOT MINUTE RICE!)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups frozen vegetables
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Stir soup, water, rice, onion powder, pepper and vegetables in a 9x13 baking dish. Top with uncooked chicken. Season chicken as desired with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cover. Bake at 375 F for 50 minutes or until chicken and rice are done. Top with cheese. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir rice before serving.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Week 3 Shopping List

So this week I decided on the following menu:

Brats and Saurkraut
Country-style Pork Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and corn
Manicotti with green beans
Fish with Lemon Rice
Cabbage Soup with warm rolls
Pork Chops with Baked Potatoes and peas
Chicken Rice and Vegetable Casserole

My shopping list: 

1 gallon of milk
grated Parmesan cheese
1 dozen eggs
1 box of cream of wheat
1 head of cabbage
1 yellow onion
5 lb bag of potatoes
1 (16 oz) pkg frozen peas
1 (16 oz) pkg frozen corn
1 bunch of Bananas
4 lemons
1 jar of Siegfried's Saurkraut
1 box of Manicotti shells
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
3 (10.5 oz) cans of Campbell's Beef consume
3.26lbs of fresh chicken
2.71 lbs Pork Country-style Ribs
1.68 lbs Boneless Pork Chops
2.13 lbs Ground Beef
1 loaf of Whole Grain Farm Bread
hot dog buns
1 can of Western Family Crescent rolls
1 bag of Lays chips

As I explained in my last post, I didn't check the dates on the ads and I compiled my menu from old ads. Since I didn't figure out my mistake until after I had already shopped for half of the list I knew I had to stick to my menu and I would be over budget. I wasn't over by as much as I expected though. I spent $65.82 so I was only over budget by $15.82....not too bad. However it does show the savings that you really do get by buying the food on sale!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Lesson Learned

Ok so yesterday I sat down with my ads as always and made my menu and shopping list. I went out to one store to get the items I needed there and my daughter fell asleep before I could go to the second store. I began cleaning my kitchen and found some ads and realized that I had made my menu and shopping list from old ads! To make matters worse I had gotten 60% of the items I needed already. All I have left to get is the meat for most of my meals. I can't change my menu because of all of the stuff I already got so I'm going to stick to the menu and suffer the consequences.....I will probably be over budget. So the moral of the story is: Check your ad dates BEFORE you make your shopping list!

I will post the list, menu and how much I overspent later today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Late is better than never.....This week's recipes.

I know I am so late with this but here are the recipes for my menu this week.  Also I will be putting up my grocery list tomorrow. I got off track with my menu this week because my husband and I had a date night and ate at In and Out Burger and then my in laws came over for Sunday dinner and brought dinner with I am two meals behind this week.

Baked Ziti, Crescent Rolls, Corn

1/2 lb ground beef, browned with chopped onion and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 can Hunt's Garlic and Herb flavored spaghetti sauce
1/4 box of Ronzoni whole grain penne pasta, cooked and drained
3/4 small container of cottage cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

In the bottom of a medium casserole dish (I LOVE my Corningware French White set that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas) mix the cottage cheese, browned ground beef, garlic and cooked penne. Add about 3/4 of a can of spaghetti sauceto the mix (or if you like yours saucier then you can add the whole can. I saved the rest of my sauce for meatloaf later in the week.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the top with grated mozzarella cheese (I will admit I forgot to buy mozzarella cheese this week so I just didn't put anything on top and it was still good.) Bake the ziti at 350F for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sides of the casserole are bubbly.

Meatloaf Italian Style, Mashed Potatoes, steamed broccoli with lemon
I don't actually have a recipe for this so I will just try to do the best that I can.

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup spaghetti sauce (I use Hunts Garlic and Herb)
salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix ground beef, onion, egg, garlic, 1/2 cup bread crumbs and salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce. Mix welland form into loaf. Transfer loaf to pan and spread the remaining sauce on top. I used the rest of my spaghetti sauce from the ziti the other night. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until meat thermometer says it's reached the proper temperature.  

Chicken Nuggets, Roasted Potato Wedges, Peas

Chicken Nuggets:
Thse are so good and my family loves them!

20 oz chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
seasoned bread crumbs (or other seasoning, see recipe below)

To do this recipe I use two pie plates. In one I put flour (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) and my seasoning. You could use anything to season the flour: a little salt and pepper, flavored bread crumbs (Progresso makes a lot of different flavors of bread crumbs), parmesan cheese and I have even used part of a packet of McCormick's buffalo wing seasoning and then after the nuggets were cooked I tossed them in some wing sauce.  (If you have kids you may want to make a second batch of a different flavor.) In the second pie plate I coat the bottom of the plate with some milk. I dip the chicken into the milk and then into the seasoning. Then REPEAT. If you only dip the chicken once the coating comes right off, but with the double dip method you get a yummy crispy coating.  Put your coated chicken on a plate. Heat the oil in your biggest skillet and add the chicken. Be careful not to crowd the pan. I usually have to do several batches. Put your chicken on a baking sheet in a warm oven to keep warm while you are cooking other bathes.

Roasted Potato Wedges:

4-6 Russet baking potatoes
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 450F. In a small bowl combine oil, salt and pepper (you could add other seasonings as well: parmesan cheese, paprika, rosemary...whatever you feel like). Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips (I like to keep the skin on because it has more fiber and vitamins with the skin on). Toss potatoes in oil mixture and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender. Turn potatoes once while baking.

Bacon, Eggs, Hashbrowns, Toast, Sausage links

The only thing special that we do here is Josh puts salt and pepper and garlic powder in the scrambled eggs. They are really yummy. 

Beef Stir-Fry and Rice

I don't have a great recipe for stir-fry, we're still trying to perfect that one. I just threw a bunch of stuff in with some stir-fry beef (soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, fresh grated ginger and rice vinegar) and then let it cook until the meat was cooked through. Then I add a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables and cooked it for 5 minutes longer. Serve over rice.

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup
This is one of my favorite soups so I was very happy to find this copy cat recipe.

3 Tbs olive oil
1 cup minced onion (about 1 small onion)
1/2 cup chopped zuccini
1/2 cup frozen italian green beans (just use french cut if you can't find Italian)
1/4 cup minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)
4 tsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 cups vegetable broth (DO NOT USE CHICKEN BROTH!)
2 (15oz) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 (15oz) cans small white beans (or Great Northern), drained
1 (14oz can diced tomatoes (I like the Western Family Italian style)
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
2 Tbs parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3 cups hot water
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup small shell pasta

Heat oil in large soup pot of medium heat. Saute oinio, celery, garlic, green beans and zucchini for 5 minutes, until oinions turn translucent. Add brother, drained tomatoes, beans, carrots, hot water and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add spinach and pasta. Cook for 20 minutes until pasta is done. This soup is twice as good the next day.  So you could make it the night before you need it and reheat it on the stove the next night.

Note: I prefer to make the following changes. 1(15oz) can of great northern beans, 2 (14oz) cans of diced tomatoes.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Peas and Corn

Ok this is so easy. At the grocery store they have McCormick's Pork Roast seasoning packet and bag. You just follow the directions and cook the roast in the bag (I think it only takes a few hours to cook). This was the best pork roast. It was so yummy and moist.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 2 Shopping

I was so tired today and the last thing I wanted to do was think about menu planning but I forced myself to sit down and do it and I think we have a yummy menu for this week.

1. Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, steamed broccoli with lemon
2. Baked Ziti, Crescent Rolls, Corn
3. Chicken nuggets, Roasted Potato Wedges
4. Olive Garden's Minestrone Soup
5. Bacon, Eggs, Hashbrowns, Toast, Sausage links
6. Beef Stir Fry and rice
7. Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Peas and Corn

I decided to only go to Macey's this week. I probably could have saved a few dollars by going to another store for a few things, but I was tired and it wasn't worth it to go there also to save $2. So again after a trip to my pantry this is what my shopping list looked like:

1 16 oz bag small shells (I couldn't find whole grain so I just bought regular pasta)
1 can Hunts Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Sauce
1 box Ronzoni Whole Grain Penne Pasta
2 14 oz cans of Swanson Vegetable Broth
1 package Whole Grain Farm Bread
small tub of Western Family Cottage Cheese
1 tube Western Family Crescent Rolls
1 bag of TJ Farms Souther Style Hashbrowns
1 16oz bag of Western Family cut frozen green beans
1 can frozen Western Family Orange Juice
1 16 oz bag of Western Family frozen stir fry vegetables
1lb package of stir fry beef (in fresh meat section)
1lb smoked bacon
1lb package of Land o Frost Lunch Meat
1 package Farmland Sausage Links
2lb package of Ground Beef
3.87 lb Pork Roast
2 Gala Apples
Bunch of Bananas
1 head of Broccoli
2 lemons
2 yellow onions
1 zucchini

My bill came to $43.73......however they were out of the chicken I wanted. They had 20 oz packages of boneless skinless chicken breast for $4.49 in the ad but were out in the store. I got a raincheck and will go later this week to get some for my chicken nuggets. Also Josh had just bought a dozen eggs because we were out and since I'll be doing breakfast one night I'll include those in my weekly total. And lastly I didn't have room in my fridge for a gallon of milk but I know I will need more soon. So with all of that taken into account my total will go from $43.73 to about $52.00. A little over budget but I can handle $2. Like I said earlier I could have saved that by going to a second store but today was not a day for that.

Check back later this week for this week's recipes!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week 1 recipes

OK so here are the recipes I've used/am using this week:

Sunday Night: Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Bisquick Drop Biscuits, corn, glazed carrots, gravy

2T olive oil 2t paprika (use sweet paprika if you're worried about spice)
2 med garlic cloves, minced 1/2t ground rosemary (if you can't find ground just grind the springs)
1t salt 1T grated onion
1/2t pepper 1/2t thyme

Mix together and rub all over roast. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Cook Roast at 350F for 2 1/2-3 hours. Baste every 30 minutes. Let rest for 10-15 minutes after it's finished cooking.

Bisquick Drop Biscuits: The recipe is on the bisquick box.

Glazed Carrots:
I had a bag of carrots that was going to go bad soon so I found this great recipe in Parents Magazine and the kids loved it.

1 12 oz bag frozen carrots (I just peeled and chopped 4-5 carrots)
1/2 cup water
1T butter
3T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Place Carrots, water, butter, brown sugar, and salt and pepper in a pot, bring to a boil and cover. Cook on medium heat for 7 minutes. Uncover and cook another 10-12 minutes, until liquid is evaporated and carrots are soft, stirring occasionally.

Pour the drippings from the roast into a large measuring cup. Place the drippings into a 2 cup measuring cup. Add enough beef broth to measure 2 cups. Whisk 1/4 of the liquid and 1/4 cup of flour together in a medium saucepan, over low heat. Cook for a few moments, whisking. Slowly whisk the remaining drippings and broth into the flour mixture. Cook, whisking, over medium heat, until thick and bubbling. Cook one minute more, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Monday: Mexican style Shepherd's Pie

I lb ground beef, browned with diced onion
pkg Fajita seasoning
1 cup frozen corn
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Leftover mashed potatoes (from roast meal)
1 cup grated cheese

Put the ground beef in the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Spinkle 1/4 of a packet of fajita seasoning over the ground beef and stir. Add the beans and the corn to the meat and stir well. Mix mashed potatoes and grated cheese in a bowl and then spoon onto the meat mixture. Bake in 350F oven for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are browned slightly.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

I used an altered version of Giada De Laurentis' recipe for turkey meatballs

Instead of cooking them in a skillet like she did I put them in my Crockpot. Then I added 1 can of Hunts Garlic and Herb spaghetti sauce and 1 can of Western Family Italian style diced tomatoes. I turned my crock pot to low and let them cook for 7 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
When the meatballs were cooked through I cooked the Whole Grain Spaghetti noodles as per package directions and then drained them and added them to the crock pot.

I heated some frozen peas, and gave them some bread and butter to balance out the meal.

My kids said that this was the best spaghetti they had ever eaten!

Wednesday: Fajitas

2-3 chicken breasts, thawed
fajita seasoning
red pepper, sliced lengthwise (you can use whatever color are on sale)
green pepper, sliced lengthwise
medium sized purple onion, sliced similar to the peppers
tortillas shells

Place thawed chicken in a gallon size zip top bag or a large container with a lid. Add enough sprite to cover the chicken. Sprinkle half a packet of seasoning in and mix it around. Marinate the chicken for several hours.

In a large skillet heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken cook it through. Remove chicken from pan and add peppers and onions. While peppers and onions are cooking cut chicken into long strips. When peppers and onions are tender add chicken back to pan. Heat for a few minutes until chicken is reheated. Remove from heat and squeeze the juice from half a lime onto the chicken and peppers.

Warm tortilla shells in microwave and top them with chicken and peppers. You can also add shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, hot sauce or anything else you want.

Thursday: Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Friday: Meatball Soup
Instead of buying frozen meatballs I made the same ones from my spaghetti and meatballs however Costco has some really good meatballs and so does Ikea.

Saturday: Turkey Chili

I found this recipe in Parents Magazine and it's so easy it can be on your table in only 20 minutes! It was so good.

1/2 lb ground turkey
1/2 tsp chili powder (I used macormics chili seasoning packet to taste)
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 10oz can of condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup water

In a skillet cook ground turkey until no longer pink. Drain and transfer to a saucepan. Add chili powder and stir to incorporate. Add kidney beans, soup and water and cook until heated through. Ladle into mugs and top with shredded cheese.

Friday, January 8, 2010


We've all had those awful shopping trips. You know the time when you actually sat down and wrote a list only to forget it in the car. It also had to be that day that your husband got called into work so you had to bring your kids I even need to go on? By the time you leave the store you have a cart full of groceries (none of which was on your list) but you spent ten times more than you intended.....oh and when you got home you realized that you forgot the milk!

Saving money means starting with a plan and sticking to it. Yup keep on walking past the bakery, close your eyes and plug your nose if you have to. Stick to your list!

I have my list. I looked at all of the grocery store ads and picked out the best prices on meats. Then I planned 7 dinners I can cook with the list items. After a quick inventory of my pantry I finished the list with the ingredients I need for the meals that I don't already have in my pantry.

So the 7 dinner meals I decided on are:
1 Fajitas
2 Turkey Chili
3 Spaghetti with Turkey meatballs
4 Shepherd's Pie
5 Roast and Potatoes
6 Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
7 Meatball soup

My shopping list (everything I need for my meals minus what I already had in my pantry):

3 lb bag of chicken
Beef Roast
green pepper
red pepper
purple onion
3 yellow onions
16 0z bag of frozen peas
2 16 oz bag of frozen corn
5 lb bag of potatoes
6 oz can of frozen orange juice
tortilla shells
pkg of Whole Grain spaghetti noodles
Gallon of milk
loaf of multi grain bread
a bunch of bananas
a 3lb bag of cuties
5lb bag of Tillamook Shredded cheese
2 19 oz pkg of ground turkey
1 can hunt's spaghetti sauce

I went to Macey's, Smith's and Fresh Market to get my items and spent $50.05 on my groceries. You could pick just one store that has the best prices and still get a good deal. My grocery stores are fairly close together so I just go to them all.

Finding recipes to meet your budget isn't hard, especially with the internet at your fingers. Casseroles and crockpot recipes are great budget friendly ways to feed your family a healthy meal for less money and less time in the kitchen.....both pluses in my book! One of my favorite websites is A Year of Slow Cooking Basically anything you can make in your oven you can make in a crockpot (she even has a recipe for Cheescake cooked in a crockpot!) There are lots of great websites with recipes. Be adventurous and step out of your recipe box.

My $50 a week Challenge

Couponing. It's everywhere you turn these days. And everyone who does it seems to have a different method. The no clip method, the clip and store method, the clip as you use need them method. It can be very confusing and discouraging for someone who is just starting out to figure out where to start at all.

After going to seminars and reading website after website, I have combined all of the elements that I liked into my own system to save money on groceries. I am not a money saving expert by any stretch of the means, my husband can attest to that, but having just purchased our first home I have a renewed motivation to save money.

That's where this blog comes in. I've issued myself a challenge for the year and this blog is the record of my progress through that challenge. On a weekly budget of only $50, I'm going to feed my family of 5, 3 healthy meals a day, 7 days a week for the entire year. Now of course you're all saying That's impossible. And you're right, it is. There are always special occasions, birthday parties and family get togethers when I wouldn't be cooking meals at home anyway. So maybe it won't be 365 days of healthy eating at home.....but even 313 days is improvment. Afterall that would mean only one trip to (yuck) McDonald's a week!