Sunday, September 30, 2018

Meal Plans for week of 10/1/18

Meal plans are a good thing to do because they save time and money.  They just make life easier.  They can be done either before or after you shop because you are planning using your master list of food instead of what you are buying just for the week.  There is some sort of security of knowing you always have food in the house,   Studies have shown that not having food on the house shortens your life span.  It is an anxiety thing.

  • Chili, beer bread or cornbread 
  • Pizza
  • Sloppy joes, fries, coleslaw 
  • Chicken Tamale Pie (Betty Crocker ) 
  • Fajitas -chicken 
  • Pork chops, apple cranberry stuffing , salad 
  • Breakfast for dinner -French Toast, bacon , fruit 

Notes :

  • Beer bread is a simple thing .  Corn bread is an alternative if you have children. (Betty Crocker)
  • Homemade pizza isn’t hard and costs a dollar for a cheese pizza when made with RBP ingredients. 
  • Sloppy joes are made with precooked hamburger.  Bins are cheapest at the bread outlet or Winco,  they are smaller with less carbs.  A fast meal, 
  • Chicken tamale pie is a Betty Crocker recipe.
  • Fajitas are chicken with onion and peppers purchased and frozen when they were a dollar at Winco.  Green peppers were cheaper. 
  • Pork chops with stuffing uses bread cubes , chicken broth, Craisens and chopped apple.   
  • Breakfast for dinner is always a good meal.   Everyone contributes to the meal and it’s a family time.  Wide sliced bread  (artisan) was at the Dollar Tree .  (DT) .

The latest scientific ?study  showed the cheapest price on food came from the Grocery Outlet , followed  by Winco, then Fred Meyers.   Grocery Outlet is not  a full service grocery store and I hesitate to buy produce and meat there.   I pretty much figured that out myself.  The biggest asset when buy8ng Groceries is knowing the cheapest price that yo7 can find on the things you buy on a regular basis.   Trying to stock enough to last you until the next sale is going to give you your best return. 

What we ate in September

Note😜. Some of these days I was stopped in my tracks with a torn muscle in my shoulder.  Gramps cooked.  Bet you can guess which days that was!!
  1. Chicken and rice casserole 
  2. Pancakes, bacon, strawberries 
  3. Leftovers 
  4. Burrito bowls
  5. Sliders, fries, salad 
  6. Brats, corn on cob, peppers 
  7. Pizza
  8. Ribs, peas, baked potatoes 
  9. Potluck. Pasta salad 
  10. Chicken nuggets, peas, oven fries 
  11. Chicken strips, fries, vegetable 
  12. Hamburgers. Oven fries, strawberries and grapes 
  13. Taco bake 
  14. Mac and cheese with ham , fruit cup 
  15. Sliders. Fries. Fruit
  16. Sausage, acorn squash, rolls 
  17. Vegetable soup 
  18. Hamburgers 
  19. Chicken soup 
  20. Chicken breast, 
  21. Chicken salad 
  22. Roast beef sandwiches 
  23. Spaghetti, salad 
  24. Tuna melts 
  25. Chop salad 
  26. Chicken tenders, fries 
  27. Stew 
  28. Chicken pot pie 
  29. Shrimp fettuccine, peas 
  30. Bacon, eggs, French Toast. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Saturday concepts.

Groceries on the cheap takes a different approach to grocery shopping,   In a lot of ways it simplifies things.  No more making a list and forgetting it on the kitchen counter.   No more getting home and forgetting so,etching that you need for the meal plan you have already written.  No more open g the cupboard and refrigerator the day before payday and playing the Mother Hubbard song.

And, you can do this for four dollars a day,   There are two of us, and we have a granddaughter that eats with us sometimes.   I have grown and maintained a stock.  We always have fresh fruits and vegetables in season.   This year, we have averaged 51.89 a week.   Four dollars a day equals 55.00 a week.   We eat regular food.  Pork loin roast, chicken pot pie, burritos, enchaladas, tacos, spaghetti , stew, pizza. Garden salads.and more.

The secret is not remarkable,   You don’t pay full price for your food,   You simplify by purchasing scratch ingredients that are versatile and inexpensive and keep a stock by purchasing them in a regulated bulk.   The difference between eating once and eating twice is that you buy your food for 1/2 price or less and for the same amount of money, you have two items instead of one.

Protein is your most expensive item on your grocery list,   Instead of buying five or six packages of meat, you buy one that is on a good sale and buy enough of that meat to make as many meals as you plan to eat on the following four to six weeks.  If you eat chicken twice a week, you will need 8 meals worth,   Buy it in bulk, break it down onto meal sized bags and freeze what you aren’t going to eat that week.  You can buy split chicken breast for as low as .88 a pound.  boneless, skinless chicken breast can be 8.00 a pound.   A little work and you have chicken stock for free instead of 3.00 a quart, and chicken pieces for tacos or a casserole, and your chicken breast at .88 a pound.

Pork loin can be purchased anywhere between 1.00 and 1.89 a pound.  Again, a little work and your center cut pork chops are 1.00 a pound instead of 3.50.

One of the biggest labor saving services is to buy a bulk package or tube of hamburger at a good price and cook and defat it while you are putting the groceries away.  Bag it in meal sized portions .  We use quart bags from the DT and out them in good zip lock gallon bags and label them ground beef and the date.  Dinner time just got sooo much easier,   I can make spaghetti or taco dinner in 15 minutes hands on time.  That’s less time than ordering a pizza and  waiting for it to come. Or waiting at a restaurant.

By learning how to scratch cook efficiently a handful of meals, you can save the preservatives and a lot of money.

There is a concept of virtual paycheck.  If you figure how much you save between scratch and that meal on a bag or box, and divide it by the extra amount of time you spent making the scratch, you will get an amount per  hour.  If it’s ten cents or you spent more, forget it.  Many times, the amount is remarkable.

My daughter and I thoroughly dissected and made a cheeseburger macaroni meal.   The box had 4.2 ounces of pasta.   (.25) and 1.57 ounces (13.00 a pound based in what we paid for the box) of a cheese sauce that had no cheese on it and did have a multitude of ingredients we needed a science degree to know what they were.    You added all the good ingredients.   Why,nit just add the good ingredients from scratch and avoid the science.   It was actually cheaper to scratch and you had a better product with more nutrition.

We have a buy price for things we use in a regular basis.   If the price is too high and I’m not in dire need or there is not  a substitute, I don’t buy it.   When it is a low price, buy as many as you need for four to six weeks. ( the average cycle on sales) .

A little time can make a lot of difference between eating well for low money, or struggling to make dinner with no ingredients.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Better, cheaper, faster : ham balls

A good recipe if you hav an abundance of ham left from a holiday dinner in the freezer.   An old time recipe.

Ham Balls

1 lb ground ham. **
1\3 cup bread crumbs
1T brown sugar
1/2 cup milk

Mix together and form balls.  Place balls in a 12 cup muffin tin.

Mix sauce.
1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tbls prepared mustard
Brush over balls

Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the balls are heated through.
Serve over Cooked rice.

Nice add:   Pineapple chunks to the rice.

** cooked . Ham can be chopped in a food processer or ground with a grinder on the kitchen aid mixer, or ground with great grandmas manual grinder.  Manual grinders can be found at antique stores and estate sales.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Grocery Hauls 9/28/18


Broccolli 1.02
Grapes 2.28
Cheese 4 lbs 7.98
Cheese, grated 1.00
Linguine 4.00

Total 16.28

Fred Meyers

16 chicken noodle soup 1.00 less 2.00 coupons
Pork bbq 3.99 less .55

Total 17.44


French bread .95
Bacon 2- 4.96
Ice cream 3.83
Buns .92
Fries 1.98
Tomatoes 1.56
Salad 2.68
Spinach 3.98
Peppers .48
Peppers 1.96
Total 23.30

Total 57.02

1.02 over.    
Some long term storage.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Chain store ads

Not the best of weeks for bargains,


Milk .99
Pie , pumpkin 3.99

Fred Meyers
B5S5 sale
Land of lakes butter 2.49
Dreyers 2.49
Yoplait refrigerator yogurt 2.99 - coupons?

DiGiorno pizza 4.99
Pork loin BOGO
Graoes 1.99
Milk .99
Campbell’s soup 1.00   Coupons.
Ragu  2/3

80/20 ground beef 3.49
Sour  cream large 2/4


Eggs .99@@
Bacon 2.99@@
Bread .89@@

Frozen vegetables 1.00
Pillsbury grands 3/5 coupons

Digital coupons -or paper
Kens salad dressing 1.99 - .75 coupons dated 9/30. ***. Not sure if they work
Salsa 1.79

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

How did she do that - scratch cooking

One of the Rights of Youth  is chocolate pudding!    Goes along with watermelon and corn on the cob!  Scratch pudding can take no longer than the boxed stuff, but it is free of preservatives and you can make it from stock food you have in hand,   Simplify your pantry and life will be easier.  

Chocolate Pudding in the microwave

1/4 cup cocoa powder (raw without sugar)
2 T cornstarch
1-1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cocoa and cornstarch on a microwave safe large glass measuring bowl and whisk in milk until blended.  Microwave on high 2 minutes . Reduce heat to 70 percent and cook another 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 minutes, stirring every 1-1/2 minutes or until mixture has thickened,

Stir in sugar and vanilla,   Let stand for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep smooth. Transfer to individual cups and cover with plastic wrap to keep from forming a skin,      Refrigerate.

Serves 4.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Monday here is kitchen Management aka meal prep day.  It is a tool that takes an hour, but  saves  hours in the long run.

Reminder of meals

  • Stew with potatoes, carrots , herbs , peas 
  • Pizza
  • Pork loin , baked potatoes, veggie 
  • Chicken enchaladas 
  • Spaghetti , french bread, salad 
  • Tuna melts 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  1. Wash kitchen floor 
  2. Clean refrigerator, and dump anything dead and note what needs to be used soon, 
  3. Wash and disinfect counters  and sinks and drains. 
  4. Clean the floor under  the refrigerator. 
  5. Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar water and set to dry 
  6. Thaw  pork loin 
  7. Make muffins 
  8. Organize freezer. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Meal plans

Meal plans are a tool that makes for a smoother experience in the dinner time.   You know what ingredients you will need, you know what might have to come out of the freezer in the morning, and left is just easier.

We meal plan on a matrix based on protein.   It gives a variety of meals and nutritional choices.

  • Pork stew with potatoes, carrots, peas, and herbs, 
  • Pizza 
  • Pork loin, baked potatoes. Broccoli 
  • Chicken enchiladas , salad 
  • Spaghetti on the insta pot. 😀, salad , French bread 
  • Tuna  melts. Salad 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

 Notes : 
This week’s grocery shopping had a lot of basic needs on bulk.   Chicken noodle soup was on sale and there were coupons to make it about 1/2 price.   It is a good go to especially if someone is sick.
Cheese was on sale at safeways and we had coupons.  Two dollars and fifty cents is my buy price and it was 2.00 a pound.

Pork cubes are from the butt end of a pork loin.  Cutting the tapered down ends of the meat 
and making stew meat or stir fry is a good way to assure even pork chops.  The rest of the loin is cut  into roasts and center cut pork chops.   Butchering your own saves a lot of much as 2.50 a pound. Protein is the most expensive part of your food budget, so saving a lot on it makes good sense. 

Pizza from scratch costs out at a dollar if you are buying your ingredients at RBP.   That’s is probably  why there are so many pizza places out there,  considering that those places get wholesale prices on their ingredients, they are making a lot of money.  It is easy , anyone can do it .  Our granddaughter at four yo could do it.  You can pat or roll the crust and the DT has most of the ingredients cheap, name brands.  Save bits from other meals and freeze.  Dedicate a door she,f in your freezer and pizza is a piece of cake—or maybe pie.  LOL

Pork loin Roast is from the end of the pork loin, after the stew or stir fry meat.  Roast it on the oven and add potatoes and a vegetable —Classic Sunday dinner,   There have been recipes out there lately with cranberry glaze or some with an Asian flare, 

Chicken enchiladas are easy and sauce can be made simply using a roux ( white sauce technique. 
Basically, make the flour and oil paste, add chicken stock and sour cream.   We add some of a can of mild chillis (Winco).  Fill tortillas with chopped cooked chicken and a little sauce, cheese and chillies. Pour sauce on bottom of a baking pan, place rolled tortillas on top of sauce and top with sauce and grated cheese.  Bake off at 350 degrees until the edges are bubbly.  Everything going in is edible and cooked if needed, so you are just warming it up to a desired temperature,   

Spaghetti is a favorite of many families.  We make it on the insta pot (8 minutes).  French bread is less than a dollar at Winco or it costs about 30 cents to make. Add a salad . 

Tuna melts are made with English muffins.  Sometimes  they can be found at the DT.  Orowheat, or the cheapest price is at Fred Meyer .  They are usually in a basket by the eggs.   

Breakfast for dinner is a hit here.  It is a relaxing way to eat breakfast. Most mornings are grab some breakfast and get out the door.  Buttermilk pancakes are good.  Making your own mix is easy.  It is better price wise to omit the milk powder and use milk instead of water when you make the mix.  My prices on line for dry milk are prohibitive,  I got my dry milk last time at Winco in  the bulk isle.  
Eggs  continue  to be close to a dollar on some places.  Yogurt is on sale and there are coupons for it .
Cinnamon rolls have been on dollar sales lately. 

Thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Tips and tricks to organize your freezer / refrigerator.

We are, after twenty years, getting a new fridge.  It’s been a long time coming and it is way past it’s designated useful life.   Lol

So, I thought it would be a good time to discuss organizing your freezer and refrigerator.

Putting like things on a shelf makes finding them in a hurry a lot easier.

Usually the top shelf is the tallest,   That’s where we put things like pickle jars and condiments,  

Using those larger plastic containers that we aren’t supposed to store food in is a good way to contain the clutter,   We have one for yogurt cups.  Another for any items like tube biscuits.
Dairy except milk on the door, is one one shelf excluding eggs.  

The next shelf has tortillas and eggs.   We keep eggs in lock and lock egg keeper.  It really saves of someone  drops the eggs,  like that would ever happen. Lol

The bottom shelf before the bins, has a celery keeper, cheese keepers, and any refrigerator dishes with leftovers or fruit that has been prepped.

The door has a space for butter, and cream cheese, a shelf for milk and juices, and two for condiments,   I separate sweet and savory condiments so they are easier to find,

This is just our organization. You can make your own,

The next drawers are for meat, vegetables and cheese.

The freezer.   We have a side by side.   I hated it at first, but looking at the options now, I prefer it,  
The huge black holes of a freezer would make it a chore to find anything.

In the extra freezer, o got bins from the dollar tree.   All of one thing  is in one bin,  it makes life a
whole lot easier.   In the side by side, I marked the bins with chicken, pork, beef, and fish/ vegetables.  
The doors of the freezer have vegetables, the ingredients for a pizza, and peppers.  

If you keep a bag for anything that can go on a pizza 🍕 takes away from when you are cooking meat or vegetables, and frozen pizza sauce from the jar at the dollar tree, it is really easy to throw a pizza together,   Cut small, frozen meat and veggies thaw and cook quickly at the high heat you cook a pizza.  

We also save scraps for chicken stock.  It is a good use of those tiny shelf’s in the door of a side by side freezer.  

With a little organization , gone are the days of moving a bunch of things to find what you want and buying duplicates because you think you are out of something.

Save time and money.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday recipes. : insta pot quick meals

I don’t have stock on insta pot, but I wish I did.   It is one of the most versatile and time and money savings workhorse on the kitchen.

Last night we had chicken pot pie,  earlier in the day I put a large chicken breast on the pot with a cup and a half of water.  You always have to add liquid to the pot, that’s what makes the steam.
I set it in poultry for 18 minutes because it was a large and thick breast.   When it was done and de pressurized, I removed it from the pot, checked to be sure it was dime, amd out it in a quart container in the refrigerator.   At dinner time, I cut the chicken on bite sized pieces, added frozen mixed veggies and a can of cream of mushroom soup with a half can of milk.   Put all of it on a casserole amd put it covered in the oven @ 375 for half an hour.  I then made the crescent rolls I got for a dollar last week and we had chicken pot pie.  

Insta pot spaghetti

Place in bottom of insta pot insert,
8 ounces of cooked ground meat
8 ounces (  1/2 a box) of spaghetti that you have broken in half and spread out in a Corel around the meat.  Almost  like a birds nest.
Add a jar or can of pasta sauce
Add 2 cups of broth of your choice pouring it around the Edge of the noodles.
Cover, seal, and  process 8 minutes.
Quick release

Stew is another thing that takes 35 minutes instead of hours.  

Rice is equal parts of rice and water or broth and put the lid on, seal, and push the rice button.

My favorite is making beans without the soak, rinse, and cook with new water for hours.   Watched pot.
Measure the beans.   You should get 3 times the volume .   Wash the beans and pick out any that don’t look good or the occasional rock.
Pour in the insta pot insert.
Cover with water past your second knuckle.
Cover, seal , and push the bean button.  
This will make well done beans, if you want more firm beans reduce the time a couple of minutes.  
NEVER fill the pot more than 1/2 full if you are cooking anything that will expand  like beans, rice, or noodles.  

The internet is full of good recipes.  Chili is a good and inexpensive meal too.  You can cook the beans and add your ingredients and switch the pot to be a slow cooker.  

It’s a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a pressure cooker and you can sauté and some let you make yogurt.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Grocery Hauls 9/21/18

Fred Meyers

Peppers .96
Sausage, chicken and a beef 2/5
Barilla pasta .96
Cottage cheese .96
Hawaiian rolls .96
Strawberries 3.96
Cinnamon rolls
Crescent rolls
Scampi BOGO @7.99
Angus beef patties 1.5 lbs 3.99
Butter 2/5
Coffee 5.99
Eggs .96

Total 49.80

Big lots 
Baking powder 1.30/ 2.60

Grocery outlet 
Cheese 1.99
Squash .99
Pepperoni 2.49
Total 8.07
Grand total 57.87

.87 over budget of 4.00 a day.  
Total is under 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Chain store ads

Safeways is. It up on the internet yet and the mail person didn’t bring it,


Digital Friday and Saturday
Pork 1/2 loin 1.49 lb
Can use 5 times in one transaction,

Buy 5 save 5

Milano cookies 1.99
Dreyers 2.49

Fred Meyers digital Friday and Saturday
Hamburger 80/20 3 lb roll 1.88

Gala apples .99
Soup 1.00 coupons?
Grapes 1.99
Pears .99
Kroger cinnamon rolls or crescents 1.00

Sargent cheese 8 Oz BOGO -coupons ?


Cabbage .39
Grapes 1.28
Broccoli .99

Dreyers 2.99

Digital coupon - 10 ct tortillas .88

Milk 1.99@@ limit 2
Progresso soup .99@@limit 4
Bread 1.99@@ limit 2
Barilla pasta .99@@limit 4

Oven joy bread .99

Don’t buy this DBT

6 muffins 3.99 - 10 minutes hot out of the oven about a buck.
Sour cream, 1.26 - a dollar last week at FM
80/20 hamburger 3.99- 1.88 at FM on friday or Saturday   with a digital
Bread - orowheat is a dollar at the DT .

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How did she do that? Scratch cooking

Oven roasted sausage and vegetables 

This time I separated the sausage from the vegetables because a family member is vegan. 

Cut up a variety of vegetables in somewhat  equal sizes.  
Toss them with olive oil. 
Shake on seasoning of choice,  we like garlic pepper. 
Some like Monterey steak seasoning 

Bake at anywhere between 350amd 400degrees for 30-45 monitors or until potatoes are tender, 

just about any root  vegetables, 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday Kitchen Management aka food prep

Kitchen management is a tool that saves time and money 💰 in the kitchen.  If things are organized , it os more likely that you will be encouraged to scratch cook,   Scratch cooking is more healthy because you aren’t consuming fillers  or chemicals needed to preserve food.   Years ago I wrote that convenience foods start with $$$$.    Some things are drastically cheaoer to make and are also very easy to make and take little time,   The things that take a lot of time or are actually cheaper than scratch, it makes more sense to buy.   Most of us lead busy lives and can’t spend all day on the kitchen,   I, for one , don’t have the stamina to work all day on the kitchen.  Sometimes my granddaughter will help.

Meal plans

  • Vegetable bean soup
  • Pizza
  • Hamburgers, oven fries 
  • Gnocchi with Alfredo sauce and peas and chicken , crescent rolls
  • Chicken sausage, potatoes and carrots roasted 
  • Ham and cheese sliders , salad 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  1. Make vegetable soup 
  2. Cook beans 
  3. Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar,  according to a chemist professor, most pesticides are water soluble.   Washing your vegetables is a good thing, 
  4. Make pancake mix.  Note, using milk powder can be expensove, but you can just use milk instead of water when you are making the mix for cooking,    Just start with the two cups until the right consistency. I think I got my milk at Winco in the bulk isle,   It seem to be very expensive on line.  There are 3.5 cups of milk on a pound,   The cost comes to .59 a batch, still a lot cheaper than ready made.  
  5. Wash kitchen floor. 
  6. Wash and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains.
  7. Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead.  Note what needs to be used up. Yogurt is good to make parfaits out of with granola (homemade) and fruit, 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday meal plans

Meal plans are a kitchen management tool that saves time and money.  It makes meal time a lot less hectic.

This time I am working on eating down the pantry and freezer.

  • Vegetable bean soup, cheesy rolls 
  • Pizza 
  • Hamburgers, oven fries, veggie platter 
  • Gnocchi with Alfredo sauce and peas, crescent rolls 
  • Chicken sausage, potatoes and carrots , sheet pan oven roasted 
  • Ham and cheese sliders , fruit cup, salad 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
Notes :

  1. Soup can be made in a slow cooker and ready when people are ready to eat.  Cheesy rokls are biscuits with cheese inside.  We got biscuits for a dollar on sale,   
  2. Pizza is a no brainier,  scratch pizza cost a buck.  Add bits of leftovers, 
  3. Hamburgers are from the hamburger patties we got at Fred Meyers for two dollars a pound, bond are from the bread outlet store,  s ranch fries and a veggie platter , carrots, celery and pepper strips.   
  4. Gnocchi is new for us, scratch Alfredo sauce and peas from the freezer, gnocchi is from the DT, 
  5. Chicken sausage was in sake for 2.50 for a full rope.  We will use 1;2 because there are only two of us.   Roasted on the oven on a sheet pan covered with parchment.  Olive oil and garlic salt, 
  6. Ham and cheese sliders.   Ham from a three pack on sale at Costco.  A little over two dollars a pack.   Cheese from GO at two dollars a package.   Slider rolls are from Fred Meyers on their .96 sale. 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a family meal.  Everyone contributes to cooking.  Buttermilk pancakes are from a homemade mix.  Add bacon 🥓 and fruit,   

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saving money and time

Saving money can be a hard chore, or you can incorporate ways to save a bit here and a bit there,   Just getting into little habits can save a lot and waste less food.   They are saying that we throw 40 percent of our food away in America.  That is a hard number  for me to swallow, but none the less, we do waste food.
  • Knowing what we are going to eat on a regular basis is a good starting point.  Then,  stock the shelf stable and freezer ingredients that you use in a regular basis.   By having a stock on hand, you can always find dinner in a hurry or not.   
  • Prepping hamburger or other ground meat when you get it home in bulk supply will  save a lot of money and time.  It saves money because you are buying it at the RBP.  It saves time because you are cooking and de fatting once and cleaning the dishes once.  You are also breaking the batch down on meal sized portions so there is no waste. It’s hard to buy a package of meat just the right size for YOUR family.  
  • Already precooked  hamburger can make tacos in 15 minutes flat.  Probably less time than  calling  the pizza delivery and waiting on hold and then waiting for the pizza.   
  • Buy in bulk what makes sense to buy in bulk.  A 25 pound bag of flour at Costco is 7.00.  A 6 pack of muffins is 5.00.  A bag of frozen pancakes is 3.00.  The savings are enormous.  Make your own muffin and pancake mixes when you have free time.  Muffins can happen  in five minutes real time.  The baking time can happen while you are doing the dinner dishes or washing a load of clothes.
  •    Making pancakes 🥞 ahead of .time or making extra when you are eating pancakes can save time and money by freezing them between papers cut from the cereal box liners and putting them in the microwave for 45 seconds . 
  • Making mixes, making chicken or vegetable stock, and breadcrumbs and croutons from your garbage or bulk ingredients can save a lot.  It can free up money to be able to buy the real thing instead of fake in some instances.  There is no comparison in real maple syrup and sugar water, or real Parmesean cheese instead of the stuff in a green can, real butter, olive oil, or vanilla. Vanilla right now is terrible in price.  But, a little goes a long ways. 
  • Save the heels of bread or bread that is getting stale.  I put it through the food processor and place it on a sheet pan.   When the oven is still hot from baking, Put the sheet pan in and close the door.  Stir after a few minutes.   This toasts the bread .  When it is completely dry, place them in a air tight  container. 
  • Wash your potatoes, carrots,  celery and save the ends of the celery and the peels in a bag in the freezer door. Set aside a particular door.  When you are cooking chicken bones for stock, throw them in the stock.   
  • As you are chopping or cooking anything that can go on a pizza, set aside a little and out in a bag, one for each meat and one for veggies.   Buy a jar of pizza sauce at the DT and freeze it in an ice cube tray.  If you don’t   have an ice cube tray, the DT has them too.   When the sauce is frozen, snap the cubes out and put them in a quart bag,   Put all the pizza things on a group in the freezer door.   When you are ready to make a scratch pizza that costs a dollar without toppings, you can add the ingredients and sauce. We call that almost free pizza. LOL
  • Making a cream soup base ahead is another money saver.   If you are lucky these days,you can find cream soup for a dollar,  even at that low price, the base is cheaper and more convenient,   It takes less room up in the cabinet, and you just add water and stir a few minutes.   
  • Making your own taco seasoning is cheaper and you control the heat  you want it. Besides the fact that it has no preservatives.   
  • Making your own rice mix is the same thing,   It saves a lot of money,.   Surprisingly, all this done one batch a week or so takes realitively little time. 
  • Go to the store with a good idea of what you are going to buy,   If you are really right on money, make a list.   Buy what you can that is at a RBP.  Never say never, but never buy anything at full price unless it is a dire necessity.  Stick to your plan, 70 to 80 percent of purchases in a supermarket are impulse buys. Knowing  that saves tons of money.  Now, there are times when buying something that isn’t on your list and changing your meal plan can be a asset.   This week, we went to Fred Meyer.   Scampi was 8.00 BOGO.  It was a good random  addition, hamburger patties were 4.00 for 2 pounds.  I’m am not passing up two dollar a pound hamburger. LOL.  We just changed our meal plan.  I had hamburger buns  on the freezer because  we bought a month’s worth of bread at the bread outlet earlier his month,  we also got some things at the DT because orowheat bread is back in limited supply.  We could only get bread and bagels.  But since cream cheese was a dollar at qfc, that works great for us.  
To recap, buy I’m bulk when it makes sense, make mixes for things you buy on a regular basis, buy what you need at RBP and as much as you will need for a 4 to 6 week period, save designated garbage to use in ways to save money.  

Don’t buy chicken stock at 3.00 a quart, breadcrumbs at 2.40 a pound, pizza at 20.00 or muffins at 5.00.  All those things can be made in a matter of minutes and making  them saves a lot of money. 

You don’t have to eat rice and beans or top ramen and potato chips to eat on a four dollar a day budget.   We have been eating in less for 20 months now and we have a stock of food too.  We live in one of the 7 most costly places to buy food.   It just takes some education and time to change buying habits.   

Friday, September 14, 2018

Buy Prices

Groceries on the cheap takes a different approach to buying your groceries.  The end result is that you always have food in the house and you are buying it most of the time at wholesale prices.   This allows us to eat well on less than four dollars a day.  We spend four dollars a day but built and maintain a stock of groceries.

Instead of going to the store and buying just what you need, and maybe forgetting to buy something, or having 50 things to oit away when you get home, you simplify things by purchasing 1) a rotation protein, 2) dairy and produce, and 3) enough of something on your stock list that is at a RBP to last you 4-6 weeks.  Example:  if you eat green beans twice a week and use 1can , you want to buy 8-12 cans.  Now, when I got green beans for .39, I bought 2 twelve can cases.   It’s nit like they aren’t going to get eaten.   Lol

Our stock  items and the RBP. Your list may very well be different, but this gives you an idea.

Rice,25 lbs , Costco 8.49
Flour , 20 lbs Costco 7.00
Oatmeal , 10 lbs , Costco 8.29
Tea bags
Corn starch
Baking powder
Powdered sugar
Dry milk
Dry buttermilk -amazon
Brown sugar
Cane sugar
Cake mix  1.00 as low as .88
Lemon juice

Vegetable stock boullion
Chicken stock boullion
Tomato stock boullion
Beef better than boullion
Soy sauce
Bbq sauce 1.00
Black olives, sliced Winco .72
Maple syrup
Instant mashed potatoes - Winco .86
Baking soda
Chocolate chips - bulk Winco
Cocoa -baking
Milk green chillies -.winco .69

Tortillas - 1.00 RBP -.50
Suddenly salad 1.00 as low as .75 w coupons
Salsa in a jar

Albacore Tuna - Costco
Canned salmon- Costco
Canned chicken -1.00 emergencies
Kidney beans
Black beans
Pinto beans - DT 1.00/1.5 lbs
Popcorn - Costco about 12.00
Pepperoni DT

Green beans - .50 as low as .39
Corn .50 as low as .39

Pasta - 1.00 or less
Pasta sauce - 1.00 glass 1.50
Pizza sauce -DT
Taco shells -1.00
Taco kits when they are a dollar at GO
Canned diced tomatoes .50 or less

Some of these things are bought once probably a year.
Some are bought best during specific months when they go on mega sales.
Picnic supplies are best near the summer  holidays .
Baking supplies are best during the Christmas holidays - closer to thanksgiving .
Buy sugar and salt and soda in bulk when they are at a RBP.  They are versatile and never spoil.
Soda and vinegar are cheap at Costco and can be used for cleaning as well as eating,
If you are a coffee drinker, I would keep a jar of instant in the emergency space.

Friday Recipe

Beef Tortilla Taco Casserole 
Pillsbury recipe

We made this last night. Since the recipe serves 8 and makes an 9 X 13 pan, I cut the recipe down to work with our 6X10 pan to serve 4 instead.


  • spray your baking pan with a cooking spray 
  • line the bottom of the pan with flour tortillas , cut to fit. 
  • In a skillet, I placed my already cooked and de fatted ground beef, salsa, corn, taco seasoning part of a bell pepper and a little water.   
  • simmer the skillet a little while to combine the flavors. 
  • layer meat mixture on top of the tortillas , 
  • then a layer of Mexican blend cheese ( they used Monterrey Jack blend, shredded) 
  • repeat a layer of tortillas, meat mixture and cheese. 
  • bake in a 350 degree oven 35 to 40 minutes or until it is bubbly around the edges and the cheese is melted.   
You can also make this a freezer meal. 

My take on freezer meals is that I have precious little freezer space and I don't want to take up space with ingredients that don't need to be frozen.   I can, however, see where if the culinary expert of the family is going to be away at dinner time, and the culinary challenged are left to dinner, it can be an asset to have a few freezer meals.  

thanks for stopping by...
Next:  Saturday Concepts:  Saving Time and Money tips 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hauls to 9/14/18

QFC dollar sale

Kroger cinnamon rolls -2
Kroger crescent rolls -2
Smart ones dinners -4
Pumpkin pie 3.19
Donut holes -1
Cream cheese -2

Total 14.19

Dollar Tree
3 Barilla spaghetti
1 pizza sauce
1 basil pesto


Frozen veggies 4.00
Pie crust 2.00
RIbs free

Grapes 6.43

Total 15.93

Total 31.62

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dollar Store Dinners

I have been watching a lot of videos lately on Dollar Store dinners.  The foods at the dollar store are in smaller quantities many times.  After all. How much does a dollar buy these days!   There are bargains at the dollar tree, but some are made in China, and some are more expensive than buying the product at the regular grocery store.

Now, I get it that there are some communities that only have a dollar store.  One community in Seattle , If rumors are correct will be on that position.   There are decent grocery retailers nearby, but the people without transportation will suffer.

The problem with a lot of dollar store dinners is that they are full of a lot of starch and are more expensove than if  you had made a good dinner from a grocery store,     There are some that came up with a good recipe, but many are not.  Don’t kill the messenger, they tried hard to make dinner from limited resources,

Canned vegetables are .79.   They are always .58 at winco and I have purchased them for as low as .39.  BTW, Winco canned foods have no BPA.   Many frozen foods come from China,  that being said , I have got Ore-Ida from the DT.

I found basil pesto yesterday as well as a name brand pizza sauce.   They always have the ingredients for pizza— thin and thicker individual crusts, and pepperoni.  Watch the cheese, some of it is fake.   They do have feta that is good.  They have eggs, but they are a dollar for half a dozen.

They do have :

  • Pizza sauce that is a name brand cheaper than the other stores 
  • Tortillas, several kinds and some without all bad fats, 
  • Betty Crocker items 
  • Hunts  pasta sauce , although it is cheaper at Winco . 
  • Barilla spaghetti
  • Sometimes  Orowheat/ Sara Lee  bread.  That is a real bargain if you can find bagels and English muffins. 
  • Name brand turkey bacon, 
  • Pepperoni that is s name brand , the coupons don’t  work anymore, but it is still a good bargain,. 
  • Yellow rice 
  • Pinto beans are the cheapest besides a 25 pound bag from Costco .   They are non gmo, and grown in the USA.   
  • Taco shells 
  • Betty Crocker and Other name brand cookit, brownie, and muffin mixes.    

Basically, you could make all of which are about three dollars. It’s,nitmambargsin if you are laying seven dollars for dinner at the dollar store.

  1. gnocchi with pesto sauce, parmesean cheese, and chicken.  Using your chicken and parmesean. 
  2. Spaghetti with pasta sauce 
  3. Spaghetti with pesto and chicken and parm, 
  4. Tuna casserole.
  5. Pizza
  6. Chilli and taco chips 
  7. Beans and cornbread 
  8. Spanish rice and beans 
  9. Pizza dip with crust 
  10. Artichoke spinach pasta. 
 Not. Eeuthing at the dollar tree is the best quality. Not all of it is made in China.   But, if you pick your foods carefully. You can stretch your food dollar.   

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Chain store ads start wednesday

QFC (Kroger)

80/20 hamburger 3.49
Kroger smoked sausage 2/5
Eggs .96
Barilla pasta 1.00


Fab 4 ( buy 4)

Lean cuisine entrieu”s 1.88
Progresso soup .99
Prego 1.99
Signature jam 1.99
Campbell’s chunky soup 1.49

Cucumbers, green peppers .79
80/20 hamburger 3.49
Refried beans 1.00
Pears, oranges, apples .99

Fred Meyers

All below .96
Cream cheese
Sour cream
Cottage cheese
Crescent rolls
Hawaiian rolls
Brown and serve sausage
Barilla pasta


Cheese 2 lbs 4.99
Butter 2/5
Strawberries 3.96
Pork loin whole or half BOGO .  Caveat we don’t know what the retail price is.
My buy price is between a dollar and 1.69.

6 quart insta pot is 79.99 and there is a 10 dollar gift card with an in store coupon.
Making it 69.99.

How did she do that -:scratch cooking

When we were growing up, my mother cooked braised beef on mashed potatoes or noodles.   It was years later that I connected the dots and realized that braised beef  meant that the beef was braised!!  The term braised means that a tougher cut if meat is cooked slowly until it is fork tender.

This is for things like a stew meat or pot roast.   The technology would be the same for a pork cut or game.

The technique :

Brown your meat in a little oil in a Heavy pan with sides.   When the meat is brown, add stock  and stir the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and make sure you have enough liquid to cover the meat and a couple of inches.  Turn the pot down to a slow simmer and let cook until meat is tender,   The time will depend in the size of your meat,   Cubes will take a shorter time than a pot roast.

Another way to cook a pot roast is to put it in a roasting pan after browning, pour a beer over the top of it . Put the kid on the pan and bake the roast for 4-6 hours on 250 or closer to 4 hours on 325.

These days, I cook stew type meat in the insta pot.  Turn the pot on sauté, add oil and brown the meat,
Turn off the pot, add stock, potatoes that have been washed, peeled and cut in medium chunks, and peeled carrots.  You can also add mushrooms that have been washed and or celery.

Cover the pot and process for 35 minutes.   When it is done, turn the insta pot off, remove the stew with a slotted spoon leaving the stock.   Mix a slurry  of flour or cornstarch  and water , turn the sauté function on and stir the slurry into the stock until you have gravy.

Remember you must always have liquid in the insta pot .  At least a cup.   I do see some recipes  that call for less, but I wouldn’t try less without a specific  recipe,  it is usually because what you are cooking will  quickly release liquid of it’s own.  Never cook in the insta pot with flour when you are using a pressure setting.   Also, it’s not a good idea to make split pea soup on the pressure cooker setting.  You can use the slow cooker setting.  Ask me how I husband and I were cleaning the pot for an hour,  lol

When we were children, my mother used to dredge the stew meat in flour, brown it in oil im a heavy sauce pan  over a medium heat.  Then she would add water enough to cover the meat, turn it down to low and let it simmer for a couple of hours.  she checked it a few times to be sure it didn’t need more water. This technique makes it’s own  gravy.  Meanwhile you can make rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles for a base.

We use cubes if pork from the end of a pork loin when I cut up a pork loin.   Buying a pork loin on sale and cutting roasts, chops and stew meat or stir fry meat is the most economical way to have pork.  Sometimes it is a  dollar a pound.  The buy price is less than two, preferable less than 1.69. Business Costco is a good source for that.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen management is a tool to save time and money in the kitchen.   Spending an hour or so up front saves a lot of time in the hectic dinner hour.   It also saves time because you are making things in batches and your clean up is once instead of four or five times during the week.  

Reminder if meals :
We strive for these meals, but if we have leftovers, it is prudent to repurpose them for another meal.   Waste not, want not.

  • Homemade chicken nuggets and oven fries , veggie platter 
  • Pizza
  • Pork chops with apple, peas, rolls 
  • Pork stew with carrots, potatoes 
  • Tuna melts, salad 
  • Tacos, Spanish rice 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  1. Wash kitchen floor.
  2. Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀. Note what needs to be used up. 
  3. Thaw the chicken breast for chicken nuggets.   
  4. Cut the fries.  
  5. Wash potatoes and carrots for the stew, and veggie tray . 
  6. Clean and disinfect the countertops and sinks and drains,  
  7. Clean the drip pans, 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Meal Plans

Meal Plans are a tool to keep you on track and avoid the take out demons that can sabotage a budget. They save time and money . Bad your meal plans on what’s on sale that week and what’s on season on the stores.  If a produce item is in season it’s going to be at its highest peak of flavor and at its lowest price.  It’s a win  -win.  

I base our meals on a protein based matrix.  

  • Homemade chicken  nuggets, oven fries, veggie platter 
  • Pizza 
  • Pork chops with apple, peas, rolls 
  • Pork stew with potatoes, carrots 
  • Tacos, Spanish rice 
  • Tuna melts, salad 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

Notes :

  1. Homemade chicken nuggets are made with a breading of homemade bread  crumbs, chopped nuts, and parm cheese. Oven fries are homemade with garlic pepper and olive oil.  Raw veggies  top it off. 
  2. Pizza is a family favorite and is homemade,   A homemade cheese pizza with ingredients purchased on the cheap os a dollar. 
  3. Apple pork chops are browned on a pan on the stove and apples with a bit of brown sugar on top of the chops and then  finished off in the oven.  Taste of home . 
  4. Pork stew in the insta pot or slow cooker.  
  5. Tacos and Spanish rice.   Tacos from frozen, cooked, hamburger.  Add water and taco seasoning to a skillet. Add meat and simmer while you prep the condiments . Spanish rice in the insta pot or microwave rice cooker. 
  6. Tuna melts on English muffins. Green salad 
  7. Breakfast for dinner.  We have a homemade mix for buttermilk pancakes.   Add bacon or sausage and fruit. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

tips and tricks

For some daughter taught students from low income homes for years.   She was hearing from mother’s that they were having a hard time making their grocery budget stretch.  The cost of food has gone up dramatically, and it is the third most expensive item in most people’s budget.

We have economized  on the food  budget for years.  It started when I was a starving college student and never stopped.   It got to be a habit.   But, when I was trying to help the people that my daughter so eloquently said, oh my mom knows how to do that.   I began to try more ways to stretch the food dollar.   We have found some really good recipes and have learned how to  cook from scratch more than we ever thought possible.   The upshot of that is that we are eating less processed foods and better meals.   In addition, we have learned to do it more efficiently.   Par of that is having proper tools in the kitchen.   A few well worth their weight tools save time and money.  

My husband would tell you that the toaster and the coffee pot were the most important tools.  My opinion would be the insta pot, (a rice cooker, slow cooker and pressure cooker all in one and some have a yogurt cycle as well ), the food processor , and a blender.

Which brings  me to little ways that save tons.
  1. Breading.  The cost of bread crumbs are upwards of 2.00 a pound,  If I buy something for two dollars a pound, it had better be protein.   Why pay two dollars or more a pound for someone else’s dry bread and throw your dry bread away.   The heels or dry bread can become croutons, breadcrumbs, or bread stuffing. 
  2. We throw away about 40 percent of the food  we buy America according to statistics. That is a good reason to find ways to use up all of what we have.  Google something that  needs to be used up for ideas.   Use the Betty Crocker cookbook on line that is free.   They have a lot of ready made things that they are selling,  it it’s not a hard stretch to make those things yourself.   If something is on a recipe that your family won’t eat substitute something that takes the same bulk as the deleted item.  My husband does not like onions.  We substitute celery and add onion powder or I put the onions through the food processer until you can’t know what they are.
  3. Buy shelf stable products when they are at a RBP and stock up to a 4-6 week supply. More stock of you can.  Be mindful of pull dates and how much of an item you use per month.   simplifying the amount of items you keep a stock of is a good thing.  It saves time and money.
  4. Buying anything that doesn’t spoil in bulk simplifies your shopping because you buy it once and it never hits your cart again.  Salt, soda, honey, sugar are all things that don’t go bad.  We buy oatmeal, rice, and flour at Costco.  If we had a larger family, we would buy pinto beans too.   They are cheaper and we use those quantities in about three months.   This way, they are a lot cheaper.  A bag of salt cost me 5.00.  We have enough salt to last us our lifetime, my daughters lifetime and prolly into my granddaughters lifetime. Lol I don’t have to worry about buying that for a long time.  Ditto the cost of soda.  You can bake with it and clean with it,  it to mention use it as a whitener for your clothes.  It just pays  to buy a sack from Costco .    

  5. Buying in bulk anything that can be used up before it passes a true pull date, simplifies your shopping. Once you are up and running, you can just shop the perimeter of the store and get in and out in minutes.   Buy a rotation meat, the produce that is in season that will top off your meals, the dairy you need including eggs, and watch for the staple items that are at the RBP.  
  6. Certain times  of the year are the best time for a good price on things.  Sweet baby rays bbq sauce is best during picnic times, the summer holidays,  use coupons if you can find them.  Ditto ketchup and mustard.  Baking supplies and cream soups are best at thanksgiving and Christmas.  Again, watch for coupons.    Peanut butter and jelly are best at school time. 
  7. Making your own mixes for things that you buy on a regular basis saves time and there are no ingredients that you cannot pronounce.  There are things like tsp (a string detergent) and wood pulp in some of our food.  While it is supposed to be on amounts that won’t hurt you, I still don’t want to feed it to my family.  There are things that we can logically control with the funds we have to spend, and ones we can’t.   I am choosing to reduce what I can control .  Cream soup base is fractions of what a can of soup costs, taco seasoning can be as hit or not as you please for fractions of an envelope, baking mix is not  only cheaper , but too can make it without hydrogenated oil.  Seasoned rice is an rice a roni alternative.   Muffin and pancake mix has no preservatives and makes best use of a 7.00 bag of flour from Costco.  If you use a bag of flour efficiently, you can save more than ten times the cost of the flour.  Muffins can be five dollars,  sour dough bread can be upwards of 2.50.  Frozen pancakes are a rip off.   Ditto waffles.  My sister bought our grandchild a baby waffle iron when she was 5.  She learned to use it with supervision.  French bread  takes ten hands on minutes and costs 30 cents.  
  8. Buy perishables in season in moderation so they get used up.  Buy shelf stable  products on sale and buy a specified amount to cover yourself until you find them on sale again.  Storage experts tell me that pasta has an eight year shelf life.  I buy it when I can find it for a dollar or less a pound.  I can still get Barilla for a dollar  at the DT in limited supply .  Buy it when you can.  It is 33 percent higher even at Winco and more at other stores.  
  9. Find the RBP on the protein sources you eat on a regular basis.  For us, that would be boneless, skinless chicken breast, pork loin, and hamburger, as well as beans, rice, eggs and cheese. When an article is in a good sale, buy as much as you will use in 4-6 weeks, the next week, look for a different item.  Rotating protein purchases on a good sale basis saves time and money.  Simplify.  You can cut up a pork loin and make a variety of meals.  We all know the numerous ideas for meals all over the Internet and in cookbooks for chicken and hamburger.

Simplify the number of items you buy, buy at the cheapest price for good quality you can find, and cook from scratch efficiently.  Know the tricks retailers us to get to separate you from your money.   That’s their job, but you don’t have to buy into it.  Buy wisely, watching expiration dates and paying attention to how much of the item you are likely to eat.  Stay on top of it and freeze or incorporate anything that is nearing its useful life into your meals.   

With careful planning and some effort, you can feed your family good food on a limited budget,   

Friday, September 7, 2018

Friday recipe - 2.00 dinner....for 4.

This should feed 2 adults and 2 school aged children.  Ok, I fudged a bit. It  costs out at 2.01
Note :  all the prices are current prices.  This costs oit at 2.01 and does not imckude condiments.  It does, however have an added bonus of a quart of chicken stock.

Burrito Bowls

4 chicken thighs ( 2 # @ .68. ) 1.36
3 cups pinto beans ( 1# dry at 1.00/1.5 lbs ) .22
3 cups rice ( 1 cup raw @ .34 #) .18
4 ounces frozen corn ( @ 1.00 a Lb) .25

  • Cook the chicken thighs in a cup of water in the insta pot for 15 minutes.   Natural release . Or poach the chicken breasts until done.
  • Shred the chicken after it cools a bit.  Save the stick and chill on a freezer safe container. 
  •  Cook rice in  the insta pot or in a rice cooker.( It helps to cook a two or three cup batch of rice to use later in the week,   Any leftover chicken can become chicken fried rice or .... 
  •  Cook beans in the insta pot.  , drain  
  •  When ready for dinner, heat the ingredients in a small amount of water in a large fry pan or in the microwave.   
  • Serve layered on bowls or self serve.
Condiments can include:
  •  Sour cream ( 1.00 @ Fred Meyers) , salsa , ranch dressing, diced tomatoes, lettuce, chopped  onions...

Condiments were not cost out because  they are a variable.   Sour cream is a dollar at Fred Meyers, we got salsa for free and tomatoes are in abundance in gardens these days.  Still, all on all, two dollars plus staple condiments is a really inexpensive filling meal.  

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hauls to 9/7


Chicken thighs .68 lb -3.45
Green chillis .69
Sugar free jam 2.78
Corn on cob 3/1
2 lb cheese 4.88
Winco Beans 3.07
Blues 2.98
Strawberries 1.78
Fries 3.39

Total 24.70

Most of the costco  run was soap.  We needed laundry soap, dishwasher tabs and regular soft soap that was on sale.

Flour 25 lbs 6.99
3 pack honey ham lunch meat 6.59
Bananas 1.39

Total 14.97

Grocery Outlet
Sliced cheese 2.00
Well seasoned grated cheese 2.00
Coffee 5.99
Chick peas .69
Tomato sauce 3/1
Tomato paste .39

10 lbs potatoes 1.99

Total 21.04


2 best foods mayo @3.99
1 best  foods ketchup @ 3.29
Total 11.29
Less BOGO and coupon and Ibotta netted a cash outlay of


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The ads from the internet

Thee mail is was empty, guess the mailman is still on holiday mode.   Lol.  We got the ads from the internet.

Safeways is nit big on sakes this week,   

Cabbage is .49 a lb 
Gala apples are .99

Bread is 1.49@@
Milk is 1.99@@

Both Fred Meyers and QFC (Kroger) have 10/10 sales.  You don’t have to buy 10 
I am assuming both stores have the same merchandise, I see a lot of duplicates.   

Fred Meyers 

2 lbs strawberries 2.99

Free milk with purchase of Natire Valley  bars or Cheerios at 4/8
Take two dollars for the milk off of the 8.00 and you have six dollars or 1.50 each,  
There are coupons out there for Cheerios and probably the bars. has .50 on one Cheerios in 2 flavors and you can print 2 of each.  Also. 1.00 on two Bog G cereals ( print 2) and ,50 on 2 Natire Valley.   The upshot of that is you should be able to get 50 cents netting 1.00 a box on the cereal.  Or 1.25 on the Nature Valley.  I can usually get bars for close to a dollar at GO. 


Ten for 10.  Or a buck each 

Kind bars
Cream cheese 
Smart ones dinners 
Taco shells 
Colgate toothpaste -4 ounces (check coupons) 
Cottage cheese/sour cream 

Marie calendars dinners 5/10

Heritage Farms chicken breast 1.99 
Note that Heritage Farms is Tyson.   Southern grown chicken,   Just saying 

Ice cream 2/5
Breakfast sausage 2/5

Draper valley chicken breast BOGO 
Draper valley gave me 10.00 to replace the chicken breast I bought from them because they were so nasty.    Buyer beware

Buy 4 progresso soups are .99 each when you buy 4 

Melons 2/5

Buy 10/10 you don’t have to buy 10

Kind bars 
Bbq sauce 
Smart ones dinners 
Donuts holes 
Kings Hawaiian rolls 4 count 
Kroger crescent rolls or cinnamon rolls 
Cream cheese 
Sour cream
Cottage cheese

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Just why would you have food storage?

Old was Christmas of 1972. I was suddenly a single mother with a pay check of 202.00 twice a month and 185.00 in daycare to pay that month (half  from the first paycheck and 1/2 from the second) and 145 dollars in rent.   Not to mention a car payment (28.00) a car insurance payment for myself and my not so soon to be ex, and a utility bill.   It was Christmas, and saying  we had no money would have been an understatement.  I had 5.12 in the savings.

My soon to be ex had been out of work with no unemployment for over a year.   I had bought a case of tuna some time back when it was .28 a can at safeways.  I still had a bit of food.   I called welfare to see if I could get help and was told that what I had to pay for daycare didn’t matter, I earned too much.   It was put your big girl pants on and punt time.

No one can predict the future.  People have had times when the federal government was on hold, you still had to work, but got no pay.  People can get laid off and have no unemployment.  Yes, in this state if you are a non profit, you can opt out of paying  unemployment insurance.  You can work for minimum wage and have no fall back if the business closes or downsizes.   One Christmas, I -5 was under water and the food trucks couldn’t get to Seattle.   Grocery stores were running out of food.

In other words, bleep happens and having a small food storage is your best insurance policy against being hung out to dry.  Especially. If you have purchased it for 50 cents on the dollar.   Nowhere these days can you get a better return on your money and not take a big risk.  It wasn’t long ago that we were getting 3/10 of a percent on our certificate of deposit at the bank.

Getting a small 4-6 week supply of food can be done one can or box at a time.  Homemade mixes keep you from the preservatives, but cans and boxes of some things can be pretty tasty if you can’t get to a grocery store or you have t seen a paycheck for a few weeks.

The other asset to having a four to six week supply is that you can take advantage of sales and pay half price for your food.   It makes it a whole lot easier to eat good for for a price of four  dollars a day or less.

Remember four dollars a day is the amount you totally spend on food.  It is, it buying a lot of food for a lot of money and only putting four dollars worth per person on the table.   Buying your food at RBP is the key, otherwise feeding a teen aged child could be more than difficult.

How did she do that? - red peppers

Last week there were coloured peppers on sale for a dollar.    The theme of a lot of ‘new’ dishes are vegetable and herb combinations.   You can make economical recipes and not miss the new flavor combinations.

Chicken with roasted red pepper sauce.

1/2 lb penne pasta , cooked
1 red pepper, roasted with garlic and olive oil in a 400 degree oven.   Peel peppers and put through. The food processer or blender.

Make ‘white’ sauce with 1 T olive oil, 1T flour,  add 1 1/4 cup milk stir with whisk.   Add processed red peppers and heat through.

Cook chicken ( 1 pound) in insta pot.

Pour sauce over pasta and chicken.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen management is a tool to save time and money in the kitchen,   It also deep cleans on a rotation basis so your kitchen is always in a stage of clean.  

Reminder if meals :
The last blast of summer 
  1. Brats, oven roasted peppers, potatoes, and carrots.   
  2. Ham and cheese subs, baked,  corn on cob , salad 
  3. Hot dogs, corn on the cob. Salad 
  4. Tacos, homemade refried beans (insta pot) 
  5. Vegetable enchiladas with lettuce and tomato (BC) 
  6. Salmon patties. Seasoned rice, green beans 
  7. Breakfast for dinner 

  • Wash kitchen floor 
  • Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead.  
  • Make a,note of things that need to be used up. 
  • We got plums gifted to us . So, we will be making jam and dehydrating some. 
  • Making pancakes from homemade mix for school breakfasts. 
  • Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar water.   Dry. 
  • Wash salad greens 
  • Wash kitchen cabinets 

12 things not to buy .....

Never say never, but...

  • Bread crumbs.  Why pay upwards of 2.00 a pound for someone else’s dry bread and throw your heels away. Anytime you have bread heels or rolls that are gong stale, process them in the food processor and put them on a pan with sides in the oven that you have just used.    Or put them in the oven to dry and then grate them if you don’t have a food processor.   I used to grate them on the deck with a sheet pan under the box grater.   
  • Breading ( shake n bake ).  Mix in equal parts dry breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and chopped nuts.   A low carb version of breading that tastes delightful. 
  • Chicken stock in boxes or cans .The  cost is prohibitive.  At three dollars, that’s most of the budget for a five dollar dinner.   In order to maintain a four dollar a day budget for a family of four, you need five dollar dinners,    Use chicken bouillon, or make it from scratch. The same holds true for veggie stock or beef.   
  • I used to say pizza sauce, but I discovered pizza sauce at the DT.   Freeze it in ice cube tray,  and pull out 2cubes per pizza.   
  • Meals in bags in the freezer case especially those that   you add the meat to.   It is basically sauce, starch, and veggies.   Do it yourself, find the recipes for the sauces your family likes.   Most of them take a few staple ingredients.   
  • Hamburger/tuna meal boxes.  Even at a dollar, it’s a huge waste.  The one my daughter and I dissected, had 4.2 ounces of pasta and 1.57 ounces of a cheese sauce that had no cheese in it.  You added milk to make it cheese.  Much better off buying a box of pasta and using real cheese without the preservatives.   You can still get Barilla pasta at the DT. 
  • Frozen pancakes or waffles.   Flour is really cheap in large bags at Costco.   I suspect Sams club would be the same.  Even buying a ten pound bag from the regular store is much cheaper than buying ready made.  You can use bisquick or a recipe for a mix and do it ahead of you are in a hurry,   You can freeze your own and use cereal box liners between pancakes. Or make french toast and freeze.   
  • You will find some cream soups in my pantry on a limited basis.   Cream soup mix takes just a few minutes and saves a lot of money.   Even with coupons, the cost is becoming prohibitive on a five dollar dinner budget.  If an ingredient costs more than the protein, there is a problem.   
  • Shortening, lard and some other oils.   The information that I found says that hydrogenated oils thicken your blood.   Canola oil and some vegetable oils along with olive oil are better alternatives.  Butter in moderation is better than some of those fake butters. Palm  oil is bad for you.  If it is bad in Nutella, it is equally bad in your fake butter.   Some fake butters may be better than others. Read the ingredients and look them up.   You can usually find the ingredients in line before you go to the store.   
  • Parmesan cheese in the green cans.  It’s old.  It has wood pulp in it.   Look closely at the ingredients, they try to hide it on heir description, but it’s there.   
  • Look closely at the boxed Mac and cheese ( homemade is better) .  Some have TSP in them. You can also find tsp in some kids cereals.  TSP is a detergent that we used to sell at the paint store where I worked. It was used to degrease and clean walls before painting.  You needed to use rubber gloves to protect your hands.   Enough said. 
  • Fake maple syrup.  Real maple syrup is worth the cost,  it knowing children they don’t know the word moderation.  I’d
  • If you  can, making a fruit syrup and controlling  the sugar  would be a good alternative.   At least they would be getting the benefit of the fruit.  

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Meal plans for week of 9/2/18

Meal Plans are a tool used to make life easier and less hectic during the dinner hour,   Along  with Kitchen Management it just makes dinners easier and more predictable,
  1.  Brats, roasted carrots, potatoes, peppers , rolls 
  2. Ham and cheese heros , salad 
  3. Hot dogs, corn on the cob, salad 
  4. Tacos, refried beans 
  5. Vegetable enchiladas 
  6. Salmon patties, corn , salad 
  7.  Breakfast for dinner 

  1. Brats were free from QFC,  peppers were a dollar each at Winco, 
  2. Uncurled ham was on sale at Costco,   Rolls are from the Franz Outlet 
  3. Hot dogs. Corn on cob , salad—Labor Day 
  4. Tacos are from beef purchased at Zaycon, a taco kit from GO and homemade refried beans 
  5. Vegetable enchiladas  are from a recipe on Betty Crocker on line cookbook,   Use homemade enchilada sauce.
  6. Salmon is from a can from Costco.  
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a family favorite,   Everyone cooks. 

It’s not necessarily what you buy, but more when and where you buy it. 
No food is going to do your family any good of you are feeding it to the garbage disposal. 
Rule of thumb: Four plus one is five.   Four. People, one meal, five bucks.  *

* dinner is discussed here,  less for breakfast and lunch.  At four dollars a day, you can’t figure on using all four  dollars for actual food eaten, because there is still basics that have to be purchased,   Like olive oil, spices , etc. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Split chicken breast.- dollars and sense.

Yes, Virginia, I know how to spell.   It’s a pun LOL

I just ran on to a advertisement from Safeways. A quart of chicken stock was 3.00.    I thought that was quite high. I then looked at an ad from  Walmart. It was 2.79.

Let’s do some math.  Boneless, skinless chicken breast are anywhere from 1.79 to 8.00 a pound.

Split chicken breast were .88 a pound for Washington grown a few weeks back at Fred Meyers,

This does take an hour or so.   Hands on time,   I have a theory called virtual paycheck.   It basically figures how much time you spend in a scratch vs store bought item and Comoros it to the amount of money saved.   Or gives you a virtual hourly wage.   It’s a benchmark as to whether it would be worth your efforts to rmake the scratch food.

The difference between making the big bucks coffee shops lemon pound cake vs buying it by the slice is about 212.00 an hour.

Split Chicken  breast.

Take precautions for food handling,   We use a glass cutting board that can be disinfected.   It helps if you have someone to help ( chicken hands and non chicken hands.  The non chicken hands can be done by a school aged child,   It’s things like putting quart bags in a bowl and zipping the bags when full.

Cut the rib portion off of the breast. Dump the ribs in a gallon bag or bowl that can be covered as you go.  Place the breasts in quart bags and place the quart bags in a gallon bag that has been labeled and dated.  How long this takes depends on how many packages you are processing,

Before you go to bed , place the rib portions in the slow cooker.  Add some vegetable scraps and herbs.  Fill the slow cooker to within an inch from the top.  Cook on low all night.

I’m the morning, pour the contents of the slow cooker  through a colander into a pot.   Ladle the stock into freezer containers and  leave a few minutes on the counter to cool.  Then, place them in the fridge.   After they have chilled , skim the fat off the top and freeze.

Meanwhile, pick the bones for meat.  I am not the most proficient butcher, so I got a cup and a half of meat from the bones.   This is good for chicken pot pie, chicken soup, tacos, enchiladas to name a few ideas.

To recap : you have netted boneless , skinless chicken breast.  Probably about 4 to a package.  Or eight for two packages.

Also.a cup and a half of chicken pieces that should make at least one more meal.

And, at least 4 quarts of chicken stock.

At .88 a pound, you usually get about 4 large breasts for about 5.00 give or take a few cents,  for practical purposes, we will, say ten dollars.

4 quarts of chicken stock at 3.00 is 12.00.
8 chicken breast at a pound each at 2.00 a pound is 16.00
We will throw in the 1.5 cups of pieces.
Total is 28.00 worth of product.

You paid 10.00
Savings 18.00

That’s about 18.00 an hour or you would have to make 22.50 to spend that 18.00.