Sunday, June 30, 2019

It’s Sunday, must be meal plans

Meal plans are a necessary part of groceries on the cheap.  They make life easier even if you deviate from them.  Meal prep aka kitchen management has a big part on making thendonner Hour Keys’s hectic.

Last night we had a medical emergency. But because everything was planned out, we still had beef stew and it was made in minutes.  

  • Spaghetti, meatballs, salad 
  • Pizza
  • Chicken enchiladas, lettuce and tomato 
  • Corn and bean chili , artisan bread 
  • Sausage quiche 
  • Chicken noodle soup 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

  • Spaghetti is done on the insta pot on 8 minutes, about 5 minutes actual cook time, if you are slow.  Pre-made meatballs are 2.00 for the equivalent of a pounds worth of meat at Winco,   
  • Pizza is a mainstay here, cost of a  cheese pizza is about a buck ,
  • Chicken enchiladas are easy and a little more time consuming . Sauce is scratch with a magic mix base, 
  • Corn chili is a recipe from dump meals . 
  • Sausage quiche is another quick and easy using already cooked sausage. 
  • Chicken noodle soup is a quick soup in the insta pot.   Can also be made on the stove,   

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Pizza in pictures

The cost of a homemade cheese pizza is about a dollar.   Adding ingredients that you save from other meals is free.  When you prep peppers for fajitas or other meals, cut the top and bottom off the peppers  and slice the middle section,  the top and bottom can be chopped for a pizza topping.   A bit of cooked sausage when you are making another dish works as well as chicken pieces for a buffalo chicken pizza.

Dough is easy and inexpensive.    Ugly mg pizza dough can be anywhere from 1.50 to 2.00 and costs less than .30.   

Sauce is a dollar at the dollar tree.  It is a name brand and you can freeze it in ice cube tray and pop the cubes into a zip lock.   Two cubes top a regular pizza.    

Costco is a source for mozzarella cheese for close to two dollars a pound, bit I have been getting two dollars a pound frequently at QFC and Fred Meyers on their digital coupon days,    

Keeping bits of anything you can use on a pizza and the sauce on a shelf on your freezer makes life easier when you want to make a pizza.   

You can also make a quadruple batch of a chewy crust in a food processor or kitchen aid.   Recipe at Noreens kitchen on U tube .  That, too can be frozen in individual bags.   Take it out the day before you need it and place it in  the refrigerator . 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday recipe

It is  summer and apples continue to be a dollar a pound.   Slow cooker apple crisp sounds like a good desert, and children can hone their measuring skills.

6 cups apples, peeled, and sliced.

1 cup bread crumbs

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 sick butter, melted

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Sprinkle of cinnamon

  Spray the inside of the cooking vessel with non stick spray, ( Pam)

  • Add ingredients as listed. 
  • Stir to coat apples 
Cook on low 3-4 hours or on HI for 2  hours.  
Serve with whip cream or ice cream or plain

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Hauls to 6/26

Our average weekly haul over two and a half years is just under 52.00 a week.   4.00 a day is 56.00 a week for two of us. And, the average snap amount per person on Washington is 4.25 a day.


Milk .99
Cottage cheese 2.59
3 butter 8.31

Total 11.89

Bacon. 14.95

total 26.84

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Best of the ads 6/26/19

first a little caveat......the farmers in the mid west haven’t started their wheat crops yet.   It has been too wet.   I don’t know about eastern Washington, but it makes me believe that the price of grain is going to be skyrocketing,  already, the bread  we used to get for 1.00 is 1.38.   It would not be a bad idea to buy a bag of flour ahead.


Shrimp 5.99
La croix 4/10
Tillamook ice cream 2/6

Digital coupons
Best foods 2.49
Sliced cheese, sargento  2/4
Beef patties 6.99


Cherries 1.79
Blues. Large 2.99

Buns .79@@
Sweet baby rays .89@@
Johnsonville sausage, Hebrew national franks 2/5@@

Pantry essentials BOGO. Buyer beware check costs


FSS only
Watermelon 2/3
Corn 5/1

Cherries 1.48
Peaches .77
Pears .77
Grapes 1.98
Apples .98
Berries 2/5   Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries

All natural chicken sausage 2.99 lb

Fred Meyers

Grapes .99
Peaches 1.29
Hamburger 90% 3.99

Cottage cheese, sour cream 4/5
Strawberries 2# 2.99

Digital coupons
Cream cheese 1.49
Hamburgers 6.99
Ore Ida fries 1.99

 Digital, FSS,
Hebrew national or Nathan’s hot dogs 1.99

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cost of staples

Basic supplies to be stocked, good for an emergency.   With the uncertainties of the current affairs, it is a good thing to have a back up plan

Pinto beans are 1.00 at the DT.   Made in USA and non gmo last I looked.  
.67 a pound, or .0125 a serving.  A serving is a half cup
The price per pound is a little cheaper in bulk at Winco.

Flour at Costco is 7.29, or .087 a cup

Rice is 9.79 for 25 pounds at Costco.  Serving cost .03 a serving

Oatmeal is 8.39 for 10 pounds or .085 a serving,

Milk at 2,00 a gal is .125 a serving.

Eggs are .07 ea at .88 a dozen

Sugar at 4 # for a dollar is .11 a cup

Yeast is .02 a teaspoon.   Cheaper at business Costco than the .02.

Olive oil at Costco is .05 a tsp.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The best of the chicken

Making chicken work for a proverbial family of two adults and two school aged children .

1- tray of split chicken breasts.  This includes breasts with the rib portion.   Probably the most perfect way to buy chicken especially if you don’t care for dark meat.   Dark meat has more fat.   Usually, here , you can purchase split chicken breasts on sale for anywhere from .88 to .99 a pound. My last purchase was 4 breasts for a total of 5.17 pounds.  It netted four good sized chicken breasts and a pound of meat pieces plus 2 quarts of chicken stock.   Chicken stock is 2.44 a quart .  For a total of 4.88 for the value of the stock alone.   You just broke even with the stock.   

  • Cut 4 chicken breasts out of the four big chicken breasts .  These should be about the size of the palm of your hand, or about 4-5 ounces.   If you are nit using them that night, place each one in a quart zip lock bag.   I get our quart bags from the dollar tree.  Place the quart bags in a gallon bag and mark it for the freezer.   
  • Place the rest of the chicken meat and bones in a slow cooker and add water to within an inch of the top.  Add 2T Italian seasoning and any vegetable scraps you may have to the pot and turn on low for about 6  hours or high until the meat is cooked and falling off the bone.  Meat should measure 180 degrees— well done.  Strain the bones from the broth after it has cooled enough to work with,   I use a colander lined with cheese cloth and put into quart jars to refrigerate.   Any fat that may be in the broth will rose to the top and you can spoon it off.
  • When the bones are cooked enough, take a fork and pick the bones for the meat.  I got more than  a full pound of meat from the 4.55 package along with the four good sized breasts.   The pieces  were over half the gallon bag.   
  • Now, you have 2 quarts of stock for a total of 4.88; 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for a total of 6.70.and 16 ounces of chicken pieces cost 17.26 using wall mart prices.   For 28.84 worth of chicken.  
  •  The chicken breast can be cooked for dinner as one dinner,   I added corn on the cob and a salad. 
  • The stock is the base for two or three soups: potato, chicken noodle, vegetable bean 
  • The pieces can be chicken noodle soup, chicken enchiladas, chicken tacos, chicken noodle casseroles, chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, chicken stir fry, and many more,   Probably enough for four other meals.   
  • Thats about 7 meals basically from 5.00 worth of meat.   

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Meal Plans

Meal plans are a necessary part of being organized and maintaining a low cost grocery expense.  We all have to eat and using time and money wisely, you can eat well without breaking the budget.

Using what you have and need to use up is a good basis for plans as well as a matrix that keeps things interesting.  Last week, we ate brats three days in a row because I neglected to separate the package into meal sized portions and they were frozen, so I couldn’t refreeze them.  I switched the ingredients so at least there was a variety! Lol

  • Lemon pepper chicken pasta (BC) 
  • Pizza
  • Breakfast for dinner 
  • Hamburgers, oven fries, salad 
  • Fajitas, tortillas, rice 
  • Meatball stew , rolls 
  • Vegetable bean soup, rolls 


  • Lemon pepper chicken uses spaghetti and is a Betty Crocker on line recipe, 
  • Pizza is a mainstay.  Cheese pizza made with RBP ingredients costs about a buck.  Adding leftover bits bumps it up. 
  • Hamburgers were purchased  at 2.50 per pound,   Bins left from last week.   Air fried French fries have no fat added.   Tomato, cucumber, lettuce salad. 
  • Fajitas are chicken from breasts, and peppers  purchased for .50. Rice cooked with tomato powder. 
  • Meatballs are purchased for 2.00 for almost a pound at Winco,   Fast insta pot meal, 
  • Vegetable bean soup is my own recipe,   Rolls are scratch . 
  • Breakfast for dinner is a family meal.  Everyone cooks. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Concept: To buy ready made ...OR NOT .

Groceries  on the cheap is based on the principle of not paying full price for your groceries, stocking a four to six week supply, and efficiently scratch cooking .

That being said, there are times when ready made is CHEAPER than making something from scratch.

Sometimes here there are fruit pies  for three to four dollars.   At the cost of blueberries , usually, it is cheaper  to buy a three dollar pie than  it is to make one from scratch. Ditto pumpkin,  a can if pumpkin is almost as expensive as the pie.

Unless you grow a bumper crop of tomatoes yourself, it is cheaper to buy pasta sauce on sale.

With two of us, it is cheaper for me to buy single rolls for a sandwich than it is to buy a package and making just two rolls is hardly worth the time unless you have refrigerator dough.

Pasta is time consuming.  Spaghetti especially can be found for as little as fifty cents and have got it for .33  lately.

Recently ,  I bought seasoned bread dressing for  a quarter.   Normally, I would have made it myself.

I write a blog a while ago about three things that take almost  no time, no money and save 90 percent of retail.   It was a hit!

Most puddings are just as easy to make scratch as the boxed ones.

I have been getting cake mixes for free, so that is no contest.

It always pays to look at the labor involved and the cost involved before deciding to make scratch.  Prioritizing the things that are sooo much cheaper than ready made or semi ready-made is the best use of your time. A lot of things are just as quick to scratch cook, and cost a lot less.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Creative problem solving

Last week, I bought a package of brats.  They were frozen and you shouldn’t refreeze a meat after it has been thawed.  I should have divided  the package into our meal sized  portions, but I didn’t.

The solution , we were going to eat the brats three times because there are two of us that eat brats.

First meal : sauerkraut, apples, brats, bread sticks.   I rinsed the sauerkraut, added a chopped apple to cut the acidity if the sauerkraut, and added the brats. A little beer added enough liquid to let it simmer,   Cooked in a skillet until the apples were tender and the brats were cooked,  baked off the breadsticks and brushed them with melted garlic butter,

Second meal :  sheet pan dinner.  We have been cooking this long before anyone started calling it a sheet pan dinner.   I lined the sheet pan with parchment .  I boiled the brats until they were partially done about five minutes. Then I cut summer yellow squash in quarters , quartered potatoes, added some green and red pepper  slices  I had in the freezer, and the brats cut in half to the sheet pan.  I tossed the ingredients with olive oil and sprinkled them with garlic pepper.  Baked them 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Third meal :  sausage pasta dish (serves 4)

1/2 package sturdy pasta like bow toe or rotini.
Sausage, but into pieces or rings
Olive oil
2 tsp chopped  garlic
1/2 small onion chopped, or 1 tsp onion powder
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup milk or enough to make the sauce creamy
Parmesan cheese, grated

Sauté garlic and onion or onion powder in a little oil.   Add sausage.  Cook until the sausage is cooked through.
Add the can of diced tomatoes holding back some of the juice. *
Add enough milk to make the sauce creamy .  Add back tomato juice if needed.
When sauce is hot, add pasta.
sprinkle with  parmesan  cheese

Serve with red pepper flakes

* the original recipe calls for a whole can of tomatoes and 2 cups of cream for 8 servings,
From the BIG FAMILY HOMESTEAD on u tube.

Normally we wouldn’t eat sausage that many times in a week.   It was a case of waste not, want not.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Hauls to 6/19


Eggs .88
Johnsonville brats 2.99
Apples 3# 4.99

Total 9.74

Hamburgers 2# 4.99

Bread sticks 1.98
Sausage .98
Grape tomatoes 1.48
Gala apples 1.54
Strawberries 1.98
Corn .48
English cucumber .78
Blues 3.98
Total 15.06

Total 29.89

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Best of the ads 6/19


Digital coupon
Friday, Saturday
Up to 5
Bacon 2.99
Cheese .99

Butter 2.77
Barilla 1.00


Western tri cities only 
Onions .39
Peppers .79

Meat BOGO.  Good buy ?

Cereal buy 4. 1.99$$

Milk 1.99@@


Grapes .88
Peppers .98
Cherries 1.88
Cauliflower .98
Blues 2/4
Oranges .98

FSS only


Butter 2.77
Milk .99
Eggs .99

FF split chicken breast, parts  .99
Ground turkey 2/5
Ground beef 93/7 2.99

Cheese .99
Bacon 2.99

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Meals, of June

What we ate

  1. Tacos 
  2. Waffles, strawberries, bacon 
  3. Chicken pot pie 
  4. Pizza
  5. Spaghetti, green salad 
  6. Stew
  7. Baked potato bar
  8. Potluck  : rhubarb Dump cake 
  9. Rice and beans 
  10. Rice and chicken casserole 
  11. Pizza
  12. Sloppy joes, French fries, fruit salad 
  13. Meatballs and gravy, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, 
  14. Eggs, fruit cup, cheesy biscuits 
  15. Chili. ( Mom sick ) 
  16. Tasted cheese Sandwiches, fruit cup ( mom sick) 
  17. Hamburgers, corn on cob 
  18. Sausage, sauerkraut, apples, bread sticks 
  19. Sausage, potatoes, peppers , zucchini sheet pan
  20. Cream sausage , red pepper, tomato pasta 
  21. Chicken , potatoes, salad 
  22. Mac and cheese, mixed veggies 
  23. Seafood salad, rolls 
  24. Meatball subs, oven fries, salad 
  25. Eggs, fruit cup, salad 
  26. BLTs , fruit cup 
  27. Hamburger, oven fries, salad 
  28. Fajitas 
  29. Stew, bread sticks 
  30. Waffles, strawberries, bacon 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday Mixup

Concept:  the time it takes to make a meal isn’t the time from start to finish, but rather the hands on time,  If you throw a few ingredients in a slow cooker or  insta pot and walk away to go to the beach or do the laundry, you aren’t cooking, you are doing something else.

A lot of the recipes we use are low impact recipes.   Scratch cooking doesn’t have to take much more of any more time than using the boxed stuff.  The boxed stuff has ingredients you can’t pronounce. 

I am a firm believer in the insta pot. ( surprise!)  The objection  I have heard is that it takes just as long. 
The reality is that time is measured in hands on time,   Let’s take spaghetti.  It takes  maybe five minutes to fill the insta pot. You set the pot on manual, for  8 minutes.  You check the pot periodically because you want to manually release as soon as it starts to count down.  If it sits on the steam, your noodles will be mushy.   There is one pot to wash, and you aren’t watch No, storing the pasta pot and the sauce pot.   Now, if you prefer your sauce and pasta separate, this ones not for you,   We always add Parmesan cheese to it before serving and maybe some red pepper flakes.   

Layer cooked meat , spaghetti, broken in half and placed in a circle like a bird nest, then pour a jar or can of pasta sauce over the noodles, and pour 2 cups of water in the pot around the outside edge.  You can also use a stock instead or part water and part wine.  One dish to wash,   

Most scratch dishes are minutes.   
Pot roast 
Beans and rice are simplified.

Beans: wash the beans in water and pick out any ricks or funky looking beans,   Pour onto insta pot liner,   Add enough water to be about two inches above the top of the beans.  Never fill the pot more than 1/2 full if you are cooking something like rice or beans that expands during cooking.   Close the lid, set the steam button, and push the bean button, done,  let the steam release on its own,   

Rice: measure equal parts of rice and water or stock.  Sometimes I add a teaspoon of tomato powder per cup of water.   Stir.   Close the lid, set to seal. Push the rice button.  

You can cook meat from frozen,   No more worry about taking something out to thaw.    

Stock cooks in an hour and a half instead of all day,   

Be sure  to look up my blog on “almost no time, almost no money, save 90 percent of retail. “ 
Most hits ever next to my rant on everything nit being good for you. LOL.  It got a “best blog EVER” comment.   

You can cook dinner from scratch efficiently.  Find the recipes your family loves and you have it made.   

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Meal plans

Meal plans are a necessary tool to save time and money in the kitchen.  Using up what might be on the edge is a good thing,  

  1. Fajitas 
  2. Pizza
  3. Chicken breast, stuffing, 
  4. Chicken pot pie 
  5. Tacos, Spanish rice 
  6. Tuna  casserole 
  7.  Breakfast for dinner  


Peppers were on sale last week.   I froze them
Pizza is a mainstay,  Scratch pizza costs a little more than a dollar .
Chicken breast is from the split chicken  breast .  Dressing was .50 at the grocery outlet .
Chicken pot pie uses chicken pieces from the freezer.  
Tacos uses already cooked hamburger . Spanish rice in the insta pot.
Tuna casserole uses solid albacore tuna from Costco.
Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay . Everyone cooks.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

10 random hacks

10 things that will make your life easier on the kitchen.  Bit by bit your time in the kitchen can be shortened without sacrificing meals.

  • Hard cooked eggs :   Eggs are .88 this week,   They are an inexpensive source  of protein. Place eggs in the shells into the cups of a muffin tin .   Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Immediately purge into an ice water bath. 
  • Keeping a receptacle, such as an individual popcorn container (Dollar Tree) on top of the refrigerator makes it easy to gather ice for an ice bath. 
  • Putting things that go together on the same space on the refrigerator saves hunting  for things, and saves time.  A plastic basket or food container can corral individual yogurt cups.  Putting all the sweet condiments on one door shelf and all the savory on another saves hunting  time.  
  • Salad dressing in another.  If it is full, you have too many variables. 
  • Take one freezer door shelf for pizza. Pizza  sauce is a dollar at the dollar tree.  ( name brand) . Freeze it in an ice cube tray, that should make 10 cubes,  you need 2 for a medium pizza.  After they are frozen, you can pop them out into a zip lock.  
  • When cutting peppers, cut the top and bottom off.  Then cut the middle into slices ready for casseroles or fajitas.  The top and bottom, cut into small dice for pizza.   Freeze in a zip lock and put on the same shelf.  It is easier to slice anything with a waxy outer shell if you cut it with the inside up.  You are cutting into the flesh instead of the waxy outside.  
  • Anytime you are cutting or cooking  something that goes on a pizza, save a bit for the pizza shelf,   Instant easy pizza.  Homemade cheese pizza costs a bit more than a dollar when ingredients are bought at RBP. 
  • Grouping dairy, leftovers, and condiments on the refrigerator shelves makes it easy to see what you are missing, and avoids that dreaded science  experiment in the back of the refrigerator. 
  • Lining your vegetable bin with paper towels makes clean up easier.   
  • A large plastic bucket with a lid does double duty as a receptacle for vinegar water for cleaning veggies, a ice bath bucket, and a bulk bread dough container. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Rhubarb Dump cake

My granddaughter and I have been making dump cakes.   She really enjoys it especially when gramps is impressed.   Lol

Rhubarb Dump Cake

1# rhubarb , cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup Sugar
1 pkg strawberry jello (3 Oz)

Sprinkle sugar and jello over fruit,
Sprinkle yellow cake mix over the fruit mixture,

Top with
1 cup water DO NOT STIR
1/4 cup melted butter

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

Note:  regular jello works better than sugar free.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hauls to 6/12

Meatballs 1.98
Carrots 2# 1.18
Bread 1.18
Strawberries 1.78
Blues 3.98
Potatoes 10# 2.28

Total 17.32

Sprouts and grocery outlet 

Sprouts had a lot of individual produce for .50 
Cheese at grocery outlet was from 1.99 to 2.19
Bacon 12 ounces 2/5 
Hunts diced tomatoes 2/1 
Buns 1.00
Dressing .50 

Blackberries 2/1 
Cucumbers 2/1
Italian squash .99
Red bell peppers 2/1 
Red grapes .98
Roma tomatoes .99
Yellow squash .99
Total 9.38

Grocery outlet 
Diced tomatoes 2/1
Ketchup.79 - no HFCS
Candy bars .25
Green olives 1.49
Ice cream cones .99
Herb stuffing .50
Buns .99
Bacon 2/5
Sliced cheese 2.19
Swiss sliced cheese 1.99
Total 23.31

Grand total 50.01 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Best of the ads 6/12

Blues 2,99
Lean cuisine 1.88

Digi / FSS only / use up to 5 times

Bush baked beans .99
Hillshire farm smoked sausage 1.88


Apricots .98
Naval oranges .98
Strawberries, blueberries 4/5
Apples .98
Cantaloupe .98
Squash or eggplant .98

93% hamburger 3.99


Grapes 1.77
Safeway ice cream 2,88

Eggs .88@@
Buns .99@@
Brats 2.99@@

Barilla .99@@
Cake mix -Duncan Hines .99@@

Fred Meyers
grapes  .99
Strawberries 4/5

90/10 ground beef 3.99

Digi /FSS only/ up to 5

Hillshire Farms sausage  1.88
Bush’s beans .99
angel food.  cake 2.49
Ice cream 2/5

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Tuesday concepts

Tuesday is scheduled for lists.  
I am writing a blog, cleaning the bathroom and going to work.   After that, I have to get an order out. So, this list is going to be ten 15 minute dinners. Taking an hour or so to prep foods especially meats saves a lot of time,

  • Tacos 
  • Taco soup 
  • Fajitas 
  • Breakfast for dinner : eggs, toast, fruit or yogurt parfaits
  • Chicken noodle soup, scratch 
  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Impossible breakfast pie
  • Hamburgers, oven fries, lettuce salad, or sloppy  joes 
  • Chicken Parmesan, salad 
  • Potato soup, cheezy biscuits 
  • Insta pot spaghetti, Texas toast, salad 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Monday mixup

In the 80’s we embraced the microwave.  It was a learning curve to grasp the formulas to  transform our old recipes to adapt to cooking in the microwave. Now, we are learning to adapt recipes to the Insta pot .  In addition, we are adapting recipes to scratch cooking instead of sing a bunch of boxed foods that contain preservatives and sometimes too much sodium 

Almost any receive can be a jumping off point to a good meal that is inexpensive and good,   A few simple ingredient switch outs do wonders to adapt a recipe to 2019 standards.  We all want to avoid too much sugar, salt, hydrogenated oils, GMO, HFCS, and preservatives.  Actually, there are some boxed products that contain tsp - a caustic cleaner we used to sell at the paint store to get breast off of walls so paint would adhere better,  you were supposed to use rubber gloves to protect your hands.  This is in boxed Mac and cheese and in some cold cereals.   Also, there is wood pulp on some boxes of parmesan cheese food.  It isn’t much more expensive, amd sometimes cheaper to feed your family the real thing instead of a box of something.  Children will eat what you let them get used to.  My granddaughter loves what she calls Grandma mush .  Actually it is oatmeal.  Cold cereal sits in the pantry to the point where I don’t buy it.  

I recently bought a slow cooker dump meals  cookbook at the thrift store.  There are a lot of good recipes,  they, however, tend to use boxed ingredients.  You can use the insta pot as a slow cooker, or you can cook some things in a vegetable steamer for the insta pot. 

  • Root beer bbq pulled pork 
  • Chicken soft tacos 
  • Smothered pork chops and rice 
  • Ginger teriyaki chicken 
  • Family tortilla bowl 
  • Ranch chicken and stuffing
  • Easy beef stew
  • Chicken on enchilada sauce 
  • Pork roast with Dijon tarragon glaze 
  • Pork and sauerkraut 
  • Maple glazed meatballs 
  • Chicken and butternut squash, 

Most of these give you the flavors , a lot of pre made  ingredients  are easily made scratch, and time can be judged by any other similar recipe for the insta pot. 

It’s always fun to make something different, broaden your horizons, and step out of your comfort box.  We all need to continue to grow even if it is just trying something new.  

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Meal plans week of June 10

Meal Plans are  necessary tool to jump start your week.   When you know you have all the ingredients for a meal and part of it is prepped  , it just makes the dinner hour easier.   

Our Meal   Plans are based on a protein matrix.  Som people base them on a particular theme.   Whatever works for you.  Sometimes balancing a  inexpensive  dinner with some more expensive ones is a way to afford a great dinner every now and then if you are on a uncompromising budget. 

Make good use of  what you have on abundance in your refrigerator or pantry.
Vary flavors and textures and bear in mind any recipe that has less than optimum protein so that you can address the problem  with protein elsewhere in the meal or desert. 

  • Potato soup, cheesy drop biscuits 
  • Pizza
  • Taco pie 
  • Tuna casserole , peas and carrots 
  • Chicken enchiladas 
  • Chicken noodle soup. Artisan bread 
  • Breakfast for dinner- use parfaits to use up yogurt

Notes : 
  1. Use up last of the old bag of potatoes, cheesy drop biscuits are a BC recipe, easy, quick and delicious, 
  2. Pizza is a mainstay,  scratch pizza cost about a dollar for a cheese pizza. Crust can be thin made on the food processor or a months supply made on the mixer. Or both can be made by hand.  Use any bits of toppings you have from meals past. 
  3. Taco pie uses less tortillas if you need to.  This can be beneficial if you are using low carb tortillas that tend to be pricey.   
  4. Tuna casserole is a favorite here,   Easily made with magic mix and Costco albacore tuna, 
  5. Chicken soup is a good pairing of ingredients with the potato soup.  Make chicken stock first, then use the stock with both soups and the chicken with the chicken noodle. 
  6. Chicken enchiladas are scratch and use magic mix with chicken stock and mild green chilies. 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a family meal.  Everyone cooks. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Concept: know your prices

When  trying to eat on a budget, it really helps if you know the prices of things you buy on a regular basis.  We have ceilings on my prices.  Unless it is something we really really need, we just don’t buy it.   Stocking  while something is at a low price helps with this.

Example:  we keep 4 dozen eggs,   Typically we use a dozen eggs a week.   If we buy one or two dozen with far out pull dates each time they are at a good price, we never run out of eggs and we always pay less than 1.25 .

There are big fluctuations in prices between stores.  There can be as much as two dollars an item .
With a four dollar a day budget, two dollars is a BIG amount.

Yesterday, I worked at my volunteer job.  My husband went to find eggs and lettuce.  At one store 2 dozen eggs and a head of iceberg lettuce was 7.50 .  He went to another store and it was less than 3.00 for the three items.   Almost a third of the price.   5.00 buys a lot of chicken when it is .88 a pound.

Groceries on the cheap takes a different approach to buying groceries.   Instead of a panic mode where your cupboards and refrigerator are bare and it’s payday, you never pay full price and you stock basic food when it is on sale.   You go to the store to buy a rotation bulk protein , perishable dairy and produce,  and whatever your non perishable stock is low on that is a good price somewhere.

It takes some time, but you should strive for a four to six weeks supply of food.  You never know what is going to happen, and being prepared gives you piece of mind.

The government shutdown comes to mind.  If people had a stock of food, they would have been better off.

Making a master list helps a lot.   We all have a small list of meals our family likes.  Making a ,sit with those meals as a starter is a good first step.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday recipe

Spicy beans and rice

1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper **
2 tsp garlic , chopped
2 tsp oil ( olive or vegetable
1 can diced tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp. Cumin

4 cups beans, cooked and drained

2-1/2 cups rice

Sauté the green pepper and garlic in oil
Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and Seasonings

Simmer about five to ten minutes

Add cooked beans

Heat  through until beans are warm.

Serve over rice.

** green peppers are .50 at sprouts this week.
Sometimes I add tomato powder to my rice water.
Both rice and beans are easily cooked on the insta pot.

Total Cost  1.40 not including spices or .28 a serving

Can be served with sour cream, green onions, and or avocado
Tortilla chips.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Hauls to 6/5

Strawberries ..98
Blackberries 2.00
Bell peppers .50
Cherries , 98
Corn 2/1
Total 9.16

Bacon 3.22
Sausage .98
Salmon patties 1.98
Bread 1.18
Total 11.90

Total 21.06

Fred Meyers
1 milk .99
2 butter 2.99
5 bacon 2.99
Total 21.97

Grand total 43.03

Large cottage cheese free

Eggs 🥚.88
Lettuce .98

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The best of the ads 6/5


Grapes .98
Tomatoes .88
Peaches .69
onions, yams .88
Blues 18oz 3.98

Chicken, whole, split breasts, drums or thighs .87

Pork sale BOGO

B 5 S 5 
Cheerios 1.79 $$
Tide 4.99

* western tri cities only 
Corn 2/1

Regular ad 
Milk 1.99@@
Bread .99@@
Sirloin roast 2.99
Hamburger 80/20 2.99

@@ denotes in ad coupon needed 
$$ denotes there could be a coupon out there 

Fred Meyers 

Blues 8 Oz 2.99
Petite sirloin steak 2.99

B5 S 5 

Cheese 2.49
Tide 4.99
Cheerios 1.79
Ore Ida 1.99 ( French fries) 
Classico pasta sauce 1.99
Cream cheese 1.49 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Taco Tuesday

It’s Tuesday.  I’ve got writers block.   Let’s talk about tacos or American Mexican food,

We happen  to be fond of the stuff, and  it is inexpensive if you want it to be.

I cook hamburger as soon as it comes into the house, or shortly thereafter.  It is just easier to cook it on a batch and de fat it.  If you are in a hurry to get dinner on the table, you are less likely to de fat a half pound of hamburger or ground turkey.   De fating  hamburger can reduce your fat up to 17 percent.  I then bag it in meal sized portions and out quart bags on a gallon bag and label the gallon bag.   5 pounds of 80/20 hamburger nets a lot of fat.

The hands down easiest way to cook a whole  chicken for recipes is to do it  on the slow cooker.
Place an onion, or two small onions, peeled and cut into halves or quarters depending on the size of the onion in the bottom if a slow cooker.  Open the chicken on a sheet own and dry it with a paper towel.  sprinkle with a dry rub of choice or seasoned salt.  Place on slow cooker and cook on HIGH heat for an hour a pound or until the chicken tests done,  I like 180 degrees.  You will have a lot of stock and cooked chicken.  Be careful of what rub you use, you don’t want your chicken to be too flavored. LOL.   Discard onion.

You can make :
Tacos, chicken or beef
Taco soup

Enchilada sauce is cheap and easy to make. Green enchilada sauce is even easier with magic mix and a can of mild green chilies.  Use 1/2 the chilies in the sauce and the other half in the chicken mixture.

Flour tortillas and corn tortillas are cheapest in May.   You can meet them in the refrigerator. There are low carb variety, but they are pricy.  
Sometimes I have found a taco kit at Grocery Outlet.   It is the same rice as buying the tacimshekks, but has the seasoning and sauce with it too.  

I make my own taco seasoning, a packet of taco seasoning can cost 4.00 an ounce.  Mexican seasoning can be found in packets in the ethnic isle of the grocery store and even then, can be much cheaper than buying the packets.  

Paprika. Chili powder. Onion, garlic, cumin.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Kitchen Management

Kitchen  Management aka meal prep .

A little time when you can find it, saves a lot of time later when time is in short supply.

  • Wash kitchen floor 
  • Wash and disinfect countertops and sinks and drains. 
  • Clean out the refrigerator and dump anything dead .
These three sentences are literally programmed into my reader! Lol 

  • Make a plan to get the things that are close o expiration used up. 
  • Wash vegetables with vinegar.  See this week’s post on organic buster.
  • Straighten pantry 
  • Wash kitchen window
  • Wash save fan screen in the dishwasher, 
  • Start dinner, 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Meal plans

It’s Sunday, it must be meal plans .  Meal plans are a necessary part of groceries in the cheap.  Being organized and planning to incorporate food that is in abundance in the house and things that may be ready to expire is a good plan. Also, incorporating your schedule into the plan to accommodate appointments and meetings.

  • Chicken pot pie 
  • Pizza
  • Potato soup, cheesy drop biscuits 
  • Tuna patties, oven fries, fruit salad 
  • Spaghetti and meatballs, salad 
  • Fajitas 
  • Breakfast for dinner 

A form  makes it easy to take inventory and do meal plans.   
A matrix makes meal planing quick and easy and affords variety. 

Notes :  we eat on less than four dollars a day and keep a stock.   Keep on mind we are “old” and are not  feeding a 17yo linebacker. Lol Washington SNAP averages 4.25 a day,  you can still feed growing children and keep a 4-6 week supply of food.  
  1. Chicken pot pie is easy and uses chicken already cooked.  We use one crust to curb the carbs. 
  2. Pizza is a mainstay. A cheese pizza costs about a dollar of made from scratch.  Pizza dough can be made in the  Food processor  or by hand , or a batch can be made in the kitchen aid and frozen.  This makes 4 pizza crusts and it is a thicker crust. 
  3. Potato soup is an inexpensive meal and uses a small mount of milk or cream.  Having an inexpensive meal means you can have a more expensive meal every now and then and still stay on budget.   
  4. Tuna melt used solid albacore tuna from Costco and oven fries that are low in fat.   
  5. Soafhetti and meatballs use 1/2 a package of spaghetti (4 servings) and meatballs from the freezer.  Pasta sauce on a jar.   8 minutes in the insta pot. 
  6. Fajitas use peppers  that sprouts had on sale for .50.   Taco shells on sale from cinco de Mayo. 
  7. Breakfast for dinner is a mainstay.  Everyone cooks— a family affair . 

Saturday, June 1, 2019


Make no bones about it, food prices is  are going to go up.  Seems the climate if the week is to put tariffs on Mexico and China.   The China won’t hurt as much for food because a lot of us don’t willingly buy food from China anyway.  But, we get a lot of our fruits and vegetables from Mexico especially on the winter.   Putting some extra veggies and fruit in the freezer this summer that are locally  grown might not be a bad idea.   Our great grandmothers had victory gardens.  They also had ideas of how to s t r e t c h their food supply.

I am hoping that the tariffs will hurt his fan base too hard and he will back off on the tariffs.
It won’t be politically advantageous?

We went to sprouts this week.  A lot of vegetables and fruits were reasonably priced. Taking advantage of special prices and incorporating the bargains into your meal plans makes your food budget go farther.   Peppers were fifty cents.   Ham is fifty cents at QFC.  We are out of freezer room, so I didn’t buy ham. Strawberries were a dollar a pound.   Blackberries were inexpensive and full of good vitamins.   Potatoes are down in price again here, probably because of the fact that Washington and Idaho are good potato producers. Potatoes have a lot of good nutrition.

Beef prices will go down.  The government has broke up a price fixing ring headed by TYSON and three other producers.  They together would keep prices high, no matter how much they paid for the cattle.   Remember higher prices started with a drought.   The other odd of that coin, is that China had a problem with their hogs that resulted in a hog shortage.   Shortage =higher prices. Now add a 25 percent tariff and you have higher prices.  The only remedy is to go with the flow.  Make use of the food that is a reasonable price.   If you are in a fixed budget, paying higher prices is not an option.
There is no getting around some things, but you can adapt to a lot.

Back to the produce bargains: potatoes. Strawberries, apples, peppers.  
Brainstorm, look at magazines and cookbooks,  the library has cookbooks, the thrift stores have cheap magazines and cookbooks, the internet of full of ideas and the on line Betty Crocker (BC) cookbook has a feature that lets you put an ingredient in and they show recipes.   Remember almost every ready made ingredient has a homemade substitution.  Learning to make a white sauce or magic mix and enchilada sauce is a great money saver.

  • Strawberry muffins 
  • Strawberry waffles 
  • Fruit salad 
  • Strawberry shortcake 
  • Strawberry pancakes
  • Baked potato bar 
  • Potato soup 
  • Depression stew 
  • Ham and scalloped potatoes 
  • Ham, and pepper omelette 
  • Chicken fajitas 
  • Pizza with peppers and chicken (Buffalo chicken pizza) 
  • Stuffed peppers 
  • Sausage and pizza soup
Incorporating what you can find that is a good price and nutritious is a good way to s t r e t c h your food dollar.  Going to the two stores that have the best prices  on food is a simple way to save money. 
Using all of your food, making stock from vegetable scraps, and incorporating as much as possible of leftovers into something else is another way.  Our great grandmothers survived the great depression and WWII shortages by being resourceful and coming up with ideas to use what they had.

Red velvet cake was invented because people wanted chocolate cake during the war and there was no cocoa available.