Don’t worry, I’m less pouty this week. 😉 Our groceries are usually driven by what’s in our produce box, but especially this week. Usually there are one or two veggies that don’t quite get used up, but this meal plan is on track to take advantage of every single one of them! My cart at the store felt a little empty this week, but I know I was buying slightly higher-priced items that will pack a lot of punch–whether that punch is flavor, protein, creaminess, etc. Also, more unusually, I bought three different protein items this week, and they will all be used for this week. Not too much stocking up this time, though, as always, some items will stretch! And in spite of my empty-cart concerns, you can see that when it is all laid out on the counter, we have our usual amount of food.
Our box is fairly out of season, with what I can only presume are hot-house tomatoes, cucumber, and corn. I’m more exciting for HH’s source of fingerling potatoes. We’ve gotten a them a few times recently and any new/tiny potatoes are high up on my favorites list! I took a chance on some frozen mussels this week, to supplement a “Low Country Boil”. M isn’t too keen on shrimp at the moment. So, of course, I am all about them, suddenly. Isn’t that always the way? Anyways, it’ll be a different twist to use up the corn and potatoes and we can each favor our preferred seafood.
I still didn’t have quite enough to spring for some nuts, but I still have my change from last week to build upon. Plus, I got the chance to actually note the price-per-ounce, and was surprised to find that (while Aldi wins out on pricing for most types of nuts), I can get raw walnuts for cheaper at Trader Joe’s. In the meantime, I managed to squeeze some no-sugar-added peanut butter into the budget, along with some dried banana chips. These will make another snack option for us. Plus, I’ll be able to make a super tasty peanut dipping sauce for our summer rolls this week.
I’ve also noticed that, without much effort, this $50 budget is forcing us to eat less meat. I have tried in the past to reduce our meat consumption, but never really found a my groove to sustain it. Nowadays, we usually have about 2 dinners that are meatless each week, and at least one more where meat is more seasoning that main dish. We just don’t have the budget to have a piece of meat, each, plus sides. Especially when our dinner leftovers are often becoming our lunches. So that was interesting to see that I’ve naturally adapted to the less meat.
Finally, our Hungry Harvest box always send out an email on Thursdays, listing what is in each week’s box. That’s wha kickstarts my meal-planning each week. Of course, they always note that the contents of the box may be different. Customers are able to make lists of vegetables and fruits that they do not like, which will be swapped for something else. Also, since Hungry Harvest sources from recovered produce, there is always a chance that there will not be enough of a certain type of produce to fill every box, or that an item might spoil before packing time. This week is a good example. The email listed that my box would have 2 grapefruits: we opened it up to find a grapefruit and 3 kiwis in substitution. I’m certainly not mad about it. I like kiwis, and since we eat most of our fruit raw, I don’t necessarily have a recipe hinging on that second grapefruit. In fact, the kiwis are much easier for me! M doesn’t eat much fruit, but I like to have a piece in my lunch and at breakfast, if there is enough. Last week, our apples and oranges were only enough for my lunches. I’m happy, with the one grapefruit split in half, to have fruit with some of my breakfasts this week.
Here is how I spent this week:
Hungry Harvest Produce Box: $15.00
Trader Joe’s: $3.86
Total: $49.99 (heyyyyyy!)
Hungry Harvest Produce Box: 1 english cucumber, 2 ears of corn, 1.5 lb fingerling potatoes, 1 butternut squash, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 grapefruit, butter lettuce, 3 apples, 3 kiwis.
Aldi: white wine, gluten-free bread, mushrooms, almond milk, parmesan cheese, butter, kielbasa, cheddar, frozen berries, frozen mussels, peanut butter, bratwursts
Trader Joe’s: tofu, banana chips, lemon
Here’s what we are eating:
Sunday: Low Country Boil with ciabatta rolls using the mussels, kielbasa, corn, potatoes, lemon, butter, and a little wine from this shopping trip, plus shrimp and bread rolls from the freezer and spices from the pantry
Monday: Tofu Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce using the tofu, cucumber, butter lettuce, and peanut butter, plus rice paper wrappers and vermicelli noodles from the pantry and chili sauce, carrots, and peppers from the fridge
Tuesday: Leftovers The usual.
Wednesday: Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta I’m going to try this riff on mac & cheese with half of our squash (I’ll freeze the rest), some of the cheddar, plus pasta from the pantry.
Thursday: Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes another favorite meatless meal, using the mushrooms, white wine, tomatoes, and parmesan, plus broth, rice, and spices from the fridge/pantry
Friday: Toad in the Hole (Sausages & Yorkshire Pudding) with Gravy and Vegetables A nice, traditional UK dish for St. Patrick’s Day, for anyone who isn’t much of a fan of boiled meals… I considered a variant on my shepherd’s pie, but this was more cost effective for this week. The bratwursts, because they were the only non-italian sausages I could find, plus a lot of pantry ingredients.
Saturday: Out/Leftovers We are going to a movie with some friends. Dinner is still up in the air, but we will definitely have various leftovers, if we decide to eat at home.
Breakfasts will be yogurt, fruit, eggs, oatmeal, or toast. Lunches are mostly leftovers, with the option of cheese & crackers, PB sandwiches, and/or hard-boiled eggs to fill in. Our small, but growing snack stash includes: cheese, popcorn, PB+banana chips, and (if I get my act together today) pumpkin muffins.
It’s been a weird week, folks. Maybe it is the weather finally acting a little like winter, maybe it’s stress, but I have been in a bit of a funk all week. To top it all off, I allowed myself to get a little excited as I wrote my grocery list, because it seemed like so little. I thought I’ve have more than a few dollars to stock up. Unfortunately, I forgot how much dairy eats up our budget. Don’t you dare try to swing me on that dairy-free lifestyle–I absolutely love all things dairy. Cheese, ice cream, milk, yogurt…<3 But our current consumption schedule has made it so that we tend to run out of our dairy products in the same week, and then there goes my budget.
I’ve been wanting to get some nuts for snacking and some sauces and such, but my extra dollars usually go towards something more pressing. This week, I did know that I wanted to spring for some of those herb paste tubes at Giant. Specifically, one each of cilantro and lemongrass. They are a few dollars each, but (especially the lemongrass) lasts forever, since the paste is concentrated. So while I was disappointed to pass up the cashews, I knew that I would be rewarded with super flavorful dishes. And, maybe I could stop spending $1 each week on fresh cilantro. However, I definitely underestimated the price of these herb pastes. I thought I had saved enough money to get both, but these things are $4.50 a piece!! Oy. Only one this week, then. The lemongrass is definitely worth it, so I will have to save a few dollars to pick up that one soon, but I will pay attention to our use of the cilantro paste to see if it is actually worth that price.
I mostly let go of my deprivation funk today when I realized that we have popcorn kernels in the pantry and then when I used one of last week’s zucchini to make my Chocolate Surprise Muffins. (I used all flax eggs, plus replaced all of the various vegetables with one large zucchini, undrained. Also added in a 1/2 cup of shredded coconut! They ended up being vegan.) A little bit of that crunchy popcorn and chocolate went a long way towards making me forget the cashews, peanut butter, and chips that were left behind at the store this week.
I also planted the first seedlings of the year in our garden plot! Kale and swiss chard, to hopefully survive our cooler temperatures. I also planted some carrot and radish seeds, which will have a few weeks for the weather to warm up by the time they sprout. A second batch of bone broth had been in the crockpot for a few days, as the last of the broth from the previous batch will be used up in this week’s soup. I also tried flavoring my kombucha for the first time: with vanilla beans, which made a perfectly pleasant brew. I’m even getting M hooked on kombucha, now that it is readily available!
Here is the breakdown for this week:
Hungry Harvest Produce Box: $15.00
Aldi: $26.27 ($8 was spent on a pilates ring I found in their home-goods aisle. Super excited to try that out! But of course, it doesn’t count towards our food budget.)
I came out under budget this week. I’ll put the change towards last week’s overage and keep the $2 in bills for a future trip. Maybe this is how I’ll be able to afford those cashews…build up my change!
This week’s groceries:
Hungry Harvest Produce Box: 2 bell peppers, 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, snow peas, 2 oranges, 3 apples, an onion, 3 sweet potatoes, 2 carrots, and a pint of cherry tomatoes
Giant: coconut milk, cilantro paste
Aldi: goat cheese, sausages, ground ginger, persian cucumbers, hummus, spinach, yogurt, half-n-half, artichoke hearts, white northern beans, an avocado, bread, milk
Plus a dozen eggs from my mother’s chicken lady hook up. 🙂
Here is the meal plan for this week:
Sunday: Roast Chicken and Vegetables with gravy using the whole chicken from last week, some bone broth from the freezer, lemon from a few weeks ago, and some of this week’s carrots, sweet potatoes, and onion
Monday: Zuppa Toscana using last weeks red potatoes and kale (I found the recipe right after I made last week’s meal plan and knew I needed to make it!), plus the last of the bone broth and some sausage, white beans, and half-n-half from this week’s groceries
Tuesday: Leftovers M is out, as per usual, so I will figure something out, or eat more soup.
Wednesday: Veggie Curry Stir-fry using this week’s snow peas, peppers, carrots, brussels sprouts, and coconut milk, with curry paste from the freezer and rice from the pantry
Thursday: Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart with salad I froze the other half of the pie dough when I made quiche last week. That will thaw, then drape over those cherry tomatoes, tarte tatin-style, with a little balsamic vinegar and dried thyme from the pantry. Goat cheese will be crumbled on top after it’s cooked. I’ll pair it with a salad that uses up any remaining kale plus some of the spinach
Friday: Tuscan Chicken Sandwiches based on what I ate from the sandwich shop almost every day of my freshman year of college, before I was gluten-intolerant. Some chicken from Sunday’s roast, with goat cheese, spinach, (freezer) pesto, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and aioli. If I feel extra proactive, I might try some baked sweet potato chips
Saturday: Chicken Tacos with the last of the roast chicken, plus tortillas and various fixings from odds and ends in the pantry and fridge
Breakfasts will be yogurt with fruit, zucchini muffins, avocado toasts, or eggs. Lunches will be leftovers from dinner or cucumbers and hummus + hardboiled eggs, with fruit.
I am having a pretty great Sunday, how about you?
My crazy balancing act of work-homework-internship-housework-social life actually stayed in check this week! After work yesterday, I managed to come home and finish my homework, which took a huge weight off of my shoulders. Since Sundays are my only day off of work each week, they tend to be filled with all of my catch-up tasks. More often than I’d like, this means most of my homework, all of the cleaning and laundry, and meal prepping. I never actually get through my To-Do list on Sundays, and–this year, especially–it leaves me totally stressed out. I am trying to develop evening routines that break up my housework into manageable, small tasks each day, but this has been a really tough habit for me to develop. In fact, it’s only the dream of someday having a Sunday with actual downtime that keeps me at that habit.
I didn’t get much cleaning done during this week, but I did reorganize our bookshelves to make room for my cookbooks, so that I have more food storage space on top of our pantry. (Mostly because I found copper-trimmed mason jars to store my beans and lentils and they were not getting shown off as they deserved!) But getting my homework out of the way was just enough to remove the stress! My to-do list today was super manageable, and I even was able to tackle a few extraneous tasks that have been bugging me–like reorganizing our linen closet and cleaning my desk! I had a little downtime when I went to my mother’s to pick up eggs and all in all, today has been industrious, yet satisfying!
I do have a confession to make, though: I was over budget this week. 😦 By exactly $0.50 and that was only tax, but over my $50, just the same. However, I went over budget by grabbing a whole chicken for $5.04, so it was totally worth it! I will get at least three meals out of that chicken, plus having all the bones to make another batch of bone broth. I also have a quiche in the oven right now, which is another one of my favorite cheap “stretch” dishes. Normally, a few eggs, several slices of bacon, and a cup or so of veggies would possibly stretch to 2, maybe 3 breakfasts for M and I (if I’m stingy with the bacon and we add some toast into the equation). Theses same ingredients, mix with a little milk or cream and tipped into a pie crust, will give me 8 hearty servings! Add some roasted potatoes or other vegetables alongside to mix up these leftovers for lunch or dinner!
Here is the breakdown for this week:
Hungry Harvest Produce Box: $15.00
This week’s groceries:
HH Produce Box: 2 zucchini, 1 lb. tiny onions, 3 tangelos, broccoli, kale, 1 orange, 1.5 lbs red potatoes, and sugar snap peas.
Aldi: bacon, whole chicken, butter, cottage cheese, garlic, queso fresco, cucumber, frozen orange juice concentrate, tortilla chips, swiss cheese, onions, lime, avocados, pasta, white vinegar, bread, cilantro
Plus 8 eggs from my mother’s chicken hook-up. 😉 And here is how we are using this week’s groceries:
Sunday: Turkey & Broccoli Quiche with roasted Potatoes A couple of eggs, the last of the half-n-half from a few weeks ago, some of the bacon, butter in the crust, half the swiss cheese, an onion, plus turkey & broccoli from the freezer. And some of last week’s potatoes.
Monday: Pasta Primavera using the pasta, some of last week’s milk, the remaining parmesan from 4 weeks ago, some of the garlic, zucchini, snap peas, kale, and broccoli from this week, plus some peas from the freezer, and red peppers from our box a few weeks ago.
Tuesday: Leftovers/Crepes I am hoping to get my act together to make crepes for Fat Tuesday, but, worse-comes-to-worst, I know there will be some quiche left (which is not bad at all!)
Wednesday: Out at M’s mum’s house I’m not sure what we are doing for dinner.
Thursday: Citrus-Braised Pork Chilaquiles + Avocado Salad from Date Night In I’ve already talked about how much we love this cookbook and these chilaquiles. I stocked up on the pork last week, but I’ll use the orange juice, cilantro, tortilla chips, onions, lime, garlic, queso fresco, and avocados from this week, plus bone broth from the freezer.
Friday: Citrus-Braised Pork sandwiches with quick cucumber pickles and roasted potatoes with broccoli Definitely making enough pork for a second dish. We have a lot of GF hamburger buns taking up valuable freezer space, so I’ll use up a couple of those. With that cucumber running me $0.29, these quick vinegar pickles will be the cheapest topping that I make all week! Plus, I’ll use up more of last week’s potatoes and the rest of the broccoli.
Saturday: French Onion Panade with Kale Salad This panade is like the best part of French Onion Soup. It even has the same flavors, you just lessen the amount of broth and up the amount of bread to make a sort of savory bread pudding. I’ll use up all of those tiny onions, the rest of the swiss cheese, the last of my bone broth (a new batch will be started this week), and some GF sourdough bread that I unearthed from the freezer. The salad will use up more of the kale, plus some of the cranberries from last week and whatever cheese is left!
Breakfasts will be eggs, toast, oatmeal, or cottage cheese with fruit. Lunches will be leftovers or sandwiches with the deli roast beef from a few weeks ago, plus the remainder of the sugar snap peas from our box. I am going to try to get my act together to make a batch of zucchini muffins as well, which will supplement breakfast or snacking!
I scored majorly this week! We had a very good produce box this week, even creating one of those serendipitous moments of including a cauliflower and potatoes for the week when I was toying with the idea of Aloo Gobi (Indian Cauliflower & Potato Curry)! I am still really digging Asian–type flavors this week. Plus, after finding out that Aldi stock’s gluten-free imitation crab, I knew I would also be making California rolls. Super exciting!
Once the box was confirmed and I was making my list for the store, I knew I was going to have a fair amount of extra money left over…it turned out to be around $11, so I able to spend NINE DOLLARS to stock up on a 5+ pound pork butt! That is the toughest thing about this $50 budget–that there is rarely ever enough remaining money to cover those bigger cuts of meat (that are actually quite cheap in terms of dollars-per-pound, but still require a slightly steep investment up front). Believe me, I am trying to get creative with how I save up for them–maybe I’ll tuck the changes away each week until it builds to $10-$15. Either way, by using our pantry a lot this week, I did manage to squeeze in the pork butt (and a treat: potato chips!) I’ve already portioned the pork into 3 different 1.75 lb bags in the freezer. You can bet that Citrus Pork Chilaquiles from Ashley‘s Date Night In Cookbook will be on the menu next week.** The other ingredients with be a little bit of an investment–things like orange juice, avocado, tortilla chips, and queso fresco with run me between $1-$2 a piece at Aldi. But I will get creative with the rest of the week’s meals in order to make it work because these chilaquiles are HEA. VEN. LY!
If you are careful with your pantry items and invest in spices, there is absolutely no reason to boring, flavor-lacking food when you are eating on a budget. As you may noticed, M and I favor super bold cuisines: Thai, Mexican, Indian and eat dishes from those cuisines fairly often! Spices are the absolutely key to keeping things interesting! I’ve found that cheap spices can be found in the “Mexican/Asian” aisle of regular Giants. They have very cheap bottles of garlic powder, oregano, cilantro, etc and even had little baggies with a couple whole star anise or a few whole nutmegs for like $2! Check it out, and try to put together a few dollars towards spices every other week–you will soon be on your way to a flexible and useful spice cabinet!
**This is not a paid endorsement at all. M got me the book for Christmas two years ago and I just love it! The chilaquiles is our absolute favorite recipe…with Basil Mint Bourbon Jubilees coming in close behind!
This week’s tally:
- Hungry Harvest Produce Box: $16.50 (added on the grapefruits)
- Aldi: $27.75
- Lotte Asian Market: $5.28
- Total: $49.53 (If I hadn’t had those stock up/splurge items, we would have barely cracked $35 this week!)
This week’s groceries:
Hungry Harvest Box: 2 grapefruits (add on), 1 red onion, 0.5 lb brussels sprouts, 3 apples, 1 head of organic cauliflower, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce, 1 mango, 1.5 lb fingerling potatoes.
Lotte Asian Market: whole lemongrass, fresh cilantro, fresh parsley, 2 lbs sushi rice
Aldi: dried cranberries (stock up), 1.5 lb pork tenderloin, 5.12 lbs pork butt (stock up), chips (splurge), cucumber, 5 lbs potatoes (stock up-forgot about the fingerlings in HH box), avocado, diced tomatoes, milk, sriracha (stock up), cooking spray, imitation crabmeat
Here is how we are eating this week:
Sunday: Paneer Masala, Aloo Gobi, Coconut-Creamed Spinach, & Rice I’ll be making the paneer with that gallon of milk and some lemon juice! It is so simple and I should get between 12-18 oz of cheese for about $1.50. I’ll cook down a masala sauce with the tomatoes, some spices, and some of the half-n-half from two weeks ago. The spinach is from two weeks ago and the coconut milk is from last week’s grocery trip. The veggies from the box will pair with spices for the Aloo Gobi and we purchased a huge 15 lb bag of rice ages ago, that we have been slowly working our way through.
Monday: I’m out late with meetings for my internship. I will probably grab something on the run.
Tuesday: Leftovers M is out and I work late. I’ll eat leftovers or some scrambled eggs when I get home.
Wednesday: Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, & Fingerling Potatoes with Mojo Verde sauce M will be cooking while I’m in class. Mojo Verde will someday make it up here on the blog–it’s similar to chimichurri. An herby sauce with cilantro, parsley, garlic, vinegar, and all sorts of tasty stuff!
Thursday: Sushi! A big old batch of rice will get rolled into California Rolls, veggie rolls, maybe I’ll even break out the shrimp if I’m feeling fancy! Check out my last post for a step-by-step guide to rolling sushi!
Friday: Larb Gai I’ll mince up some chicken thighs with the freezer and sauté them with my pantry items (fish sauce, lime juice, etc) and cilantro and serve with the red onion and butter lettuce for a light dinner.
Saturday: Odds and Ends Whatever I’m feeling like. I know I need to use up the eggplant and do something with tomatoes! We will still have chicken thighs and a few sausages in the freezer, if I want some meat.
Breakfasts will be eggs or oatmeal or fruit and toast. Lunches will be leftovers or sandwiches using the roast beef from last week!
I am feeling back on track and excited for my budget planning this week! It has been so eye-opening to truly keep track of my meal planning and shopping for the past few weeks. I was going through the motions before, but not giving myself a chance to sit down and assess my shopping and planning each week. I can already tell that posting my weekly updates here are helping me! In order to stick to the budget, I have started writing the cost of each item on my shopping list as I go, so I can keep a running total to stay under budget. Well, this week, I realized that doing this means I am also starting to gather information to make a general cost list by store–so I know the general price of items and I can snag a deal (or avoid a more costly purchase). For example: I now know that limes are $0.25 a piece at Aldi, so, unless I find them cheaper, I know to wait to purchase the limes there.
This was so helpful for this week, because I went to our local Asian grocery store before Aldi. We needed a few ingredients that I suspected that I could get cheaper there, even cheaper than Aldi. I was able to go back through my shopping lists and have general costs for the items that I knew I wanted from Aldi (I’ve found that dairy, especially, is more expensive at our Asian grocery store) and have the costs for items that I wanted to get at the Asian grocery store. So as I walked into the store, I knew that I should aim to have around $20 left to spend at Aldi and I had prices for almost every individual item, so I could compare the prices to Aldi’s on the fly.
It was a great system! By doing a little math ahead of time and some more while I was in the store, I knew when I had an extra $2 so that I could, say, choose a larger jar of curry paste. This investment will last us through probably 8-10 dishes, so the investment now will definitely pay off later!
M and I decided that we are not going to go out for Valentine’s Day this year. I still have to work a little late, and both of us just don’t feel like dealing with the crowds and reservations. So, I made a little compromise on our budget this week. M insisted that he would be in charge of dinner while I handled dessert, so, while I worked my dessert ingredients into our budget, we will be spending more money for Tuesday’s dinner ingredients (even though we’ve hit our weekly budget). But, as long as we stay well under what we would have spent going out to dinner (not so hard, when you add in a drink each and tip!), we can comfortably cover this splurge.
So, here is the breakdown for this week:
- Hungry Harvest Produce Box: $15
- Lotte Asian Grocery Store: $14.11
- Aldi: $19.38
- Total: $48.49
Hmm…looking at that total, I now realize that I would have been able to get fresh raspberries for my dessert. I made do with black berries, as they were about $0.50 cheaper. I suppose that totaling is one more step to add into my math when I shop at multiple stores! Ah well, you live and you learn, huh?
This week’s groceries:
Hungry Harvest Produce Box: green onions, kale, 2 bell peppers, 2 plums, 2 seckel pears (my favorite!), eggplant, acorn squash, cucumber, (1 lonely little) parsnip, 1 lb red grapes
Lotte Asian Grocery Store: corn tortillas, 1 lemon, red curry paste, nori, cilantro, 2 limes, mushrooms, 2 cans coconut milk
Aldi: blackberries, butter, 1 lb. pork sausage, cheddar cheese, chocolate chips, eggs, deli-style roast beef, milk, gluten-free bread
The corn tortillas and nori will last far past this week, as will some of the cheese, coconut milk, milk, butter, curry paste, and acorn squash. I found a super intriguing recipe for acorn squash roasted with onions and served with yogurt. I’m thinking that I will pair that with last week’s frozen spinach for an Indian-inspired dinner next week! I’ll be roasting those red peppers, to keep them longer as well, since I’m only just getting to last week’s pair of green peppers.
Here is what we are eating this week:
Sunday: Swedish Meatballs, Pasta, & Kale Salad I’ll use up some of last week’s sour cream and half-n-half. I’ll also split one of my quarts of bone broth between this gravy and Friday’s soup.
Monday: Teriyaki Salmon, Cucumber Sushi Rolls, & Sesame Broccoli The salmon is from a few weeks back, and the broccoli is from the freezer. The sushi will be a tasty use of the cucumber without loading up on starch and will be easy leftovers for lunch the next day (where as the salmon wouldn’t be…)
Tuesday: Valentine’s Day Dinner (M’s choice) with Flourless Chocolate Cake with Blackberries Yup. Throwing it waaaaay back for dessert. But this cake is so simple, yet so decadent!
Wednesday: Leftovers/Omelet M will be out and I have class until late evening. I’ll make whatever is quick and simple for myself when I get home.
Thursday: Chicken Fajitas With last week’s chicken, peppers, and sour cream, plus we have some salsa stashed in the fridge and the fresh cilantro. Salsa are a great option for adding flavor to a dish, and is an ingredient that will keep for quite some time in the fridge!
Friday: Tom Kha Gai Soup with Rice Here’s where the mushrooms, curry paste, coconut milk, and more cilantro will go! Flexible enough that I can either throw the broth in the crockpot in the morning or heat it up fairly quickly when I get home from work. Creamy, coconut-y, spicy goodness!
Saturday: Spaghetti Squash with Red Sauce and Sausage Because yes, we still haven’t actually gotten to it. Good thing the sauce and sausage are frozen and squashes keep forever. 🙂
Breakfasts will be yogurt and fruit, eggs and toast, or oatmeal. Lunches will be leftovers or sandwiches paired with fruit! If I can get my act together, I’ll make the eggplant into roasted eggplant dip/spread for lunches. If not, then I’ll incorporate it somewhere next week!
Here we are again, checking out my weekly grocery budget. I did pretty well for week 3. I’ll admit, I wasn’t feeling very enthused about meal-planning this week. Our produce box had a lot of items, but not very interesting ones. When everything was plotted out in my meal plan, there wasn’t too much to buy, so I could use some of this week’s budget on stock-up items. We also need to eat down our freezer a little, so I am trying to pull bits and pieces from that stock for the next few weeks.
In addition to eating more fish, I also want us to incorporate more bone broth into our diets. I’m trying to have soup every week–an easy use of the bone broth and (usually) quite a cheap option for dinner! I am recent(ish) soup convert. It was never something I enjoyed growing up, until around high school when I made myself learn to like tomato basil soup. Some of my favorite kinds have already graced this blog: tomato basil, French onion, Italian Peasant soup, Pot Pie soup… I am excited to try a couple of new ideas in the coming weeks, as well!
I did very well shopping this week (and remembered my receipts!) Nothing beyond our usual produce box, so that clocked in at $15. I had to go to our local Asian grocery store to grab the gochujang, but that, along with my Aldi purchases, came out to $34.44! So here is this week’s breakdown of our $49.44 grocery haul:
Hungry Harvest Produce Box: 1 leek, 1 orange, 1 grapefruit, 1 “yellow” tomato, 2 (large) potatoes, red onion, 1 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 1/2 lb grapes, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 cabbage, 2 bell peppers
Aldi: 1.5 lb chicken wings, 4.25 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (bones & skin will be saved up for the next batch of bone broth!), 2 packages of frozen spinach, eggs (my mother is out of town this week–none from her coworker), garlic, 2 lb carrots, white wine (for cooking & occasional drinking), half & half, butter, plain yogurt, sour cream, and gluten-free bread
Other: gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) from the Asian grocery store
I think it’s so interesting to see how my $35 goes each week. This is pitiful compared to the first week, when most was fruit and veg. It does go to show just how expensive animal products, be it meat or dairy or eggs, are and how quickly they add up! Thankfully, these will all stretch for a few weeks!
The only items that will be entirely used up this week are the leek, potatoes, cabbage, fruit, chicken wings, and maybe bread–depending on how many sandwiches we go through. I am not touching the tomatoes, squash/zucchini, peppers, chicken thighs, spinach, or half & half, but I will use them next week! I see creamed spinach, swedish meatballs, and my (hidden veggie) surprise muffins on the horizon.
Here is this week’s meal plan:
Sunday: Honey-Sriracha Wings & Jalapeño Popper Dip (And Rocky Road Brownies) We stayed home, but I still wanted the Super Bowl snack food! I’m currently obsessed with these wings–I shared the recipe on instagram. I also realized that I could cobble together a jalapeño popper dip from the bits of cream cheese & cheddar cheese in our fridge, plus a few of our home-grown jalapeños from the freezer! I wanted a little dessert too, and brownies are one of the most pantry-friendly desserts out there.
Monday: Loaded Potato, Leek, & Cauliflower Soup Here is the rest of last week’s cauliflower! Simmer in broth with the potatoes and leeks from this week’s produce box, then blended up with a little milk and the last of our cream. I topped mine with a little sour cream, cheese, crumbled bacon, and chopped scallions. Plus, there’s enough leftovers to last for several lunches!
Tuesday: Leftovers I work late. M is out. I’m sure there will be soup waiting for me.
Wednesday: Stuffed Acorn Squash M is cooking while I go to class. We have acorn squash left from boxes from weeks ago, that he’s stuffing with rice, vegetables, maybe some sausage, and other odds and ends from the fridge.
Thursday: Out I’m out with friends. M can do leftovers or something quick for himself.
Friday: Cheeseburgers with cole slaw and sweet potato fries Those hamburger buns are taking up valuable freezer space! This dish will use up the cabbage and some carrots in the slaw, with sweet potatoes from last week, and ground beef from the freezer.
Saturday: Pasta or Spaghetti Squash Keeping things simple after my long day at work!
Breakfasts: eggs, yogurt & fruit, toast, or oatmeal
Lunches: Leftovers or sandwiches with more fruit
Another check-in for my adherence to our weekly grocery budget! As I mentioned last week, I am trying to recommit to a $50 budget for our food each week. Strict adherence would leave us with a little more money each month, that could definitely be better utilized than being spent on food we don’t need. (Our landfill, I’m sure, would appreciate that too!) I’m doing most of my shopping at Aldi, in order to make this budget achievable, though I’ll also use Giant, Trader Joe’s, and even our local Asian grocery store to pick up those extra items that Aldi doesn’t carry.
This week we have a few repeat meals. In spite of my meal planning, we had two (awesome) evenings with friends that changed our meals and then, while making last week’s meal plan, I had totally forgotten that M and I signed up for a home-buying class that provided dinner. (Everybody chill, we are just in the most initial stages of trying to learn anything about looking for and purchasing a home…) So Wednesday-Friday’s meals mostly rolled over to this week.
It felt a little harder to stick to the budget this week. For one, I got the week’s “special recovery item” added to our produce box, which took a few bucks from my shopping money. But, it was fresh turmeric root! It freezes well, so we are in stock for turmeric lattes and indian dishes for a long time. I also had to stock up on a couple condiments, which eats up money quickly. Those losses definitely made me feel more constricted.
Here is the breakdown:
Hungry Harvest Produce Box: 1 romaine heart, 1 (large) head cauliflower, 1 grapefruit, 1 tomato, 2 oranges, 1 red onion, 1/2 lb. green beans, 1 (giant) spaghetti squash, 3 sweet potatoes, and 1 lb. of turmeric ($5 additional) for a total of $20.00
From Aldi: parmesan cheese, tomato paste, cheddar cheese, 1 lb. sausages, cucumber, green onions, 1 lb. salmon, tomato sauce, hot sauce, Caesar dressing, dijon mustard, turkey deli meat, ham deli meat, bread, and sugar (for my kombucha!)
Other sources: fresh ginger and coconut milk (Giant), eggs (my mother’s coworker)
I totally forgot to grab my receipt at Aldi, but it was about $31. $4 of that was restocking on Ziplock bags, so the $2 and change spent at Giant should put me right on the $30 line to stay on target this week.
In terms of usage, we will definitely have the whole spaghetti squash plus some of the sweet potatoes and cauliflower remaining at the end of the week. The cheddar and deli meats and bread will stretch into next week, as will the green onions, 8 oz of the salmon, most of the sausage, and the condiments (obviously). My bone broth is finished, and I got the 3 quarts that I was hoping for! And my kombucha should be ready for it’s bottling and second fermentation this week, as well.
Meal Plan for January 29-February 4
Sunday: Beef Koftas with Tabouleh, Carrot Salad, Smoky Eggplant Dip, Baked Feta, Pickled Onions, & Gluten-free Naan bread This is basically last Thursday’s meal, except that this week’s addition of tomato and cucumber allowed me to make a quinoa tabouleh. I also unearthed half a block of Feta from our freezer, and had time on the weekend to mix up a batch of homemade naan using pantry ingredients. That turned it into a regular feast!
Monday: Honey-Sriracha Cauliflower “Wings” and Caesar Salad I love baking cauliflower florets and treating them like chicken wings! My latest obsession is Honey-Sriracha sauce, which uses similar ratios as buffalo sauce, but has way more depth of flavor Our contribution to the Super Bowl parties will like be Homemade Honey-Sriracha Chicken Wings. Half of that giant head of cauliflower will give us enough for dinner and lunch the next day. I will rice up the remainder of the cauliflower and stick it in the freezer for later.
Tuesday: Ham & Cheese Crepes M will be out and I’ll be working late, so a half batch of my gluten-free crepes wrapped around some lunch meat and cheese will be tasty and quick to throw together when I get home.
Wednesday: Taco Soup in the Crockpot From last Wednesday’s plan. I have class and M works late. All he’ll have to do is shred the chicken in the crockpot and this soup will be good to go!
Thursday: Sesame-Ginger Salmon with Green Beans and Sweet Potato One of my resolutions is to eat more fish this year–I’m starting off aiming for every other week. Since M isn’t a huge fan of shrimp and I’m less experienced working with fish, it always takes more of a commitment. But, I found a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, so I’ll give it a go!
Friday: Thai Chicken Enchiladas One of my favorites! I realized that I didn’t pick up cabbage at the store, which I usually use to bulk up the meat…I’ll have to get creative! We somehow ended up with three different bottles of Sweet Chili Sauce in our pantry, so this recipe will help to cut down on that.
Saturday: Leftovers/Pasta I try to remember to incorporate a flexible night into our meal plans, so we have a chance to use up any leftovers that aren’t finished through our lunches each week.
Breakfast & Lunch: Breakfast will be oatmeal, fruit smoothies, or eggs. Lunches will be dinner leftovers or sandwiches.