Friday, July 22, 2016

Kitchen Confidence-ial

 I’m beyond confident, unless DH plays some domestic sabotage, that I will come in under $300 for July groceries. I just took an inventory of freezer, fridge, and both my top and bottom pantry cupboards, and I with just a few odds and ends, mostly fruit, fresh vegetables, and dairy, we have ample stocks to not just cobble out a few meals, but to feast. That is the positive side of getting a well stocked freezer and pantry when items are at super low costs. However, I must come clean, and admit to the waste. Last Sunday I purged and cleaned the refrigerator part of the fridge and this morning was the freezer. Shameful what was found last week hidden in corners, and items left with sizeable amounts left well beyond their date. ( I used the sniff factor too). The freezer was even worse.  I think we must have had a thaw and refreeze perhaps while out of town as I found the icky ice build up on many items, and that white discoloring. Some might tell me it is fine, but I’ve experienced food poisoning on more than one occasion and will not take that risk with my family. It is hard for me to estimate the cost of such waste, but I am going to say between the fridge and the freezer, easily $30 was thrown in the garbage can. Sad face on me to that. 

So the good and the bad is sorted, and now I can do some meal planning. I have a 40 oz. bag of sea salt and olive oil glazed chicken breasts in the crock pot, and two pounds of ground beef cooking up. Each will yield three meals plus leftovers for lunches. We also have a stock pile of breakfast cereal, oatmeal, and pancake mix, plus a couple large muffins mixes and sweet roll dough, plus baking ingredients, so breakfasts and snacks are pretty well covered.  I don’t have days assigned to these, but here is the list of meals I have brainstormed. 
Two # ground beef.

Ground Beef Dishes-meals
Chili, with crackers, cheese and sour cream
Broccoli, rice hotdish with cucumber salad
Tacos with, fixings, refried beans, and Spanish rice

Chicken cooking.
Chicken dishes-meals
Pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches, sweet potato mash or wedges
Chicken  fillets, alfredo sauced noodles, peas
Chicken fried rice with veggies

Other meals
Hamurgers/cheeseburgers, hash browns
Salsbury steak (hamb patties in beef gravy), rice, veggies
Spicy sliced Italian sausage with red beans and rice, veggies
Hot dogs, baked beans, macaroni salad (picnic supper)
Tuna noodle hotdish with peas and cheese, fruit salad
Bacon, Lettuce and tomato sandwiches with macaroni salald
Tomato and summer vegetable risotto
Cheese ravioli in pasta sauce with  salad
Bean and Ham soup (found the Christmas ham bone with a ton of meat still on it!)
Potatoe corn chowder (found the last of last summers sweet corn)

Shopping Needed
large tomato
Hamburger buns
Hot dog buns
Multi grain bread
2 cans tomatoes
Milk-whole and skim (but may compromise and just by 2% as it's used in cereal and cooking and don't think we can use a whole gallon)
sour cream
Lots of ingredients already.
I estimate this will be around $23, with $1.00 of the budget and many meals to spare. Obviously all will not be made, but the soups can be portioned out for lunches, and frozen. I also have plans to make up a batch of peanut butter granola bars, Rice Krispie treats, and banana bread, and we have loads of popcorn, lemonade mix, and tea for ice tea for snacks and lunches. DD1 gave me the recipes for the risotto and the Spanish Tortilla. I will post those with pictures as I make them.These were her go to dishes when she lived in London and Spain for feeding a crowd with very little money. Oh how I love learning things from my children. 

I think we have at least one night out with friends, entertainment budget, and may need to pick up sandwiches for the last day at the cabin before it is tore down as there will be no water and gas. We've done well on the eating out front; one take and bake pizza, DD2 with her soccer team, and DD and DH went out for burgers and a movie. DH also had lunch and snacks with his friends when they went to an air show. We didn't even get extra food out at wine club this month. I did blow my per diem budget on my work trip, but only two meals-well, maybe we didn't do quite as well as I first thought, but will be under $240 for all entertainment and meals out for July. We've exceeded that plus spent 30-50% more on groceries in other months. We could roast hotdogs on a stick, but it is a final work day, so no time for camp fires. My menu has lot’s of dishes with peas as I came across three family size bags-not my favorite, but will make them work. Can you guess who likes peas and who stocked up on them? I'll plan any fresh veggies I am gifted into salads and sides as well-thanks A!. How does my menu look?  Any suggestions for tweaking?


  1. Brilliant. You can always make savings on food shopping can't you.

    1. it's hard for me sometimes to get variety and enough fruit and veg in the plan but I think I did ok here variety, qulaity, and budget.

  2. Your menu looks good! It looks like you have a nicely stocked pantry to see you through.
    My theory is as long as there are meals on the table it is all good anyway. Sometimes we eat fantastic meals and other days are simply fodder. I figure if anyone complains they can either make plans for us to eat out or cook something themselves

    1. "You get what you get, and don;t pitch a fit." I agree, though admit, I complain about the amount of pasta we seem to eat, but I have rice and potato as starches here as well quite a bit, so hopeful all will appreciate the variety, but don;t care if their not impressed!

  3. That looks like a nice and varied menu- I know what you mean about pea fatigue though! I love using things up but there are just some things that I'm glad to see disappear.

    Look forward to seeing the photos of the risotto and tortilla. Potato corn chowder sounds great too.

    1. Risotto and tortilla will be new for me and may have my daughter make when she stays with us next weekend. The corn chowder is my specialty made with locally grown corn-pretty rich though as it needs whole milk or even some cream or not nearly as good.


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