Saving On Saturday

Today was a very rainy and dreary day.  The perfect time to catch up on some meal preparation and food preservation.

  • Matt and I took 2 packages of cube steak from our previous cow purchase, breaded and deep fried them. They will be used for steak biscuits for breakfast for the next 6 months or so.
  • I went ahead and meal prepped for the week. Stuffed green peppers, grilled chicken and bacon cheddar burgers are all ready to go.
  • Sorted through and combined items in the freezers in the house as well as the chest freezer. The plan is to purchase as little as possible over the next 8 months and use the food we have in our freezers and pantry.
  • Soaked and cooked a bag of black beans that Matt can use in his chill. (We have 2 cans of beans so this should last awhile.
  • Packaged up gravy from breakfast into can size bags for use with breakfast pizza. I purchased a single can of gravy to use and it was $2.09…. our breakfast left-overs saved us $5.

We debated but decided against turning off the a/c. The humidity is still really high, and it feels sticky outside.  I will continue to watch the weather and as soon as we are below 80 degrees consistently, we will open the windows.

The kids all caught up on laundry, which means less stress for me.

Remember it is the small things that add up!

Menu Planning on Tuesday!

The focus this week and for most of the month of August will be no food waste!  I am working hard to find ways to use what we have and are growing but also to save a little each day for the future.

One explanation- we have been getting breakfast at Biscuit King on Saturday morning which allows us to get outside and get a couple hours of work in prior to it getting unbearably hot.

Breakfast- Saturday- Biscuit King   Sunday- Sausage and eggs on the Blackstone as we did not have electricity.  Monday- Smoothies Tuesday- Homemade Everything bagels   Wednesday- Breakfast burritos Thursday- find it in the freezer, which includes muffins, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes. Friday- Banana muffins

Lunch- Saturday-BLTs Sunday-Greggs   Monday- Leftovers   Tuesday- Summer lunch which included squash, zucchini, cantaloupe and strawberries.  Wednesday- Eat out as we will be back to school shopping.  Thursday- Leftovers or sandwiches, Friday-salad.

Dinner- Saturday-Cheddar Bacon Burgers. Sunday- Roast Beef sliders Monday- Spaghetti with homemade sauce.  Tuesday Chicken Pot pie   Wednesday- Insta pot hamburger helper.  Thursday- Pasta salad Friday-Steaks and baked potatoes.

Holiday Plans

This holiday (4th of July) weekend, we have been focusing on some project around the house.  First was installing a bike rake on the trailer.  We also ended up replacing some of the trailer wiring and working on a couple of the bikes. Next was finishing up the kitchen floor, we ended up removing the top layer that has been in place for 2 years. The ultimate goal is the replace this floor but first we need to have a bathroom floor replaced and we also need to decide what we want to replace the floor with.  The other big project will be to finish up the chicken coop area.

While most of this has not been frugal it is needed. We have been able to cook and eat at home for all meals except one and all have been under $5 each.

Saturday breakfast– pancakes
Saturday Lunch– Steak um sandwich- pack of steak-um was $4.97 from Aldi, used a green pepper and onion already here. Zach and I ate on hot dog buns that needed to be used, Matt and Lily used hamburger buns that needed to be used.
Saturday Dinner– I made scallop potatoes and ham. The ham is from the freezer so completely free.
Sunday Lunch- We has squash from the garden, I added onion and a pack of stew beef (purchased on clearance last year) that needed to be used this week.  We also cooked rice. We will sauté another squash on the Blackstone and have a second meal from these.
Sunday Dinner- BLT sandwiches, we have our fresh tomatoes from the garden again lettuce from another meal that needed to be used.
Monday Breakfast- Sausage patties (purchased for $2.34 on clearance) and eggs on bread. We also have an excess of bread this week.

The current plan is for Monday lunch and dinner to be from the refrigerator to use up left-overs. We could also have tomato sandwich or chicken salad or pimento cheese sandwiches as well.

Here to finishing up some projects!

Monday Menu Planning

May be an image of text that says 'If by "meal planning" you mean "constantly planning in my my mind what I'll eat next" then, yes. I do meal planning.'

This describes Zach completely!  I will admit I stole this off Facebook this morning!

One of my long-standing goals for each summer is to meal prep for the following year!  Last year this was off the table due to not having a stove and in 2020 we were receiving school lunch deliveries every day, so I did not need to do much meal preparation at all.  This year I am going to set a goal of 100 prepared recipes that we just need to thaw heat and eat. Some of these like Salisbury steak, and taco meat will have to wait until after we receive our cow but with having some extra time today. I wanted to get started as well as use up some various items in the fridge.  This should allow enough flexibility to eat what we feel like and also speed most dinners along.  If I am able to store more that 100 than that is even better.   One more side story, I needed to get a baked ziti in the freezer to use on our beach trip this summer. When I checked the freezer and cabinets for spaghetti sauce, I realized we were completely out.   As I was scanning the internet, I did find a bolognaise recipe, so I decided to make that in the crockpot to use for the baked ziti!  After making the baked ziti, I still had almost 40 oz left so that was the reason I decided to go ahead and make the million-dollar spaghetti pie.  Today, I have made 2-million-dollar spaghetti pies, 2 chicken/broccoli rice casseroles and prepared the baked potatoes for Wednesday. (Washed and wrapped- we are going to add cheese, sour cream and sloppy joe mix to the top). I also went ahead and made up the dry ingredients for baked oatmeal. This makes it very easy to make breakfast.

Official food preparation count: 9
Breakfast count : 8

Breakfast- Saturday- BLT sandwiches (Matt made bacon on his new Blackstone.)    Sunday- Eggs and sausage (on the Blackstone) Monday – Cinnamon Toast sticks from Sam’s Club. Tuesday- Peanut butter baked oatmeal (I also need to prepare another 12 bags to use during the school year).   Wednesday Gravy biscuits (I found frozen biscuits and need to use the milk) Thursday, Friday- find your own with what we have. I did buy cereal and pop tarts so this should be easy!

Lunch- Saturday-Grilled Italian sausage with onions and peppers Sunday- Lunch at friends. For the week, Lunch will either be   sandwiches/ roll up or quesadillas or left overs or hot pockets.

Dinner- Saturday- Lily was at work, Kendall and Zach were at Haley’s so I had chips and salsa   Sunday-Tortellini Alfredo, Monday- Broccoli and Chicken casserole.  Tuesday Pasta salad    Wednesday- Baked potatoes with sloppy joe mix.  Thursday- Grilled Chicken Salad Friday-Dinner at Red Robins for Kendall’s birthday.

 

Happy Summer!

Free Meal

I am very honest about my struggles to not waste food. My family has gotten fairly good at eating the left-overs from a restaurant in fact sometime you have to claim ahead of time. However, we are terrible about using the left-over bits of food that  are cooked at home.

Today I am going to declare a win in the zero food waste  along with the free dinner meal we enjoyed. I took left-overs to make pulled pork tator tots and pulled pork mac and cheese.  I used the remaining bits of a veggie tray, single squash and handful of green beans to make a veggie stir fry.  To complete the meal, we added cole slaw from the fridge.

Total out of pocket ZERO!

Monday Menu Plan

Menu planning is going to look a little different during the summer. Instead of just sharing what we are eating, I am planning to also share what we are doing in terms of food preparation and storage as well. My goal for this week is to continue to work on cleaning out the deep freezer as well as slower, time permitting start to re-stock some convivence food and of course the ultimate goal of not wasting food.  This morning I have already frozen the remaining strawberries from the fridge.  I made a large pot of rice to use with several meals this week.  I did have a long talk with the kids yesterday about reducing the amount of eating out that we have been completing.  I need to step up my game for breakfast and make sure that we have something plan to grab before heading out especially with taking Zach to camp.

Breakfast- Saturday- Sausage crescent rolls with donuts    Sunday- Left-overs   Monday- Blueberry baked oatmeal (blueberries from garden) Tuesday- banana muffins and maybe apple sauce muffins?     Wednesday sausage and eggs   Thursday- breakfast pizza, Friday- Special treat likely! Which means Biscuit King unless I decide to try a breakfast casserole.

Lunch- Saturday-Hot Dogs    Sunday- Applebee’s    For the week, Lunch will either by left-overs or sandwiches/ roll up or quesadillas .  Today- Monday- I made egg salad with the last boiled egg and eat it with pretzels.

Dinner- Saturday- Left-overs   Sunday- Bacon and Tomato sandwich   Monday- Taco Rice   Tuesday Pasta salad    Wednesday- Sloppy joes. Thursday- Pork stir fry with veggies from garden over rice   Friday-Tortellini Alfredo

Saving On Saturday

I wanted to update and blog what we are doing and continue to do in an effort to save money. I am watching lots of news stories talking about inflation and how the country is not going into a recession.  Sorry the more you say it does not make it true.   Anyway, here are a couple ways we have found to save money and I will talk a little more about food saving and waste at the end.

  • Running our dishwasher and washer/dryer in the middle of the night. This also helps to keep the heat out of the house so it is easier to cool.
  • Turning off the stove just before food is cooked. For example, I usually cook pasta for 8 minutes to use in dishes. I will turn the stove off after 6 minutes to save just a tiny bit.
  • Using the rain barrels to water the gardens.  This week we have been watering at least every other day so this is a huge saving.
  • Hanging swim suits and towels up to dry only washing one time per week.

Now on to  the food, one of the best ways to save money on groceries is to  eliminate as much food waste as possible. Today, I hope to have gotten at least one step closer to that.  We have a really busy week ahead so I was able to eliminate and use up some different foods this week and prepare ahead.  I have a jar on my cabinet that collects the half containers or less of pasta that does not get used in one meal. It was full of pente, small elbows and medium size elbows.  So today, I cooked it up instead of opening new boxes of pasta.   I used the taco meet from last week, added pasta, the Mexican cheese that had been left open, and couple of other ingredients to make taco pasta. I also cooked a package of Italian sausage I purchased last Sunday to try a new recipe called “Pumpkin Pasta” The recipe made a large batch so I placed half in the pan and froze a bag for later use. I ended up removing the meat from chicken legs that had sat in the fridge to make a Alfredo chicken bake we ate for dinner. This also used up mozzarella cheese that had been sitting in the fridge. We also pulled out watermelon for desert instead of opening a package of cookies.  We froze the remaining grapes in the refrigerator along with the 2 bananas that have been left this week. Unfortunately, I did have to throw out a container of strawberries that were shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten.

Small things do add up!

Menu Plan Monday

We are heading into the final stretch of school, I can feel summer break already!  Actually I have about 15 days left but this week is our final baseball game, Kendall and Zach finish school on Friday! The weather has also turned summery.  I  just do not want to cook and eat when it is so hot outside. This week you will notice lots of summer foods and minimal effort being placed. We have been steadily working through the left-overs and this weekend I discovered we would not have enough to use for lunches. Lily has begun working at the pool so that adds another meal that needs to be fairly easily to transport.  I decided to make up a couple of pasta salads.  We ended up eating these for lunch on Saturday and dinner on Sunday. They should also last at least 2 days for me!

Breakfast- Saturday-Biscuit King  Sunday- Find it yourself, I made a fried egg to go over my grits.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- eggs, sausage, bagels, bacon, grits, breakfast burritos or waffles are the current choices available.  I will likely make a final loaf of zucchini bread to use one morning. This will also clear out the frozen zucchini in the building.

Lunch- Saturday-Pasta salad  Sunday- Arby’s. Pasta salads will be the best choice this week. I may also make a couple of grilled chicken wraps. This is the last week of preparing lunches for the kids so the amount of convenience foods we need will significantly decrease. They will be able to make their own lunch at home for the next couple of weeks until I finish with school.

Dinner- Saturday-  Dinner at Izzy’s Graduation party Sunday- Pasta Salad.   Monday- Salad with choice of grilled chicken or pulled pork (both meats are leftovers)  Tuesday-McDonalds for the kids, Matt and I will have a date night. My choice will be sushi. Wednesday- Chicken Tacos. Thursday- Fish sticks  Friday- Homemade pizza!

 

3 Mondays of school left and next week is Memorial Day!  The final Monday is a workday and Kendall leaves for camp.

Saving on Saturday

Today has been a very busy but productive day!

Garden/ Yard

  • Used pavers that we had stored to make the boundary for the new Raspberry bed, used the 2 large bags of dirt and 7 small bags of dirt from the greenhouse in the raspberry bed.  We decided to use some stakes and string that we already had as well so we ended up spending  ZERO on the new bed.
  • Purchased 3 raspberry stalks and 25 bare root strawberries from Stark Brother’s nursery for 1/4 of the cost of what I saw locally.  I ended up planting all of these today!
  • Purchased 3 zucchini plants for $1.50 and a 6 pack of marigolds($4.50) from the local farmer’s market and planted these today.

Food/ Meals

  • Made breakfast bowls for breakfast, used left-over KFC gravy on top. We made 15 breakfast burritos and placed them in the freezer to use as a quick breakfast in the coming weeks.
  • Made a batch of cowboy beans in the crockpot.  We had these for dinner, froze one additional meal and have 4 lunch bowls in the fridge
  • Used a pound of ground beef given to us to make stuffed green peppers for a meal this week. I will need to top with cheese before baking. This should be an quick and easy meal.
  • I found 1 pound rolls of sausage priced at $1.99.  I purchased 15 rolls with most going in the freezer for future use.  In comparison the next cheapest option as $3.49 for a roll and this was a sale price. I will likely be stopping by Food Lion again to see if they continue to carry the sausage at this price. If so I would like to collect about 30 rolls for the freezer in anticipation of prices continuing to rise.
  • Used the chicken legs from dinner this week to make chicken enchiladas that even Lily will be able to eat.
  • We have made at least 10 full meals today and did not need to purchase one single item! In fact our grocery spending for the month is at $60!
  • I was able to find a source to purchase a whole cow from this summer. The price per pound it $4.80 which is $1 higher than we paid 3 years ago so I am super excited to finish cleaning out the freezer so we can order the cow!

Zach discovered a water leak under the house this morning. Matt was able to fix with items already on hand. This saved us not only on the cost of calling a plumber but it will also help reduce our water bill as it was a major leak.

Matt purchased new tires for the camper from Amazon ($250 for 4). He took both the old tires and the new tires to a local shop and had the tires mounted for $40.  I am going to estimate this saved over $300 on tires. He did purchase a special tool that he needed. But this will be used in the future as well.

Friday Food Five

  1. We have tried 3 new recipes this week. One of the reasons is that I realized that we have been able to have a different meal every night for the entire month of February. This is quite an accomplishment and a way for us to use up items in our freezer that we would not normally do.
  2. Rotel Chicken Spaghetti I really had high hopes for this dish. I thought that Zach would love it. But it turned out ok. It was the favorite one of mine of the week, but I honestly don’t think we will repeat it again because no one was thrilled with it. And we have so many awesome Mexican recipes that we really enjoy!
  3. Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole- This is a recipe that I found on Facebook. The difference is that it uses sausage links and bacon. This actually turned out to be very good and filing. However, it was very time consuming. Matt made it for dinner, and it took almost an hour to prepare so even though it was good. I don’t think it will be a repeat especially with our very busy schedule.
  4. Chicken casserole- layer in order 4 cups shredded chicken, can of cream of chicken soup, can of cream of celery soup, packet of onion soup mix, frozen vegetables and a box of already prepared stuffing.   Matt made the stuffing at lunch. Kendall ended up assembling this while we did some quick planting outside.  She did forget the onion soup mix, so I simply threw it on top.  This took almost an hour to cook but was good. We probably will not repeat it again either, but it may be one of those meal we make just to eat and run.
  5. I have already made a list of 42 meals that we are going to plan to use during the month of March. The best news is that we already have all the ingredients needed so I am not planning on spending much for groceries in March!