Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Goulash Cost Breakdown

I recently learned from my husband, who is 1/2 German and who's mother immigrated to America from Germany, that Goulash is a very regional dish. Depending on where you visit Goulash can take on a number of forms. In his 20s my husband visited Germany and tasted several different regional Goulash dishes. When we were dating and I learned my husband could make Goulash I asked him to make it one night for dinner and he obliged me. It was just like my mother's and I adored my mother's Goulash growing up; it was something we had for dinner normally once a month or so.

Now if Goulash is a regional thing and my husband's Goulash, which he learned to make from his mother, and my mom's Goulash, which has been passed down from my German great-grandparents, tastes the same, then does that mean they are from the same area of Germany? So maybe our relatives know each other.

This recipe is the epitome of comfort food. It doesn't have a lot of spices the way we make it, but sometimes my husband will use Italian Diced Tomatoes and my mom has been known to add garlic and those simple changes make a big impact on the flavor.

Cost Breakdown:
  • 1lb box of elbow macaroni -- $1
  • 1lb of ground beef -- $1.49
  • Salt & pepper to taste -- 6 cents
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes -- 89 cents
  • 1 standard can of diced tomatoes -- 49 cents
  • 1/2 loaf scratch bread -- 50 cents
Total Cost: $4.43

We normally eat 2 dinners off 1 pot of Goulash and often a lunch or 2 as well. It pairs beautifully with salad though we skipped that this time around.

How My Husband Made It:
  1. Boil noodles according to directions.
  2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef until done in a large skillet. Salt & pepper beef to taste. We don't use much salt as the canned tomatoes normally have plenty, but many people feel the need to salt ground beef. I would also like to add that if you want garlic in your Goulash, saute it lightly just before adding the beef.
  3. After noodles are done, drain and add to beef in skillet along with both cans of tomatoes. Heat everything until it's nice and hot.
  4. Serve generous portions with fresh, warm bread. Butter is optional, but oh so yummy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October Babies

I don't know where your mind is right now, but I'm thinking of pumpkins! I love pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie ice cream.... Seriously. If you have an ice cream shop anywhere near you find out if they have pumpkin pie ice cream and get some.

Like, now.

Canned pumpkin has its place, no doubts. And if you're seriously lacking freezer space, please stock up on some canned pumpkin during the holiday sales. But if you're purchasing a pumpkin to carve for Halloween, please don't lose out on all that delicious pumpkin meat by just tossing it after the candy binge ends. Most people think salvaging a pumpkin is hard work. It's not. Or I wouldn't do it.

There are only 2 methods I use and I'll let you decide which works for you.

Method #1: Oven Roasting

Cut your pumpkin into chucks -- assuming it's been scooped clean; if it's not scooped clean on the inside, then you'll need to start with that. The chunks should fit into a 9x13 or other sized baking dish. You'll want to add about 1/4-1/2 inch of water to the pan, place the pumpkin pieces in flesh side down, and then roast anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size, how much you put the into the oven, etc. Set the oven at 350* and check on the pumpkin periodically. Once soft (you should be able to stab it easily with a knife) remove from oven and cool. When it's cool enough to handle you should be able to just scoop the flesh out with a spoon. If it's too chunky for your taste, you can either blend it up or use a potato masher on it.

Method #2: Slow Cooker

Again, I'm assuming you've already used your pumpkin as a jack-o-lantern and that it's clean on the inside. Slice your pumpkin into easy-to-handle wedges and remove the flesh from the rind. I like using a smaller knife for the flesh removal -- a paring knife or even a tomato knife if the blade is strong enough to handle it. The flesh can be in chunks ranging in size, though mine are normally around 2 inches in any direction. Dump into your slow cooker, add a small amount of water 1/2 cup depending on how much pumpkin flesh is in the crock, and set to low. I usually check on mine every couple of hours and stab a piece with a knife to see if it's soft. Once soft I turn off the slow cooker, grab my potato masher and start mashing. Some people prefer to use a blender and blend it up smooth. I don't make much pie (just 1 or 2 if needed for a holiday dinner), so it doesn't matter to me if it's a bit chunky. Most of my fresh pumpkin is used for muffins and cookies and I don't mind a chunk or 2.

A Few Notes:
  • With either method you'll need to freeze your pumpkin in 1 or 2 cup increments.
  • I generally use the slow cooker method because my daughter is 5 and can't carve a pumpkin yet, so she paints it instead. Paint and ovens do not mix.
  • If you have saved your pumpkin seeds, you may want to roast them as the seeds are very healthy. Here's a recipe with some great tips from the reviewers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Scheduled this week I've got:
  • Turkey nachos with all the fixin's plus carrots & dressing* on the side
  • Asian-style pork chops with sauteed green bell peppers & onions, brown rice, and carrots
  • Chicken with a cream-based sauce with spinach and potato wedges
  • Salmon with lemon-butter sauce, brown rice, and a frozen veg (undecided still)
  • Goulash -- my husband will be cooking this and it tastes just like my mom's! This is also a favorite of mine because it's very inexpensive and it makes a lot -- enough usually for 2 dinners and a lunch or 2.
* It seems with doing so much scratch cooking that I'm growing a distinct distaste for certain packaged foods, like Ranch dressing. UGH! It just tastes nasty to me. So we have less than 1/2 a bottle left and I'm going to start mixing up my own. I'll post the recipe I use, which will probably be next week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Let Me Eat Cake

I took the day off. It's my birthday, so I had pizza and cake and got some cute new (and needed) socks. It was a good day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homemade Pizza Cost Breakdown

Can anything please a family more than pizza?

Cost Breakdown:
  • 2 C water -- 3 cents (??? Big time guessing on this one!)
  • 2 T brown sugar -- 5 cents
  • 2 T yeast -- 60 cents
  • 2 T EVOO -- 20 cents
  • 1 1/2 t salt -- 3 cents
  • 5 C bread flour -- $1.46
  • Homemade Pizza Sauce -- 40 cents
  • 1 C shredded mozzerella cheese -- 63 cents
Total Cost: $3.40

The crust portion of the recipe makes 2 crusts. The pizza sauce is for 1 pizza. I froze 1/2 the dough since I only need 1 pizza. So for the actual meal that night the cost was $2.19.

How I Made It:
  1. Combine warm water, brown sugar, and yeast in a bowl and allow to become bubbly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add to your "proofed" yeast the oil, salt, and flour. Knead for about 5 minutes if doing by hand or about 2-3 minutes in a stand mixer.
  3. Cover and allow to rise -- about an hour, depending on the temps in your house, humidity levels, etc. Keep an eye on it.
  4. While the dough is rising make up your pizza sauce so the flavors can blend while you wait.
  5. Once the dough is about twice it's starting size, divide into 2 parts. I froze 1 part of my dough, but you don't have to. Roll out, using a bit of flour and a rolling pin, to about the size of a 12 inch pie and place on a pizza pan or stone.
  6. Top with sauce and cheese.
  7. Bake at 350* for about 15 minutes.

  • If you have time, use less yeast and give the dough more time to rise. But if you're pressed for time using more yeast will help everything rise faster.
  • I don't quite use the whole can of sauce when I make it. I just dump the extra in a bowl and use it for dipping. I like a lot of sauce with my pizza, so it's a good compromise to dip my pizza in the extra sauce.
  • Pizza can have very varying costs when you enter the world of toppings. I do buy pepperoni (the Kroger brand turkey kind) and I make one package last through about 3-4 pizzas, but it does raise the cost of 1 pizza about 75 cents. Personally, I love cheese pizza; sprinkle a little basil on top of the cheese and I'm a happy camper. But if you need toppings leftover sausage, crumbled hamburger, veggies that need using up all make great toppings and keep the price minimal.
  • This dough is a bit thicker, more like a pan pizza. You can roll it thinner and use a bit less dough to get a thin crust; this will also stretch the dough into a possible 3rd pizza.
  • If you like breadsticks, simply shape accordingly, brush with butter (and garlic!!!) and bake. But watch them because they will cook up a lot faster! Enjoy them by simply dipping into the sauce.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

  • Homemade pizza with fruit
  • Seasoned Chicken with lime sauce, mashed potatoes and mixed veggies
  • Shepherd's Pie with baked sweet potatoes and broccoli
  • Chili (from the freezer!) with corn muffins OR Salmon wrapped in aluminum foil with potatoes, tomatoes, spices, etc. and paired with corn on the cob
I only need 4 recipes this week as we went to a barn party Sunday and my birthday is Thursday, which is also the night my daughter's soccer league has a dinner fundraiser at a local restaurant. We want to support the league and I want to eat out for my birthday so it's a win-win all around! That last meal is up in the air because a lot of it will depend on how I feel the night I go to cook it. The chili is from a large batch made about a month ago; I make it in the slow cooker and then freeze the extra. We normally eat 3-4 times off of one batch so I consider that a stretchy meal.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stop Buying Pizza Sauce

If you're currently buying pizza sauce in a jar, STOP! Here's a recipe that's less than 40 cents and will coat 1 large pizza. I found this in the archives of my computer and wish I could tell you the original source, so many thanks whoever you are.

Open a small (8oz) can of tomato sauce and add to it 1 t. each olive oil, oregano, and basil; 1/2 t. each salt and garlic powder; and finally 1/4 t. cayenne pepper (more if you like your sauce kicky). Mix this up right there in the can and let it sit while you make your dough or breadsticks or whatever it is you're making.

I buy small cans of tomato sauce for 25 cents so after spices and olive oil, you might spend 40 cents. The tomato sauce I buy has no sugar in it, but it does have salt so I usually omit the additional salt altogether.

Another great option -- double the recipe using a larger (15oz) can of tomato sauce. Either make 2 pizzas or just freeze the extra sauce making the next batch of pizza half done before you've even started.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Did you do something special yesterday?

Yesterday was the 15th. Each month on the 15th I try to do something special for my kitchen. I change out the sponge, wipe down the counters, clean out the drains, give the stovetop a little TLC. Well, this month my most awesomest husband did all the dishes for me -- ALL of them. You know how you just kinda fall behind and you never seem to get them all quite done? Well, that happened to me. Actually that seems to happen about every 2 weeks. Anyway, my most awesomest husband saved the day and got them all caught up for me. I cleaned my drain catcher things out really well this month and, of course, changed out my sponge. I also spent a little time decluttering my countertops and rearranging my baking cabinet.

Right now, with flu season just getting started and H1N1 in full swing, we need to be vigilant about de-germing our homes. We need to change our sponges every 2 weeks or at least microwave them once a week for 1 minute to kill the bacteria in them (but still toss them at least every month!). We need to use disinfectant spray on door knobs, faucets & sink knobs, light switches, countertops -- basically anything that doesn't move! Make sure your disinfectant says on the bottle that it works against the flu virus and other bacteria.

Money saving tip -- When I did my weekly shopping I added Lysol spray to my list. At Kroger it cost $5 for a bottle of spray, but right next to the spray they had combo packs of spray with a container of 35 wipes for the same $5. If you've got coupons, that's an even better deal!

Favorite Meal of the Week: Baked Rigatoni

Okay, so this, I think, is a very easy dish to make. Simply mix together the following:
  • 1/2 - 1 onion (chopped) and 2 cloves of garlic -- sauteed in a bit of EVOO
  • 1 lb. cooked ground beef
  • 1 C cottage cheese
  • 3-4 C pasta (use whatever you have on hand -- I had penne)**
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
Dump all this into a prepared 9x13 pan, top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350* for about 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly. I tend to bake mine for 30 minutes or so and let some of the cheese burn to dark golden brown.

If you want to get fancy with the cheese topping, mix up 3/4 cups of mozz cheese with 1/4 cup romano cheese and 1/4 breadcrumbs (Italian seasoned would be nice) and top with the whole mixture.

** I just cook up the whole 1 lb. box and throw the leftovers into the fridge. I then use them throughout the week for lunches. Add some cheese, reheat in the microwave, and you have mac-n-cheese. Chop up some tomatoes, add some basil, and romano cheese and you have an extremely simple pasta salad -- hot or cold. Grab a cup of frozen veggie soup from the freezer, add the pasta and some cooked red kidney beans and you now have a type of minestrone. Pasta is always easy to use up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Turkey Pie Cost Breakdown

Sorry about the delays this week and about the lack of pictures!

Cost Breakdown:
  • 1 lb ground turkey -- $1 Found it marked down for quick sale!
  • 2 carrots -- 10 cents
  • 3/4 C breadcrumbs, Italian seasoned -- 25 cents
  • 1 egg -- 6 cents
  • 1/2 small onion -- 16 cents
  • 1 t. garlic powder -- 3 cents
  • 3 russet potatoes -- 30 cents
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese -- 63 cents
  • 1 C broccoli -- 50 cents
Total Cost: $3.03

The pie component makes 6 servings and cost $2.53 or 42 cents a serving. The broccoli is a side item that I don't eat. (And you won't convince me to eat it. Ever.) It added an additional 25 cents per serving to both my husband's and daughter's dinners, bringing the total per serving to 67 cents for each of them. Still, a very inexpensive meal altogether.

How I made it:
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease a pie pan.
  2. Mix together in a bowl the ground turkey, 2 carrots (shredded), breadcrumbs, egg, and chopped onion. (The onion is best when you chop it quite fine.)
  3. Press mixture into the pie pan bring it up on the sides, much like a pie shell.
  4. In the hollow add the russet potatoes that you have shredded. Use frozen if you have them! Fresh works, but frozen works *so* much better in this recipe. You can use shredded or cubed if you buy frozen. Use about 1 lb's worth.
  5. Bake about 45 mintues or until meat mixture is cooked through.
  6. Top with cheese and bake another 5 minutes or so.
  7. Steam broccoli -- in the bag, in a microwave cooker, on the stove top, or whichever other method works for you.
  8. Cut pie like a... well, like a pie! Serve with broccoli on the side and enjoy!
  • The garlic powder is not necessary. I just happen to love garlic. If you don't, then omit it.
  • Another way to cook this if you don't have a pie pan is to press it into a cake pan. Or use a different shape altogether. I've pressed the mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8x8 square pan, layered on the potatoes and then cut into square-ish portions. Really, just go with what you've got on hand.
  • The carrots will add a nice sweetness to this dish. If sweet is not your thing, you may want to skip this recipe. The carrot-y-ness is pretty obvious in the flavor. We love it and I love that it's another way to bring a veggie to the table, but it might not be your thing.
  • If you don't have Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, just use plain and add about a tablespoon or so of Italian seasoning to the mix.
  • I'll say it again -- frozen potatoes work better! I used fresh b/c I was out of frozen and forgot to buy them and it did work in a pinch, but I prefer it with frozen. Frozen potatoes have a different texture that in this case works better.
  • Ground chicken is a good substitute for ground turkey; usually ground chicken is what see marked down. I got lucky with the turkey. I don't recommend ground beef; it's just me, but I don't think the carrots go as well with the ground beef as they do the ground turkey or chicken.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Great menus planned this week!
  • Baked rigatoni with garlic & cheese drop biscuits
  • Hot dogs with potato salad and fruit
  • Turkey Potato Pie with broccoli
  • Pasta Salad -- going Greek by adding some feta cheese and keeping it cool-weather oriented by making it a warm pasta salad; probably some baby carrots on the side
  • Salmon (??? don't know how yet) with baked potatoes and baby carrots

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fruity Loopy Os & Pringles, A Breakfast of Champions

Fruity Loopy Os, in case your wondering, are Fruity Cheerios and Fruit Loops combined as 1 cereal. My husband considered this his breakfast of champions this morning. He ate breakfast at noon, so the Pringles are there to honor the lunch he won't actually be eating.

Shopping Trip, 10/9

I hit 2 stores and a farmer's market and spent $69.66; this price includes $10 for Halloween candy. The candy is not pictured because it is currently hidden. I do need 2 other items that somehow I forgot and I believe the total for those 2 items will be $4, so $64 for my family of 3 for the week.

Other items not pictured include a case of water ($2.89), a 12-pack of Sprite ($4 -- really, it's getting ridiculous!), a medium-sized pumpkin ($2.50), and my snack of Caramel Puffed Corn ($1.69).

Aldi marked down their instant brown rice to 69 cents a box!!! I bought 5 boxes. I have 8 boxes of instant brown rice in my stash which means I'm now set for the rest of this calendar year. Woohoo! My daughter loves the brand of cereal that Aldi carries (Millville I believe) and especially loves their frosted shredded wheat, so that's 1 of the 2 boxes of cereal. My baking purchase for the week was a container of cocoa ($1.89).

Then it was on to Kroger.
  • Eggs are on sale for 77 cents a dozen. I already have a dozen, so I just bought 1 carton. I forsee breakfast for dinner in our future!
  • The boneless pork loin was $1.57/lb, which is 10 cents more than a few weeks ago. I bought 1 at 4 lbs and will be slicing it into 1/2-1 inch slices, which will be used in much the same manor as pork chops, but way cheaper!
  • The gum cost me almost as much as the pork loin, so I wasn't too happy about that, but it's a pick-your-battles thing and I'm not willing to argue about my husband's gum. It's better all around if I just shop around until I find the best price and then stock up.
Milk aside, it was a heavy drink week and you can see where a big portion of my budget went. I bought a diet Arizona tea, Sprite zero, and 4 gatorades and most of this will be consumed by my husband. I bought an apple juice and 2 frozen juices, all of which are watered down when served and these are consumed mostly by me and my daughter. The bottled water is mostly for my husband, but my daughter will use a couple of them for soccer practice or games and I will drink a couple as well. I'm currently saving the bottles to reuse them before we recycle them. We use a water filter pitcher, too, because we drink a lot of water in this house.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recipe: Cheese & Garlic Drop Biscuits

My blog schedule is a bit off this week due to some personal issues, so I'll try to get back on track soon. I made these lovely biscuits by combining 2 recipes and making this yummy new recipe. So delish and it paired really well with the baked rigatoni we had for dinner last night!

What's In It:
  • 2 C all purpose flour (healthy it up by using 1 C AP flour and 1 scant C of whole wheat flour)
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick)
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese*
All I had out was a blended cheese (Mexican style, so it had both cheddar and mozzarella), but it totally worked for this recipe. I love interchangeable ingredients!

How I Made It:
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease a baking sheet. (I hate cleaning baking sheets. I lay down aluminum foil and grease that; just throw away when done.)
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and garlic powder in a bowl.
  3. Add in butter (should be nice and cold) and use either 2 knives in a criss-cross pattern or a pastry cutter and cut in butter until you have a mixture that looks a bit more like crumbs.
  4. Stir in milk until just moistened; the dough will be rather sticky.
  5. Mix in cheese until just incorporated.
  6. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheet; you should get about 12 biscuits unless you make them big, which I did, and I got 9 biscuits. Notice in the picture that mine is not round. This way they look homemade! ;-)
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes but watch them!!! The first time I made these (sans garlic & cheese) I burnt them. Luckily for me my husband prefers his bread burnt and so he thought they were perfect. This time around, because they were bigger they took 12 minutes to bake up and NONE were burnt, much to my husband's disappointment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Honey Mustard Salmon Cost Breakdown

Well, there will be no pictures this time as my camera batteries went kaput and I just picked some up new batteries last night. However, you don't really need pictures as this meal is super simple and very fast. Actually the ease of cooking of salmon is part of the reason I like it so much. Sure it's tasty and all that, but where else are going to find a meat that cooks in 10 minutes so your whole dinner is ready in 15 minutes?

Cost Breakdown:
  • 3 salmon fillets (4oz each) -- $3
  • 2 T dijon mustard -- 10 cents
  • 2 T honey -- 10 cents
  • 1 C brown rice -- 13 cents Purchased a clearance box that was mildly dented; only 79 cents!
  • 1 1/2 C mixed vegetables -- 50 cents
Total Cost: $3.83

Made exactly 3 servings as my daughter generally eats an entire fillet on her own. That means each meal was about $1.28.

A lot of people don't eat salmon because of the expense and they're right that it can be a big hindrance. I buy my salmon fillets from Aldi. They are individually packaged, boneless and skinless. A bag of 4 fillets costs $3.99. Each time I open a bag I put 1 fillet aside in my freezer, so every 3 bags I open generates another meal's worth of salmon. Since we eat salmon once a week on average, I spend $12 a month for 4 meals of salmon.

When I lived in Virginia there was no Aldi. Instead I would wait until a sale and then buy 10 packages of fish. The sale price was a bit less than what I pay now, so I can imagine that if Aldi ever has a sale on salmon I'm likely to but at least a 2 month supply in one swoop, if not more. I feel I can justify the cost of using salmon if I keep the sides inexpensive. Brown rice is generally inexpensive and goes nicely with salmon; using frozen veggies is also pretty inexpensive.

How I made it:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly spray a small pan of your choice.
  2. In a small bowl mix the dijon mustard and honey.
  3. Place fillets in pan and spoon mustard mixture over fillets -- about 1 T per fillet.
  4. Place fish in oven and prepare rice and mixed vegetables.
  5. When everything is done cooking, place rice and vegetables on plate and place a fillet over the rice. It looks fancier this way, but if you don't like your food to touch, just divy your plate into thirds.
  6. Enjoy!
  • I will buy those veggies that steam in the bag if there's a good sale. Generally though I just buy the family size bags when they're running about $1 to $1.50, dump what I need into my micro-cooker, add a splash of water, and nuke for 4 minutes. Way cheaper than the steamer bags, but they do require the extra steps of pouring and adding water!
  • I use instant brown rice that takes 10 minutes, which is about how long it takes my fish to cook -- so convenient!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday,

Meals for the week include:
  • salmon with a honey-mustard sauce with brown rice and mixed vegetables
  • bone chicken with sweet potatoes and corn -- Bone Chicken is my daughter's name for chicken drumsticks or fried chicken, both of which we rarely eat and both of which she adores. This chicken will be rolled in breadcrumbs, parm cheese, and spices and then baked.
  • baked rigatoni with garlic bread
And leftover from last week b/c we never got around to eating it...
  • chicken in a balsamic-based marinade with roasted red potatoes and broccoli
It doesn't seem like a lot of food, but 2 of the meals make enough for 2 night's worth and usually there's a night where I either don't cook because we need to eat the leftovers or, if there are no leftovers, then I make something fun like breakfast for dinner.

This week I'm switching from salads (it's officially too cold to enjoy them anymore) to roasted vegetables. I'll alternate with vegetable soup, baked potatoes, and baked sweet potatoes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Divine Goodness

Next week my daughter's school will host a bake sale of sorts. It's a bit more involved than the ol' cookies or brownie in a zippy bag. It's whole cakes and brownies and batches of cookies. I have recently discovered, after many younger years of adoration, that I detest store-bought icing. I'm not sure when the distaste started as I can't recall in the past 5 years purchasing icing. I made chocolate icing the last time I needed it and it was decent enough. I guess I'm just not that into icing any more.

Welcome chocolate ganache! Better than icing, not quite like a pourable fudge. It's like the best of everything. In fact, you only need 2 ingredients to make it -- chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream.

Isn't it pretty!

For the "dry run" for the bake sale I made a yellow cake -- box mix style, but next week I promise make a scratch cake. I made the chocolate ganache and got it to the pourable temperature. FYI, I didn't use a thermometer or anyting; I just kept checking it until it seemed pourable. I then topped the ganache with partially thawed raspberries. The warmth of the ganache finished the thawing process and that's how I got the suprising, but lovely red raspberry juice streaks all over the cake.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Shopping Trip, Friday 10/2

I had awesome shopping today! Went to Aldi first for a lot of my basics. I did splurge on a $1.89 container of French Vanilla mix which will be used to flavor my coffee. I also bought some marked down chocolate pudding cups. My daughter loves to dip a banana in them! Then I went to Kroger to scoop up some deals. Now is the time to be buying and enjoying apples, potatoes, and squash. One of the better deals this week was 5lbs of gala apples for $1.97. Another was 10lbs of russet potatoes for $2.98. I also stopped by Dollar General, because it's one of 2 stores (Big Lots being the other) where I can get black beans for only $1/bag. Total out for the week was $49.19!!

One thing I didn't buy this week was salad fixin's. The temps around here are in the 60s most days and I just don't have it in me to eat a bunch of cold produce when I'm already chilly. Instead I bought some sweet potatoes, yukon golds, and a butternut squash so I could make this dish instead. I'm going to be replacing my salads with roasted vegetables, vegetable soup and baked sweet potatoes. I can make a big pan of roasted vegetables or a crock pot of vegetable soup each week and just use that in place of my summer salads. It's vegetables. They're in season making them cheaper. And they are so good for us! I really believe everyone should have a vegetable filled lunch.

I'll be sure to update with pictures and maybe even a cost breakdown of my roasted vegetables when I make them later this weekend.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Favorite Meal of the Week: Pizza

Ever have one of those days? We did. I did. It was not the best of times. I'm very fortunate that generally we do not buy food out and that keeps the food bill pretty low. I usually keep frozen pizza around and I'm hoping to learn how to make pizza myself in the somewhat near future. But tonight we all needed a break and because my day had been so rough we splurged and spent $12 on 2 medium 1 topping pizzas from the only place in town that makes them! With a town of only 978 people we're lucky to have the 1 place, so I'm grateful.

I hope that everyone is as lucky as I am to have a spouse that supports when you're down. Mine did. And here's what's left of dinner in all its greasy gooey goodness!