Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Weekly Grocery Trip--Savings $158.15!!!

After going two weeks without doing major grocery shopping, I went shopping this week! I have a full pantry and freezer once again! I need to take an inventory again of everything but I might be able to stretch things again for another two weeks(and a few items beyond!) I did my monthly Sam's Club trip. I spent $189 at Sam's for meat, potatoes, canned veggies, bagels, peanut butter, margarine, eggs, cheese and a few snacks(including candy to hand out at the 4th of July parade that my family is marching in). Aside from Sam's, I also went to Meijer, Save A Lot, Family Fare, and Walgreens.

I saw that Walgreens had a decent sale this week, including our favorite(read preferred) brand of TP. Here is what I got at Walgreens...
  • 2-12pks double roll Northern TP $10.98 (46 cents/roll)
  • 4 boxes 200 ct. Kleenex $3.98(basically 99 cents/box)
  • Afrin Nasal Spray Free after coupon
  • 2 pkgs. Twizzlers $1.98 (99cents/pkg)--my new found snack!
  • 6 Snicker bars $2.00(33 cents/bar)
  • 24pk Spring Water $2.99(12 cents/bottle)
  • KY Yours & Mine $9.99
  • Dawn Soap 79 cents
  • 2 bottles Shout(30 oz for price of 22oz) $3.00 after Easy Saver MIR of $2.00

Total after coupons and tax = $41.52 (actually OOP would be $39.52 after MIR)
Total Savings = $40.15(including the MIR for the Shout)

Next stop...Family Fare

  • 14 cups Yoplait Yogurt $7.30 (52 cents/cup)
  • 2 boxes Quaker Granola Bars $3.67 ($1.84/box)
  • 2 bottles Motts for Kids Juice $3.00($1.50/bottle)
  • 6 bottles Gatorade $6.00 ($1.00/bottle)
  • 4 loaves Aunt Millies Bread $6.38 (1.60/loaf)
  • 1-10# Seedless Watermelon $2.50
  • 1.16lbs Bottom Round Thin Sliced Steak $2.89
  • 2.05lbs Center Cut Thin Sliced Pork Loin $5.31
  • 1.69lbs Butterfly Thin Cut Pork Loin Chops $4.38
  • 1.58lbs Butterfly Thick Cut Pork Loin Chops $3.94
  • 1.57lbs Boneless Top Round Steak $3.91

I got 8.05lbs of meat for $20.43 instead of $40.86!!! I found the meat on the 50% off Manager's Special rack!! I brought home and stuck in my freezer for meals in the next couple of weeks!

Total after coupons = $49.28
Total Savings = $36.51

Next Stop Meijers....

  • 4-4# bags QF Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast $29.96
  • 2 pkgs Split Bone in Chicken Breast $8.58
  • 2 cans beef broth $2.30
  • 1.5# fresh catfish fillets $6.10
  • 2 bags 50-60 ct. shrimp $10.99
  • 2 boxes Jiffy Muffin Mix $1.30
  • 2 boxes Green Giant veggies $1.40(70 cents/box)
  • 2 cartons Minute Maid Lemonade $1.00 (50 cents/carton)
  • 4 boxes Pizza Rolls $2.90 (73 cents/box)
  • 2 pkgs Ziploc containers $2.50 ($1.25/pkg)
  • 3 pkgs hamburg buns $2.99
  • 2 bottles Lawrys Marinade $1.00 (50cents/bottle)
  • 2 bottles All Laundry Detergent $5.00 ($2.50/bottle)
  • 2 boxes 75 ft. Reynolds Foil $3.68 ($1.84/box)
  • 1 container Cool Whip $1.00
  • 1 jar ChiChi Salsa 44 cents
  • 1 6pk Trix Yogurt $1.00(17 cents/cup)
  • 2 Yo Plus Yogurt $2.00(25 cents/cup)

Total after coupons with tax = $86.54
Total Savings = $83.49
Here is the breakdown of the savings on my receipt...
Non Coupon Savings = $72.09
Coupon Savings = $11.40

As I was finishing checking out at Meijer, an older lady that I had pretty much followed thru the store was behind me in line. She saw the amount of coupons that I gave to the cashier and got curious. So she is watching the computer screen as the coupon amounts start coming off and turns to me and says..."Now that is the way to shop!" I laughed and told her that I try to do this every time I shop because I am trying to stay within a budget and feed 7 people, 5 of which are kids 11 and under. Then she asked, how many boys? I told her that I had 4 boys besides hubby. She rolls her eyes and said...and I am sure they eat well too! We both laughed and I said yes they do especially now that it is summer time with their high activity level. Anyhow, it was nice to hear someone complimenting me on my savings rather than complaining about it!

I stopped at Save A Lot(SAL) too and picked up 6 frozen pizzas, 6 cans cream of chicken soup, and 2 mini loaves of garlic toast for $10.86.

Not counting Sam's (because the things I purchased there will last all month)...

My total shopping trip was $177.34
My total savings was $158.15
(not including what savings I got shopping at SAL)!!!!

Frugal Food Series--Ground Meat

Jenn over at Frugal Upstate is in week three of her Frugal Food Series. She has done a week all about eggs and all about tuna and all about beans! This week it is all about ground meat!

Confession time...
I haven't used ground pork, or turkey in my cooking ever! I do use LOTS of ground beef! I usually buy two big 6-7 lb package at Sam's Club and I am able to divide it up into 10-12 meals for my family. I also love it when I can find it the leaner ground meat on Manager's Special markdown like what I did this last week so I can stock up my freezer!

The other confession I have to make is that I don't rinse my meat! You can if want but for me I can't bring myself to do it!! I can rinse off fruits and veggies but not my cooked meat. However, I do drain it well by using my strainer and paper towels.

Well enough confessions on to some recipes that I make for my family!

I love this recipe it makes a quick item to make to take to a party!

Queso Dip (This makes a quick lunch or appetizer!)
One large Velveeta Cheese
1 can Rotel tomatoes
½ pound of hamburger (approximately)

Slice up the Velveeta cheese in to a big bowl
Add ¼ cup milk
Melt in the microwave

Add ground beef and Rotel tomatoes
Stir and put in crock pot

Serve with the tortilla chips!

To make for large get-togethers I make 2 large Velveeta Cheese, 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes, and 1-1 ½ pound of hamburger.

Besides grilled burgers, here is a list of other dishes that I make:

  1. Tacos--1lb ground meat, a can of refried beans(or make your own), and 2 tbsp. of taco seasoning. Or instead of using beans in the meat I'll use a can of tomato soup.

  2. Goulash--1lb ground meat, a can of tomato sauce, 1-2 tsp. chili powder, 1-2 tsp. minced onions, 1/2 tsp. prepared yellow mustard, 2 cups of elbow macaroni.

  3. Spaghetti--1 lb ground meat or meatballs and a jar of spaghetti sauce. I usually will add more spices(italian seasoning, garlic powder, and minced onions to the pot. Also instead of adding sugar to the pot, I add shredded carrots. I also put this in the crockpot and let it simmer all day!

  4. Hamburger gravy--1lb ground meat, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, 1-2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce, garlic powder, and minced onions. Mix all together. Serve over egg noodles or rice.

  5. Chili--1lb ground meat, 1-150z can tomato sauce, 1 can tomato soup, 1 can red kidney beans, 2-3 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, minced onions. Mix all together. Simmer in crockpot all day.

  6. Sloppy Joes--1 lb ground meat, 1 can tomato soup, 1-2 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. yellow mustard. Mix altogether. Simmer. Serve on hamburger buns. In my opinion, this is better than Manwich!

  7. Meatloaf--1lb. ground beef (I usually use ground chuck or ground round which is like 86%-91% lean meat)
    1 egg
    1/4- 1/2 cup bread crumbs or crushed saltines or regular/quick oatmeal
    1 tsp. garlic powder
    2 TBSP. minced onion
    3-4 TBSP. ketchup
    1 TBSP bbq sauce
    1-2 tsp. yellow mustard
    1/2 green pepper, chopped(optional)
    1-2 medium size carrots, shredded(optional)

    Mix altogether. Form into mini meat loaves and stick on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper to "flash freeze". Once frozen, stick in a freezer bag and label!

    If you do not want to freeze them uncooked, place in a 9x13 pan and place in the oven at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until done. Let cool completely before freezing!

    Other notes: if the meat looks too wet add more bread crumbs/crushed saltines/oatmeal. This recipe makes tasty burger patties too! If you want to make an actual loaf, you can do that as well, I would let the loaf cool completely first then slice it into individual servings, wrap them and then stick in a freezer bag for later consumption.

  8. Salisbury Steak--take the meatloaf recipe and instead of forming loaves I make patties. Cook the patties. Once cooked, add beef gravy. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes.

For other ground meat recipes, head over to Frugal Upstate--Frugal Food Series!

Works for Me Wednesday--5 or Less

It is a special edition of WFMW!! Shannon has asked us to post our favorite 5 or less ingredient recipes! This should be fairly easy for me to do since most of the dishes that I put together for my family are around 5-7 ingredients! I have a cookbook that I use on a weekly basis from Taste of Home called "Taste of Home's 5 Ingredient Cookbook"! Here is a couple of the recipes that I do from that cookbook!

Last night, we had beef in gravy for dinner! Here is the recipe....

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2 tablespoons onion soup mix
2 tablespoons beef broth
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
Hot cooked noodles or mashed potatoes

Directions: In a 1-1/2-qt. slow cooker, combine the soup, soup mix, broth and tapioca; let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in the beef. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes. Yield: 3 servings.

**Notes: I doubled the recipe for my family of 7. I served it over egg noodles. I served a choice of sides...leafy salad or peas & carrots.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Directions: In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and peanut butter. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; add cereal and stir until coated. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. pan; press lightly. Spread melted chocolate over bars. Chill. Yield: 1-1/2 to 2 dozen

Here is a few more recipes that I do frequently that are five or less ingredients....

Mom's McBiscuits or McMuffins

Creamy Chicken

Easy BBQ Pork Sandwiches

LunchBox Pudding Dessert

Apple Crisp

Jello Cake

No Bake Desserts

I have already taken a look at the list of other recipes and I must say that there are some really good ones that I am going to put on my "try with the family" list! To see the list of recipes, head over to Rocks in My Dryer

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday--Top 10 Tips

My top 10 tips for helping me "defeat" rising prices!!

1. Shop your house before you shop the store!! Make a grocery list and stick to it! This will help eliminate extra trips to the store!

2. Make weekly menus for every meal and snacks around the grocery sales. If you can figure out anything to cook from the sales---use cookbooks and find new dishes to try! Also realize that you might have leftovers to use up. Plan a 'smorgasbord' or make leftover makeovers!

3. Make a pantry/freezer list of EVERYTHING you buy and post it on your fridge so that when you run out or are getting low you can circle or highlight that item. I made up a form that has different categories (canned goods, frozen items, produce, etc) and then wrote down everything in those categories that I purchase. Basically made a Master Grocery List.

4. If you are not already, start making bread and baked good/sweet treats from scratch. I still purchase sandwich bread but I make bread for sides at meals and also all of our sweet treats/baked goods. I am working at recognizing other things I can make from scratch, like cream of whatever soup, gravies, etc.

5. Use coupons for items that you purchase consistently! Watch the sales and when those items are on sale use the coupon and save more!

6. Start following the sales, and make a price book of items that you buy regularly. You will find that stores have what are called "loss leaders" in the ads...basically an item is advertised for a major discounted price. I am sure that you have seen in the ads where the same items are sale week after week...well track the price of those items and you will see that one of the weeks that an item is on sale it will be discounted more than any other week it was on sale.

7. When you find an item at a low price stock up within reason on that item. For example, whole chickens were on sale at one of the stores that I shop at for 59 cents/lb. Instead of getting other cuts of chicken that week I got 3 whole chickens to use in my menus.

8. Buy store brand items rather than name brand. Do you have an Aldis or Save-A-Lot near you?? You might want to give them a try for your shopping needs.

9. Do a garden and can it! I wish that I still had room at my house to do this!! I have tried container gardens and I have not had good success with them. So I am going to be heading to my farmer's market or roadside stands to find my fresh fruits and veggies!

10. Buy items in bulk from Sam’s/Costco. I go to Sam's on a monthly basis and get only certain things (baking supplies, cheese, cereal, snacks, etc.) I can supply you with a more specific list if you would like!

So what are you doing to "defeat" rising prices?? Do you have any more tips to add??

For other tips, recipes, and resources, head over to Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 6/29-7/5

**Another week is upon us so that means it is time for another menu plan! This is just a plan and it could change on the cook’s whim!

Last week’s menus went well. Once again I have plenty of leftovers to use for lunches for the next few days!

Last week, I found some markdown meat and sale eggs. I am kicking myself for not going back and getting more eggs when they were 99cents/dozen (cheapest I have seen in a long while)! With finding the markdown meat, I will be able to go a few days into this week without having to worry about doing my big shopping trip!

We are being “homebodies” over the holiday weekend! Hubby has house projects that he is wanting to complete on his four day weekend. We are also marching along with 150 other people from our church in a 4th of July parade with our church's float.

Lunches listed are for the kids and me. Hubby usually takes dinner leftovers each day.

A special thanks to Laura--Heavenly Homemaker for hosting Menu Plan Monday as Laura-Organizing Junkie is on vacation this week! Need help with your menus, go check other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura--Heavenly Homemaker's site! **

Sunday (6-29)
Breakfast: eggs, hash browns, sausage links and banana muffins
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: stewed turkey sandwiches (recipe below), chips, and carrot sticks
Snack: snack basket

Monday (6-30)
Breakfast: cereal and banana muffins
Lunch: leftovers --chicken
Dinner: spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread
Snack: cookies & milk

Tuesday (7-1)
Breakfast: waffles and sausage
Lunch: leftovers—tacos
Dinner: Easy Beef Stroganoff(no mushrooms and making own beef gravy), noodles, peas/salad, and biscuits
Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (7-2)
Breakfast: bagels and cereal
Lunch: leftovers or sandwich and chips
Dinner: chicken rice casserole and honey oatmeal rolls
Snack: snack basket

Thursday (7-3)
Breakfast: buttermilk pancakes and sausage
Lunch: sandwich and chips
Dinner: bbq pork, cheesy potatoes (no meat)-(new recipe for me), green beans or salad
Snack: snack basket

Friday (7-4) Happy Independence Day!
Breakfast: homemade cinnamon rolls-(new recipe for me) and eggs
Lunch: pizza rolls
Dinner: grilled burgers, fries, and corn
Snack: homemade chocolate shakes

Saturday (7-5)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”
Lunch: ???? holiday weekend!
Dinner: grilled chicken/fish, potato pockets, green beans, and leftover rolls
Snack: “mystery snack” – (probably will be ice cream sundaes or popsicles)

Stewed Turkey or Chicken Sandwiches

I took the leftover turkey breast from last week(it was about ½ of the total breast) and my leftover gravy and mixed it up together. There wasn’t enough of the gravy to moisten all the turkey so I added about ¼ cup of water along with some cornstarch and milk to thicken up the turkey mixture. The turkey shredded as I stirred it and it heated through. Once it was done, I serve on hamburger buns.

You can use chicken as well for this recipe.

My MIL makes this fresh rather than using leftover. Her recipe is something like this….
1 whole chicken cooked and deboned
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can chicken broth(or broth from the chicken cooking)

Mix altogether. Season with pepper or as desired. Serve on hamburger buns.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Powerful, Awesome Message!!

Today at church, my Pastor closed with a video snippet of Louie Giglio!! What an awesome message!! To think that our Creator God fashioned us in such a way is just breath taking!
To think that we have a protein, laminin, in our bodies that literally holds us together that is shaped very similiar to a cross is just phenomonal! We have an awesome God! IF you have an extra 9 minutes...take the time to click the link to watch the video(too long to upload here!)

Singing Sunday

by Hillsong Australia

What to say Lord
It's You who gave me life and I
Can't explain just how
Much You mean to me now that
You have saved me Lord
I give all that I am to You
That everyday I can
Be a light that shines Your name

Everyday Lord I'll
Learn to stand upon Your word
And I pray that I
That I might come to know You more
That You would guide me
In every single step I take
That everyday I can
Be Your light unto the world

Everyday, It's You I'll live for
Everyday, I'll follow after You
Everyday, I'll walk with You my Lord

It's You I live for everyday
It's You I live for everyday
It's You I live for everyday