Monday, August 25, 2008

We're cleaning out the pantry this week in an effort to save some money

August is a big month for us--car tags, birthdays, and my traveling home more than we had planned. Needless to say the budget is stretched thin, so I am relying on what is already in the pantry and freezer to make dinner this week. I am trying to be creative, but I make no promises that it will all taste good. I just went to the grocery store for the week, and I walked out of Kroger spending less than 50.00--impressive, right? I didn't even save that much with my Kroger card today, and I only had two coupons to use, so I think I did well (who knows if Scott will agree--he told me to only buy the necessities, but with a one year old, the necessities list is fairly long). To be fair to those of you who are thinking that 50 isn't much, I have a huge case of diapers that I bought a while back when Babies R' Us was having a sale, we are no longer buying formula, and for the time being I am not buying diet coke. Those three things really dip into the grocery budget, so when I take them away, I am left with huge savings.

To add to the great grocery trip, I walked away with some awesome coupons. With my receipt came coupons for Pampers (gold!!), yo-plus yogurt (Ada eats this a lot in hopes of helping her little digestive system), and I received two coupons for Slim Fast bars, which I can never find. Yea!! Plus, this week in the Sunday paper there is a coupon for FREE Sara Lee bread. Yes, free!! So please find a Sunday paper, and take advantage of that great deal.

Today at Organizing Junkie is menu planning Monday, and I have decided to participate. Keeping in mind my disclaimer, here it this week's menu.

Daily Breakfast--high protein slim fast bars (15 grams of protein!!)
Ada will be eating grits, yogurt, or eggs

Daily Lunch--frozen bean and cheese burritos (normally I eat lean cuisine pizzas, but they just didn't make the cut this week because of the high price)
Ada will eat peanut butter and crackers, baby food that is still sitting in the pantry (it's a good way to get the veggies down), and whatever else I might find hidden in the nooks and crannies of my kitchen

And dinner

Monday--5.00 carry out pizza
Tuesday--Stir Fry veggies and fried rice (I use whole grain rice, and I add egg for protein, this is a cheap dinner that we eat almost weekly to insure that we stay within the grocery budget)
Wednesday--Breakfast for dinner--eggs, grits, and bacon
Thursday--Pasta with tomatoes, olive oil, and Italian seasoning, broccoli on the side
Friday--(this is when I am starting to struggle) boxed mac and cheese, lima beans, and creamed corn

So there you have it, a quick, thrown together menu made up of leftovers and rejects still sitting in the pantry, but we aren't going to starve and the budget will survive despite the month's extra expenses.

p.s. I welcome any and all advice on how to cut the grocery spending even more. Plus, I am new to actually having to feed Ada meals, so advice for that is also welcome.


Scott said...

I love shells and cheese/lima bean night.

Amanda said...

please tell me how you make the fried rice to go with your stir fry. I just cook white rice with it b/c i can't make the fried rice. I hate white rice though. That is why my frozen bag of stir fry has been in the fridge for 3 weeks now! please email me your rice recipe if you have time. I need to motivation seriously :)

Amanda said...

ok i got too excited when i read you made your own fried rice. i read the rest of your post now and need to comment again.

We do breakfast for dinner every Sunday night! love it! Also we have gotten into eating quesidillas (sp?) cheese, ground beef (sometimes we get a can of black beans) and you have got a delicious semi cheap meal. We have a quesidilla maker BUT you can do the same thing on the stove eye with a skillet. Remember KTB did this in the white house when we had people over. Just load up your tortilla with the cheese and meat (after browning with taco seasoning mix), fold in half and cook for a couple minutes then flip and do the same again. Really you are just melting the cheese. Pretty yummy. We eat them by themselves. Don't have to make a side item to go with it.

LB said...

okay, here is how I do the fried rice recipe. I cook the rice the night before and put it in the fridge overnight. This seems to be the key.

Then I put enough in a skillet for me and Scott, and I pour in a pack of fried rice seasoning from Kroger--I buy the cheapest brand. It's in the asian section. I clear out a little spot, and I pour in one egg, beaten. Then I just cook it until the egg is done and the rice is a little crispy. I usually add a little bit of soy sauce as well. Oh, and I put a little bit of olive oil in the skillet before pouring in the rice. But really, the key is to cook the rice the night before. So tonight we will have carry out pizza, and I will cook a pot of rice. And if you had enough veggies to make stir fry two nights that week, you could only "fry" half of the rice.

And thanks for the quesadilla recipe. It may beome a weekly staple!! And Ada could eat that as well.

ESS the MESS said...

thanks so much for the fried rice recipe, can't wait to try it. I'm not the best on budget but one of my fav ways to save when I'm down to pennies at the end of the month is bean soup. Beans are super cheap and the soup makes enough that I can freeze half. I'll try to post the recipe soon cause it is super easy.

Ashley said...

I agree w/ Amanda, Adam calls ours "INSERT MEAT-dillias." For example, using turkey, we call them "turkeydillias." Very cheap and quick. We always add black beans for added protein.

I make baked ziti all the time, too, and it cooks enough for 2 nights: ziti, pasta sauce, ground beef browned all mixed together w/ cheese on top.

Go to "" and use "ingredient search." You can search for a recipe by the ingredients that you have on hand. I do that all the time.

Finally, might check out the - she does "pantry" meals all the time.

Milla said...

I love organizing junkie - I'm so glad you showed us that site! In fact, that blog inspired me to plan a menu like she does, with themed nights. I was thinking about writing a blog post about it, actually, as it has been SO good for our budget! One more reason to love this bloggie world...