Prepping for the Grand Shopping Trip:
First, both of my local grocery stores send out their fliers on Wednesdays. One of the stores (Randalls) has excellent sales, but everything else costs an absolute fortune. The other store, my beloved and cherished H-E-B, is my main grocery store. I usually sit down with the fliers on Wednesday night, circle anything that looks worth buying and write it on my grocery list (with an “R” if it’s to be purchased at Randalls).
On Friday or maybe Saturday morning, I sit down with these things:
First, I make my shopping list. My mom used to do hers like this (no idea if she still does) and so I do too.
Second, I write down the days of the week on this pad, with spots for one main dish and two side dishes.
Third, I start filling in main dishes (I write the magazine or cookbook number or website next to it so I can find it again as my approximately 50 issues of Everyday Food all look very much alike). I add the ingredients I need to my grocery list as I go.
Fourth, I fill in side dishes and add them to the shopping list. I add anything from the fridge pad that we need. I ask Bart if he has anything special he needs. And ta-da. Ready to go grocery shopping.
Here is my completed menu and shopping list for this coming week:
You’ll notice that there are some major items missing from the grocery list like milk and eggs and more than one meat item. Because I shop every week, I end up buying most things every OTHER week, so last week there were frozen chicken breasts and milk and eggs and beans, where this week was more things like jam and cranberries and butter.
Meals, you ask? You shall receive:
Breakfast is one of two things. We either have:
- plain Hill Country Fare brand Cheerios (they have the least sugar of any cereal we have found and it costs $1.68 cents for a very large box of them which lasts us a week and a half or two, depending on how often we eat them) with strawberries (about three strawberries each) and skim milk (which I buy by the half gallon because it is the only amount of milk we can even think about getting through before it goes bad and it also is the only size you can buy it in where it isn’t more expensive to buy skim milk than full-fat whole milk, which absolutely blows my mind).
- If we don’t have Cheerios, we each have one of these muffins (I buy blueberries frozen for $2.99 a bag, which makes three batches of muffins).
- a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (I buy the very smallest jar of HEB peanut butter because it is inexplicably the cheapest ounce for ounce) on 100% whole wheat bread (One loaf costs $1.93 and it lasts us almost exactly a week, with maybe a slice or two left over to make croutons or for a late night piece of peanut butter bread for me).
- an HEB yogurt (45 or 50 cents each, depending on the week and maybe the moon). Bart eats his basically every day and I eat about one or two a week because, meh, I don’t love yogurt unless I am extremely hungry. I keep taking it, not eating it, and putting it back in the fridge at night. I have not yet gotten food poisoning.
- String Cheese. I buy the Cheese Heads brand because, I am sorry, but the HEB brand is too gross for words and I am willing, on this item, to fork over an extra fifty cents. It is $3.27 for a pack of twelve.
- A piece of fruit. Bart has recently developed a deep love for oranges (he’ll probably tell you he’s always loved oranges, but I have not seen it before) and I usually have a half or a whole apple. Oranges are currently between 77 and 99 cents a pound and apples are $1.29 a pound.
And then dinner. I plan for five dinners a week because I assume we’ll have one night where one of us doesn’t really feel that hungry, we get home too late to eat, we go out to eat, someone invites us over, or we have leftovers. I pick one main dish for each night and then I have two bunches of lettuce (usually red leaf or spinach) for salads and a number of fruits and vegetables that I can do for side dishes, depending on what was on sale. I don’t like to spend a lot of time prepping side dishes, dirtying up dishes, etc, so I don’t do anything very fancy. We do a lot of tomato/avocado/homemade crouton salads, grapes, strawberries, green beans, kiwis, pineapple, etc., etc., etc. Here are the main dishes I’ve done in the last few weeks:
- Tuesday: Crockpot Tacos (I tossed everything in the crockpot the night before and turned it on before we left for school the next morning)
- Wednesday: Stuffed Shells (I left out the chicken because I am cheap; this used up a big chunk of the ricotta cheese I had left over from the lasagna we ate later this week)
- Thursday: General Tso’s Chicken (I used only one chicken breast because I am cheap. It still made so much that we both had it for lunch the next day)
- Friday: Vegetable Lasagna (I made this and put in the freezer several weeks ago. It made a LOT. We had so many leftovers that even after eating it three times each, we finally threw away about a third of it)
- Saturday: Went out to dinner
- Sunday: Corn Chowder This is pretty much Bart’s favorite food ever.
- Monday: BBQ Chicken Salad Likely Bart’s SECOND favorite food ever.
- Tuesday: Fend for yourself (there were beef sandwiches at school and I had one in the late afternoon, so I wasn’t hungry. Bart had two or three boiled eggs for dinner).
- Wednesday: Cincinnati Chili (I made this the night before and then reheated it when we got home from school while the pasta cooked. And I used ground turkey because I never ever buy ground beef because it is expensive and I can’t really tell the difference anymore)
- Thursday: Penne Pasta (late night at school, so I made this the night before and we each took a tupperware of it. I also added some chicken that I had left over from. . .something. Now I can’t remember what. I also bought dried chickpeas, soaked them over night and then cooked them because its cheaper).
- Friday: Chicken and Biscuits
- Saturday: I went out to dinner with some friends and Bart had a shepherd’s pie from the freezer
- Sunday: Dinner with friends
- Monday: Risotto with a side of sliced kiwi. I had the kiwi from last week and the only thing I needed to buy for the risotto was the mozzarella ($2.99 for a container of fresh mozzarella). I use regular short grain rice instead of the real stuff because it’s about a quarter of the price. This recipe will also let me use up some of my basil that re sprouted in my back porch planters.
- Tuesday: Honey Teriyaki Chicken (I’m using chicken breasts instead because Bart doesn’t like chicken thighs). Will make curried sweet potatoes for a side dish (because my sweet potatoes are probably only moments away from going bad).
- Wednesday: Shepherd’s Pie. Bart loves this and it will let me use up the last of my celery that I bought last week (this may be the first time I have EVER used up an entire package of celery before it went bad). Will probably do a strawberry/lettuce/pecan salad on the side.
- Thursday: Hawaiian Curry (I bought a big bag of chicken last week, so no need for it this week. I bought one can of coconut milk (99 cents) and more chicken bullion since I was almost out. Everything else I had. Probably just a lettuce/tomato/crouton salad on the side.
- Friday: Salmon Pasta (I bought the smoked salmon a few weeks ago and just haven’t gotten around to this recipe).
- Saturday: Pork Carnitas (I bought the pork last week when it was on sale for 99 cents a pound).
A few other things I bought ingredients for this week because they looked fun to make:
- Orange Rolls. Bought orange marmalade. I have so much orange juice in my fridge leftover from our campout . . . two months ago.
- Cranberry Granola. I bought dried cranberries and pecans. I have frozen cranberry juice in the freezer from Valentine’s Day.
- Homemade Samoas. I had coconut in the freezer. I bought caramels.
Here is the grocery haul for this week, which came to a total of $41.97: