Friday, May 31, 2019


Chili  is an inexpensive dish to make and can be easy made in a slow cooker or an  insta pot.
It is also very versatile . Besides a meal of chili, you can add pasta to the leftovers and stretch it for another meal.  You can also is use it  along with other ingredients for a  baked  potato bar.  Chili dogs? 

Add chili to rice and condiments like sour cream, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes or guacamole for a burrito bowl.

Ground turkey was on sale recently.  You can use canned beans, or cook beans quickly on the insta pot.   Any bean or combination of beans will work.   And, ground beef will also work.   Don’t limit yourself to a basic recipe.  You can make a substitution.   If you don’t have something, replace it with something of the same flavor or texture.  My husband won’t eat onions. Of I need something to replace the bulk of onions, I often add celery.  Of I don’t need the bulk, I add onion powder or grate a piece of onion on the micro plane . I only buy diced tomatoes.   I sometimes buy seasoned diced tomatoes; it saves time and money.   I usually have a couple of small cans of tomato sauce and some tomato powder.  If I use seasoned tomatoes, I omit the spices and adjust seasoning to taste.

30 minute chili in the insta pot or pressure cooker
10 minutes hands on time.
2 quarts - serves 8

1# ground turkey , cooked
2 cans / 4 cups of beans
1 -15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 small red pepper , chopped
1 cup beef broth ( bouillon )
1 T taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients.
Process on high for 5 minutes
When finished, let naturally release for 10 minutes and manually finish it.

Serve with sour cream, chopped  jalapeños, and/or tortilla strips or chips.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

hauls to 5/29


Milk 1.99
Blues 3.75
Bread 1.00

Total 6.74


Blackberries 1.25
Peppers .98
Red cherries 1.68
Banana chips .81
Pumpkin pie 2,99

Total 10.31

Total 17.05

Cottage cheese 1.99

Total 19.04

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Best of the ads 5/29/2019

This is done using internet ads.  The post office didn’t deliver the ads on time again . 

Cheese 4.99@@
Yoplait .39@@

This is my top price on cheese, but I would so make it my protein rotation, 

Fred Meyer 

Digi, five only, selected days , bacon 2.99#
Foster Farm chicken BOGO
Milk .99
Breakfast sausage 2/5 


GM cereal 1.49 
Classico 1.99
Tater tots 1.99
Ketchup 38 Oz 1.99
Cream cheese 1.49
Aidells sausafe 3.99


Strawberries .99
Avacados 2/1
Red peppers  2/1
Blueberries blackberries 2/4
Pineapple 2/5 

FSS only 
Cantaloupe .98


Peppers .99
Blues 3.99
Raspberries 12 Oz 3.99
Kroger ice cream 2/5 

Cereal 1.49
Hebrew national 2.49
Ore Ida potatoes 1.992#
Ketchup 38 ounces 1.99


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Making the most of a basket coupon,

Occasionally you will find a grocery store offering a basket coupon,   Basket coupons are when a coupon will say save 10.00 off you order of 50.00 or more.   Forget the more part.   Ten dollars off of fifty is 20 percent off your basket.   The more you spend, the less percentage you are going to get.   If the store is already 25 or more percent higher than other stores, twenty percent isn’t a bargain.  Unless. They are also having a good sale.  The trick, as usual is to know your prices.
You can make a good deal on these coupons, but planning your trip is essential.   You could wind up paying more than if you just went to a different store.

Going to two stores a week, researching what stores on your area have the best prices, is key to getting the most food for your dollar.

You don’t pick a grocery store because the clerks are the most friendly, or because they never have a line,  think about it, of they never have a line, they probably aren’t real popular and therefore, probably have higher prices.   Going to the grocery store shouldn’t be your social life! Lol

I would pick a store that was clean, or , rather, not pick a store that was dirty.

There can be as much as a two dollar per item spread on prices of the exact same thing.  Two dollars is huge.

It’s not as much what you buy as it is when and where you buy it.

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

My other used to say that 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.  

Monday, May 27, 2019

Kitchen management

kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen management is a tool to help you save money and time in the kitchen.   It helps take the hectic out ofmthemdinner hour.   By prepping food , you are one step ahead of the time it takes t make dinner.

  1. Clean and slice the peppers.   Cut the tops and bottoms off and reserve for pizza.   Chop and freeze. Pit in a bag and place on the freezer door for pizza. 
  2. Male bulk crust 
  3. Wash potatoes and carrots with vinegar water 
  4. Wash kitchen floor
  5. Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀.
  6. Make note of anything that needs to be incorporated into a meal, 
  7. Wash countertops and sinks and drains and disinfect, 
  8. Clean the dishwasher and microwave. 
  9. Clean strawberries and pit in refrigerator.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Meal Plans

Meal plans are a necessary part of your meal prep.    Having a plan staves off the take out demons.   It just makes meal tome easier.  It doesn’t mean you have to stick to the plan, but it is, rather, a road map to get you to economical dinners. 

  • Fajitas 
  • Pizza
  • Depression stew 
  • Potato soup 
  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Tacos, Spanish rice 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

  1. Peppers continue to be a dollar at sprouts.  Green ones are cheaper, but we don’t like them. 
  2. Spanish rice can do a double duty.  Tomato powder is a good thing to have when tomatoes are expensive, or you are out.  Ingredients :  dried tomatoes, period. 
  3. Depression stew is a very old recipe from great grandmothers, or great, great, grandmothers. it uses  any leftover meat you have, bits and pieces. We have bacon I got for 1.28 a pound and a few stray meatballs on the freezer.   
  4. Potato soup uses some of the ten pounds of potatoes we got for 1.69.  Cheesy biscuits are Betty Crocker  and easy, peas, quick.    Add some protein. 
  5. Chicken pot pie is easy and a favorite, 
  6. Tacos are good and you can use ground turkey or beef.  Double duty on the Spanish rice, 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a family affair with the family cooking, 
We made peach dump cake this week.  Friday was a half day at school for granddaughter.  It is easy and we had a free cake mix , so the cost was a cheese of butter and a can  of peaches  I had got on sale .  Teaching cooking skills is a good 5hing since they dint do that in school anymore,   She is learning safe knife skills,   

Saturday, May 25, 2019

What we ate in May 2019

May’s grocery shopping carts cost on average 30 dollars and change a week.

  1. Hamburgers, green salad 
  2. Ribs, corn on the cob, strawberries 
  3. Pizza
  4. Taco soup. Multi colored tortillas strips for garnish 
  5. French Toast, bacon, fruit 
  6. Leftover chicken spaghetti
  7. Sloppy joes, oven fries 
  8. Ravioli , greens 
  9. Chili 
  10.  Chicken soup 
  11. Depression stew 
  12. Chicken pot pie 
  13. Hamburgers, corn on cob, fruit
  14. Sausage patties. Fried potatoes, strawberries and oranges 
  15. Black bean enchiladas 
  16. Steak, baked potatoes, green salad 
  17. Hamburgers, corn on cob, salad 
  18. Baked potato bar 
  19. Breakfast for dinner
  20. Chili, tortilla chips
  21. Burrito bowl
  22. Spaghetti, salad 
  23. Rice, meatballs, green beans 
  24. Baked spaghetti, salad, peach dump cake 
  25. Fish and chips 
  26. Fajitas 
  27. Chili 
  28. Clam chowder
  29. Stew and biscuits 
  30. Salmon, corn on cob, salad 
  31. Eggs, sausage, fruit 

Friday, May 24, 2019

The spirit of grocery shopping

Groceries on the cheap takes a different approach to grocery shopping,   Instead of what one might call “panic” grocery shopping , you have a stock of about a four to six week supply and you shop to replentish  your stock.  You look at the ads to see what’s on a good sale, and buy a bulk rotation meat, fresh prodice and dairy needed, and replentish anything on a good sale that is on your shelf/ freezer stable list.

Yesterday, after showing up at the dentist ( they called trying to fill on a cancellation) we went shopping.  I had already looked at the ads ( see earlier posts) and had a list for Safeways, but had a vague idea of what I needed to fill in at Winco.  Usually here we find the best “buys”  at Fred Meyers and Winco.  There are exceptions and this is one week that held true.

We went to Winco first because it was the closest to our route from the dentist.   I bought tomatoes that we were out of and looked for a decent price on cottage cheese. Bacon was 3.39 a pound . ( when the package is 12 ounces, multiply the cost of the 12 ounce package by 1.25.   You can usually do this on your telephone,)

We then walked the perimeter of the store .  Bacon pieces were 1.28 a pound.  This works for seasoning beans, soups, and topping a quiche.  And, it is 1/3 of the cost of using strips of bacon.  It pays to think out of the box.

We went on to Safeways.  I filled on what was on sale for a good price and checked the mark down meat bin.  Most of the meat was, as usual still higher than the proverbial balls.  But, they had a package of cube steaks for 4.00.  That’s two dinners for us.  I added a salad made with the .79 head if lettuce and a Roma tomato that was a dollar a pound, and a baked potato we got for 1.79 for a ten pound bag.   That s steak dinner for 2.45. It took maybe 15 minutes to make.

And so it goes....

My average for this month is 30.00 and change a week for groceries. Part of this is because we are well stocked.   We have done this on 4.00 a day budget for almost 2.5 years now.   The secret is not paying full price for anything, simplifying your list, and efficient scratch cooking.  We don’t eat much asparagus or broccoli, mainly because my husband doesn’t like veggies, and steak is a treat.   I buy good hamburger and de fat it and cook bulk when it comes home from the store.  We buy pork loins when they Re 1-2.00 a pound and I butcher them myself— roasts, pork chops and stew meat or stir fry.  We buy boneless, skinless chicken breast when they are under 1.28 a pound,  sometimes split breasts are as cheap as .88 and then I process them and save a lot. ( see earlier post).   Occasionally we buy thighs so we can make stock and I use the meat for chicken  soup or enchiladas.

Keeping your supply list short makes it easier to shop, and easier to out things away, and you always know what ingredients you can use for recipes.   Basics is the key.

Frozen potatoes were 1.99 for two pounds,   This included sweet potato fries...yum.   We bought the “culls” fries from Winco for little more than a dollar for two pounds.  Frozen vegetables were a dollar  at Safeways,   I bought mixed vegetables, and peas.   This is a good fit because we make a quick chicken pot pie and peas can go by themselves, or even on a stew.

I basically bought anything that was a good buy and we could use to make dinners. The notion of...but we have a bag doesn’t cut it here.  You buy it when it’s on sale and don’t buy any more than you can realistically use before they go bad, keeping in mind how much storage space you have.   We are stuffed in the small freezer and pantry.  It just means we can save up for other bill becaise our groceries will be minimal.

It works, it is just a different mindset.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Hauls to 5/22/19

bisquick 5.49

roma tomatoes .98
corn on cob 1.00
bacon 2.58
frozen fries 1.36
bacon pieces 1.28
cottage cheese 1.98
total 12.53

eggs .88
frozen veggies 1.00
frozen fries 1.99
frozen sweet pot fries 1.99
yogurt .40
buns .88
cube steak (30%)  3.94
10# potatoes 1.69
lettuce .79
 total 16.55

grand total 34.57

Slip lost.

Ground turkey -foster farms
Grape tomatoes
Regular tomatoes
2 strawberries
1 blueberries
Ice cream
Sour cream
Cottage cheese -double
Green chilies
Total 27.90

Total 62.47

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The best of the ads 5/22


Blueberries 4/5
Tillamook ice cream BOGO
Hebrew national or Nathan’s hotdogs BOGO

Digital coupons 4 days FSSM
Johnsonville sausage 1.99


Lean ground beef 1.99
Bag salad .99
Sweet baby rays .99
Milk 1.99@@
Buns .79@@

Ice cream 1.99@@
Ritz 1.39@@


Cherries 1.68
Blues 4/5
Roma, or on the vine tomatoes .68
Peppers .98
Oranges .98
boneless, skinless chicken thighs 1.99

3 days FSS
Corn 5/1
Strawberries 1.98

Pumpkin pie 2.99

Nathan’s uncurled hotdogs 3.99

Fred Meyers 

FF chicken thighs, leg quarters .88
Tillamook ice cream BOGO
Sweet baby rays 1.00
Hot dog buns 1.00
Hebrew national hot dogs BOGO
Digital - Friday to Monday
Smoked sausage 1.99
Fruit pie 2.99
Sour cream 2/3
Blackberries 2/3

Beef patties 6.99 ( Kroger in the frozen case ) 2#

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Super good, yet super cheap dinners

Feeding a crowd!   At the end of the month when you have more month than money?   Just don’t have a lot of time.  There are a lot of reasons why someone might just need to out dinner on the table cheap/ and or quick.

  • Sloppy joes - use already cooked de fatted hamburger and add beans or vegetables if you reallly need to s t r e t c h. 
  • Spaghetti including vegetable spaghetti. Use olive oil, vegetables and oatmeal cheese, 
  • Baked potato bar - use leftovers and a can or freezer chili.   
  • Potato soup 
  • Vegetable bean soup 
  • Homemade chicken noodle soup 
  • Eggs, waffles, or pancakes and fruit or pancakes and a yogurt parfait, 
  • Depression stew. Use any leftover cooked meat you have. Carrots and potatoes 
  • Chicken and noodles -add peas. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Monday Kitchen Management

Kitchen  Management aka meal prep is a tool to make your work at dinner time easier.  When you com one that with meal plans, things just go better.  Meal loans aren’t etched on gold, and they are not necessarily made to be restrictive as to days of the week.   They do take into consideration your family commitments that come up.  I have a meeting on Monday night.  I will make a soup so that people can eat when they are ready to eat even though I will be gone.

  • Wash kitchen floor
  • Wash refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀.
  • Wash the dishwasher.  
  • Clean vegetables and fruit with vinegar water 
  • Make potato soup 
  • Wash kitchen cabinets
  • Water plants
  • Clean and disinfect kitchen countertops and sinks and drains 
  • Straighten pantry. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Meal plans

Meal plans are a necessary part of a organized kitchen.  It makes dinner hour less hectic.

  • Potato soup 
  • Pizza
  • Pork stew , bread 
  • Taco casserole 
  • Chicken and noodles 
  • Chicken stir fry 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

Make your meal plans take into consideration, the food that you have avimdamce of, the food that was on sale cheap, and what is in your refrigerator that needs to be side up.   We have a lot of eggs. 
Potatoes were 1.69 for ten pounds, they are running  2.49 for ten pounds.  Eggs have been 2,50.  
We got lettuce cheap.    I see potato soup, I see salad, tacos. And eggs for lunch,   One trying to eat a lot of protein and less carbs these days.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Concepts -on reducing waste

There are ideas about groceries and shopping all over if you are looking for them.  As in anything, it. Is up to you to decide if they are worth while or will work on your scheme of things.

One idea that “April Holly Smith” had  was to bake a lot of potatoes, and use them during the week.
When I was doing the kitchen Management this week, I noticed that the old potato bag had some potatoes in it that were like on the edge,   I baked them in the microwave,  I could have done them on the insta pot too.  I haven’t tried that yet.  

It was easy to fry the potatoes for breakfast for dinner on Sunday.  On Tuesday, I added the ends of the  potatoes I fried on Sunday to our chicken pot pie.   

Anything you can do to stop waste is a good thing.  Cooking something, freezing something, making soup, adding vegetables to sloppy joes, or pasta sauce are all ways to stop the waste and stretch your food dollar.   

My mother used to make a carrot and raisin salad.   I am sure it was becaise lettuce those days was really expensive.   We also had fruit and cottage cheese, 

There are ways to stretch your protein too.   If we have a dinner main dish that is short on protein, I usually add something else that has protein.  Cheesey biscuits, cottage cheese salad, yogurt parfaits. 
Yogurt parfaits are a good addition to a breakfast firmdinner hat starts with waffles or pancakes,   
Layer yogurt, strawberries or blueberries, granola, and too with granola in a tall skinny glass or pudding cup. Or just have pudding for desert.  Scratch pudding is just as quick as making cooked pudding from a box.

Mixing a little butter with olive oil when you fry something makes the bitter   it bin so easy , but gives the thing you are frying a nice brown color. 

Any food that you can cook ahead and freeze or not, can simplify and cut time on the kitchen at the dinner hour.  

One of the best tricks is to precook hamburger.   You are more likely to batch  cook hamburger when you get bulk hamburger  when it is a good price.  Batch cooking makes it more manageable to de fat your ground meat,   De fatting can reduce the fat by as much as 17 percent. Portion control the bulk meat and you will save by not wasting and getting the meat at its lowest price.   

Already cooked hamburger can make spaghetti, tacos, and sloppy joes a ten to fifteen minute meal.   If you can cook a ,eat that fast, you will be less likely to be tempted to order pizza.   

Organizing your refrigerator and using “boxes” to group things is a good way to make your life easier.    

If one thing is in the same place, it makes it easy to pull what you are looking for and cuts the hot air getting into the refrigerator when you open the door for a long time.  That was one of my mother’s pet  peeves.   LOL. Like leaving the kitchen door open to let the heat out!   

Bread can become bread crumbs. 
Fruit and vegetables can be dehydrated
Incorporate bits into sauces and soups. 

Anything you can do to reduce waste is good. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday focus

 Let’s talk about variety and adapting.    We are now in a trade war with China.  While most of us don’t buy food from China if we know something  is from China,  not everything is marked.  It seems that China is a big producer of pork.   They have already dealt with some kind of a disease that has depleted some of their stock.  Now, with tariffs, the price will go up more unless the retailers bear the tariff.   The lesson here, I guess is to get some while the prices are low and work around not cooking pork.  Bacon is going to be a problem here.   Maybe our pork producers will step up to the plate.

We went through shortages and foods that were not available during the Second World War.   We can do it again.  I suspect if the tariffs hurt the wrong people, they will be short lived.
We have been through a the Great Depression, double digit inflation, and WWII, and we survived and I am sure that we will live through this too.

We had depression stew the other night, not because of anything bit the fact that I was too lazy to find the stew meat in the downstairs freezer.   I made it in the insta pot.  Hands on time was about five minutes, and the processing time was three.

Potatoes, peeled and cut onto fourths 1 small potato per serving
Carrots, peeled and cut into even sticks. 1 per serving
Cooked meat balls- I used about 3-4 each serving
Beef broth - 2 cups
Process 3 minutes

When the pressure had released, I removed the “stew” from the pot with a spider and placed the stew in a serving bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of water to a small bowl and make a slurry with 2T cornstarch,
Turn the pressure cooker off and turn on the sauté mode.   Stir the slurry into the beef stock in the pan.  Stir until mixture has thickened.  Add the gravy to the stew in the serving bowl.
Season with salt and  pepper. You could add some onion to the vegetable mixture.  My family doesn’t like to bite into an onion.   You could also add some frozen peas and or bacon,

This recipe was made to use up any bits and pieces that one might have hanging around the refrigerator.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Ad update

I did not have the paper ads when I posted and Alberways wouldn’t cough up the electronic ad .

So, belated is the Alberways ad,  it actually is a good one this week,

Meat BOGO - Buyer beware....know your prices.

Yogurt .40
Apple or cranberry juice 4/5
Eggs .88@@
Buns .88@@
Our tri cities only
10 lbs potatoes 1.79
Iceberg lettuce .79

Frozen potatoes 1.99
Frozen vegetables 1.00 16 ounces

@@ denotes in ad coupon

Hauls to May 15

Strawberries 2# 1.98
Squash .88
Bell peppers, red .98
Corn 3/1
Banana chips .54
Trail mix 1.84

Total 9.76

Cake mix


Fred Meyers
Eggs .99
Cucumbers .99

Total 2.97

Grand total


lettuce 2.50
cottage cheese 2.10
total 4.60

total 17.33

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The ads

Best of the ads .  The mailman didn’t bring the ads yesterday.   This is from the internet and Safeways web sight wouldn’t load.

Fred Meyers
Blues 2.99
Sirloin steak 2.69
Ground beef 73/27 1.79
Shrimp 5.99

Tillamook ice cream 2/6
Tillamook cheese 2# 4.99 brick

Kellogg’s, GM 1.99
Hillshire farm rice sausage 1.99
Oscar Mayer Hot dogs .99
Tide 4.99

FRIDAY, Saturday digi 
Butter  1.99
Prego  .99

Peppers, english cucumbers .99
2# strawberries 2.99
Sirloin steak or roast 3.99

Ice cream (Kroger) 1.99
Kraft BBQ sauce .99
Jimmy dean sausage 2.99

Grapes .98
Peppers .88
Berries, ( black, blue, strawberries) 3/5
Onions, tomatoes .88
3 pk romaine 2/5


Mangos 3/1
Shrimp 4.99
Walnuts 3.88

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Lists - top moneymakers in the kitchen

On appliances...

If you were to ask my husband, he would tell you it was the toaster and the coffee maker.   

As far as money makers, for me it would  be the work hors s that save me time and money .

  • The food processor : Makes breadcrumbs, chops veggies, purées Foods like refried  beans, makes baby food.    
  • The insta pot :  makes meals in minutes without watched no the pot,  of I need to quick release, I take a timer into the room where I am, so I  can return to the kitchen and release the steam.  It also makes rice, beans, refried beans, and soups in minutes, with little effort. Last night we had depression stew.  It took me maybe five minutes.  A can  of beans can cost upwards of a dollar, the cost is about 5 cents.   Ready rice is two dollars of you get it on sale and  the cost of 2 cups of rice is .12.   The cost of chicken noodle soup is 1.58 a single chunky serving.  The cost to make 2 quarts is about 1.69.  
  • Hot air fryer.   This is not  necessarily about dollars saved, but more about frying with no oil.  Instead of deep frying, you can get the same result with either no oil, or a small amount of olive oil.   Much healthier and safer.  Hot boiling oil scares me. 
  • Quick blender. Makes fast work of smoothies and sauces, egg batters. Make a quiche in minutes.
  • Slow-cooker.   There is something really special about waking up to chicken stock some while you sleep or coming home to a hot cooked dinner you haven’t stood in your feet for an hour to cook.   The smell when you open the front door is divine.   Then there is chocolate decadence!  Enough said .
  • Waffle iron - much cheaper waffles than their frozen counterparts. 
  • Kitchen aid mixer.   I have one, I don’t use it a lot, I do use it for big batches of pizza dough and at Christmas when I make cookies, ands to grind my own meat if it makes sense.   If a hunk of beef is cheaper than ground beef, making your own ground beef or pork makes sense and you can control the fat.   Making your own sausage without nitrates is good too.   Often you can get pork sirloin for 1.69.  That may change in current months, but it’s worth keeping an eye on pork prices.   

Monday, May 13, 2019

Monday Kitchen Management

Kitchen Management is a tool when added to meal planning can save time, money and a lot of nerves.   It just makes your ,ice easier.   By deep cleaning a little bit of the kitchen at a time, it saves the big job of cleaning it all at once.

Reminder of meals

  • Ham and potato chowder 
  • Pizza
  • Black bean enchiladas 
  • Roast chicken w stuffing 
  • Baked potato bar
  • Hamburgers, corn on cob, green beans 
  • Breakfast for dinner

  1. Wash kitchen floor 
  2. Clean and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains.
  3. Wash refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀.
  4. Note things that need to be used soon. 
  5. Wash potatoes. Apples, and carrots 
  6. Straighten pantry 
  7. Wash dishwasher 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Meal plans

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers!

Meal plans are a necessary tool to help us get through the week with some degree of order. It just makes life easier.   Make a plan, or plan to fail.   We have been try No to introduce 1 new recipe a week to mix things up and try new things,   Boredom is a good thing to avoid.  

  • Ham, potato, pepper chowder  soups cookbook from Taste  of Home 
  • Pizza
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  • Black bean enchiladas 
  • Roast chicken, bread stuffing, craisens, apples, green beans 
  • Baked potato bar 
  • Hamburgers, corn on the cob, green beans 

  1. Some meals are leftover from last weeks list. 
  2. Pizza is a family favorite.  A cheese pizza is about a dollar.   
  3. Black bean enchiladas are a new recipe from Betty Crocker. Make your own enchilada sauce 
  4. Roast chicken is already cooked and on the freezer.  The bread for dressing was fifty cents at GO. 
  5. Baked potato bar uses up potatoes before they go bad and is a good way to use up leftovers. 
  6. Hamburgers, corn on the cob and green beans uses corn on the cob that was 3/1 at sprouts.   Hamburger patties that need to be used. Cleaning out the freezer.   
  7. Breakfast for dinner will use the Jimmy  Dean Sausage we got for free at Kroger.   Add eggs and fruit,   Strawberries have been a dollar and oranges continue to be cheap, as well as apples.  

Using up what you have and making best use of things that need to be used up is a way of saving a lot of money,   It has been said that Americans waste 40 percent of their food,  I don’t think the average family does that ; part of that statistic is farmers plowing food that isn’t perfect.  Another part is buying organic when it spoils so fast. Organic costs about 60 percent more than regular fresh foods between the excess costs and the spoilage rate.  Pesticides are usually water soluble according to what I have read.   Wash your fruits and vegetables with vinegar water and let them dry,   

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Concept:: 15 minutes at a time

The main reason for not scratch  cooking is that it takes a big block of time and people are busy or don’t like to cook.   Learning ways to get a home cooked meal on the table by carving out snippets of time can be the solution.  Having a few appliances that make sense helps in the concept of efficient cooking.

The thought of cooking pasta and boiling water, storing, watching the pot, draining the pot while making sauce can be daunting if you  have worked all day on your feet.    But, layering already cooked hamburger, spaghetti noodles, sauce in a pot, pouring water or stock around the edge and closing the lid and setting it to cook is far easier.  You can make a quick salad while the insta pot is coming up to temperature and still have time to sit down with your feet up and watch the news.   I have a timer that I take with me. Spaghetti  needs to be a quick release when done so the pasta doesn’t overcook.

Making the components of meals in bits of time is a good way to make a short meal prep dinner.

  • Chicken stock takes about ten minutes split into two sessions.  Saves a lot of money on the scheme of things, 
  • Bread crumbs are easy, another five minute trick and saves another bundle of money .  Anything that takes almost no time and cuts your cost by 90-100 percent is a good way to stretch your budget. 
  • Artisan bread is another 10 minute trick that makes a loaf of bread a bit more than a quarter instead of anywhere between 2.50 to 3.99 .
  • Cooking a bulk batch of ground meat and de fatting it saves up to 17 percent of the fat and a lot of time. Buying your meat when it is at a RBP and buying bulk saves a lot of money.  
  • Making a four pizza crust batch of pizza dough cost about 1.25. It costs 1.50-2.00 a dough ball at the store.   A pizza can be anywhere from 5.00 for a good frozen pizza to 20.00 for a delivery one.  A cheese pizza costs a buck.  The cost of a cup of flour has risen 7;10 of a cent, so add a couple of cents to that.  My granddaughter has been putting pizza together from the dough ball to oven ready since she was four years old.   It’s not hard and saves a lot of money.   It’s fun family time and children get experience and self confidence.   
Think of a recipe on hands on cooking time.   That’s not the time when the pot cooks, but, rather the time it takes you to fill that pot.   Slow cooker meals have long been a mainstay in the busy cook’s  bag of tricks.  Now, add the insta pot, food processor, and hot air fryer. 

Tacos can be made in 15 minutes flat when your meat is already cooked and you just add taco seasoning and a little water.   While the meat warms , you can chop lettuce, cut a tomato and gather the cheese and sauce.  Taco kits sometimes  be found at grocery outlet for a dollar.   

The insta pot makes quick work of Spanish rice, or regular rice for that matter when you put rice in the pot. Add an equal amount of water or stock and pit the lid on, set to seal and push the rice button. The cost is .03 a serving and redi rice is about .50 a serving if you get the package on sale. Pitting it on the microwave takes about the same time as setting up the insta pot.   

Canned beans, besides having sodium in them and being in a BPA can, cost anywhere between  .50 and 1.50.   Beans cost .0125 a serving or about .05 for the equivalent of a can.  Again, it is wash beans and pick out any rocks or bad beans. Pit on pot, add water to cover the beans about 1.5-2 inches above the beans, close he pot, set to seal and push the bean button.  Winco foods cans have no BPA. When the BPA was tested in a can of tomato sauce, the BPA was 6 parts per like 2 or 3 billion.  

Put  stew meat in the pot.  Sear  it of you want, or you can put it on frozen right out of the freezer.  
Add potatoes and carrots and stock, put the lid on, set to seal and program.  Use a recipe, but my recipe takes 35 minutes.   

Soups are just about as easy.   Cutting the vegetables are the most tome consuming, using the food processor helps with that.  

The only thing I wouldn’t try again is chili from raw beans.  Cook the beans first or use canned.  
Buying diced tomatoes with seasonings is a good trick.  Saves money and time.   

Anytime I can throw things on a pot and walk away to finish dinner or sit down with a glass of beverage (sparkling water) and put my feet up is a good thing.  Saving money is an added blessing. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Hauls to May 8


Apples .98
Roma’s .98
Strawberries .98
Corn .58
Tortillas 3.09
Oranges .88
Green chilies.69
Olives .78
Ice cream 2.98
Cottage cheese 1.98
Hummus 1.98
Chips. 1.18
Grapes 1.98
Yolait  refrigerator 3.68

Total 31.51

Blueberries 4.99

tortillas 4.00

grocery outlet
hunts ketchup , no HFCS .99
vermicelli  .34
brownie mix .50
tea .99
herb stuffing .50
bread .99
taco shells .50
antioxident blend fruits 2# ea 3.00
cauliflower rice .50
bacon 2.99

total 17.78

total 58.28

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Almost no money, no time and save 90 percent

Sometimes, it is  just the little things. It’s just a mindset to economize on food without compromising on the quality or taste of your food.

Little things like making your own breadcrumbs.   Why throw the heels of the bread away and then pay two dollars a pound for breadcrumbs.   That two dollars a pound can be hamburger instead.

When I make homemade chicken nuggets, I cut squares of chicken breast into bite sized pieces,   Dip them in melted butter and then in a mixture of equal parts breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, and chopped  nuts.  Less carbs, more protein.

Breadcrumbs are easy to put in a food processor and  whirl into crumbs.   Put your sheet  pan or cookie sheet pan with sides and put in an oven that has just been used and is still hot.

Another simple way to stretch your food dollar is to make your own chicken stock.   It is lower in sodium and lower in fat.   And,  virtually free instead of 2.44.  It tales your garbage and less than ten minutes.  It can cook while you sleep.

The third thing that saves tons of money is artisan bread,   It takes about ten minutes if your hands on time and a loaf of artisan bread costs about 28 cents. I saw it for 3.99 at Alberways, about 2.50 at Winco.   Many u tubes out there.  Big family Homestead is a good one, but there are many some call it peasant bread.    You can make it on a Dutch oven or on a pizza stone or sheet pan,

Three things that save about 90 percent and take minutes to do.

What a concept !

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The best of the ads

Milk 1.99@@
Bread 1.49@@
Frozen potatoes 1.99 2#

Strawberries 1.98 2#
Cucumbers 3/1
Corn 3/1
Blues 2/3
Squash .88
Grapes 1.98

Lean cuisine 1.88
18 ounces blues 4.99
Farmland bacon 2/7

Fred Meyers

Eggs .99
80/20 hamburger 2.79
Peppers, english cucumber .99
Oranges, pears .99
Farmland bacon 2/7
grapes  1.99
Corn 5/2

Cheese 2# 4.99
Cereal both some Kellogg’s and some GM 1.99
Kraft bbq sauce .49

Obviously, Fred Meyers is the place for rotation protein....hamburger and eggs.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Basics for survival

Big box store

  • Flour 
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice 
  • Yeast 
  • Beans 
Next , discount store 
  • Bulk dry milk
  • Salad oil
  • Salt 
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar

Monday, May 6, 2019

Monday kitchen management

Monday kitchen Management aka meal prep

Kitchen management is a tool that allows  you to prep for your meals when you time is less hectic and real the benefits when it is hectic. Adding some deep cleaning a bit at a time means you keep ahead of the massive all day cleaning.

Pork stew
Roast chicken, dressing,
Black bean enchiladas
Breakfast for dinner

  •  Wash the kitchen floor.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead 💀.
  • Clean and disinfect the counter tops, sinks, and drains.
  • Wash the vegetables and fruits with vinegar water 
  • Look up the enchilada sauce recipe 
  • Put  the stove vent screen through the dishwasher. 
  • Grate Parmesan cheese 
  • Straighten the freezer. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Meal plans

There are lots of matrix for meal plans, I ran on to an interesting one a few weeks ago.

Pasta Monday
Taco Tuesday
Wet Wednesday (soup)
Pizza Thursday
Fish Friday
Stir fry Saturday
Sunday supper

Our matrix is
1 fish
1 beef
2 vegetarian
3 pork or chicken

Sometimes lately we have not had  fish,   Finding inexpensive CLEAN fish is hard.

  • Leftovers 
  • Pizza
  • Ravioli, salad 
  • Pork stew,rolls 
  • Roast chicken , apple, Craisens dressing , green beans 
  • Black bean enchiladas , tomato and lettuce 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

  • Pizza dough is on the freezer 
  • Ravioli is from the dollar experiment 
  • Pork stew is from meat cut from the end of a pork loin. Carrots, potatoes, peas.   
  • Roast chicken from the freezer , dressing was a quarter at GO, green beans .50
  • Black bean Enchiladas are Betty Crocker , make your own sauce. 
  • Breakfast for dinner used artisan bread from the dollar tree ( orowheat) 

Using a variety of meals that run the gambit from cheap to more expensive allows you to have a variety of meals and still keep a less than 4 dollar a day budget.   Add smart shopping and efficient scratch cooking and you have a winning combination.   

A low budget doesn’t mean just beans and potatoes.   It doesn’t mean canned pork and beans either, or top ramen and potato chips.   You can actually eat better than so,e people that have more money,   It’s a matter of good skills and knowing prices.   A pound of Jimmy Dean  sausage is 6.49 in so,e stores.   It is 2.49 in other stores.   I paid 1.49 in a mark down rack at Fred Meyers.  The lull dare was two days out.  I froze it.   That’s a five dollar spread.  A cake mix is 2.79 some places.   It can also be had for as low as .79 and certainly a dollar many times at other stores.   

It is not mad much WHAT you buy as it is WHEN and WHERE you buy it.   

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Concept : cheap meals can afford you some more expensive ones

I started this blog to help people stretch their snap dollars so they could eat well on four dollars a day.   It has morphed into a bunch of frugal ideas for everyone , not just those in dire straights.   I’ve been working n dire straights, without a safety net of snap, but I also realize that a lot of people have been a lot worse off than I was.   Times have changed for us and I wouldn’t see us in any way dire straights.  It’s actually a little t more secure feeling knowing that our income isn’t going to change and we have the luxury of being able to do what we want , when we want to do it.  We still have volunteer positions, but it’s not the same.   I can still help people s t r e t c h their buck at the grocery store and have been for six years now,    I spend time searching for ideas that work and can be incorporated into a efficient way of buying food and cooking it.  The end result is home cooked, efficiently cooked meals that taste good.   I try for low saturated fat, hydrogenated oil,  salt, sugar, HFCS, and caustic soap free food.

This blog is going to be about low cost, good food.   If you can add some comfort foods that are low cost to your meal plans, it affords you a way to have a more expensive meal or two and still maintain a four dollar a day  budget. It’s all in the averaging.

Prices when I can quote them are based in buying your food at the RBP in the Seattle area.   Seattle is one of the highest COL states in the nation.  One might think that was because of the high cost of housing ,  but I research a lot of grocery shopping blogs across the country, and food is higher here. I think it is especially curious that even things grown on the west coast are cheaper in the mid west than they are here.

Four servings

  • Chicken noodle soup , cheesy drop biscuits comes in at two dollars 
  • Potato soup, artisan bread comes on at 1.50 
  • Pizza for cheese, a dollar 
  • Waffles or pancakes, fruit, eggs 2.50 
  • Spaghetti with red sauce as low as 1.13 add a salad and some Parmesan cheese, or green beans (50) 
  • Red beans and rice.  Beans come in at .0125 a half cup serving, Rice is .03 a serving. Cost is nickel a serving plus vegetables and spices. 
  • Chicken enchiladas with green sauce 2.28 
  • Taco soup 3.00

Chicken stock is virtually free and can be fat and salt free if you make it from chicken bones.   Dry little time involved.
Anything that takes meat pieces instead of a hunk of meat is going to be less expensive per serving,  add beans, rice, or cheese to “beef” up the protein.  If a meal doesn’t have enough protein, consider  adding a protein rich desert. 
Scratch pizza crust, and artisan bread costs about a tenth of what ready made does and it takes literally ten minutes or less.
Consider getting the tools to make cooking faster and easier.   You buy groceries over and over again,  tools you buy once.   They can save a bundle  of money.  The easier something is, the more likely you are to do it when you are tired or things are hectic. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

You’re at the beach......

a few years ago, we went to the beach for our anniversary.  We got cheap lodging with a groupon.   It was abundantly clear soon after we arrived why it was sooo cheap.    There was virtually no clean ( as  food and no kitchen facilities at our disposal.   Clean to us meant food that didn’t  look like it needed to be thrown out.   We had brought some food in a cooler like I always do.  That took care of a breakfast.   The first night we went to the only place that was open,,,a fish and chips that cost 40.00   For fish and chips one drink, , and mine  was ice tea.  

I wound up doing a search on my tablet and finding a subway at a gas station five miles away.  My husband went every night and bought us dinner.   Albeit better than nothing,  

That being said, I decided I would do a blog on what you can buy at the dollar tree that is not made in China and as healthy as it can be. This does mean that you have some basic cooking equipment .   I have for years carried a plastic container with plastic plates, bowls, cups and silverware, along with a cutting board and paring knife,   It has saved us numerous times.  

Dollar tree food you can eat, not necessarily the cheapest place to get it.

Canned chicken
Almond milk
Spaghetti. And noodles
Pasta sauce. ( hunts)
“Parmesean cheese”
Pizza crust
Pizza sauce
Fake cheese
Name brand Mac and cheese (frozen)
Name brand instant mashed potatoes
Canned vegetables
Dried tomatoes
Dried fruit
Turkey bacon
Chicken stock
Hormel chicken tamales
Peanut bitter
Bagels (sometimes)
Olive oil

Not that any of this is gourmet food, but in a pinch it would work. And some of it is regular food, but at a more expensive price than  other stores.  

The Hormel chicken tamales, and pizza sauce is actually cheaper .   And some of the tortillas are not so bad fat and cheaper.   Pepperoni is a name brand.  

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Hauls to May 1


Strawberries .98
Celery 1.69
Cucumber  2/1
Pears .98
Italian squash .88
Red grapes. 1.98
Roma’s .99
Corn .20
Yellow squash .99

Total 13.01

Fred Meyers 
Milk 1.25
 Cottage cheese 1.49
Sausage 2.50
FF chicken breast (.88) 4.49
Diced ham 2.00

Total 11.73 

Grand total 24.74

Potatoes 1.00
Real maple syrup 5.95
Coffee 5.99
Fruit syrup 2.99
Total 15.97

Bread 3.00
Tortilla strips
Hormel chicken tamales 2

Totals 8.00

2 eggs 1.13


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The best of the ads. 5/1


Berries  BOGO. Bargain?...


Pork blade roast 1.49
Roma’s, onions, avocados .99
Sour cream, tortillas .99

Barilla pasta @@.99
Salsa 1.99@@

Only at Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake terrace
Apples .99
Black olives .79

18 ounces blues 4.99
Milk 4/5

NBH (no bargain here )
2 lb deli chicken 7.99

Chicken breaks even with bone to meat ratio at 3 lbs,
At two pounds, you are laying 8.00 a pound for the chicken
Last week, split chicken breast was .88 a pound at Fred Meyers,
Almost 10 pounds for the cost  of one!


Corn 5/1
Tomatoes .88
Apples .88

Fred Meyers

Berries 2/5
Wishbone dressings 1.79

Digital FRI, SAT, SUN
Shrimp 4.99
Tortillas, chips .99
24 ounce sour cream , cottage cheese 1.29