If you missed Part One or Part Two you can check them out, and next week we will wrap up with some of my all time favorite go to recipes!!!!
So, for today, lets go shopping and plan our menus shall we??
First, let me say a few things about grocery shopping. I used to be very technical with a fancy list and my coupons and it was all organized by aisles and certainly if you can do that, you have the key to my heart. It's just that these last few years, I am on a limited time crunch for doing my shopping. Since we homeschool, if I want to go alone, I usually do it while my girls are at piano or at choir. I have about an hour and a half for each, so I am more like Supermarket Sweep, less like the leisurely shopper.
Do you know how hard it is to shop for 2 weeks and get back to pick your kids up in an hour and a half. I can't tell you how many times I have hidden my buggy in the clothes at Walmart, gone to pick up my kids, and then returned to check out!!! ITS TORTURE!!!
That is why I started shopping the sales!!!
If you shop the sales, you can create your list right there in your car in about 5 seconds by just circling on the sale paper. Now, most stores put all their sale items in one section so I can be a calm, leisurely shopper again!! That's good stuff!!!
So, here is what I am after....
Just for example purposes, lets use this week's Winn Dixie paper!! I know that some of you don't have a Winn Dixie, but that is where I do most of my shopping, so just substitute it for the store whose sale papers you are perusing this week.
So this week at Winn Dixie (you can view the sales paper here) here is what I like:
First, lets start with meat.
This is the only way that I buy meat from a grocery store. Winn Dixie has good meat (not grass fed or all natural, but for the most part good). When it goes on sale I will stock up. Luckily it goes on sale every couple of weeks. This means that you will be able to spend the bulk of your budget on meat one week, and then just buy snacks and sides for the next couple. I also need to add that my husband is a big deer hunter, so we always have ground venison and sausage coming out of our ears. We also have a pond so if we are in the mood for fish, we catch them!
So this week I see their boneless chuck roasts are on sale for $2.99/lb. That is good but not great. Sometimes, very rarely they will go on sale, B1G1 and I will buy 2, getting 2 free. That will stock my freezer with 4 roasts which could lasts months if I play my cards right. We are out right now and my family is begging, so I may take a look. If I can get them for less than $10 each I would buy one.
I would most definitely buy their bone in, center cut pork chops. They are B1G1 and fried pork chops are a staple here (recipe will be on my list next week). So yes, please, 2 packs, giving me 4 packs of pork chops. For around $10, I will be able to get meat for 4 meals for my family.
I also see, split chicken breasts B1G1. I would not buy these because they do have a bone and skin. You pay by weight so that isn't really a deal. I would pass and wait for the boneless skinless!!
Their Smithfield Bacon is $3.99 each so I would probably buy a pack. Not a stock up price, but for the grease alone, if your cup is running low, I would buy!!! (You do have a cup of grease int the back of your fridge don't you?? If not buy bacon and save the grease. It will change your life!!)
We live in Louisiana, so it is just NOT OKAY to buy seafood from Winn Dixie...no matter how good of a deal it is. I buy seafood fresh in bulk usually at the beginning of the summer. I may spend $100 but I will have shrimp and crab for the year!!! If you don't have access to fresh seafood, I would suggest a seafood market or Whole Foods. If you look closely most of what your local store is going to sell is going to be from Mexico, China, or Phillipines. No thank you!!! You want fresh gulf seafood! TRUST ME!!!
So meat is slim pickings this week. For me, that means that we will rely heavily on what we already have, do a salad of some sort one night, have pizza night, and a soup night. Then we will hope that there is more meat on sale next time. Because this is a slim week on meat, it means that a good one is coming. For instance, my last grocery trip this is what I scored in the meat department:
2 pork sirloin roasts
2 pork loins (the big ones)
2 packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 packs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 packs of baby back ribs
You see how its weighted??? Slim and then jackpot!!!
So now lets move on to dry goods. Here is what I see that I would buy:
Quaker, Kelloggs, or General Mills Cereal B1G1 (buy 2 get 2 free, cereal for a month)
Vlasic pickles B1G1 (great snacks for the kids)
Lance crackers B1G1 (I love these for snacks...they are $3 B1G1 so stock up...$1.50 each)
Hunts Ketchup (this is our brand of ketchup, so at B1G1 I would stock up...$1.50 each!!!!)
Winn Dixie Charcoal B1G1 (8.3lbs for $5.49, that is $2.25 each on sale. That will start us off for the warm weather coming!)
Pop Secret popcorn B1G1
Canned Veggies 59 cents per can (If I needed veggies, I would buy)
Now onto fresh fruits and veggies: I have to say that I try to buy my fruits and veggies local. I also only buy what is in season, so I will pass on deals because of that, but I will list what I would buy for you here!
Strawberries B1G1 (if you don't live near local strawberries this would be a buy for me)
Cabbage 39 cents per pound (I would buy 2, 3, or maybe 4 cabbages)
Now onto frozen:
Gorton's Fish Sticks B1G1 (I would buy this for sure!! 44 fish sticks for $3.50 per bag! LUNCH!!)
Ore Ida Hashbrown Potatoes B1G1 (I have a great potato casserole recipe, I would buy this deal for sure and keep the potatoes on hand for the next dinner on the grounds or pot luck supper we go to!!
TGI Fridays Buffalo Wings B1G1 (my kids love these and for $2.25 each that is a no brainer. I don't buy them often, but will surprise them with these for lunch one day!!)
Okay, so now that we know everything we need that is on sale, I make my menu. And I start with what I have gotten on sale. I very technically (lol) write down the days for the next week or 2 until I come back shopping and then just fill in the blanks. We know we have a roast, pork chops, and bacon in the meat department. I know that is going to be roast and rice and gravy with vegetables and cornbread one night, fried pork chops with sides one night, and if I have potatoes then I would put potato soup on the menu to use my bacon. Remember, you want to include a soup, a pizza night (recipe coming next week), and maybe a breakfast for supper night. That will stretch your groceries like you wouldn't believe!! So, here is what my super technical menu looks like so far...
If you have a shift working husband or a weekend working husband, you may want to shuffle these meals around a little. I always make sure that I cook something on week nights that he can take for lunch the next day, and if he is working weekends, I wouldn't do the pizza or breakfast at night because neither is a re-heater!! But, sometimes, you can make enough to have 2 leftover servings so he can take the meal twice. I try to keep those things in mind as I cook. Maybe 2 cans of green beans instead of one or mashed potatoes for your side (something that makes alot). You get it!!! Okay, so Wednesday night, we eat at church and Sunday......hmmmm, oh Sunday!! Sundays are tough because we need to be able to eat it make it on Saturday or use a crockpot, eat it for lunch, dinner, and my hubby is gonna have to take it for lunch one day the following week, so it needs to make alot!!! This is a great day for spaghetti, lasagna, soups, gumbo, red beans and rice, something like that!! I think this week I will do gumbo. Its supposed to be cold and I have the chicken thighs that were on sale last week!! I will post the recipe next week so that you can see how easy a gumbo is!!
So, that is a week of dinners. If you are like me, you shop in 2 week increments, so we have a week to go. I would do something with pork chops the next week, another soup, pizza night again....you get it. I have a great go to Pork Chop Casserole recipe I will make, we bought cabbages, so Cabbage Soup is a must, and Friday night is Pizza and Shark Tank Night over here, so that is easy!
Now for the remainder of nights we will have to get creative. Hmmmm, what is in our freezer already? Is there a birthday party on Saturday that we will eat at? Could we go out to eat one night? What about poboys? And we haven't done a salad. If you had chicken, you could do a grilled chicken salad, or ground meat you could do taco salad?? I have a ham frozen from the week before Christmas when they went on sale for so cheap. I think I will bake it on Saturday, and then use the leftovers for Red Beans and Rice on Sunday!! Now we have this for the second week!!
Those are the things I think about after I have the sale items circled in my car while I sit in the parking lot of the grocery store! Then I add the items I need to my list that is hodgepodged in the margin of the front page of the sale paper!! I won't buy too many off the wall ingredients, or cook something that requires a bunch of ingredients that I don't have. If you do that you are just shooting yourself in the foot. All your hard work of circling the sale items will be washed away with the oodles of extras you are adding to the list.
Now all that is left is breakfast and lunch!!! We know that we have Fish Sticks and Hot Wings, so we have at least 4 meals from that for lunch. I always keep peanut butter and jelly, cheese slices for grilled cheese, and of course leftovers when we have them. So lets plug those in!! I am just showing one week at a time, but you get it, right?? Our other week will look the same!!
Now breakfast, well, we know we have cereal coming out of our ears, so that is a for sure for a couple of mornings. But we don't want to get carried away and blow through the boxes all at once. We want them to last. Remember how I told you in the very first post that I am a rationer!! I am a total Rationer!! I want my stuff to last!! I am sure that like me, you always have eggs, oatmeal, grits, ooooh, we bought bacon, and maybe we can do muffins. I will add that to my list!!
So there!! Our menu for 2 weeks is DONE!!! And for snacks, well we did get the Lance Crackers, the popcorn, and pickles. I always keep graham crackers, vanilla wafers, pretzels, puddings, and I encourage fruit as much as I can depending on what is in season. Right now everyone is SO TIRED of oranges!! That is all we really have this time of year!! Strawberries and blueberries, and blackberries, and peaches, and plums will be such a welcomed treat in just a few months!! I also keep all of my baking staples in my pantry so I can make Rice Krispy treats, cookies, chocolate pies, fried pies, and things like that both for snacks and treats!!
So, once you add your bread, milk, and whatever else you need to your grocery list, you are ready!!!
I hope this helped somehow to anyone who may stumble over here and read it!!!
Next week, I will be posting all of my recipes, Lord willing, that I have talked about during this series and maybe a few more!! And if you have any go to recipes, please share them with us too!!!! You can post them on your blog and leave a link in the comments!! I am always looking for recipes!!!
See you next week!!