Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekly shopping & meal planning


Stop & Shop
2 cucumbers - $.99
5 bananas - $.76
1 red bell pepper - $.55
1 gallon milk - $3.79*
3/4 lb deli turkey ($7.99/lb) - $5.83
2 cans baked beans ($1.67 each) - $3.34*
crushed red pepper flakes - $2.69*
4 boxes of cereal ($2 each) - $8 #
3 boxed caked mixes ($1 each) - $3 #
1 container frosting - $1.67 #

*I paid full-price for these items
#I received a $10 Catalina coupon towards my next purchase for purchasing these items. So I paid $12.67 for these items but got $10 back.

Meal Planning

Meal #1
Sweet & Sour Chicken
fresh pineapple leftover from last week, rice & chicken from the freezer & purchased red bell pepper

Meal #2
hot dogs, baked beans, cucumber slices & pineapple
hot dogs from the freezer, pineapple and hot dog buns purchased last week, purchased cucumber
We may have this twice this week since 1 package of hot dogs and buns lasts us two meals (or they will be frozen).

Meal #3
grilled steak, roasted potatoes & broccoli
everything from the stockpile!

Meal #4
Beef fajitas
I need to go back to the store to pick up a few things & the meat for this is on sale this week. I'm hoping to get a few more things on sale too.

Meal #5
Monte Cristo sandwiches
I have bread & eggs from last week but I'll need to pick up the ham & cheese when I go back to the store (we likely won't add turkey).
green salad

Lots more cereal to add plus cake mixes.

Weekly shopping & meal planning



4 boxes of cereal $2.50 each (-$2 coupon - $5 earned ECB) - $.75/box
2 gallons of milk $3.49 each - $6.98

Bakery Outlet

I wanted to try out this bakery outlet I found in my area. Bread is 50% off retail prices.
1 loaf whole wheat bread
1 loaf white bread
1 load cinnamon raisin bread
$5.65 total

Stop & Shop
Another week without using any coupons and just shopping the store flyer.
organic lettuce mix - $3.99*
5 lb bag potatoes - $2
1/2 lb deli turkey - $5.24*
dozen eggs - $2.49*
3 cartons ice cream $1.99 each - $5.97
8 yogurt cups $.40 each - $3.20

*items I paid full price for

I had another secret shop here, so part of my purchase will be reimbursed and I'll be paid a fee.
whole pineapple - $1.49
1 avocado - $.79
6 bananas - $.93
large bunch broccoli - $1.49
boxed raisins - $1.29
apple juice - $1.19
oyster crackers - $.99
hot dog buns - $.85
garlic bread - $1.69
whipping cream - $.79
frozen corn - $.95
mini marshmallows - $.89
6-pk Hershey bars - $3.09 (for DH's work desk)
sour gummy worms - $.1.29 (for DH's work desk)

Meal Plan
I wanted to take advantage of a great deal on Edy's/Dreyer's ice cream this week, so I decided to use several items out of my freezer in order to free up some space. I'd love to have an extra freezer so I can do some more stocking up. Eventually I'll pick one up.

Meal #1
Chicken, broccoli & rice casserole
Almost everything for this meal was from my stockpile: grilled chicken, cooked rice, cream of chicken soup, a little mayo, & cheddar cheese. The only thing purchased this week was 1/2 of the broccoli.

Meal #2
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
I used chicken, butter parmesan and ricotta cheese and a box of pasta from my stockpile. Plus my purchased cream.
green salad
prepared garlic bread
(I actually made a double-batch of this to take 1/2 to a mom with a brand new baby.)

Meal #3
Spaghetti w/Italian sausage
homemade red sauce & Italian sausage from my freezer, pasta from the stockpile
green salad

Meal #4
Chicken Quesadillas w/avocado slices
I cook up some frozen corn, w/pre-cooked chicken (leftovers) & spices and add to my tortillas and cheese. Topped with avocado slices.

Meal #5
Chinese food at my husband's work happy hour.

Stockpile additions
Most of the cereal is for the stockpile. Most of what we bought will last longer than a week too, the bread, eggs, juice, etc will last at least two weeks.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Reusing leftovers--The pizza edition

I hate a blog without pictures and I'm sorry that it took until the 6th post for any to make an appearance.

I think I'm fairly good at turning leftovers into new meals. Probably the easiest way to incorporate leftovers is in a pizza. Almost anything can become a pizza topping and it requires very few pantry staples to pull a pizza off. On Tuesday, per the meal plan, we had steak with roasted broccoli, red bell pepper and onions. Tonight we had pizza with the leftover roasted veggies and the addition of some pepperoni bought for $.49 last week. And excluding the rising time for the dough, it only takes a few minutes to throw it all together.

And there's more leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Weekly shopping & meal planning


Stop & Shop

Porterhouse steak ($4.99/lb) - $15.12
2 boxes whole wheat pasta ($1 ea) - $2
2 boxes chicken stock ($3.16 ea) - $6.32
2 can sliced peaches ($1.25 ea) - $2.50
1 can pears - $1.25
goldfish crackers - $1.47
4 Pepsi 2 liters ($.75 ea) - $3.00
doritos - $3.99
2/3 lb deli turkey - $6.19*
2 gallons milk ($3.59 ea) - $7.18
2 - 1/2 gallons OJ ($2.50 ea) - $5
pepperoni - $1
oranges ($.99/lb) - $2.33
$.05 reusable bag discount x 4 bags = $.20 off

*items I payed regular, full price for

I didn't have time to plan out my purchases as much as usual this week, so I just shopped the circular sales and didn't use ANY coupons!

6 pack instant noodle cups - $1.79
organic frozen pizza - $4.29
canned corn - $.55
brown sugar - $1.29
whole pineapple - $1.99
unsalted butter - $1.89
flour tortillas - $.99
shredded cheddar cheese - $2.29
shredded mozzarella cheese - $2.99
tomato paste - $.39
hoagie rolls - $1.69
frozen blueberries - $2.69
frozen raspberries - $2.69
ice cream sandwiches - $2.19
dried pinto beans - $1.29
jarred jalapenos - $1.59
broccoli crowns - $1.49
paper plates $1.19

I was trying out Aldi for the first time this week. Aldi carries mostly store brands, is no-frills, but has low prices. I picked up a few things to try out to see if we liked them and if we want to keep Aldi in our rotation. I was also doing a mystery shop so part of my purchase will be reimbursed.

Meal Plan

Meal #1
chicken quesadillas
This was entirely from items purchased in previous weeks' shopping trips.
tortillas, frozen corn, pre-cooked chicken, sharp cheddar, spices

Meal #2
Steak & roasted veggies
Cooked one of the 2 extra large porterhouse steaks purchased this week.
Roasted 1 bell pepper purchased last week, onion from pantry, 1/2 of broccoli purchased this week.

Meals #3 & 4
ordered pizza & pizza leftovers w/1 can of peaches & pineapple purchased this week
I didn't feel well one day this week so DH came home early to watch the kiddo & picked up dinner for us.

Meal #5
homemade pizza
purchased pepperoni, cheese, & tomato paste
add leftover roasted veggies from meal #2

dried cranberries
banana pancakes
Berry Stratta
--used agave nectar instead of honey, used 1/2 blueberries & 1/2 raspberries
ricotta purchased last week, agave, bread & eggs from pantry, everything else purchased this week
Banana Bread or muffins

--I have bananas I need to use up before they get too ripe. This recipe has a lot of bananas in it and it's really tasty. I add a little vanilla extract. It works equally well as a loaf, regular muffins or mini-muffins (cooked for less time obviously).

turkey sandwiches, oranges, Oreos (DH)
peanut butter & jelly sandwiches

For the Stockpile
1 giant porterhouse steak
chicken stock (wasn't for a specific recipe this week but I didn't have any in my pantry)
brown sugar (we were out)
paper plates (just running low)
pinto beans (I like to cook a large batch in the crockpot & freeze)
flour tortillas
frozen pizza (backup meal)
Pepsi (at least 2 extras)
whole wheat pasta
canned fruit

Monday, March 1, 2010

Where I Shop

Grocery Stores
The bulk of my grocery shopping is at Stop & Shop, they are the closest to me and seem to run decent sales. I will occasionally stop by ShopRite if they have a deal that appeals to me but not regularly. I also occasionally shop at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Trader Joe's is good for certain things and Whole Foods is good for specific ingredients I can't get at my regular store. I also shop at Costco about once a month, again for specific items, which I'll list soon. Stop & Shop is by far the most convenient and closest and money and time wasted on driving definitely factors into my decisions.

Drug Stores
I'm just getting into the drug store game and I'm by no means an expert. I usually stick to mostly CVS and then occasionally Walgreens and Rite Aid even less. I don't use these stores just to make money, or just to pick up the freebies, I only buy items that I need and use.

And I'll drop into Target for a deal or to pick up miscellaneous household items.

Weekly shopping & meal planning

2 - gallons of milk ($3.79 each) - $7.58*
loaf of bread - $1
tortillas - $3
multipack of 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts ($1.99/lb) - $6.37
deli turkey meat ($7.99/lb) - $5.95
Italian Sausage ($1.99/lb) - $5.61 (UPDATE- this rang up incorrectly, I took my receipt back along with the sticker from the meat package and rather than giving me the difference back, they gave me the item for free since it was their mistake.)
4 - boxes Raisin Bran ($4.19-$6 savings on 4-$1.50 coupon-$1.50 coupon=$1.49 each) - $5.95
2 - boxes pancakes mixes ($2.30-$1 coupon=$1.80 each) - $3.60
brownie mix - $1
2 - packs Nathan's hot dogs (BOGO free - $2.65 each) - $5.29
hot dog buns - $1.67*
pancake syrup - free with purchase of pancake mix & cheese
pepperoni ($1.99-.75 coupon-.75 doubled) - $.49
2 - 1/2 gallons OJ ($2.50 each) - $5
2 - 2 liters orange soda ($.79 each) - $1.58
2 - 2 liters grape soda ($.79 each) - $1.58
6 - Oreos packages ($2.38) - $14.28 (plus these will go towards a $20 Kraft rebate)
ricotta cheese - $3.49
5 lbs sugar - $2.59
Stacy's pita chips - free product coupon
organic whole milk yogurt - $3.79*
light cream - $1.99
Suave men's 2-in-1 shampoo - $2
6 french rolls - $2.99*
blackberries - $2.50
mango - $.99
9 reduced bananas - $1.15
5 apples - $4.31*
red bell peppers ($.99/lb) - $1.89
organic spring mix lettuce - $3.99*
red grapes ($.99/lb) - $1.95
cilantro - $1.49*
$.05 reuseable bag discount x 8 bags - $.40 off

*were items I paid regular full price for

3 - 2 liters Pepsi ($1.25 each - 1 ECB back) - $3
also earned 1 ECB for using my green bag tag

Meal Plan

Dinner #1
chicken alfredo
--no mushrooms or tomatoes
--used light cream instead of half & half
--used 2 chicken breasts & 3/4 of a box of pasta instead of a full box
--used 1/4 cup ricotta instead of sour cream & colby cheese
garlic bread (with 1 purchased french roll, garlic powder, salt & butter on hand)
mixed greens salad (greens purchased, salad dressing on hand)

Dinner #2
homemade pepperoni pizza
--purchased pepperoni, homemade dough from freezer, tomato paste from pantry
mixed greens salad again

Dinner #3
hot dogs

Dinner #4
pasta w/italian sausage & red bell peppers
--2 sausages removed from casings, 1/2 bell pepper, garlic (pantry), 1/2 onion (pantry)
garlic bread

Dinner #5
crockpot BBQ chicken
--2 chicken breasts, 1/2 bottle BBQ sauce (pantry), 1/4 onion (pantry), chopped garlic (pantry)
red bell pepper slices
baked potatoes (pantry)

turkey sandwiches, apple, Oreos (DH)
peanut butter & jelly sandwiches
cheese quesadillas


For the Stockpile
2 chicken breasts
2 bags of 2 italian sausages
1 package hot dogs
lots of Oreos (these will likely last about 4 months)
cereal for a couple weeks, we do eat this almost every day though
pancake mix
sugar will last a while but we were running low

Friday, February 26, 2010

An introduction

Cooking is a major hobby of mine. I've been cooking for pretty much as long as I can remember. During my teenage years I was responsible for cooking one dinner a week for my family as apart of my weekly "chores". When I moved out and went to college I was fairly good about cooking for myself and my boyfriend (who's my husband now). Towards the end of college I started to watch the Food Network and I was hooked. I was initially drawn into the cooking scene and wanted to try new and more complicated recipes. I found being able to watch and learn very appealing. My cooking learning continued to grow and I eventually took a 10-week professional cooking course (4 hours/week) at a cooking school in Los Angeles. It was an immensely gratifying experience. I continue to watch cooking shows, read recipes, follow food bloggers and just soak up information about food and cooking.

More recently budgeting has become more important in my life. A few months ago, our family made a big move from Los Angeles to Connecticut for my husband's career. This allowed me to become a stay-at-home mom to my almost 2 year old, something that was not possible with the high cost of living in Los Angeles. I still do some work on a part-time basis from home but my main "job" is to be a mom. This turned out to be great timing as our second baby is due to arrive in late May. But this doesn't come without some financial re-shifting and definite budgeting. And who doesn't like a good deal?

I've found many bloggers out there that locate deals, match weekly sales from store flyers to available coupons and lots more but what I haven't found is anyone who has turned those deals into actual meals that my family can consume. Often, the weekly sales are for items that seem to have no relation to one another. I hope to report on shopping trips as well as some meals that I create out of those trips. I hope to also add in helpful information I've learned about how to save money in the kitchen in other ways as well, include shopping at drugstores, warehouse clubs and natural foods stores.

Hope you follow along and please feel free to contact me: