We are starting hardcore meal planning and meal prepping to get back into saving money on food, eating better, including a lot more vegetables and a lot less carbs, almost everything from scratch, and slaying the takeout demon and waster of money and tempter of credit card spending. I spent $301 on groceries yesterday and today from a $500 two week grocery budget. My goal is to have $100 left at the end of the 2 week pay period to put in the beef fund. I have 11 days to go. I think we can do it, but we will see. And if we don't eat out, we'll probably save another $500 or more.
I started cooking with what we had on hand and eased into it so that I could be at the spot we are today. Last week I took all of my ripe tomatoes and started cooking them down so I would have a decent amount of sauce to start with and then cooked up a bunch of hamburger and a bunch of garden zucchini and mixed it all up together and doled it all out into meal prop containers with a side of wild rice (no rice for me). It provided 3 lunches for 4 people for 3 days. I froze the rest of the very delicious tomato sauce for future use.
The day after that I did a massive grocery shop and then today I picked up a dozen things that the other store didn't have. Most of today I spent chopping up things and preparing other things. I cut up 8 bell peppers into slices and dices and 5 onions (mine that I grew, 1 purple, 4 Walla Walla sweets) into slices and dices, 6 things of broccoli, 3 pounds of potatoes, most of a batch of green onions, cut up 1 pound of cheese into cubes for snacking, and shred the other half of the brick, and cooked up 2 pounds of breakfast sausage and some of the diced onion and bell peppers, while the potatoes were roasting in the pan.
I assembled and cooked one breakfast casserole with potatoes, eggs, a little milk, cheese, green and yellow bell peppers, sweet onions, and ground breakfast sausage. And I have the other one most of the way ready. It so far has potatoes, sausage, green onions, and cheese in the dish, and in the morning I will saute spinach, add the eggs and milk and cook that one. The second one will be for my daughter as she can't handle the peppers and regular onions. We will freeze half of it as she can't get through it fast enough. I won't be eating either of these because of the potatoes, but saved out some sausage and will just make myself an omelet for breakfast with that, bell pepper, green onions, and cheese.
After breakfast, I will be cooking up a whole lot of polish sausage and kielbasa some for this week and some to go in the freezer for next week or the week after that, not sure yet. Not really sure if we want to do sausage and peppers for lunches 2 weeks in a row. But I'd rather cook it all up in one long session now. Then I'll do enough peppers for this week's lunches. I'll have to buy more peppers tomorrow, but I'll probably just slice and freeze. There is a good sale that ends tomorrow, but I didn't have room in my fridge to buy more than the eight I bought until I started making meals and putting things in the freezer or reducing the size of the veggies by slicing and dicing. If the guys want something to go with the sausage and peppers that is more carby they can have whatever leftovers we will have like mashed potatoes from tonight's dinner or root veggies, or mixed veggies from the freezer, or rice. Whatever.
While doing that I will have some hamburger thawing to mix with the mild Italian sausage that is already thawed in the fridge so I can get some meatballs made up. If we have any ground chicken, turkey, or lamb left, I'll throw that in, too. I want to make enough to have three meals worth of meatballs. We'll have gluten free penne and meatballs with zucchini for dinner tomorrow night. I'll want something easy I can just dump in the Instant Pot.
I'll thaw out some other sausage I have that is not from the hog we just got that needs to be used up, along with some hamburger and make up a couple of meatloaves for the freezer and while I am at it I will use the two mild Italian sausages that are from the hog we bought and are thawed out to make meatballs for the freezer.
For dinner tomorrow we will have baked chicken with roasted root vegetables of a large parsnip, a very large sweet potato, two turnips and two yellow potatoes, and purple green beans from my garden.
For Wednesday we will have pork chops, fried potatoes, and more purple green beans.
Thursday will be beef stir-fry with broccoli, onions, carrots, celery, bok choy, water chestnuts, purple green beans, and bamboo shoots if I still have a can. It will be served with white rice.
Friday we will have Butter and Basil Chicken with sheet pan vegetables (they had these at Costco, I don't remember exactly what was in them, but they looked yummy and were mostly low carb), and baked potatoes.
Saturday will be Coho salmon, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. I might get some corn on the cob, too, when I pick up more bell peppers. We haven't had any this summer. Too long recovering from the reoccuring stomach virus.
Sunday will be meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and purple green beans.
I've also got to do some more peeling and cutting up tomorrow. I need to get cucumbers and carrots peeled, cucumbers, carrots and radishes sliced, and carrots and celery cut into sticks. I need to make up some French onion dip with plain yogurt for my daughter and make up some green godess dressing with plain yogurt for my son. I have to finish chopping up the bottom portion of the green onions.
So we have salad fixings, coleslaw fixings, veggie sticks, and pico de gallo fixings on hand to eat at will, as well as fruit for snack cravings for those who want more carbs than me. My son has plain tortilla chips left. Sometimes I will throw pico in my eggs. My coleslaw is not made with sugar, just 1 tbsp of honey in the entire simple dressing, and no vinegar, to keep the carb count low.
Once I get through what I've got planned so far, then I need to inventory the house freezer and see where to go from there, while I am still feeling like I can. I'd like to get some more meals put together to kill the "I don't wanna cook" attitidude or even the "I can't keep food down and can't get near food" issue that happened so much this summer. Even if it is just having all the ingredients ready in the freezer to be thrown together it will help so much. And if I can't throw it together at least the guys will be able to. I still think it was the medicine I quit taking, but I can't be sure, as I still don't feel right. It still might be related to my heart. I will be so glad when I get the results back from the 2 week heart monitor test.
I am planning out some freezer meals to do depending on when certain sales hit, but I missed the boneless skinless chicken sale because I was sick when it hit, so cilantro lime chicken and parsley chicken are off the table until the next one unless I want to thaw, skin, and debone the chicken I already have and refreeze it, which I don't. So no premaking them, but I can make them for dinner with no premaking if I feel like it. It'll just have to be a good day where I am on top of things. It'll probably be 5 to 6 weeks before that sale hits again. The chuck roast sale went up .47/lb, from the normal cycle. I think it is going to stay there. It was the same week I was too sick to leave the house, just at a different store. I was going to buy 8 so I could can, but such is life.
Here's a list of the groceries I bought:
1 large Zoi Greek yogurt
1 large bag mixed vegetable blend
2 steamer bags riced cauliflower
1 lb brick extra sharp white cheddar
2 lb brick medium cheddar
32 ounce Daisy sour cream
1 gallon organic milk
1 half gallon lactose free organic milk
4 dozen organic pasture-raised eggs
2 beef chuck roasts
2 bags cole slaw mix
1 bag spinach
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch Italian parsley
2 large cucumbers
2 large green zucchini
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch radishes
5.65 lb of yellow potatoes
4 very large sweet potatoes (3 types)
2 apple juice
3 lb strawberries
2 bok choy
1 savoy cabbage
1 thumb ginger root
2 red, 2 green, 2 yellow, 2 orange bell peppers
1 Elephant garlic
2 lb bag organic carrots
1 box yellow kiwis
3 lb bag baby potatoes
Cosmic crisp apples
Beechers flagship cheese
18 month cave aged gouda
4 oz can sliced black olives
4 cans pumpkin puree
1 Redmond pink Himalayan salt shaker
2 12 packs polish sausage
3 8 packs kielbasa
Pink fine ground Himalayan salt to refill salt shaker
1 bag sheet pan vegetables
1 package beef snack sticks
So hopefully only a few little filler items from here.