Sunday, March 31, 2019

Meal plans

Meal plans are a tool that makes life easier and more efficient,  the more efficient you are, the better and less hectic life becomes.

Our meal plans usually are based on a protein matrix,  beef, chicken or pork, and vegetarian,  sometimes a fish.

  • Mom out : daughter cooks 
  • Pizza
  • Potato soup, cheezy biscuits 
  • Tacos, Spanish rice, refried beans 
  • Chicken stir fry (Facebook) 
  • Chicken aka king 
  • Breakfast for dinner, 
Notes : 
I am working on a blog on how many meals can be prepared from a six pound chicken. Some we have already eaten, the rest of the chicken was separated and frozen.   My husband would have squawked if I fed him chicken six days in a row. Lol 

  1. Pizza is a mainstay.  Easy when the crust is made in bulk and frozen and the cost is a dollar a cheese pizza.  Add toppings that have been leftover from other meals or not.
  2. Potato soup and cheese biscuits come in at less than 1.50 for a total of four servings when ingredients are purchased at RBP.  
  3. Tacos are from already cooked hamburger, rice can be batch cooked for Spanish rice and the chicken aka king.  
  4. Chicken stir fry is from a recipe on Facebook with the addition of parm, cooked chicken, and maybe some red pepper flakes .  Green beans, and zucchini were both really inexpensive at sprouts.  
  5. Chicken  ala  king is an old recipe.  Use magic mix and add frozen peas and maybe some chopped red peppers .
  6.  Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay.  Everyone cooks.  It may or may not be economical, depending on what you cook and the amount of meat you serve.  Eggs are cheap.   Fruit in season is always a hit.  

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Concept: meals:a master list

Groceries on the cheap takes a different approach to shopping for groceries.   Instead of the panic method, you use a replentishntish method,   This is good  because  you always have food in the house.   Studies have shown that not having food on the house lowers your life expectancy.   It is not good for children.  It is also not good because bleep happens.   Snow, sickness, government shutdowns, layoffs, any number of things can happen  Having a month to six weeks worth of food on the house is not hoarding, it is being responsible.

  • Make a lot of 10-14 meals you family eats on a regular basis.  The average cook on a house has that many on their memory.  Now, list the ingredients.  Use inexpensive sources of protein if you are on a budget . 
  • Pull out the non perishable things on your list.  The perishables on a separate list,  I have them on my meal plan form. 
  • Non perishable list:  estimate how many if that item you will use in a month period.   If you typically use two to four cans of diced tomatoes, do the math.  This is easy on a spreadsheet.   
  • Now, when things are on sale at their RBP, buy as many as you can until you get to your self imposed storage number.   
  • The average family will have 10-15 items.  
  • Things like ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard, I keep one ahead.   When I pull my backup out of the pantry, I start watching for a good price on the backup.  
  • Flour, sugar. Yeast. Oatmeal. Baking powder, vanilla, beans. Dry milk I reolentish when I feel I am running low.   
  • The basic survival list is part of my regular stock.  It comes in 2 parts of 5 items. One is from a Costco type store, the other is from a dis pint store like Winco.   The size of the packages can be determined by the size of your family,   
  • Flour, beans, oatmeal, rice, yeast.  Yeast is close to 3.50 at winco.  A lot lot more at QFC.   
  • Sugar, Vegetable  oil, butter, baking powder, dry milk.  
  • Organize a closet, pantry, or cupboard so that  things are grouped together and you can tell at a glance when you need to look for a sale. 
  • Simplify.  One or two kinds of tomatoes are sufficient.  The more variety you have, the harder it is to shop and maintain stock.   

Friday, March 29, 2019

Mexican stuffed peppers

Green  peppers were .77 this week at Sprouts.

Mexican stuffed green peppers

  1. 4 bell peppers 
  2.  1 C cooked rice 
  3. 1 can mild diced green chilies , drained 
  4. 1/2 lb cooked ground meat 
  5. 1 T taco seasoning 
  6. 1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese, grated 
  7. Enchalada sauce (homemade) 

  • Wash green peppers and slice top off about a 1/2 inch down from the top.  Take the seeds and membranes out.
  • Place in a baking dish 
  • Prheat oven to 350 degrees 
  • Warm pre-cooked meat with taco seasoning , 1 TBLS of the diced chilies and some enchilada sauce to make the consistency  of taco meat, 
  • Add some sauce and chilies to rice just to moisten,   
  • Layer meat mixture  rice, and cheese inside the peppers 
  • Repeat layers until the peppers are full.  Top with cheese 
  • Cover Peppers with their ‘lids’ 
  • Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender and filling is hot. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Hauls to 3/28

Fred Meyer

Fred chicken 5.86
Bread 1.34
Onion .91
Cucumber .99
Spaghetti .69

Total 10.48

Fred Meyers


Lost slip
Sausage, strawberries.

Total 24.78

Potatoes 2.48
Wheat tortillas 3.43
Bread 2.28
Pickles 2.71
Bacon 3.98 less .75
Eggs 18- 1.45
Ice cream 3.83
Roma’s 1.34
Apples 3.82
Pears .65
Grape tomatoes 1.48
Grapes 2.38
Apples 3.96

Total 30.92

Grand total 49.58

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The best of the ads 3/27


Draper valley chicken BOGO- good buy? 

Oranges, apples .88
Cottage cheese/ sour cream 4/5 
Ice cream 2/5
Berries 2/5 (raspberries, blackberries 

Digi, thurs- Sunday 
You can buy 5
Bacon 2.99 $$. .75 coupon out there, 
La Croix 1.99
Wide own bread 1.99


Blackberries .88
Green beans .98
Cantaloupe 1.98
Walnuts 3.99 lb
Pumpkin pie 3.99
Squash .88
Grapes 1.98
Strawberries, blues, raspberries 2/5


At select stores 
Green beans .99
Russet potatoes 5# .99
Has avocado 5;5
Grass fed chuck  roast 3.99

Regular ad 

Pork shoulder blade roast .99
Mandarins 2.99 3#
Shreds, coleslaw 5/5

GM cereals  3/5 must buy 5$$

Yoplait .38@@ 
Bread 1.49@@
Milk 1.99@@

Fred  Meyers 

Grapes 1.48
Ice cream 2/5
Raspberries/blueberries 2/5

GM. Cereal  1.79$$

Nature valley bars 1.99
Mayonnaise 2.99
Ritz 1.79
Kraft bbq sauce .49

Thursday to Sunday only 
No coupons 
Sausage 2/5 
Asparagus. 99
Tillamook yougert 3/1
Pan bread 1.99

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Lists : what we buy

First, what we buy that may surprise you .  Even on four dollars a day, you can have life’s little luxuries.
Low fat beef
  1. Real butter.  The other stuff has nasty things on it.  My opinion is to buy the real thing and use it in moderation, 
  2. Real maple syrup.   I found it for five dollars at Trader Joe’s, 
  3. Real parmesean cheese. Not the green box that has wood pulp in it, 
  4. Real vanilla.   It cost a lot, but it lasts a long time and you use it sparingly.  
  5. Real whip cream.   Again, we watch our oils — hydroginated oils are not good for you. The article I read said that they thicken the blood,.
  6. Real cheese.   Just real cheese. 
  7. Olive oil
  8. Quality ice cream
  9. Low fat beef 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Monday kitchen management

Kitchen  management takes an hour  so when things are less hectic to prep food for the weeks dinners and do some deep cleaning. In management school, we learned that the Swiss cheese treatment was the best way to tackle a large job.

  1. Manage the six pound chicken we cooked yesterday, 
  2. Make chicken noodle soup and chicken stock, 
  3. Make bread dough 
  4. Wash kitchen floor 
  5. Clean and disinfect counter tops and sinks and drains. 
  6. Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀. 
  7. Straighten the pantry. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Meal plans

Meal plans are necessary to make life easier, cheaper, and for a more organized dinner time.

  • Roast chicken , mashed potatoes, veggie, strawberries 
  • Pizza
  • Sausage, cream, penne, peppers. 
  • Chicken enchiladas with green sauce, salad 
  • Tacos, refried beans, Spanish rice 
  • Chicken noodle soup , beer bread 
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  1. Chicken was a dollar a pound,   I bought a six pound one, 
  2. Pizza is a mainstay.  Cost of a scratch cheese pizza is a dollar. 
  3. Sausage is chicken basil.  Yum 
  4. Chicken enchiladas are easy and a way to stretch your chicken.  Remember, you are adding cheese  so you don’t need a lot of chicken .
  5. Tacos. Uses already cooked and de fatted meat.
  6. Chicken noodle soup is easy on the insta pot and another s t r e t c h of chicken.  Beer or cheezy bread is a good addition and easy, 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a fami,y affair and everyone cooks, 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Back to basics

I have been watching a lot of food hauls.  Some are good use of budget friendly items and some not so much.  Not everyone takes the word budget the same way.

  • Shop two stores.   Get on and get out,   Two stores give you the best choice of vegetables and fruit and specials.  
  • Buy your protein on a a rotation basis using the RBP principle.   Usually at least one grocery store will have a loss leader on protein. If you buy a months worth of that protein and portion control it, you will spend less and always have food in the house.   Ie: if you eat chicken three times a week , you will need enough chicken for 12 meals,   At a quarter pound serving for four oeople is a pound,   Or, 12 pounds of chicken.  Today, chicken breasts are .99 a pound,   You will spend 12.00.  That’s cheaper than buying three packages of different meats.  You have better portion control and it is cheaper.  
  • Groceries on the cheap is not about inferior food.  It’s about getting the best quality you can at the lowest price.  Instead of a panic shopping method—- “It is payday and there is nothing thing in the house or refrigerator “ , you have a replenish method.  It’s buying produce and dairy, your rotation protein, and filling in staples that are on sale and you are depleting. Keeping a specified amount of certain staple items keeps it real.   
  •  Making a list of things you buy on a regular basis to complete meals simplifies your grocery list and helps keep you away from impulse  buys.  Some accounts have impulse buys at 70 percent of a market basket.  Impulse buys is what jacks up you grocery bill.   Having a basic list saves time.  We have perishables on the meal plan to check off what we already have. 
  • Purchasing foods that are versatile simplifies the buying experience.  We buy a basic of chicken breast, pork loin, amd hamburger.  Add eggs , cheese, beans.  Limit our tomato products to tomato powder, diced tomatoes, and pasta sauce.
  • Keeping a basic stock means you will always have food in the house.   Being organized and having a section of pantry or cupboard for each thing means you can tell at a glance what might be running low and you can watch for a sale.  The idea is to buy everything at its RBP.  That means you have to buy more than one of a lot of things. One week it might be 6 cans of green beans. Another week, to might be six bags of frozen vegetables. You will spend less in the long run.  Most refrigerator freezers will keep a months worth of food for a family of four. Food insecurity is a bad thing.  Not having enough food on the house reduces your expected life span.   
  • Cook from scratch.  Efficient cooking can save time and a ton of money,   A batch of muffins made from a homemade mix costs .30 plus any flavoring.  Like an apple and some cinnamon.  A Six  pack of muffins can cost 5.00 or more amd you can control the sugar.   A loaf of artisan bread was 3.99 last  week, the cost is .25 and about ten minutes.  The difference between a frozen waffle and scratch is astronomical.  Consider sneaking on some whole wheat flour with your regular flour. You can control the ingredients.  The more boxed meals you buy, the more expensive they are and the more chemicals you are putting in your family. 
  • If you are on a four dollar a day budget or less, you can’t be looking at organic and alternative  foods.  Not a popular idea with the younger people, I know. But, organic food costs 38 percent more and add a 20 percent depletion  rate means you are paying almost 60 percent more for your food.  The sad, but true reality is that you have to eat all month.  Running out is not an option. Most pesticides are water solvable.  Wash your produce with vinegar water.  Peel what makes sense to peel.  
  • Balanced meal- a protein, a starch or carbohydrate as it’s called, and fruits and vegetables.  
  • You have a limited budget don’t waste it on empty calories.  Go for food value.  The back of every box has a nutrition label.   Read labels and ingredients.  Ingredients are listed in order of volume.  Fake cheese.....the first ingredient is emulsifiers.  Then a peleferia of oils, os,e good, some not. 
  • Becaise you are buying your food on the cheap doesn’t have to mean it isn’t healthy,   We avoid salt, sugar, trans fats, hydroginated oil, GMO.  HFCS, preservatives and chemicals.  Soap and wood pulp are a good thing to avoid too.   LOL 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday recipe : magic mix

It is all about saving time and money.

Magic Mix - store in the refrigerator or freezer. 
Makes basically a white sauce with adding just water.   
Use for Mac and cheese, instead of cream soups on any recipe. 
You can make by hand, or use a food processor.   

  • 4 cups dry milk (not instant) 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 2 sticks of butter 
Cut butter into dry ingredients.   Store in container with  a right fitting lid in refrigerator or freezer. 

Use 2/3 cup mix to 1 cup water.  

For the consistency of a white sauce, use 1/2 cup to 1 cup water. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Lists - things we don’t buy

Now, things we don’t buy ...

  • Microwave popcorn 
  • Boxed Mac and cheese.  Some  of it has harsh detergent in it. The other has more fat .
  • Cold sugary cereals.   Again, some of it has harsh detergent, and avoiding a lot of sugar is a good thing. 
  • Fake anything. 
  • Pop and sugary sodas.  Water, herbal teas are good iced and hot, milk in moderation, 
  • Potato chips  and like junk foods.   Empty calories.  Get more bang for your buck, 
  • Premade cookies, cakes, rolls most of the time.  There are recipes that take little time and avoiding a lot of those items is better nutrition.  We almost always have some kind of fresh fruit.  Ready made treats can bump your food bill up a lot, 
  • Any canned item that is easier and cheaper to make from scratch.  Winco does nit have BPA in their cans.  
  • Southern grown chicken 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hauls to 3/21


10# cheese @2,00
Strawberries 2/5
Nectarines .99
Bread 1.49
Cottfe cheese 1.49


Paprika 1.59
Garlic 1.02
Onion powder .87
Spinach 1.98(
Chili powder .79
Sausage .98
Pinto beans 2.46
Grapes 2.99

Total 12.68

Grand total 45.24

Ten pounds of cheese at 4.00 a pound is 40.00
It pays to buy bulk when it is on sale of anything you use a lot of.   Cheese freezes.   

Dollar tree

Mixed vegetables 1.00
Peas and carrots1.00
Crab cakes 4.24
Grapes 3.70

Total spent 1.52
Grand total 48.76

Bisquick 5.49
Total 54.25

Best of the ads 3/20

Grapes 1.48

Milk 1.25
Butter 2.50
Sour cream/ cottage cheese 4/5

Buy5, Save 5
Tillamook ice cream 2.99
Dbl cream cheese 2.99


Apples .98
Pears .98
Jumbo avacados .98
Minincucumbers 2/5 -1.5#

Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Blackberries .98
Blues, raspberries. 2/5


Apples, oranges .99
Apple juice 1.25

Tuna .59@@
Hot dog or hamburger buns .99@@

Fred Meyers

Oranges 5# 4.99

Sirloin steak 2.97

Peppers, eng cucumbers .99

FF whole, drums, split breasts .99

Milk 1.25

Strawberries 2/5

Note : it is real easy to cut off the rib portion of chicken breast and I use them for stock and chicken pieces by cooking them in a slow cooker.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Lists: Thinking out of the box

Things that are cheaper to watch for.   Sometimes getting something a lot cheaper is just a matter of thinking out of the box literally.  Most boxed food has preservatives and is more expensive than making scratch.  Making scratch doesn’t have to take all day conjuring up memories of I Love Lucy and her flour shenanigans. Lol

  • Pinto beans in the bulk isle were cheaper than the DT and a lot cheaper than a regular grocery store in a bag. 
  • Pepperoni ends were a lot cheaper at grocery outlet. Pepperoni is pepperoni no matter what shape it is in,   
  • Bacon ends were really inexpensive at Winco . I rendered  them down while I cleaned and made muffins, draining off the fat out  of the grill pan as I went with a turkey baster.  This keeps the fat from leaching back onto the meat.  I will use it to season and add protein to dishes.  Green beans and so,e soups come to mind. A little bit goes a long ways 
  • Buying nut pieces in the bulk isle when they have them saves time and money.
  • Buying seasonal food off season is pennies on the dollar .  The pull dates are still in compliance, the food value is the same.  Being flexible really pays off.  
  • Buying spices in the bulk isle is a good price and you can reuse your jars you already have. 
  • Making your own taco seasoning is a whole lot cheaper.  Anything that is 90 percent cheaper is worth taking a little time to do. 
  • Making a batch of bread that stores in the refrigerator takes minutes and saves a lot . Artisan bread was 3.99 at Safeway's. 3 loaves would cost 12.00.  The cost.....75.   94 percent savings. Hands on time...about 7 minutes a loaf.   
  • Muffin mix is easy, it’s cheaper than the box and a whole lot cheaper than than frozen  counterparts.  If you use the frozen ones to save morning time, make them in your kitchen Management day and freeze them in bags,  save the bags and reuse them for the next batch. Waffle mix just adds oil.  You can do the same with them.  
  • Magic mix is basically a roux mix.  Makes Mac and cheese in a hurry, or the cream soup that you use for casserole or chicken pot pie and costs less.  Takes not much more time than finding the can and opening it.   

Monday, March 18, 2019

Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen  management is a good tool to save time and money in the kitchen and make dinner time less stressful.   By doing a little deep cleaning each week, the deep clean job is less time consuming and easier.

  • Wash kitchen floor. 
  • Wash and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains. 
  • Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀. 
  • Make a note of things that need to be used up.  You can search ingredients on the on line Betty Crocker cookbook for ideas of you need to. 
  • Wash potatoes and carrots for stew and chicken pot pie , potato soup 
  • Fill cheese containers. 
  • Make pumpkin muffins 
  • Make pumpkin pancakes and freeze . ( uses a 15 ounce can of pumpkin up) 
  • Make a loaf of artisan bread. Oven is still  hot. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Meal plans

Meal plans are necessary to be organized and save time and money.  Being organized reduces stress and just makes life easier.

  • Stew, bread 
  • Pizza
  • Creamy sausage with pasta 
  • Nachos 
  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Potato soup, cheezy rolls 
  • Breakfast for dinner, 

  1. Stew in the insta pot takes 35 minutes .
  2. Pizza is a mainstay.  Easy and a dollar each plus any toppings.   We recently got pepperoni ends cheap. Something as simple as changing the shape of a product can save a lot of money,   
  3. Creamy, sausage with pasta (Big  Family Homestead - u tube ) chicken basil sausage .
  4. Nachos are simple. Especially  if you have already  cooked hamburger.  
  5. Chicken pot pie is easy and uses magic mix.
  6. Potato soup is another dollar dinner and cheezy biscuits add to the protein. Quick and easy Yum! We got cheese for 2.00 a pound at QFC.  
  7. Breakfast for dinner is another mainstay.  Everyone cooks. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

One thing at a time

Saturday blog for a while is going to be one thing in detail that you can do to save  time and money on food.   One concept at a time.  It’s the snowball effect.   You start with a little snow ball, add to it and pretty soon it’s a snowman.

First of the easiest.  Bulk protein. If you do a protein rotation, you can get your meat cheaper and control portions.  Use the ads to find what is on sale,  we buy pork loin, good hamburger, and boneless chicken breast.  Add eggs, cheese, and beans.  Maybe sausage .

  • Hamburger can be cooked, de fatted, and portion controlled.   It makes some meals a matter of minutes to make.  And you clean up once.   You are nit likely to stop and de fat hamburger when you need dinner in a hurry.  But de fatting meat can reduce the fat content up to 17 percent.  Tacos don’t need as much for a portion than say, spaghetti sauce.  You are adding cheese for an additional protein with the tacos.  It takes almost no time to knock a bag of ground meat on the countertop or pit it in a pan with water and taco seasoning.  Pit a little water in the pan and add seasoning,  stir together, add the hamburger.  Meanwhile, chop what you need for toppings.
  • Chicken is just separated into breasts in quart bags,. To save money, you can put individual chicken breasts in a dollar tree bag and then put the quart bags in a gallon bag. Be sure to roll the excess bag around the breast so you get neat packages to pull. Putting the bag into a container like a deli carton  and folding the zipper  over the edge makes it easy to take things and dump each breast in the bag.  
  • Pork loin.  You can get a good pork loin for between one and two dollars a pound. Open the bag and drain off any liquid.  Cut the ends of they taker down.  Use this for stir fry meat or cut cubes for stew.  Now cut a roast from one side, pork chops from the middle and leave enough for another roast.  Bag the, for the freezer..
Sales go on a four to six week cycle.  If you buy a four to six week supply of that protein a week, you should be able to always get your meat at a RBP.  Add cheese, dry beans, and sausage when it is appropriate.  

We buy eggs when the price is right. We have a target price of no more ham 1.50.  Obviously, a dollar is better.   If you keep a two to odor week supply, you can usually keep the stack going at a reasonable price.   Save your cartons, some people hat keep chickens will trade you for eggs. 

Cheese has a target price of 2-2.50 a pound.  You can freeze cheese especially if it is grated.  It is a misnomer that grating it yourself is cheaper.  A pound of cheese is a pound of cheese, no matter what shape it is in.  Go by the price ore pound.   Watch for sales.   Sometimes  Costco is cheap.  Simplify.  Usually we keep mozzarella and Mexican blend.  I add others if the small bags are a dollar.   

Pinto beans are cheapest in the big bags at Costco. For smaller quantities. They are cheapest at the dollar tree.   1.5 pounds are a dollar.  That’s .67 a pound.   The large bags at Winco are higher.   
Check bulk departments on other beans .  We saved the popcorn canisters from Costco for storage.   Having them all the same just looks neater on the pantry and saves space because they nest.   
Slow cookers and insta pots make cooking beans easier.  Be sure to wash and pick out any bad ones or rocks before you cook and do t keep cooked beans more than three days in the refrigerator.  Beans and rice have a short refrigerator life.  Some beans in cans are a good thing because they are harder to find raw or are expensive.  Wait for a sale.  Fifty cents is my target price.   The equivalent of a can of cooked beans cost .05.  A can can cost upwards of a dollar.   Even at .50, you are saving 90 percent.   

Sausage has taken a leap.  You can still find it for about two dollars a pound of you watch.  Use coupons of you find them.  We try to eat sausage sparingly.  Bacon and pepperoni can be purchased in bulk ends.  Bacon recently was two dollar a pound in a vacuums sealed bag.  Just put it on a big frying pan or grill pan with sides a d let it cook on low heat.  Use a badger to pull the fat as it accumulates.  It is good for seasoning green beans or adding a little flavor to soups.  Bean and bacon soup is a good meal stretcher.  Now they are making chicken alternatives and some with no nitrates.  
 Chicken and basil is to die for. 

 Buying a 4 to 6  week supply of  protein I’m bulk saves time and money.  It uses portion control so there is less chance of waste.  A four week supply is the amount you need for a meal Times the number of times you will serve that meal in a four week period.  In other words. If you eat chicken twice a week, you will need 8 meal sized portions.  

Groceries on the cheap uses a replenish shopping strategy rather than a week by week shopping strategy,  the benefits is that you always have food on the house and you lower your food budget drastically.  We have been growing a stick and eating on four dollars a day for over two years.   


Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday recipe -taco seasoning

Seasoning Packets can cost a dollar an ounce.  For a few ingredients most of which you already have in your cupboards you can have multi packs.

This recipe is for taco seasoning.  It is based on parts, so that you can make as much or as little as you want.  If you are taco eaters or you eat chili 🌶  Or burritos, enchaladas, you might want to make a pint jar. You can omit anything you don’t want and tailor it to your family. 

Look on the ethnic isle for small packages or in the bulk isle for spices.  You can buy just what you want and refill spice jars.  Dollar tree and Big Lots are also a resource.   
Parts : use Tabkesooons, or the same measuring cup in units . 

1 - each of 
Garlic powder 
Onion powder 
Red pepper flakes 

2 - paprika 
6- cumin
3 - sea salt 
4-black pepper
12- chili powder 

Use 1 Tbls per pound of meat 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

One thing at a time

Part of a series to tackle lowering your food budget. Tackling change one thing at a time.

  • We have already talked about a rotating bulk protein plan.  Ie meat. 
One easy step is to go over the ads for the week and circle or star the things that are truly on sale, not just for sale, and analyzing what grocery stores have the good prices on what you need.   

Pick 2 stores, preferably ones close to each other, or close to somewhere you have to go.   Like the gym or doctor or ???.

Make a list or at least have a basic idea of what you are going to te store for.

  • Our basic idea would be :  a rotation protein, replentish eggs, replentish dairy, and fruits and veggies.   Basically, this week we will do the perimeter of the store.
  • We have already looked at the local stores prices and will go to the one store that has no ad first to compare.   
Get in the store and get out.  The more time you spend in the store, the more you will spend.
  • We have bags that lock on the cart.  This is for sanitary reasons.  It also makes the cart smaller. This saves money.

Hauls to 3/14


3 peppers 3.00
3 avacados .98
Roma tomatoes .98
Strawberries 1.98
Total 7.50


Tortillas 3.09
Buns .92
Sausage .98
Swiss cheese 2.18
Havarti cheese 2.18
Black olives (4) 2.18
Strawberries 1.98
Salsa .98

Total 22.81

Grocery outlet

Foldgers 6.99
Ripe olives (2) 1.38
Rope sausage 2.50
Chicken garlic sausage 2.50
Pepperoni 1# 2.79
2 pkg, bacon 4.98

Total 21.14

Grand total 43.95

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The best of the ads


RBP alert

Digital coupons , can buy 5
Friday, Sat,  Sunday 
Cheese 3.99 - 2#
Nathan’s hot dogs 1.99

Apples .99

Draper valley chicken BOGO

Lean cuisine 1.88 

Strawberries 2/5

Grapes .98
Green beans .98
Blackberries .98
Cabbage 3#1.00
Avacados 2/1 
Oranges 2/1
Cantaloupe 2/4 

Note artisan bread 3.99 - a loaf of artisan bread takes about ten minutes and costs a quarter.  The ingredients : salt, water, flour and yeast.  Sometimes a half a teaspoon of yeast.   A half teaspoon of yeast costs half a cent. 

Green peppers 2/1 

Milk 1.99@@

Buy 4 mix or match 
Manwich  .88
Cream cheese 1.49
Skippy 3.99

Fred Meyers

Avacados .88
Foster Farms  BSCB bogo 

Lean cuisine 1.88
Greeen peppers/  cucumbers 2/1
Hillshire farms sausage 2/5 

Digi Dreyers Ice cream 2/5 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tuesday lists : March first ten

Meals for the first 10 days of March

  • Chicken Normandy, green beans, mashed potatoes 
  • Breakfast for dinner : eggs, fruit, bread 
  • Pizza
  • Potato soup. Cheezy biscuits 
  • Chimichangas, salad 
  • Potato soup , fruit 
  • Spaghetti with meatballs, garlic Parmesan  bread 
  • Taco casserole 
  • Pork chops with garlic, thyme bitter sauce, baked potato, mixed veggies 
  • Egg omelette, orange slices, sausage and cheezy biscuits. 

Cheezy biscuits are a nice addition and take almost no time,   
2 cups bisquick, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 2/3 cup milk.  Drop by 
Heaping  tabkesooons into parchment paper on a baking sheet, bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes. 
Makes 8 biscuits. 
From the bisquick cookbook, 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Monday Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen Management is a tool that can help you save your money and time in the kitchen .  The hardest part of prepping can be the clean up.  Doing the prep prep in batches instead of one meal at a time saves clean up time.  Prepped food makes meal time faster and easier.   Deep cleaning a little at a time saves the chore of deep cleaning the whole kitchen in one day.

  • Wash kitchen floor 
  • Clean and disinfect counter tops and sinks and drains. 
  • Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀. 
  • Wash outside of refrigerator. 
  • Wash carrots, celery, and fruit. 
  • Make a green salad .  
  • Clean toaster and microwave. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Meal plans

Last night we had baked potatoes, mixed vegetables and garlic, thyme butter pork chops.

Meal plans are a way to keep organized and avoid the panic or stress of answering the question, “What’s for dinner,

  • Chicken stew 
  • Pizza
  • Chili, tortilla chips or bread 
  • Hamburgers, oven fries, vegetabke platter
  • Cream, chicken basil sausage, pasta , salad 
  • Tuna casserole m peas and carrots 
  • Breakfast for dinner. 
  • Chicken cubes from chicken breasts bought in bulk, new potatoes, carrots 
  • Pizza is a mainstay and costs a dikkar a cheese pizza from scratch.  Bulk pizza dough is made in the kitchenaid and frozen,  makes a months worth of pizza dough, 
  • Chili is made on the insta pot with already  cooked hamburger,   
  • Hamburgers are from hamburger patties we got at Sprouts fir a dikkr a pound,  loss leader,   
  • Cream, sausage, tomato pasta is a recipe is from the  Big Family Homestead on u tube, 
  • Tuna casserole, peas and carrots, 
  • Breakfast for dinner is a family dinner and everyone cooks.  

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Grocery lists

Meal plan, grocery list
Groceries on the cheap is based on a replenish shopping, as opposed to buying one day or one week at a time.  Once you are set up, it will actually take you less time to go to two stores than it does going to the store for one day or one week’s worth of food at a time.   Rarely will you need to run to the store for that thing you forgot.

  • List ten to 14 dinners you cook that your family likes.  Pick things that take an inexpensive protein if you are on a low budget.   
  • Now list the item you need to make those meals. 
  • Add things you eat for breakfast and dinner if you eat those items at home. There are  children get breakfast and lunch at school. 
  •  Now, estimate how many of those items you will need on a four  to six week period .
  • Separate the items that are perishables that are freezer and shelf stable. 
  • Now you have a basic list .
Once you have a supply of the shelf stable items, you just need to look for a sale on the things that are becoming  short in supply.  
Add to your list the basic dairy and pantry will give you the list.  A brief glance in the fridge and pantry will make your list.   

Our meal plan sheet has a list to check off.   This can be done on a matter of minutes.   

So, any grocery trip is prefaced by looking over the ads, picking a rotation meat or protein that is at your target price. Noting the things that you are showing short  and matching of any of those things are on sale .  Add your produce and dairy list and you are done.  

Shopping is quick because while you are going to two stores, you are buying less items.  Try to plan your trip to use less gas and try to go when it’s nit prime time  it just makes life easier.

Sour cream
Cottage cheese
Cheese , white. Yellow


Tortilla chips

Diced tomatoes
Pasta sauce
Replentish backup catsup, mustard, salad dressing
Bbq sauce
Canned corn, green beans
Sliced black olives
Mild green chilies

Cream soup
Tomato soup

Friday, March 8, 2019

Friday Recipe

Yesterday, I spent some time looking through u tube for recipes for the bread baker and scratch bread.  I decided  to write them in a Spiral  notebook so I didn’t have bots of papers all over.   I usually try a recipe and then put the ones we like in a personal cookbook.

There are literally thousands of recipes out them. We have a basic list of groceries that I keep in stock. That diminishes the list accordingly.

Groceries on the cheap is based on a theory that includes replenishing a basic stock  of food  instead of going to the store and buying just what you need for a day or a week.  This theory cuts you food bill on half or more.   Our groceries cost less than four dollars over person per day last year, and four dollars per day the year before.   We eat well, we don’t eat fake food, and we eat basic food.
We eat a lot of comfort food that has been adapted to be low salt, sugar, hydrogenated oil, trans fats, HFCS, GMO, and preservatives.   Efficient scratch cooking is the key.  A lot of recipes, take no more time to make then their boxed or bagged counterparts and are free from the garbage.

Keeping a small stock of food and rotating the buying when the price is right saves money and assures you that when bleep happens, and bleep will happen— you will always have so,e food on the house.

I digress
Last night we had spaghetti and meatballs in the insta pot.  Total hands on time was three minutes.

  • 1/2 package of spaghetti (1#) , broken in half and layer in the bottom of the pot like a bird nest, 
  • 1 jar or can of pasta sauce , pour over pasta 
  • Meatballs placed on top. ( ready made meatballs on sale are cheaper than scratch) 
  • 2 cups of a stock poured along the sides of the pot. 
  • Cover, seal, and process 8 minutes on manual.  
  • Quick release. 
  • Cost 2.38
Bread on the bread baker
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2T butter
  • 3 cups flour 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese ( we used shaved real cheese) 
  • 2 T sugar 
  • 1-1/2 tsp garlic 
  • 2-1/2 tsp yeast
Process 1.5 pound loaf with light crust

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hauls to 3/7 /19

We decided check out alternative shopping,

Trader Joe’s was a bust.  Everything was waay too expensive.

Pure maple syrup 4.99
Blue cheese 3.49

Total 8.48

Was a bit better because I suspect it’s their grand opening . Time will tell.   It isn’t on our way to much, so it will probably not be our first pick.

Blueberries 1.49
Radishes .69
Grapes .98 lb
Bluecheese 3.96
2 # beef patties 1.99 total
French bread 1.50
Total 12.66

Dollar tree
Thin sandwich bread 1.00

22.14 grand

Dinners 7.52


Potatoes 1.98
Meatballs 1.98
Roma’s 1.22
Grape tomatoes 1.96
Romaine 1.96
Bacon 2# 3.98
Cottage cheese 2.25
Parm 2.38
Total 17.61

Total 47.21

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The best of the ads

BOGO meat bargain?

80/20 ground beef
Boneless, skinless chicken breast
Top sirloin steak
Pork tenderloin

Tillamook ice cream 2.99

Cheese 2# 4.99@@
Bread .99@@

Yoplait 10/5

Naval oranges .69 lb


Digital coupons

Hamburgers, frozen 6.99
Dryers 2/5 
Yoplait 10/5 
Red Barron 3/8
Cheese 2.49 #

Bulk buy 
Ragu 2/3 
Buy 3, get a gallon of milk. 
3 Ragu are 4.50 less 2.00 milk is 2.50/3 or .83 each 

Peppers .98
Squash .98
Strawberries 1.98

Fred Meyers 
Strawberries 2/4
Apples .99
Roasts, pork and beef BOGO
Eggs .99
3# Kroger bacon 9.99

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Grocery list for emergency rations

We have already purchased the magic 10.  10 things for a survival pantry.  Now the add on grocery list assuming that there is, o special meat on sale this week.   Special meat is anything under two dollars a pound.

10 #  package of leg quarters of chicken 5.90
Bag of cubed  ham 2.35 ( I have got it as cheap as 2.00)
4 dozen eggs  4.00
Meatballs 2.00

Potatoes 2.49 (2 weeks)
Carrots 2.28
Celery 1.00
Apples 3#
Oranges 3#

Cheese 4.99
Pizza sauce 1.00 (DT)
Tortillas 1.00. (DT)
Mild chilies.69
Lettuce 1.00
Tomato 1.00
Spaghetti 1.00
Noodles 1.00
Pasta sauce (2) 1.78

Budget  40.00

Add ons
Frozen mixed veg


  • French Toast, orange slices (2)
  • Ham and cheese quiche 
  • Potato soup with ham 
  • Chicken noodle soup 
  • Bbq chicken sliders 
  • Pizza (2) 
  • Chicken enchaladas 
  • Chicken tacos 
  • Chicken rice soup 
  • Spaghetti and meatballs 
  • Rice and beans 
  • Chicken pot pie 

Tuesday concepts.

How to read a grocery ad
Based on $4 a day per person

Ground beef 3.99. 93/7  expensive and not as flavorful.
Mandarins, organic apples 2.48 - organic is expensive and anything over a dollar a pound is to be looked at twice.

Chuck roast or Draper Valley chicken breast or thighs , BOGO
Take into consideration.   On a four dollar a day budget, chuck roast is a treat, and Draper Valley  in my opinion isn’t the best chicken. The chicken itself is ok, my experience is that the butchers are a little to hasty in their work.

Organic asparagus or tomatoes 1.99. The target price for tomatoes is a dollar or less.

4 days only - Thurs - Sunday
Ground turkey 2/5 - ok price
Dreyers ice cream 2/4 - ok
Butter 2/5 note there is a coupon  for .55 off one
Cheezits 3/5 - snack, not on my grocery list
Remember just because it says a quantity, unless they say you must buy a particular quantity and  you don’t have to buy the quality. We always keep a quality of butter , I don’t  want to ever pay more than 2.50 a pound.  If your family  likes ground turkey, that would be a good thing to stock.  Cook, defat, and portion control it for the freezer.

Lean cuisine frozen dinners 1.88.  There is a coupon for 1.25 .
Always have your coupons in mind when looking at an ad. These days they are few and far between
on the paper coupon side.  Digital coupons at qfc, just open up the site. Perhaps while watching tv, and hit everything that you buy.

Buy 5 save 5.
Read the list, unless it is a good buy and you can justify buying a quantity or a variety of things, don’t bother,   Lately, a lot of junk food.  Remember you have to buy 5 items, not five of each thing.
8 ounces of cheese for 1.99 a pound is 4.00 a pound .  Our buy price is 2%2.50.  A bit more for sliced.   Sliced cheese is 2.29 at Grocery Outlet.   2 lbs of grated cheese is 4.99 . That I is at the target price. Juice is, it a good buy at any price.  Cream cheese at 2 pkg, 2.99 is not bad. A lot of junk and
non  food items.  Skip over the booze, junk, and non food items, rarely can you get a good buy on.
Non food items at the grocery store.
Organic bagels are 4.49 cents, opposed to a dollar for named brand at the DY or 1.25 at the bread store.

Sour cream and cottage cheese 1.25.  That is close enough.
Ignore the junk food.  Soup for 2/3 is too much.  A dollar is the target price for chunky soup

Slices are always higher at the grocery store with the exception of bulk.  You probably already have spice jars at home,  why buy another jar and add to the landfill.

Kroger 12-16 ounce frozen vegetables, Barilla pasta. 10/10. You don’t need to buy 10 necessarily.  The 16 ounce for dozen vegetables are a good stock buy, not the 12 ounce ones.  The target price for a pound of vegetables is a dollar.

English muffins and bagels are usually higher at the regular store.  Here are BOGO.  Make a, tie to check.  English muffins are 1.66 for a dozen at Fred Meyers all the time.  Look near the eggs, on a round basket.   Cheaper at the dollar store or bread store.

Barilla pasta is at its target price.

Kroger bacon is 9.99/3 # pkg.  not a bad price

Roast chicken is 6.99. Almost never a good price.  This is a two pound chicken.  The break even point for a chicken is three pounds,  that is the point where you are paying half for bone and half for meat.
At two pounds, you are getting more bone and less meat.   But, let’s consider it is half just for math purposes. That leaves you with 6.99 a pound for chicken.  It is a dollar or less a pound all the time for whole chicken.   Boneless  skinless chicken breast is often at 1.28 a pound at Winco.
You can cook a whole chicken on a matter of minutes hands on time,

Oranges 2.99/3#.
Lemons 1.99 lb
Oranges .99 #
Raspberries. Blueberries 2/5 - cheaper this week elsewhere.

Any vegetable or fruit is good at a dollar a pound.  (Target price)

Pork loin BOGO. Another check the price at the store.  You want one to two dollars a pound,  obviously , the lower the better.

On a four dollar a day budget,  Any meat over 2.00 a pound is a stretch.  You can average, and eggs, chicken, and pork loin can make it possible for a more expensive ground meat or roast.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Monday Kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen management is a tool to reduce time and stress during the hectic dinner hour.  Prepping food ahead of time just makes things easier,   It is my goal to spend less than twenty minutes timcook dinner, sometimes it is less than that.  I especially  like soup meals that are dine in the morning and only need a bit of tweaking at dinner time.

  • Spaghetti and meatballs 
  • Pizza
  • Sweet and sour chicken, rice 
  • Enchaladas 
  • Sausage and creamy tomato pasta 
  • Potato soup , cheezy drop biscuits 
  •  Breakfast for dinner 

  • Wash kitchen floor 
  • Clean out refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀.
  • Make notes  of anyth8ng that needs to be used up soon, 
  • Wash and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains. 
  • Wash the veggies for potato soup with vinegar water and dry.  Place in colander, 
  • Make enchalada sauce
  • Deep clean stove. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Meal plans

Meal plans are necessary to save time and money.  They just make life organized and easier.   No magic surprises is a good thing .

  • Spaghetti and meatballs , salad
  • Pizza 
  •  Sweet and sour chicken  
  •  Enchiladas   
  •  Sausage cream tomato pasta, salad   
  •  Potato soup , cheezy biscuits 
  •  Breakfast for dinner 


  1.  8 minutes in the insta pot.   Use 1/2 a pound of spaghetti.  Meatballs are less xoemsive to buy ready made than theynare to make scratch.  Pasta sauce is cheaper too.   
  2. Pizza cost a dollar a cheese pizza when made from scratch, 
  3. Sweet and sour chicken with rice.   Use cubes from a chicken breast.  Can of pineapple chunks. 
  4. Enchaladas.  Home made enchalada sauce.  Beef uses red sauce, chicken green sauce. 
  5. Sausage and cream pasta is from Big Family Homestead on untube, 
  6. Potato soup is inexpensive, and cheezy drop  biscuits are easy and quick.  Betty Crocker. 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a family meal.  Everyone cooks. 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Saturday concepts

One  of the basics of groceries on the cheap is to spend more time planning and shopping, and less time cooking.  You don’t get “paid” for cooking, but there is money in shopping 🛒 with a plan.
Most families don’t care how much time you spend cooking dinner, they just care if they like it.

It pays you to learn recipes that allow,you to efficiently cook food from scratch.  Anything premade or that comes out of a box is going to cost you more with few exceptions.   It is actually cheaper to buy pasta sauce on sale and there are meatballs that are actually cheaper than making scratch.

Identifying meals that have  inexpensive  ingredients and are easy to cook is easier than one might think.  Pinterest, Betty Crocker on line cookbook is free, and any cookbook that has the buzz words 5 ingredients or less is good,   The simpler the better.   Betty Crocker sometimes has brand specific ready made  ingredients, but most of the time an adequate substitution is workable.

Prepping meat and portion controlling meat is a good money and time saver.
Buying in bulk and cooking stair stepper is another,   Stair  stepping is when you make enough of something  to do double duty during the week.  That batch of rice can be Spanish rice with a taco dinner  and also be the base for stir fry.   A batch of chili can be chili one day and the basis for nachos, burrito bowls or a topping for a baked potato bar.

Kitchen Management aka meal prep is another way to save the dinner hour.   I remember the days when you hit the door, mail in hand after picking the children up from daycare.  They are hungry, wanting to tell you the happenings of the day, and dinner is waiting to be cooked and laundry is staring you in the face.   Having part of dinner ready to cook and having a plan saves a lot of stress.

We have a garbage can, and an in basket on the computer stand in the hall to the kitchen. Dealing with mail as soon as you get in the house saves time, handle it once.

Anything made in a slow cooker or insta pot is a good thing.

Engaging children to help get the table set etc encourages them to talk  about their day and  gets dinner on the table.  A win -win.


No food will  do your family good if you are feeding it to the garbage disposal.

Some people could have a bargain get up and bite them in the butt and they wouldn’t see it.  Don’t be that person.

If you buy 10 sacks of potato chips. They will eat ten bags of potato chips.  And, not have good nutrition.  If it isn’t there, they will make wiser choices.  I grew up without junk food in the house.
My sisters and I survived.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Friday recipe

Last night, I made dinner in ten minutes flat.   It had been a busy day.

Taco casserole

  • 1/2 # cooked ground beef, de fatted 
  • 1/2 cup salsa, or enough to moisten your mixture, 
  • 1/2 cup of frozen corn. 
  • 1T taco seasoning 
  • Water 
In skillet, place cooked meat , a little water, salsa and corn,  heat through umtil nmost of the liquid is absorbed. 

In a round baking dish layer 

  • Flour tortilla 
  • Meat mixture
  • Grated cheese 
  • Repeat 
  • Top with a flour tortilla, a little meat mixture to moisten , and a layer of cheese, 
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until themcheese has melted and the food is hot. 

Serve with sour cream, lettuce, tomato.