Saving on Saturday 3/23/2019

One of the ways that we attempt to cut out grocery budget is with the purchase of an entire cow. We purchased 890# of meat approximately one year ago.  This works well for us especially since we have the freezer space for all this meat and some to spare. We have been enjoying beef several times a week but it has become really clear that we as a family do not like roast.  I have tried several different versions and ways to make the roast with different taste and it still does not end up being all that great, with lots of left-overs. However, we like ground beef and eat it a hundred different ways with no complaint. Now here is how we are saving money today. I purchased last month on Amazon on a 60% off sale a grinder that attaches to my Kitchen Aid Mixer.

Last night, I set 3 roast out to unthaw and today, I cut the bones out of each of them and then ground them up with the grinder. I will admit it was a little bit of work to get this accomplished but less than 2 hours for the entire process.  After grinding the hunks of roast into ground beef, I fried it up and tossed in the crockpot with taco seasoning and water.  The remaining bones and meat that was attached I placed in a second crock pot  and made beef broth that I will bag and freeze tomorrow.

I was able to take 3 meals that we would eat and not enjoy and turn into at least 7 meals that will be quick and easy to prep and at least 16 cups of beef broth. I am definitely calling this a win  in the saving department!

Menu Planning Monday

We were VERY successful eating up the junk food Sunday left-overs this past week. I did not post a menu plan but did talk about some of them over here.   The focus of this week is to try out some new recipes. I found a bunch of new to me crockpot recipes that include a shopping list. After looking at most of it, I realized that I would only have to buy the meat for most of these. I did want to do a taste test before stocking the freezer with these items. I also realized that some are just as easy to prepare the morning of or the night before. So far all three have been good but I will most likely only repeat two, the Mexican chill and Honey Sesame Chicken.

Breakfast- Saturday– Pancakes- with leftovers for several additional mornings this week. Sunday-I made an egg frittata with lots of veggies for me and biscuits for the kids and Matt. . Monday- Left-over egg frittata (the kids tasted mine on Sunday and wanted to finish it on Monday). Tuesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of any available left-overs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, toast or eggos waffles.  Wednesday- baked oatmeal of some form.

Lunch–Saturday-Olive Garden (special treat) Sunday-Cranberry Roast with mixed veggies.  Monday– Potato soup for kids and a can of soup for me.  Tuesday– hummus and dip for me , Kendall and Zach had egg salad sandwiches , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- uncrustables for the kids. I have a salad for one day and left-overs.

Dinner – Saturday-Mexican Chill with cornbread topping. Sunday–Oddles of noodles soup (yeap it was that good of a day) Monday-Honey Sesame chicken with egg rolls and rice. Tuesday– Taco pasta   Wednesday– Baked Ziti Thursday– Hamburgers and FF. Friday – left-overs or rice kielbasa depending on what the fridge looks like.

 

Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe for me to try?

Menu Plan Monday-01/21/2019

I am working on eating out of our freezers and pantry this month. So far I have spent $65.35 in groceries, 10 days remaining and my only additional spending should be for eggs and bread. My goal is to end at $70.  We are beginning to come to the end of some of our preferred foods so things are going to be really interesting over the last two weeks of the month in addition to the face, we are predicted to have winter weather either once or twice this week depending on what you believe.  You will probably notice that we ate out twice on Sunday. Sunday lunch was a choice with friends.  Sunday night- was Chinese for $22 because we ended up at the Verizon store for several hours and did not come home after church until 8:30pm. At  least we can feed all of us for $22.

Breakfast- Saturday– Eggs or clean out the left-overs in the fridge day. I think* the girls both ate French toast.  Sunday-Sausage eggs and grits . Monday- Breakfast bowls complete with hashbrowns and gravy from Saturday evening.  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of any available left-overs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, toast or eggos waffles.  Wednesday- baked oatmeal of some form. 

Lunch–Saturday-Chill cheese fries Sunday-Coaches Restaurant . Monday– Milk shakes for the kids and chips and salsa for me .  Tuesday– salad for me, Kendall and Zach had Cowboy beans, Lily a salad, Wednesday-Soup for me, chicken nuggets for Zach and Lily, Kendall-vegetables to dip, Thursday– leftovers for me, Zach has chicken nuggets and Kendall a roll up. Friday- I eat out, Zach, Lily and Kendall have soup.

Dinner – Saturday-Gravy Biscuits  Sunday– Chinese  Monday-Stuffed green peppers (I did manage to use the left-over rice from Chinese in them) Tuesday– Taco pasta   Wednesday– Sloppy Joes Thursday– Chicken enchiladas . Friday – Spaghetti and meatballs.

Monday Menu Planning 12/10/2018

From the weather forecast of last week, I knew that I need to plan on all of us being home this week, which means extra sweets and treats needed. Amanda is also staying with us during the snow. I made a trip to Walmart on Thursday night and purchased all the things I thought we would need. So far after 3 full days at home we are still doing really well. My best guess is that the kids will be out of school all week. I will have a workday on Friday or maybe both Thursday and Friday.  My goal is to make a  batch and have some left-overs to use again.  Soup is always a big hit on these cold snowy days.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pancakes and Sausage balls   Sunday-Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuits, Monday- Gravy and biscuits,  Tuesday- Sausage crescent rolls and left-over pancakes, Wednesday- Waffles, Thursday- Muffins  and Friday- Choice of any available left-overs oatmeal, grits cereal, toast or eggos waffles.
Lunch-Saturday-Sausage dip, taco dip, Crock Pot wieness, with fruit and vegetable trays.   Sunday-Chicken and Rice .  Monday and Tuesday- Sandwich or choice of Left-overs. Wednesday- Mac and cheese or pasta, Thursday Sandwich or left-overs, Friday- Soup of choice 
Dinner – Saturday-Leftovers, kids had pizza at church. Sunday- Left-overs from Olive Garden,  Monday-Stuffed Green Pepper Soup Tuesday- Country Style steak, fried squash and green beans Wednesday-Instapot Potato Soup  , Thursday- Beef and Broccli in the crockpot Friday-Pizza.

Menu Planning Monday 9/17/2018

This has been a bit of a different weekend. Everyone was home from Thursday till Monday. All three kids were out of school on Monday so things are a little off. We did manage to eat out only 1 meal (Sunday lunch) and I did prepare a lot of food ahead for the coming weeks and months. You will notice extra soup and soft foods on the menu this week, both Zach and Lily had their braces tighten and need some softer options.

Breakfast- Saturday-Eggs and Bacon, Sunday-Quick meal (we woke up late) Monday- Eggs and toast, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of pop-tarts, breakfast burrito bowl, egg muffins, cereal, toast. eggos or grits.
Lunch-Saturday-Baked Potato soup in Instapot  Sunday- Coach’s  Restaurant with friends . Kids have lunch packed including lunchables, uncrustables and wraps. My goal is to only eat out on Friday this week: salad, humus , pimento cheese and crackers . I even managed to take my lunch on the work day which was Monday. 
Dinner – Saturday-Country Style steak  Sunday- left-overs  , Monday-White Bean chicken chill Tuesday- Soft Taco , Wednesday-Chicken and Broccoli Casserole, Thursday- Sloppy joes and French Fries. Friday-cowboy beans and corn bread(I made baked Ziti last week and ate so we just brought this forward.)

Cooking Ahead

I was surprised and excited to learn on Wednesday that due to the impending hurricane, my school system would close early on Thursday and be closed all day on Friday of this week.  The reason for my excitement was the thought of how much I could get ahead with cooking.  I made a trip to the grocery store to grab the stuff I needed to make baked ziti Wednesday night. I also ended up sending Matt to the store Thursday night to get some shells we needed.

Here is what my day looked like:

Breakfast- triple batch of sausage gravy.  The remainder will stay in the fridge for use for either a hearty quick breakfast or breakfast bowls for dinner next week.
After breakfast, I browned 3# of hamburger meat. We bought a new pan at Costco that made this job so much easier.  The meat went into the crockpot with taco seasoning and water while we ventured out to piano.

Lunch- Matt ate an burrito, Zach and Lily had mashed potatoes. Both had adjustments to their braces on Thursday. I had hummus and chips and Kendall a sandwich. After lunch, Matt and I formed an assembly line and made 27 beef and bean burritos. We froze these. Two minute in the microwave and these make a great lunch or quick dinner.

Dinner-I started working on dinner around 3pm. Using my Baked Ziti recipe ( I plan to post and update the link on Saturday). It is very simple to make one ziti to eat and another for freezing. We ended up having friends over for dinner. I was able to pull enough lettuce out of the garden to make a decent salad.

Accomplishment of the day: 3 breakfast meals, 25 frozen burritos and two awesome baked ziti!

Monday Menu Post 8/20/2018

This is the week that I am counting on Menu planning to really pay off.  Matt and I both will be working full time and the kids are don’t start school until next Monday. I did try to stock up on Breakfast foods this past weekend.

Breakfast- Saturday-Breakfast burrito bowls (using gravy from Friday), Sunday- Eggs with pesto and cottage cheese for Zach and me, Pop-tarts for the girls and left over burrito bowl for Matt. Monday- Burrito bowl minus gravy for me, fruit for kids and cereal for Matt Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of pop-tarts, breakfast burrito bowl, egg muffins, cereal, eggs or grits.
Lunch- Saturday-lunch out with friends Sunday- Pizza from Dominos. I will be eating out most of the week at my new job, Monday- left over pizza and bagel bites, Tuesday- burritos for everyone but Kendall who is eating a lunchable. Wednesday- Mac and chesses, the blue box kind, Thursday- Sandwiches, Friday- left-overs or uncrustables.
Dinner – Saturday- Hot dogs Sunday- Baked potatoes , Monday- Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and watermelon, Tuesday- Chicken Enchiladas from freezer, Wednesday-Slow cooked pepper steak , Thursday- Corn dogs from Sonic after meet the teacher and Friday-Pull pork, veggie and fruit.

Matt and I actually planned the menu for the next six weeks but will make adjustments and changes are we see fit. I am so excited and ready to see the kids every night at dinner!

Cooking Ahead

One of the biggest changes or should I say most difficult change for me, is going to be that I am responsible for dinner most days of the week. Both Matt and I will be working until around 4:30pm each day.  I know myself and realize that if I don’t have something that is already complete in the crockpot or can be placed in the oven with five minutes or less of prep than I will want to eat out. But really after working all day who does want to cook?  With this in mind, I spent most of my day today working on meal preparation. I know there are a couple of people who wander what and how so I am going to provide probably too many details.

First up was left-over chicken and pasta from the beach.  This was an excellent meal made by Amanda but we had leftovers especially chicken breast.  I shredded  1/4 of the chicken breast, mixed in about half a block of cream cheese together with the left-over pasta and this was our lunch today. I shredded the rest of the chicken breast, added a bag of frozen vegetables, cut up a potato, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup mixed with a cup of chicken broth and pour on top. Kendall wrote a index card with the directions for the topping and in the freezer it went.

I purchased a 10 pound bag of chicken breast from Costco that I pulled out next. I used my insta pot to cook approximately 4 pounds, really as full as it would go. Next, the kitchen aid shredded the chicken. I was able to make 2 containers of Chicken Broccoli Casserole .    I have learned that I needed to chop up the broccoli in order to make everyone happy.  I also made 2 batches of Chicken Enchiladas-  I don’t add the salsa or cheese on top before freezing. Finally made a regular Chicken Pie. Kendall added a card with instructions. I also labeled both the top and side with what each thing was.  I added about another 3 pounds of chicken breast to the instapot and cut this is cubes for Chicken Fried Rice. ( I will try and add the recipe for this soon). I left 6 breast in the bag and added a bottle of Italian dressing. This will marinate for 3 or 4 days and become awesome grilled chicken. That is a total of 8 meals from one bag of chicken and 9 meals prepped for the day.

We, Matt and I did an inventory last night and we have 2 meals of cowboy beans, a meal of taco soup, several meals of Salisbury steak, taco meat and sloopy joes all prepared.   Matt is also excited to find 10 more frozen burritos.

Taco meat is easy, brown 5 pounds of hamburger dump in crock pot along with water and seasoning, cook on low for 3-4 hours. We divide ours into 1# bags for either tacos or nachos.

Sloppy joes are similar with 5 pounds of browned hamburger, this also cooks in the crook pot for several hours. These are also packed in 1# bags, which feeds the 6 or 7 of us easily.

We also have lots of beef from the cow we purchased. I do want to make some easy breakfast this week but am starting to feel more comfortable with our meals. The last stage will be writing out a meal plan for the month some time this week.

Saving on Saturday

Find out the day that your local supermarket reduces the meat and that is when you shop.

I can honestly say, I have heard of this  way to  saved money  but did not believe it was true until this week.  I had planned to shop at Food Lion this weekend due to Lunchables being on sale for $1 each. These are quick and easy lunches that my kids consider a special treat. In the past, I have been able to stock up on these just prior to school starting but that was not the case this year.  My mother was with us and helped to find some of the deals. I was able to purchase over one hundred dollars worth of meat for $66. This is a 40% savings on meat!

I grabbed several packets of thin steaks for Fajitas, a pack of steaks, several pack (ok 6 packs of chicken nuggets with cheese, meatballs and both chicken and pork bites.   These are not the typically way we would eat these items but I am super excited that we have a chance to try some new and different things without breaking the bank.

This meat deal could have not come at a better time for us as we will be purchasing a whole cow in the next 2 months in addition to 80# of chicken from Zaycon. But in the meantime we still need meat and the kids insist that they have meat at least 2 of the 3 meals

What good deals have you found lately? Leave a comment to prove you read!

Six Things On Saturday- 2/10/2018

Yes this is the “day late and dollar short” version of 5 Things Friday. I will be the first to admit that the last couple of weeks have been very stressful and emotionally exhausting in addition to being financially straining.

Yesterday, was our first full paycheck for the month of February. The good news is that we were able to catch up from the snow week. I have a plan in place for both our tax returns and am very hopeful that this will allow us back on a slow but steady track to paying down our huge debit this year. We are working to reduce both our electric and water bills to a more normal level. Matt and I have already worked out a Menu plan for the month which means we should be able to keep the grocery bill on a lower than usual level. Another positive is that Matt has been selling vinyl decals on a very steady basis this month. This is definitely helpful as we have lots of unexpected expenses.

I am battling left-overs in our fridge.  Our super bowl party is always fun but we end up with some interesting left-overs.  This week, I made an effort to make meals of left-overs and strongly suggested that Matt and Lily eat left-overs for lunch. Today, I am repurposing left-overs, we had a bag of carrots, and a bunch of celery, several cups of rice and some pulled pork.  I did a little bit of thinking and decided to make pork fried rice.  I chopped up the pork and realized that we had over 4 cups left which is enough to make 2 full meals for us. I let Kendall help chop up the carrots and celery. I added some green peppers and onions and that became our veggies for the stir-fry. One set for dinner and a second set in the freezer for a crazy day of what is for dinner.

Zach has officially started taking piano. He has been asking for over a year but we really wanted him to wait until he was a strong reader before attempting. Kendall started teaching him this week for fun. He even practiced every day without being told. This is definitely an expense that I don’t mind adding.

I am so ready for spring, in fact I have already planned out our square foot garden and added several more containers. I am very hopefully that with a little extra work this year we will have a bumper crop.  I purchased trees a couple of years ago to start work on a landscape line. The trees came with a 2 year guarantee. I received an email yesterday that a new peach tree is being shipped this week. My mother has also been growing several pecan trees in her flower bed. So we should be able to finish the border without spending any additional money!

Our busy schedule has returned. Some days, I am honestly thinking how do we actually do this. This week, Lily has practice for her play, 4 nights and a party the 5th night. Kendall has 2 days of extra curricular activities in addition to church on Wednesday night. Matt has also doubled his hours at work for this week. Yikes, better rest up today!