Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Stats

I have had the day to myself for the first time in what seems like years. I did some research on the Internet. Average food stamps are 133.00 per person per month. 533.00 for the typical family of four. USDA stats for low income family of four is 627.90 a month. High income is 1245.60. Those figure are for June 2012. This is for food only. Paper products, alcoholic beverages etc. Are not included. I am sitting at 1/2 the low income stats and have built a stock besides.

Meals from the ads

My usual post after the ads post is to do a post on making meals from the ads and what is still in my fridge. It is mainly to show the process. My fridge is probably not your fridge and my family dynamics are probably not yours.

My formula for meal plans is

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

We tend to like Tex Mex (easy for me to compensate for the veggies). When the children were growing up, we tended to have the same things, because the kids liked them a lot.

1) Tacos,Refried beans
2) beef barley soup, crusty bread
3) chicken pot pie
4) pork spareribs
5) Tomato soup and quesidas.
6) pizza
7) tuna casserole

I got wheat pizza crust at grocery outlet for 2 crusts for a buck. Mots is 2.19 a pound at Costco. I got tortillas for .60 at big lots.Spareribs are on sale at top. My very technical recipe for country style ribs is to slice an onion on top of them in a slow cooker. Add a beer on top and cook for 8-10 hours. Carefully take them out with a slotted spoon when done. Place them on a broiler pan, brush with BBQ sauce and broil until sauce is bubbly.

The chicken, beef, and taco meat are already cooked in the freezer from previous weeks.
Mixed veggies were at the dollar store, also on sale at QFC. Good tuna is on sale as well with a coupon.

My tag phrase is 4+1 is 5. Four people, one meal, five bucks.

If I know that we are doing to have a long, hard day,I plan a meal that cooks itself , so dinner is ready when we are.

I was asked one time, why I would want to feed a family of four for 50 bucks a week. My reply was that my husband and I had both been laid off and we took cuts in pay to get new jobs. And, the mortgage company didn't have a sense of humor! LOL. If you have never been there, you don't understand.

But, besides averting disaster, groceries on the cheap can free up discretionary money for other life enriching things--like the kids college fund, or a vacation that you have always wanted to go on. There is a smug satisfaction that you have beat the stats and a sense of security knowing that You have food in the house at the end of the month.

I started this blog when it was brought to my attention that there were people on SNAP that were running out of money before they ran out of month. The amount of full food stamps is well enough to live on, if you manage it wisely. The trick may be to realize that they are FOOD stamps, not SNACK stamps.It is healthier to snack on an apple or some air popped popcorn than potato chips or sugar coated cereal. It also, won't work if you buy ready made meals.

Knowing how to grocery shop on th cheap is empowering. Even if you don't need to, why waste money??

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The ads

Here are the ads


10 for 10

Mini carrots
Frozen veggies 12 oz

Strawberries 2/5.00
Pork shoulder 1.79

Grapes 2.49


sirloin steak 2.99
Milk 2.59


BLUES, 18 ounces

Skippy peanut butter

Sausage buy 1 get1

Coupon****. Tuna, solid pack. 1.19
Coupon. Brownie mix . 99

Frozen foods. Buy five, get ten dollars on your next trip.

Frozen fries 2/7
Mornimg star farms 2.99. That makes them a buck EACH!!!!


BUY 10

Hunts pasta sauce .80
Brown and serve. . 80

Chicken breasts . 99
15 ground beef. 2.49****
apples .88
Lettuce 1.00
Carrots 1.69


Apples 1.00
Tomatoes .89
Grapes 1.99

15/10. Beans and tomatoes canned. .67 each"""""

Blues 16 ounces. 3.98
15 percent ground beef 3.00****
Pork ribs 2.00
Pork chops 2.00
Pork roast 2.00
Beef roasts 3.00

Note the flux of ground beef prices, You probably would be better off making it from sirloin Safeways.
Also, there is a great flux on baby carrots.
Beef roast is 3.00. The new two dollars. That's a fifty percent increase.
The 15/10 canned foods are a stockimg alert.
Vegetarian alert Safeways has a net of 1.00 a package on vegetarian "meat".

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The rest of the story

Today is the day I usually do the ads. However, I couldn't finish yesterday's blog.

There are a lots of tricks to make cooking from scratch fast. There is one school of thought that makes a entire month of meals one day, and freezes the rest. I call it marathon cooking. I don't have the stanima for that,but I can see where it might be beneficial to some families. I have dome a mini version of it before and boxed up some for our elderly mothers. I thought it might be fun for them not to eat their own cooking and have some things that they wouldn't cook for one person.

I use the slow cooker a lot of I am going to work the late shift, or entertain. It just makes life easier. The last thing I want to do after I have been on my feet on cement floors all day is to set on to cook a meal from scratch.

When I get a bulk batch of ground meat, or make ground meat, I cook and de fat it and portion control it. Put it into bags and label. It makes life easier and dinner is half made. I make taco meat, crumbles, meatballs, Salisbury steak, and we have meatloaf that night. You can do that for sausage also.

Or I roast off a chicken and separate it into 4 bags: 2 1/2s of chicken breasts, one leg portions and the bones for soup.

I cook off a roast beef or pork and we have a roast meal and then slice the rest thin for a hot sandwich and freeze on family portions.

Take a couple of zip lock bags and put them in the freezer door,label them meat, and veggies. Every time you chop a veggie or cook a meat that goes on a pizza, set aside a little in your bag. I would use separate bags for the meat. At the end of a week or two, you have enough for "almost free pizza". The recipe for dough is on a prior blog. It is really easy and fast. You use the food processor. We also found pizza crusts whole-wheat for 2/1.00 at the grocery outlet .

Another idea, if you are not the tracking type, consider delegating to another family member. I set up my mothers file system when I was in jr high school.

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Will return with the ads

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The basics revisited again !!!

About every first of the month, I go over the basics for any new people, or to refresh memories.

This blog is about grocery shopping on the cheap. It takes a three pronged approach at putting inexpensive, tasty meals on the table. It is not about eating cheap hot dogs, top ramen, or .28 a pound chicken or dumpster diving??!! LOL. There are many reasons why one would want to economize on food. Some people read this blog to see new recipes or get an idea how to get out of the kitchen fast. The idea is "If you spend more time on the front end of the 'get the food on the table train' and less time on the back end you will be better off. You essentially get paid for shopping, not for cooking.

If you can cut your food bill in half, and save 75 dollars a week on food, you save almost 4 thousand dollars a year. What can YOU buy or save for that much money. If you are like I was in my early years, I didnt have it to save. I just had to make what I had stretch.

The basics take a three pronged approach.1) Planning and organizing,2) shopping and 3) cooking from scratch

1) Planning and Organizing
Everything successful starts with a plan. First, gather main dish recipes that use inexpensive sources of protein that your family will eat. Start with seven, and go from there. Fourteen is better for variety.

Now, make a list of the staples you use frequently. In our house it would be beans, refried beans, cheese, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, pasta, some tuna, and some salmon and instant mashed potatoes.
make a spread sheet or a small spiral notebook to track the prices. Record the item, the size, the amount you paid, when and where. Pretty soon you will discover the rock bottom price of the article. Plan your menus when you get home from the store keeping in mind what is leftover in the fridge before you went to the store. Nothing fancy, just jot down seven main dishes. Do this after you shop something that is on sale might not be as good a quality as you want, or not available.

2) Shopping.
When you find the rock bottom price, buy a) as many as the store will allow you to buy, b) as many as you can afford to buy,or c)as many as you need to replenish stock. If I use something once a week, I keep 24. If I use it once a month, I keep 6. This isn't about hoarding.

When the grocery ads come out, take a piece of computer paper , divide it in fourths. Put the name of a store at the top of each section. Go through the ads and mark down any meat and veggie buys that are a good price and any stock items that are a good price. Skip the ready made items and snack food.

When you are done,cross off any thing that is a higher price and anything you don't need. Record lowest prices of your target foods. Pick the two stores that have the lowest prices on things you need. plan your trip to save gas.

Take the ads, and your list. Get in and get out. The More time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend.

Store your fruits and veggies properly. There are storage solutions on the market that make fruits and veggies last longer.

3) Cooking from scratch
There is no room in a good food cheap budget for snacks and ready made foods. That being said, there are a few things that are cheaper to buy ready made than to make from scratch, and a few things that are best bought ready made. Refried beans, canned beans and tortillas and mayo come to mind. Sometimes instant mashed potatoes are cheaper than scratch. There are ways to make dinner as fast as you can by using a box. I did a post on a hamburger dinner box. It is a real eye opener. it is about the most expensive item in the store pound for pound. Booze excluded.

I'm out of time, hope I covered everything.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Price comparisons

My mother was an antique dealer. She always said that every antique store had sleepers and the trick was to find them.

No one grocery store has the lowest prices on everything. If you can effectively and efficiently take advantage of
The lowest prices, you can master 1/2 price food.

We did a Costco run yesterday. We only needed a few things, but they were really necessary things. I thought I would spend some time comparing prices. I have had a lot of questions about comparing Costco prices.

Many produce prices at Costco are pretty stable year round. Bananas are 1.39 the cheapest anywhere. Grocery Outlet is 1.99, other stores .79. All bananas are organic. Berries are almost always cheaper. Blueberries are full of antioxidents and are very versitile.

Toilet paper is the cheapest I have found.

They have pizzas on sale at times. I got a extra Large pizza for 5.99 yesterday. It is so large that I havento cut it into quarters to get it in our fridge and oven!

Cheese was 3.19 a pound. I have been getting it for 2.50 a pound. They had mots for 2.19 grated. Grated cheese should not be more expensive than the bricks. We went to the Tillamock factory. Mthey make cheese in huge molds. Then put it through a cutting machine. The excess goes into a plastic bin and goes to the grater machine. Basically, it is the leftovers.

The chicken sausage that I buy for 2.99 at grocery outlet was more expensive.

I buy the brown and serve baguettes from Costco unless I can find them at the bakery outlet. The bakery doesn't always have them. I keep them in the fridge, they last a long time. Tortillasmaremcheaper. I keep them in the fridge too.

Re fried Beans were cheaper than the regular price at the other grocery stores. They were not the .50 that got them for on sale.

Pasta was a lot more expensive. Pasta has a very, very long shelf life. You can stock very comfortably.

Spices are a lot cheaper. I buy the spices that I use a lot from Costco along with better than bouillon low sodium. Some that I don't use often I get at the dollar store or Big Lots.

Stamps are less than par value at Costco.
Magazines are thirty percent off. They don't have a complete selection.
Some magazines are .50 at the goodwill.

Cottage cheese and sour cream is cheaper at Costco most of the time.

Dry beans are really cheaper. The quantity is huge! In would get together with friends , neighbors, or family and split a bag.

The trick to all this is to know the prices ofnthe things that you use all the time. If you can't remember, keep a spread sheet or spiral notebook . It gives you an overview of prices and where the rock bottom price is. Often times, you can save as much as a dollar or more on an item.

It adds up fast. 75 dollars a week is almost 4 thousand a year!

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Notes on Sunday

I came across a trivia that is interesting. The grocery chain stores research their locations carefully. they are based on demographics. The dollar stores piggy back certain stores. If you notice most of the time, the dollar store be in the same strip mall as Safeways or grocery outlet! Grouping your stores saves time and gas. We have TJ MAXX , Safeways, and the dollar store and Costco just down the highway. Oe we have Joannes, Albertsoms, Safeways, and the dollar store, and big Lots in a cluster and grocery outlet nearby.

I know I sound like a broken record, but the slow cooker is my best friend in the kitchen. I have to work the late shift today. I'm going to put soup on this morning so it's ready when I get home.

Beef and vegetable soup

1 pound lean ground beef, cooked and defatted
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 bottle beer
1cup beef broth
1 cup water

1-1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper

Salt, pepper, bayleaf

Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Discard bay leaf.

Note. You could use ground pork or turkey. I don't know how fake meat would hold up, but you could add it the last and heat through. You, of course, could add non alcoholic beer.You couldmusenany other rootmvegetables that sounded good to you or add some noodles or cooked rice at the end.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Shopping trip

I cleaned the fridge, and made banana blueberry bread. Decided to go shopping anyway. I got cheese for five bucks at Top and apples. We took baby to her mom so we got lost for an hour. In less than an hour including travel time, we went to Safeways and got sour cream and some lunch meat. the dollar store was next where I got French fries and hot poppers. The grocery outlet was where I got whole wheat pizza crusts two in a package for a buck. Also chicken and artichoke sausage for three bucks. Yum!

I posted the last of the receipts for February. I averaged 68 a week and more than maintained our stock.

The banana bread recipe is bisquick. It is a healthy banana bread with egg substitute, low fat bisquick and low fat milk. Add oatmeal and bananas that are to the point of anti cancer properties and blueberries with anti ocidents and we have a real winner.

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Finally Friday

Today, I am not going grocery shopping! We have enough food stocked that I dont have to. I am not seeing any terrific buys that are calling me LOL. Just one more reason why stocking is beneficial. They are predictimg 30 mile an hour winds today. A good day to stay home and get caught up on paper work or do some work for the business.

A good day to use the crockpot if the power doesn't go off. We have been real lucky since the power company cut down a tree up the road.

Batch cooking sloppy Joes

3 pounds ground beef
3 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 drops liquid smoke
1 Tsp dry mustard

Cook ground beef until no longer pink. Defat. Return to clean pan and add ingredients. Simmer until warm and flavors have blended-- about 10-15 minutes. Bag in meal sized portions.

In also have used a recipe from the crockpot cookbook for a croud that takes veggies and canned tomatoes.

My favorite thing to make when I am having a crowd is something in the crockpot with a couple of simple sides, it takes all the pressure off at serving time. Ome time I had sloppy joes,tater tots and coleslaw. Another time I had sirloin tips with caramelized onions, rice, and green salad.

Salisbury Steak

1 cup milk
28 saltiness, crushed
1/4 cup minced onion
4 tsp parsley flakes
2 poumds groumd meat

Mix together all ingredients. Shape into 8 patties. Spray baking pan with cooking spray. Place parties in pan and bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until temperature is 160. Make gravymaddimg w sauce.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

the ads

The ads for this week are here.


Pork loin roast 1.59
Boneless chicken breast 3.75 a pound***
milk 2.50

Broccoli .99
Strawberries 2.00
Grapes 2.49


Cheese 5.
Chili 1.00
Broccoli 1.00
Potatoes 1.39
Apples .89


Round steak 2.49
Sirloin tip 2.99
Pork loin 1.69
Shrimp 5.00

5 dollar Friday
Salmon 12 oz
Lemon me range pie

Pasta sUce 1.00
Potatoes , mashed 1.00
Carrots .79


Manufacture coupons round to a dollar
tuna .78 coupon

That's all.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday notes

I am getting writers block. Please comment what kind of recipes you want to see. Do you want to see the recap of the ads every week? Meal plans? I would really appreciate your ideas!

Today I am going to survey the fridge. We were lucky enough to be able to go out. Happy hour food is much cheaper than the regular menu. I just drink ice tea. My husband loves finger foods for dinner sometimes. You can make finger foods healthy.

Tomato soup is too expensive to make from scratch. My mother-in-law used to make it from canned tomatoes. unfortunately, I never saw her do it. There was a piece on Americas Test Kitchen comparing soups. There are actually tomato soups that have no tomatoes in them. kinda like the cheeseburger macaroni that has no cheese in it. LOL. I like then tomato-roasted red-pepper soup in a box. I can't afford it unless I happen to see it at Costco for about two dollars a box.I add basil, blue cheese, and some milk.

Veggie Sandwiches

Feta cheese
Roma tomatoes

Small tortillas

Serve with salad.

I got garbanzo beans for .50. feta cheese with tomatoes was cheap at grocery outlet. small tortillas were .60 at big lots. I keep them in the fridge. I'm not surenincouldnget my husband to eat this for dinner, but maybe it would be a good lunch dish.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quick meals

I'm getting a lot of inquiries about horseradish sauce, chicken pot pie, WinCo and split pea soup.

The only thing I haven't seen a lot of is recipes that call for horseradish sauce. It's a strong taste and goes well with beef.

Sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, green pepper, pasta sauce, onion, ripe olives, Italian seasoning. serve over pasta of choice.
Note I bought big cans of sliced ripe olives for 50 at big lots. I'll post later as to the quality.


Chicken pieces, cooked
Drained diced tomatoes
Taco seasoning

Corn tortillas

Lettuce, cheese, tomato sour cream avocado


Sauté 1/2 cup chopped mild onion and 2 tsp chopped garlic in a teaspoons of olive oil,
In a large bowl, beat six eggs. Add :
3/4 cup heavy cream, 2 cups cooked chicken, 2 cups shredded cheese, and 5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled.
add onion and garlic.

Grease a pie plate and pour mixture in it. Bake at 375 35-45 minutes.

to reduce the fat!!
You can substitute milk for the cream. Use maybe a half cup could use turkey bacon and reduce some of the cheese or mix parmesan with cheddar to total 2 cups.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Gleaming ideas from magazines

One of my machines needed parts. Had to go to joannes to get it. I picked up the family circle. Magazines are ten percent off. That pays the tax!!!

We also went to big lots. I got fruit pouches for baby for fifty cents. I also got stewed tomatoes for .50 and chicken noodle soup in a larger can...30 percent more for .95.

I thought I would dissect the Family Circle. As usual, the food is in the back. They have a months worth of meals. Woman's Day has been doing that for years.

I won't quote the recipes, but will give you their titles. kinda like you thumbing through it at the checkouts.
chicken stuffed with tomato and cheese
Turkey sausage and spinach Orecchietti
Shrimp and sweet pepper fajitas
Meatballs in creamy dill sauce
Broccoli and onion pie
Pork medallions with apple
Honey soy glazed salmon

Balsamic pot roast
Chicken and hominy chili bowl
BBQ short ribs
Smoky navy bean soup

A lot of these recipes are in their month list.
A lot of sausage, fish, vegetarian, turkey and chicken, and some beef.
Some things I have never heard of, and some my husband wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole...broccoli and onion pie comes to mind. Heck, most of them he would make funny faces about! LOL

Some of these recipes are just to expensive to make. Some you can get into my budget if I find the ingredients on sale. Salmon was on sale this week at Safeways. It was still pricy, but I can offset it withza a couple of inexpensive meals--average. Short ribs are expensive when you consider how much is bone and how much meat you actually get to eat! Chicken breasts are more expensive ,but you can get them on sale, or cut up your chickens and save the breasts up in the freezer. There is a post of things you can do with leg portions. They used to be .50 a pound. Now they are a buck...more than buying the whole chicken. I can find chicken for .88 to a buck a pound.

I don't these days de-bone a chicken very often. I'm not as proficient as I used to be. I am retired, run two businesses, belong to a service club, take care of my granddaughter 10-12 hours a day five days a week and when I don't take care of my granddaughter, I work retail on my feet two days a week. Shopping on the cheap doesn't have to take more time that just going to one store and buying anything you want. Once you are organized, it probably takes less time collectively. Remember, if you spend more time on the front end of the" get dinner on the table train" and less time on the back end, you will be better off. You get " paid" for shopping, not for cooking.

There are ways to cut kitchen time and not sacrifice good food. Box dinners are neither cheaper nor faster. There is a post on that too. LOL. My daughter and I proved that!!
Better, cheaper, faster.

Not everything is organic. Organic can have three percent pesticides and still be labeled organic. Not everything is fat free, or sugar free, or gluten free. Pay attention to what they are putting in those things. It might me penny wise and pound foolish. I think it is interestimg that when our society is turned on to a speciality diet, suddenly even the stuff that never had whatever is being toted as healthy, has a big sign on it's package as fat free or gluten free or whatever. I believe in moderation and balance. They change their mind like some people change their underwear. Remember when liver was good for you?? Drink three glasses of whole milk a day, no don't drink three glasses of milk a day. Eat pasta. No don't eat pasta, you will get diabetes. I really think moderation and balance is the key.

Enough soap box.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday and one more day off!!!

I bought salmon, stew meat, and hamburger this week, all in bulk amounts. My husband cooked all the salmon Friday night and I will make a salmon noodle casserole tonight. That leaves me with the stew meat and hamburgernto cook today. I am really hungry for beef barley soup. I wish I had paid attention to how my mother cooked it. I don't remember, but maybe because she started it before I got home from school. Que the Internet!!I have a notion that it had tomato paste, beef, beef stock, carrots...umm

Beef stew
1 pound beef cubes
4 carrots cut into chunks
1/2 pound red potatoes cut in half ormquarters to equalize size.
Red peppers, cut onto chunks
1can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup flour
6 ounces tomato paste
3/4 cup beef broth

1/3 cup additional liquid, water, stock, wine?

Salt, pepper, garlic, thyme

Brown beef. Place beef, vegetables in slowncooker. Add tomatoes over top.
Mix in a bowl, flour tomato paste and broth until smooth. Add the additional liquid, salt and pepper, garlic and thyme. Stir into contents of slow cooker.
Cook on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.

My mother cooked stew meat the way her mother did. She dredged it in flour. She then browned it with some oil and added water and braised it.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

soups..easy, cheap and satisfying

One of the most requested recipes I have is for soups. We all want spring to come, but reality is that still winter. A hearty bowl of soup fills you up and usually it is healthy.

I bought LARGE bag of split peas at Costco. It was fractions of the price it is at even the grocery outlet. I split them with my husband's siblings.

Split Pea Soup #2

1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
16 ounces of split peas
9 cups water
1 cup carrots, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
Parsley, basil, salt and pepper

Your choice of meat, ham , kielbasa,or turkey kielbasa, fake sausage???

Sauté onion and celery in olive oil in a soup pot. Stir in 6 cups of water and the peas.
Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer andncook 25 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook an additional 25 minutes. Don't forget the remaining 3 cups of water.

I think you could sauté the veggies and dump everything in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours. You could also substitute veggie stock for the water, or chicken stock. Also, you could sneak in some cauliflower. I usually blend all or part of the soup to make it thicker. If I wanted to sneak in the cauliflower, I would the food processor on it first so it blended in better.

Very technical chicken noodle soup

Sauté vegetables - carrot, celery,and onion
Add chicken broth,diced cooked chicken,and poultry seasoning.
Cook til warm. Add a couple of handfuls of noodles and cook until done.

We like anpiece of hard crusty bread with ours.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Post grocery shopping

We gone shopping. First we went to the closing sale atmPetosas. They had everything is 1/2 price. I got rice, cream soups, and some sugar free jam. Then off Safeways. Again, there was no 7 percent hamburger. I did get salmon and stew meat. I am hungry for beef barley soup. Mashed potatoes were .90 cents.

I found frozen potatoes and mixed veggies at the dollar store.

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Finally Friday.

The internet is a wealth of recipes so you don't get stuck in a rut. Betty Crocker has a web site that you can type in what you have and it will give you recipes. Just be mindful that you can substitute a box of ??? For real food.

There are only a few " rules" that will make a real difference on your food bill. It's rather funny to me that my mother a half a decade ago did most of them. There was not then deluge of ready made products back then, or the
Variety of vegetables we have now. The alternative food eaters didn't exist either to complicate things.

I have managed to work around vegetarian. Some of our meals can be adapted, sometimes, she has to make her own.
I have a husband that won't eat vegetables, a daughter that won't eat meat, and I am diabetic, so I can't eat a lot of starch. We all have to co exist! LOL

I digress.

1) never pay full price for anything. Sometimes I get stuck, but it is usually somethimg that never goes on sale. I still try to find the lowest price.

2) Never ( never say never) buy ready made foods. there are a few things that are cheaper ready made andna few that are too time consuming to make yourself.

3)Always shop at more than one store. Stores price some things low, planning on you buying what goes with them at a jacked up price. beat them at their game.

4) Plan your trip, research, make a list. Plan your route,get in and get out.

5) Try to use up everything. Cut the waste. How clever of our great grandmothers to make banana bread!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Meals from the ads

Today is usually meals from the ads. Even though I usually wait until after I shop to plan my meals. Sometimes I get to the store and Shay is on sale is in way too large a package or is not good enough or they are out of it.
A couple of weeks ago, QFC had pork loi . Most of it was dark meat and it had large gristle stuff running through it. The strawberries were growing gray hair prettier than mine!

My formula is

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

Your spread may be different. these are my strategies than have worked for me. Use the things that make sense for
Your world now.

It seems as if the same cuts of meat are on sale . Trying to mix it up is a challenge. my mother seat one mealmplan and we coldntell what day of the week it was by what we were having for dinner. Pizza.. It must be Thursday. Roast, it must be Sunday. Hamburgers was Saturday!

1- steak, baked potatoes, horseradish sauce mixed greens with strawberries.
2- tacos

3- chicken noodle soup - scratch.
4- pork loin sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, cheese, broiled.

5- Mac and cheese
6- pizza

7- salmon, oven roasted root veggies, salad

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The ads

It's that Timel of the week.

The ads


7 percent hamburger 2.99
Chicken .99

Apples -99
Salmon 5.99
Milk 2.59
Nathans b1G1
Blues,blacks 3.99


grapes 1.99
Chicken .88
Breyers ice cream 2.99
Klondike bars 2.99
80 percent beef 2.66***


Sirloin tip B1G1. 2.75 net


Klondike bars 2.60
Chicken .88
Apples .88
Oranges .88
7 percent beef 3.49***

Note the spread between the hamburger prices and the chicken prices.

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It's time to take a quick look at the fridge and incorporate anything hanging around too long. We mare goimg tp have breakfast for dinner to use the berries I bought Friday. Maybe blueberry waffles.

Hreycvv. (Baby Dear is helping! )

A thrifty kitchen always has ground beef or turkey or textured vegetable protein. It's usually inexpensive and versatile.

Beef Stuffed French Bread

1 poumd ground beef
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 large baked potato, cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1tsp parsley
1/4 tsp dried onion powder
Dash of red pepper sauce

Hard rolls

1cup cheddar cheese, grated

Cook beef and onion until no longer pink. Drain.
Add potato, soup, mushrooms and rest of ingredients except bread and cheese.

Cut a slice off the top of the bread and hollow out center, leaving a shell. Make bread crumbs out of the pieces. Add one cup of the crumbs to the beef mixture. Stir on cheese.

Fill bread shells replace tops. Wrap in foil. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving

From Taste of Home booklet.

Notes. I would use already cooked and defatted beef. Instead of a can of mushrooms, I would use fresh so I could control the amount. A good recipe to use that leftover baked potato. Safeways has hard rolls in a bag. 8 for three dollars. Our TOP has them in bulk bread bin.
Can be made ahead of time and frozen. Thaw in fridge and bake for 20-25 minutes. I like things that I can
Put in the oven and finish dinner while it cooks. Maybe a green salad or veggie sticks.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Shopping Trip and $5.00 Dinners

Good Morning. After I get home from any shopping trip where I buy groceries, I post to a spread sheet. Recording my grocery purchase totals keeps me on track.
If I see that I have spent more than my 75 dollar limit, I know I can back off the next week. I typically spend less on some weeks, and spend more the weeks that I find a good price on my stock items or a bulk meat.

Last night we had Pork Loin Roast, Mashed sweetpotatoes, green beans and salad. It would be a five dollar dinner --actually 4.50.

I got Ragu sauce for 1.00 and pasta for a buck. Add some meat and a salad and you have well under five dollars.

Sausage was buy one get one. Sausage and eggs and fruit and toast would be less than five dollars.

Split Pea soup and toasted cheese sandwiches would be less than 5.00.

Chicken Pizza would be less than 5.00 with a salad.

Tacos come in at less that 5.oo.

Pork sandwiches and coleslaw. The trick here is to find buns for a good price. Sometimes, the bread store or Grocery Outlet.

One of the tricks for keeping your food bill low is to group your meals in such a manner that you use all of what you purchased. If you buy spinach for a spinach salad, then you can use some spinach on a pizza. If you have cottage cheese left, make lasagna or stuffed shells. Leftover bread can beoome dressing for chicken or pork , or breadcrumbs for meatloaf or a thickening agent for soup. Cooked to much pasta...make pasta salad for lunch or to go with a sandwich for dinner. Fridge management cut down on the amount you have to throw away. The average family throws out a lot of food--like thirteen pounds a week by one account.

Pot Roast was on sale at Safeways. I am pretty well stocked, so I didn't opt for 18.00 worth of pot roast. If I hadn't been well stocked, I would have divided it into four pot roasts and frozen three of them.

My very technical recipe for pot roast in the slow cooker. Dump the pot roast in the slow cooker. Slice an onion and spread over the top. Salt and Pepper.
Pour a 12 ounce beer over the top. Add enough beef stock to almost cover the roast. Cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Is anybody out there?

Is anybody out there? Yesterday I posted recipes for pizza that were different than the hum drum pepperoni...most of them a bit more healthy. I don't know are looking for because I am not gettimg any comments from anyone. There is an anonymous button on the comments section.

It's Sunday and I have to go to work today. That's six days this week, ugh! Soup is a good go to for days like this.

Burger Beef Soup

12 ounces cooked, defatted ground beef

1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup carrots, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Salt, pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 cup uncooked noodles

Brown onions, carrots and celery in a little EVOO.
Stir in remaining ingredients except noodles.
Heat to boiling. Stir in noodles. Simmer 10-15 minutes until noodles are cooked.
Serve with hard crusty bread or croutons.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Suddenly Saturday

It's Saturday finally a day and a half off. Yeah! Saturday is a pizza kind of day.

Pizza crust is recipe is on a previous post. It's really easy.
1 can tomato paste
1 scant teaspoon EACH of grated onion and minced garlic
Pinch of Italian seasoning

1.5 cups mozzarella, grated
2 ounces diced ham
1 small red or green pepper, diced
1/2 can sliced black olives, drained **

bake crust at 375 for 15 minutes. Spread withnsauce and toppimgs and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

chicken pizza toppings
Chicken chunks
White cheese
Diced peppers
Smoked Gouda

Note : smoked Gouda isnat grocery outlet, chicken strips are buy 1 get 1 Safeways thisnweek. I have not calculated the end cost of those. peppers are cheap at grocery outlet as well.

Mexican pizza toppings

Black beans
Onion, chopped or grated
Peppers, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped and seeded
Garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin
Spinach, cilantro
White cheese

Pizza crusts like bomboli are 2.18 at WinCo. Or pre bake the crust recipe.

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Please share. I am trying to help people eat better for less and save time in the kitchen.
There are still people that are under employed, unemployed or just want to get ahead.


Bake accordimg to your crust instructions.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Comfort Food

Comfort Food seems to be a topic I see lots. I also see inquiries about chicken pot pie, split pea soup,Tex Mex WinCo vs Costco.

Before I start talking about comfort foods, my daughter told me somethimg worth repeating. Costco green beans have 300 less grams of sodium than some of the other green beans. Their price is comparable except for the .33 ones I purchased from WinCo.

ORZO stuffed Tomatoes--6 servings

2/3 cup uncooked ORZO
6 medium tomatoes
1T butter
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese, reduced fat
1tsp basil
2tsp parsley
Salt, pepper

Cook pasta. Drain
Cut a thin slice off the top of the tomato.
Scoop out the pulp leaving a shell. Invert tomatoes on a paper towel.
Cook butter in a saucepan. Add ORZO, the tomato pulp without seeds,drained and the remaining ingredients.
Spoon into tomatoes. Bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes.

3 T butter
3 T flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-1/2 cup milk

4 ounces shredded cheese
3 cups grated potatoes.
1 cup grated carrots
2 T onion.

Make white sauce with the butter, flour and milk. Remove from heat and add HALF of the cheese.
Add the vegetables. Transfer to an 8 inch square baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Uncover, add remaining cheese and bake an additional 15 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are tender.


I think you you could use less cheese. You could also grate all of the veggies in the food processor and drain them. Good with roast chicken.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Notes on Wednesday

Today is the day that I usually make a list of meals from the ads. I'll do that, but I found a recipe booklet at the dollar store that is well worth the buck. it is called America's Cookbook. It has shopping tips, recipes and the history of some foods. it is a great educational tool for children.

They have tips for shopping most of them I have already posted and knew. A couple of them I forgot about.

Never go to the store hungry. Everything looks good and it's to easy to impulse buy. Watch the scanner for errors. I was charged twice for the same thing the other day. Finding it after you leave the store is a hastle to rectify.

Beer Bread

3 cups flour
1T baking powder
1tsp salt
2T sugar
1- 12 ounce can of beer
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375

Mix together dry ingredients. Add the butter and beer. Fold together just until well combined. Batter will be sticky. Pour into greased pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until bread tests done. Cool and turn out onto a wire baking rack.

This booklet is a wealth of information. History of foods, nutrition facts, measurement table, a lot of good basic recipes.

Meal Plans

I usually use a template to plan meals.

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

I try to stick to this plan so that we are balanced. Beef has some nutrients that no other meat has. If you pick your cuts and cook it properly, it can have less fat than a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Even Dr Oz says twice a week is OK. The two days are balanced by chicken, pork, and vegetarian and fish. When a family member only ate chicken and pork. They had to go to the hospital for an operation and he was so anemic he had to have blood transfusions before they could do surgery. I think the trick is moderation.

Tacos, refried beans
Pot Roast, red potatoes, carrots, salad

chicken pot pie
chicken soup

Potato Soup


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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The ads. Again

I hit the wrong key and the entire blog erased. Basically, there are not many good buys this week.
QFC has good buys on dairy and Safeways has round steak and petite sirloin for 2.69.

18 coumt eggs 1.99
Butter 2.49
Cottage cheese 1.67
Strawberries 2.00


Oranges organic .89
Strawberries 2.00
Apples .99
Blues 18 oz 5.98
Salmon 7.00

Round steak 2.69
Petite sirloin 2.69

Blue and blackberries B1G1
oranges .88
Buy 6: brownies or cake mix .99
Sausage B1G1. JOHNSONVILLE or chicken strips.
Ragu pasta sauce 2/3 plus get 1 pasta for free.

Albertsoms is just a bust. White breadnis .88, but I don't buy white bread.

Good ground beef is 3.99 a pound. Your best bet is to get round steak and grind your own. You can control the fat. If you don't have a grinder on your mixer, get the manual kind at a garage sale or a antique store or raid your grandmothers kitchen.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I am researching my old personal cookbook. One of the ways to bust the budget is to buy seasoning mixes. Spices are a buck all over. For spices that you only need a little of, the bulk isle is your best bet. Basil is really cheap at Costco in a Large container...share!! We eat a lot of Tex Mex. I can make it and still accommodate the vegetarians without cooking separate entres.

Chili seasoning

4T chili powder
2 -1/2 tsp ground coriander
2-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Store on airtight container is a dry place

3 tsp for 2-1/2 quarts of chili.

Taco Seasoning
4 T chili powder
3T + 1 tsp paprika
3T cumin
2 T onion powder
1T + 2 tsp cayenne pepper

Makes 1 cup

Use 2 rounded Tablespoons per pound a meat. in cook the meat until no longer pink. Drain in a colander. Pour boilimg water over the meat. Return to pan with a little water and add seasoning. Bring up to temperature. Cool slightly and bag.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday madness

I ran on to meal plans that I did In 2002..some ten years ago. You can tell the adjustments made for the rising cost of food and the more health conscious climate. This was for the month of May and assumed you would add the appropriate veggie and starch.

Pizza, salad
Meat balls
Ham quiche
Dagwood Sandwiches
Tuna Cassarole
Beef Briskit
BBQ Beef Sandwiches left from yesterday)
Pizza, ham, pineapple, peppers
Hot Dogs
Roast Chicken
sloppy joes
Chicken pot pie
Shrimp muffins, potato soup
Pizza, chicken, olives, onion
BBq spareribs
roast Pork loin
Shrimp fettichini
Pork stir fry
Bacon quiche
Tuna casserole
Pasta bake
Top round steak
Roast chicken
London broil
Chicken casserole

I'm not seeing much difference, except the large beef meals are a thong of the past most of the time. Steak is ten dollars a pound!

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Suddenly Sunday

Good Morning.

I just realized that I hadn't done meal plans for this week. I pretty much didn't buy much this week because most of the specials were all about expensive snack food and booze. it's just another good reason to stock. I still have enough food with the exception of fresh food to cook all week. I am using up the perishablesmthat are in the fridge so my split isn't as diversified as it usually is.

1) ribs, oven roasted red potatoes,green salad
2) Mac and cheese. ( uses up the odds and ends of the cheese) and green beans
3) quiche with ham cubes, strawberries
4) pizza, green salad
5) chicken stir fry
6) sausage and bean soup, brown and serve sourdough from Costco
7) Tacos, refried beans

Ribs were on sale at Safeways Friday. I buy lots of variety of cheeses because we like it. Cheese was 5 dollars for 2 pounds Safeways again. Ham cubes need to be used up. They work I'm pizza and quiche.
Chicken Stirfry is from chicken in the freezer pirchased at a dollar a pound. Sausage and bean soup and tacos use cans that I purchased for .50 last week. Total cost, rounding is 33.75 dollars divided by 7 is 4.82 a meal.

I could have substituted chicken for the ham on the pizza, but I want to use the ham up so it doesn't go to waste and it doesn't freeze well.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013


I spent 40.00 at the grocery store this week. There just wasn't much there. I spent considerably more last week because it was a good stocking week. This week most of the ads were about the big game party food and booze.

I mostly bought fresh veggies. My husband went ton the grocery outlet and bought green peppers and sliced cheese.

When it is cold or when I know that it's going to be along day, I like to putna pot of soup on or put it in the slow cooker.

Sausage and Bean soup

1 quart of water
1 medium potato, sliced and cubed
1/2 pound sausage, cooked
2cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2cans diced tomatoes
1/2 a small onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper

Bring water to boil in stock pot. Add potato and cook for 10 minutes until potato is tender. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to simmer and cook another 10 minutes or so until veggies are tender.

Creamy Chicken Soup

sauté in oil in a stockpot until soft

1 rib celery chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2small onion chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic

Add 3 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup of left over rice
Salt, pepper

Cook om low until heated through

Add 1cup cream or milk
And 1 cup diced chicken

Mix 2T flour with 2T butter to form a paste.

Add to soup stirring until soup has thickened and soup in appropriate temperature. Do not boil.
Over storing will make the chicken tough or stringy.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Outsmarting the retailers

As I have said before, the retailers have spent considerable money to research our habits and find ways to get us to spend more money.

Advertising multiples, when you can only by one item is one trick they use. Because something is 3/1.00 doesn't mean that you have to buy three.

The longer you spend in a store, the more money you will spend. That's why some retailers change things aroumd frequently. Costco is notorious for it. If you have the mind set that you are on the clock and want to get the most bang for your buck, you'll spend less time. It's a game. I want to save as much as I can in the least amount of time.

Impulse buying is the retailers profit. They figure that 70 percent of what we buy is impulse. Often it is the most expensive things in the store that you don't really need. We want the retailers to prosper but they can do it on someone else's dime who can afford it.

Create your own path through the store, if you don't need anything in an isle, don't go there. The true necessities are on the outside perimeter of the store.

Sometimes, what is truly on sale isn't the featured items up front.

Exercise the hands off rule. Studies say that if you touch it, you are most likely going to buy it.

It's a well known trick that if prices have to increase, the manufacturers will reduce the size of the package instead of outwardly increasing the price.

Know your prices, the bulk isle isn t always the cheapest price.

Keep in mind that foods are sold other places other than grocery stores. Many time you can find overstocks at the dollar store, big lots, Bartells and almost anywhere. Keep your eye open, and know your prices.

Pick your grocery store based on the prices, not how friendly the clerks are or how fancy the store is, or how uncrowded it is. think about it, there is a reason why the store is crowded. Either they have just forecasted that dreaded S word, or it's because they have the best prices. You go to the grocery store to purchase your food.

Stores charge manufacturers slotting fees. Basically they charge rent for the eye level shelves. You can just bet they are going to pass on the cost. Look UP and DOWN for the best buys.

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