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!