Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday notes

Organizing.....another run screaming from the building word for some people.  Getting ready for fall and school starting is upon us.  

Being organized is important because it makes our lives easier and less stressful.  

School ideas:

  • Make a sign   "Susie's first day of kindergarten 2017"    And take a picture of your child in front of the front door "  its a chronological memory, do it each year.   You can put it in a binder or scrapbook.
  • A magazine holder from the dollar store or goodwill is a good receptial for school papers that need to be gone through and sent back to school.  You can use a different color for each child.  In a pinch, you can cut a cereal box, cover it with paper bag paper and let the child decorate the paper. 
  • Lay out clothes for five days in boot boxes. On a particular hanger in their closet, or in letter boxes from the dollar store. The kids can still pick their clothes, but finding what goes with what is a lot less hectic in the morning rush. 
  • Set up a lunch station.   Non perishables can go in a basket on a shelf the children can reach.  Perishables can be in the refrigerator door or on a shelf in a plastic box or basket.   Some mothers freeze sandwiches for a grab and go.   They don't allow  peanut butter in our school district, so it'll have to be meat and cheese.   
  • Betty Crocker has a muffin recipe that sounds to me like it would be the perfect grab and go breakfast.   Its always better if you can sit and leisurely eat a bowl of oatmeal.  There are probably mothers that can make the pancakes and egg lunches, although I dont know anyone that does.   But, face it, there is always that child that dilly dallies......this muffin is full of protein and fat to stay with them, and just a bit of carbs to get them going.    It's made from bisquick, has an apple, cheese , and bacon filling, 
  • A coat and shoe rack for coats, mittens, boots, hats near the front door helps too.   
  • Load backpacks with as much as you can the night before.    

Monday, August 21, 2017


Recap of meals :
  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Pizza 
  • Chicken enchaladas 
  • Pork roast 
  • BBQ pork sandwiches. 
  • Split pea soup 
  • Taco bean casserole

  • This is later because I had an emergency appointment this morning and it was the first day of school!

  • Make pizza dough. 
  • Chicken for the chicken enchaladas is already in pieces because it was frozen from the bulk cooking  of  the split chicken breasts.   If you dont have already cut up chicken, cook chicken in the insta pot / or in a skillet and chop.
  • Thaw pork roast.  
  • Make or buy buns. 
  • Chop veggies for split pea soup. 
  • Make refried beans.   Make salsa (or buy if they aren't in your pantry.   
  • Wash kitchen. Floor. 
  • Disinfect countertops, sinks, and drains. 
  • Clean out fridge and dump anything dead /make note of anything that needs to be used up soon.   
  • Make breakfast muffins for back to school ( Betty Crocker ). 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Meal plans for week of August 21

We are sitting at 29.67 a week this month.   That doesn't include the few things that I bought that are stock items.

Meal plans are usually done with a matrix.   My focus this month is to use some of the oldest stock.   Ideally rotating meats means you will maintain enough for a month of rotations.   This will work better if you have a family larger than 2.5 meat eaters.    LOL.  

  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Pizza 
  • Chicken enchaladas 
  • Pork roast 
  • BBQ pork sandwiches. 
  • Split pea soup 
  • Taco bean cassarole 

Nots : 
  1. Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay here.  It can be inexpensive, it can be vegetarian , and its multi generational participation .(everybody cooks) 
  2. Pizza is a winner.  A cheese and pepperoni pizza costs 1.01.   Doesn't get much cheaper than that.   
  3. Chicken enchaladas are made from the chicken gleamed from the rib bones when de bring chicken breasts.  Green, sour cream enchalada sauce is homemade.   
  4. Pork roast is the last of the last batch of pork loin.   BBQ pork sandwiches are a 'planned over" to quote my 8th grade homeec teacher. 
  5. Split pea soup is a easy on the cook recipe.    Just a note, dont make it in the insta pot on pressure mode.....slow cook mode works best.    Just ask me how I know.   LOL 
  6. Taco bean cassarole is a skillet meal and will appear this week on the "Dinner: Better, cheaper, faster" channel.   Www.janefraugalfood.blogspot.com 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Costco haul

cheese, cheap, yah!

I have ample cheese for a while.  It freezes.  

7 lb Pork loin at 1.79 a pound made;
2 pork roasts
2 pkg pork chops
3 pkg (1/2 lb ) pork cubes
1 pkg pork sausage

10 meals easy at 1.24 a meal.   3 people

Pizza cheese at 2.49
Cheddar cheese at 2.39 lb

5 lbs honey at 11,99

Bananas 1.39

Honey is the only perfect food.  It never spoils.   I used the last of my honey I bought wholesale when  I worked for a food distributor.   In 2002,  

Buying a whole pork loin. And spending a few minutes butchering it yourself saves a lot of money.

Your protein is the biggest part of your meal.   Buying good meat in bulk and cutting it yourself is a way to really stretch your budget.   Rotate your bulk meats so you are spending about the same every week.   By simplifying your cuts and buying bulk, you can still have variety and keep your protein cost low.  

Rotate , (assuming your family's eats all of these)

  • Whole pork loin
  • Cheese, beans
  • Hamburger 
  • Chicken split breasts. 
  • Fish , and or canned tuna or salmon, 
Let the market ( RBP or what some people call loss leaders) dictate which protein you buy which 

Here, Fred Meyers (Kroger) puts local chicken on sale about once a month.  It was. .88, but now they want 1.49.   

I can always get beans (pinto) at the Dollar Tree in a l.5 pound bag 

Cheese is sometimes on sale, but usually I can get the best price in a five pound bag at Costco.  I want less than 2.50. 

Pork Loin I have found at winco and costco.   By target price is 1.79.  1.69 of course is better.  

I want 7 -10 percent fat hamburger.   I was getting it at 3.28 a lb at winco.  I haven't bought it for a while because it hasn't been that low.    I paid 3.99 at Fred Meyers last week.  

We have a matrix for meals.   1 beef, 1 fish or shellfish, 2 vegetarian, and 3 pork or chicken.   How much of any one protein that i buy depends on how much we already have and how much we will need for a month to six weeks.  

Easiest whole chicken recipe ever......

Chickens are .87 a pound at Fred Meyers tomorrow.    About as cheap as you can get.  Ever buy a chicken, rotisserie or otherwise under three pounds.

Easy slow cooker whole chicken

  1. Peel and cut one large onion in quarters, or two small onions in halves.   This is important ,you cant substitute any other veggie. You are not eating it, so no matter if you dont like onions. Dump it in the bottom of your slow cooker.  
  2. Open package of chicken.  Dry it with. Paper towel.   Wear gloves or wash your hands frequently as well as your counters.  
  3. Spread the chicken with a dry rub or seasoned salt type mix.  
  4. Put the lid on the slow cooker.  Make sure you plug it in and turn it on high for one hour PER pound of chicken.  
  5. Walk away.

On Dinner : Better, Faster, Cheaper

I am constantly in my spare time, or down-time scouring the web and cookbooks for easy, economical , nutritious recipes.  I post recipes that I find that I can make my own by making them better because they have healthier ingredients, faster because we are all looking for scratch cooking that is efficient.  And cheaper because the COL is high and we are all trying to s t r e t c h a buck.


On food prices

Whenever I go to a store, i am always checking food prices for the things that are on my target list.   At Costco, I noticed that cheese has taken a hike to 3.09 a pound.  The mozzarella was still 2.19, but the other cheese was 3.09.  My target price is less than 2.50.    It was running 2.39.   We have the USDA to thank for that because they bought out millions of dollars worth of cheese to bail out the dairy farmers.    I knew it was coming, but that doesn't help by budget.  

I have seen a trend of rising prices.i used to be able to get chicken for 87 ( split chicken breast) .  Last time it was 1.49. Its 1.49 again.   The whole chicken is still a lot cheaper than deli chicken, but we are not fans of dark meat.

Diced tomatoes and canned beans have a 50 cent target price.   I have been seeing 68 cents for them as well as canned veggies.    I can still get frozen for a buck or less a pound.   Usually in the fall, the new pack of vegetables come into the caners and the prices of the older pack go on sale.  I will be waiting.......

I am still seeing pork loins for under two dollars a pound. 1.79 at winco last week.   Ground beef has taken a hike and I had to pay four dollars last time.    I haven't checked costco business.   The chubs at costco business are not a good texture.   Its more like ground chicken.   We used it, but it isn't my favorite.

I'm still getting pasta for under a dollar, but not finding the .38 prices these days.

I was behind a young fellow in line at Winco .   It was all I could do to not let the Grandmother in me whap him upside the head and tell him he had done it all wrong.!  LOL.  Honestly, he could have spent half of what he spent and not left the store.

He did buy frozen veggies in large bags, but the rest of the cart was full of seasoning packets, deli chicken and Junk food.   Poster boy for How not to save money on food.   LOL.

Watching the prices of what you buy on a regular basis and knowing a target price (RBP) are key in aging money at the grocery store.  Key in no junk food and making as much as you can from scratch and you have a eat winner.

Winco and costco haul. -food only

Note:  I am supposed to be on no spend.   So the hauls are small.  


2 cans pasta sauce .95 (charity)

Nathan's franks 3.30
Peach tea 2.28
Winco olives .68

Total 8.04.  Less 1.90 is 6.14

Costco :

Vinegar 4.29
Tuna 9.79. Case :   3.00 off

Note : vinegar is for multiple uses.   I use it for cleaning vegetables, and household cleaning and for killing weeds.  

Fred Meyer ad for Sunday.

Fred meyers for tomorrow.  Please note that there is a five dollars off of five sale going on.  This usually works with coupons. You do have to pick and choose. A lot of it is junk food.  

Foster Farms whole chicken .87
Foster Farms split chicken breast 1.49.  ***
Also thighs and legs 

Mango or avacodo .77

Cantaloupe 2/3 
Cheese 2.99 a pound 
Zucchini .99
Cottage cheese, sour cream 2/4 large 

Freshetta pizza.     4.99. Coupon in Sunday paper for 1.50 off of two.

Cucumbers, radishes 59

Oranges .99

Buy five, save, five.

Note : ** means there is a coupon somewhere.     Or a good chance there is .

Nature valley bars 1.99
Ritz crackers 1.79**
Gold fish .99
Tide 4.99**
Cheerios, Frosted Flakes 1.79**
Kens salad dressing 1.49.
Jiff peanut butter is 2.99 for the large jar.  

The English muffins are not a bargain. The regular price for English muffins at FM is 1.67 for a veery large bag...i think a dozen.   They are in a basket by the eggs at shoreline.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Smashed potatoes

A good side dish for a potluck.

8 medium sized russet  potatoes
1-1/2 cup homemade ranch dressing
1/2 lb shredded Mexican blend cheese
Salt , peppers
Bacon bits

  1. Bake potatoes.  Peel.
  2. Place in a mixing bowl. 
  3. Smash potatoes ( leave a bit chunky) 
  4. Add remaining ingredients 
  5. Pour into greased 9X13 pan 
  6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes 
  7. Garnish with green onion and bacon

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What can you do with cottage cheese

Cottage cheese continues to be a bargain.   Fred meyers has it for a dollar a small carton frequently.
It's a good source of protein and calcium and can be 'hidden" in all kinds of dishes.   Lately, I have been finding all kinds of recipes that you would never dream you could add cottage cheese to.

  1. Cottage cheese and fruit salad was a mainstay for us growing up. 
  2. Cottage cheese biscuits.   
  3. Cottage cheese and rice in hamburger for meatloaf or to stuff peppers, or hamburgers.   
  4. Cottage cheese pancakes 

What can you do with cottage cheese?  


1 cup flour
2 tsp sugar
1-1/8 tsp baling powder
1/4 tsp soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup cottage cheese

IN MEDIUM BOWL, measure dry ingredients.
Mix.   Cut in cold butter.

In separate bowl, beat cottage cheese for 2 minutes until smooth.  Ad egg and milk jutnuntil blended.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Turn out onto flour covered board.   Knead 8-10 times.   Pat out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with biscuit cutter.

Bake at 450 8-12 minutes.                                                                        

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chain store ad for the week

QFC was a two week ad last week


Kellogg's cereals 1.88. Buy 3

Milk 1.79@
Just for u digital coupons

Suddenly salad .88
Kens salad dressing 1.79


How many quirk sayings are in your childhood?  Everybody grew up wth some.  A lot of them had some insight into life.   Some were just funk.

  1. I'm not as green as I am cabbage looking.   :   Lesson:  retailers have studied the phycology of shopping.   They know how to trick you into spending more at their store.   Bigger carts.  Displays of junk food might be one of the first things you see when you walk in the door.  This is to get you so start putting high priced junk in your large cart.  There is much more.  There is a separate post on the subject. To be informed is your best defense.   
  2. It's a new one.   Alternative facts.  Almost every food you can name has an opinion associated with it.   This is good, or not so good.   I think you have to look at the source and use your common sense. Someone (MSN) just said that the dollar tree was a good source for food.   Try and not so true.   Not all the food is cheapter than the discount grocery stores.   Not all the packages are as big.   Some things are made in China.   Some things are a bargain and some things are what's left from a test market and are outstanding buys.   Like free is good.   
  3. No food will do your family any good if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.  Kale can be good for you, but if your family won't  eat it , it's not a bargain at any price.   If your high priced organic food rots before you can eat it , its not a bargain.    
  4. He who poops his britches accuses other chap of smelling of it.   Just food for thought.   
  5. Some people would not see a bargain if it got up and bit them in the butt.   Don't be that person.   Knowledge is power.  Know your prices.   Know who has the best price on certain foods.  No one store has the best prices on everything.   If you don't have a clue, ask a lot of people--especially someone with a lot of children to feed.   Get the ads and make it a point to study them for the prices of the things that you buy on a regular basis.   Doing it for a few weeks wil give you a good idea. There are apps like favado, but they aren't always accurate.