Friday, July 10, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip---Savings $142.38

Well I had good intentions of not getting much in the way of groceries this week, however, I went into the stores to get what I needed and found that there was several unadvertised specials that I needed to take advantage of to save me money in the weeks to come.

I normally watch the screen as the cashier rings up my items but I went into a lane at Meijer where I did not have all my things on the belt yet when the cashier started my order and now looking at my receipt, the cashier typed in the wrong produce code for the yellow squash I purchased and best I can figure they owe me 56¢!! The cashier charged me for leaf lettuce rather than yellow squash---hello! they don't even look the same!! So now the dilemma, go back to the store and explain or just make it a lesson learned once again! I am going to take it as a lesson learned to get back in the habit of reading my receipt no matter how hurried I am before I leave the store because it would cost me more than 56¢ to go back to the store and explain the story to get my 56¢!

I got a few Catalina/store coupons at Meijer this week with my order that I was surprised to see and hopefully will make use of them before they expire! I got $5 off $20 on my next meat or seafood purchase, $1.50 off $7 or more on my next bath tissue purchase, and $1.00 off $4 or more on my next paper towel purchase. I got those coupons for shopping this week or something because I did not purchase any of these items this week!

NO manufacturer's coupons were used with my shopping this week!!

Here is the breakdown of my shopping trip:

  • 2 bottles Advanced Multi-Vitamins $12.99
  • 2 bottles Children's Multi-Vitamins $16.94
  • .92 lbs yellow squash aka "leaf lettuce" $1.37
  • 2.43 lbs zucchini $2.14
  • 1.94 lbs red grapes $1.92
  • 2 pints blueberries $1.98
  • 3 lbs strawberries $2.97 ---99¢/lb!!!
  • 2 boxes Meijer pasta $1.00
  • 4 boxes Meijer fruit snacks $4.00
  • 2 bags Meijer frozen corn $2.00
  • 2.53 lbs cherries $4.48
  • 2 gallons milk $3.96
  • 3 jars Meijer applesauce $5.00
  • 1 bag Meijer chicken fries $4.00
  • 4 bags Meijer hash browns $8.00
Total OOP: $72.75
Total Savings $61.34
Total without sales: $134.09

Aunt Millie's Bread Outlet---I love this place!
  • 6 loaves sandwich bread $5.34 (89¢ each)
  • 2 bags hamburger buns $1.58 (79¢ each)
  • 2 bags donuts $1.29(buy one get one free=65¢ each)
  • 2 packs brown & serve rolls $1.29 (buy one get one free=65¢ each)
Total OOP:$9.50
Total Savings: $24.38
Total if I purchased at full price in grocery store: $33.88

Family Fare:
  • 6-64oz bottles Indian Summer Apple Juice $10.00
  • 2 gallons milk $3.96
  • 1 cantaloupe 99¢
  • 4.34 lbs pork loin $6.47
  • 8.21 lbs whole smoked ham $10.59
Total OOP: $32.01
Total Savings: $33.27
Total without sales: $65.28

Duthler's(my corner grocery store)
  • 4 dozen eggs $2.28 (57¢/dz!)
Total OOP: $2.28
Total Savings: $2.08
Total without sales: $4.36

Save A Lot: (I went here to take advantage of my $5 off $20 or more coupon! Sign up here for yours!)
  • 4.84 lbs bananas $1.61
  • 6lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $9.98
  • 4 cans cream of chicken soup $2.36
  • 2 boxes fudgesicles $2.00
  • 1 box creamsicles $1.00
  • 1 box onion soup mix 69¢
  • 20 lbs potatoes $5.00
  • 2 bags egg noodles $1.98
Total before $5 off $20 coupon: $24.62
Total OOP: $19.62
Total Savings with my $5 off $20 cpn: $21.31
Total without sales and coupon: $40.93

Grand Total OOP: $136.16
Grand Total Savings: $142.38
Grand Total without sales: $278.54

Oh My!! I actually saved more than I spent with only using the one $ off $$ purchase coupon! Now if I had just stayed out of the stores like I was thinking about doing this week, I would have saved a lot more! However, I am set with fresh veggies and fruit for the next week. Hopefully next week there is some good deals on meats as my meat selection in the freezer is a bit limited.

Now to get that fresh fruit washed and either eaten or frozen for later use.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Many Dishes of Chicken

I have been known to purchase a whole roaster chicken and cook it up for my family, even though my family is not big "dark meat" chicken fans. However, I have found that one whole roaster chicken is just enough for one meal and there is not enough meat for a lunch leftover for hubby. So I watch sales for the bone in chicken breasts and get family pack packages more often than getting a whole roaster chicken because I can get more meals out of the same amount of chicken breasts than I can the whole roaster chicken.

I love getting these and putting them in the crockpot with some seasonings and letting them simmer for the day and adding a couple of sides for a simple meal that doesn't take much thought or standing in the kitchen for hours preparing a meal.

Aside from roasting chicken breasts in the crockpot all day, I use chicken for a lot of my meals! Ever get in rut with fixing chicken and are looking for something different to do, here is eight different ways that I fix chicken for my family:

1. Creamy Chicken
Dice up cooked chicken and use 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, add about 1 tsp. of each— poultry seasoning, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Serve over rice or egg noodles. I love doing this meal with leftover chicken because it makes for a quick fix on a busy day!

2. BQ Shredded Chicken
Place boneless chicken in the crockpot with some bq sauce let simmer all day and about lunch time take a couple of forks and pull the chicken apart to shred it. Let simmer til dinner time serve on hamburg buns.

3. Lemon Pepper Chicken
Got a grill?? Grill Lemon Pepper Chicken moisten the lemon pepper in some olive oil and brush it on the chicken while grilling. I use other seasonings too (like cajun, minced garlic or onion) along with the olive oil. This is something to do other than just brushing on plain ol’ BQ sauce. Also you can do this in the oven as well, place chicken in a shallow baking dish(I use my jelly roll pan) and brush on the seasoning in olive oil, cover with foil and bake @ 375° for 30-45 minutes or til chicken is done. Usually the last 5-10 minutes I take the foil off the chicken so that the chicken can brown some (but it is not necessary to do so)

4. Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Get a box of Shake N Bake or Baking Miracle from the store and follow the directions on the box to make chicken nuggets. I use the Baking Miracle. Serve with fries and a veggie for a quick dinner!

5. Oven Fried Chicken
I got this idea from my friend, Lisa and this is really good!!! I have changed it up a bit and instead of using the poultry seasoning and paprika all the time. I have used cajun seasoning or lemon pepper seasoning and it turns out awesome!

3 lbs chicken (I usually use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but bone-in will work too!)
1/2c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
margarine slices

Combine together. Dip chicken pieces in this. Place pads of margarine on top of each piece of chicken. (This is the secret to it tasting so delicious.) Place in sprayed pan. Bake 400 for 1 hour.

6. Chicken Club Sandwiches
Cook some boneless chicken and bacon and serve on a hamburg bun. My boys (13,10,8) all have a whole sandwich. Sometimes the chicken breasts are thick so I slice them the long ways to make thin slices and then one breast makes two sandwiches! Makes the chicken go further too!

7. Saucy Pork Chops or Chicken
The original recipe calls for pork chops but I use the same sauce for pork chops or chicken!

6 pork chops or chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 Tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. onion, minced
1/2 cup of milk

Brown pork chops or chicken; remove any fat. Salt and pepper to taste; place in a 2 qt. casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over pork chops or chicken. Cover and cook at 350 degrees 1 hour.

Sonshine's notes: Sauce is really good over baked or mashed potatoes or rice. I use boneless/skinless chicken breasts and slice the chicken into 4-5 pieces after browning. This helps to "stretch" the servings out of the main course. Also I double the sauce recipe and put it into a 9x13 or bigger casserole dish when I do chicken. **This recipe is crockpot friendly too!! I put it together at lunch time and place it in the crockpot on high for 2 hours and then on low til dinner time. OR you can start it in the morning after breakfast on low for 5-6 hours.

8. Chicken Veggie Stew/Casserole
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 cup milk
1 can of chicken broth
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
2-3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed
2 cups sliced or diced cooked potatoes
1 can green peas

In a large bowl, combine soup, milk, broth, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken, corn, peas, beans and potatoes. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 15 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings

Sonshine's notes: This recipe can be doubled and even tripled! This recipe works well in the crockpot on low for 4-6 hours! When I put it in the crockpot I don't grease it. I even have decreased the liquid(didn't use the chicken broth) and used as the filling to potpie!

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Handy Kids' Tool--Backpacks!

Even though I homeschool, each of my kids has a backpack! I find that each of them having a backpack saves time and energy when getting ready for a long trip or even just a day trip over to my parents' house.

When we get ready to take a trip, I pull out the kids' backpacks and take out the items that they will not need on the trip. Then either I or the child who the backpack belongs to will fill it with the necessary things to take on the trip. This isn't the bag to put their clothes in but the items to keep them busy as we drive to our destination.

Each child is then responsible for their own backpack. What items are they are responsible for??
  1. a notebook filled with paper for drawing, writing, or playing games like tic-tac-toe
  2. two pencils sharpened--one breaks they have a spare
  3. box of colored pencils--I use these rather than crayons when travel because they won't melt in the heat like crayons do!!
  4. handheld games like battleship, connect four, boggle.
  5. a book or two and NOT public library books! I don't like public library books getting lost! Sometimes I will allow 3 or 4 books depending on how long the trip.
  6. a deck of playing cards or the UNO cards
  7. coloring books--I make up my own! The older kids books have activities in them more than coloring pictures while the younger ones have their own coloring pictures.

For my little ones that are under 3, I do up a backpack full of small toys that they have like matchbox cars, dolls, toy phones, and other things that do not make ALOT of noise.

Backpacks filled with items to keep the boredom away on trips is what works for us!

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**With the summer upon us, I wanted to bring this post that was originally posted July, 2008 to the top as a helpful tool for my readers.**

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Simple, Filling, and Frugal Meal

One day last week I made my chicken rice casserole and then on another day I made some plain rice as a side. I did not use all the package of chicken when making the casserole so I cooked it to have as chicken sandwiches for lunch on another day. So Sunday night rolls around and I have just a small portion leftover of the casserole, some of the plain rice leftover and some of the cooked chicken breasts leftover! Despite the fact that it was 80° outside I decided to fix a light dinner of chicken rice soup using up those leftovers in the fridge. To make the meal a little more substantial, I fixed mini grilled cheese sandwiches using two of the mini loaves of bread that I had put in the freezer during my baking day last week.

Here is the recipe for the soup if I were going to make it from scratch! Using the leftovers that I had on hand, I just had to add 2 cans of chicken broth, 1 can of water, 1 can cream of chicken soup(because of using the plain rice), more cooked carrots, and spices to taste.

Chicken Rice Soup

6 cups chicken broth
4-5 carrots, cooked and diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1/2 can milk(I use the cream of chicken soup can for my measuring cup!)
3-4 cups of water
5-6 cups of cooked rice
2 tsp. pepper
3 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. minced onion
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. poultry seasoning

Put all the ingredients together in a stockpot and simmer for an hour for the flavors to blend. OR you can put it altogether in the crockpot on low for 3-4 hours.

Taking the bread out of the freezer, I thawed in the microwave just enough to slice it into thin slices. I was able to get 7 sandwiches out of each loaf of bread. I used 1/2 of a slice of Kraft American cheese slices on each sandwich. I much prefer mild cheddar cheese slices for my grilled cheese sandwiches but I did not have any on hand!

I used this recipe and just used the dough cycle...

Honey Oatmeal Bread (breadmachine)

11 1/2 ounces(1 1/4 cup + 3tbsp.) water (80°F)

3 tablespoons honey
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup oats, (quick or old fashioned)
2 tablespoons dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast(can be used in the breadmachine)
2 teaspoons bread machine/fast rise yeast

Place in bread machine in order starting with water and ending with yeast.Basic Bread Setting, unless using fast rise yeast then you can do Basic Rapid Bread Setting. Makes 2lb loaf

***If you want rolls instead of a loaf of bread, place the bread machine on dough setting. After the cycle is done, take the dough out of the machine and make into 12-24 balls(depending on what size rolls you would like) place into a greased pan. Or for mini loaves divide evenly into 4 balls and roll out into a log and place in a greased loaf pan. Let rise til double in size(45 minutes-1 hour). Bake in oven at 350° for 15-20 minutes or til golden brown.

Using leftovers out of the fridge, what I had on hand in the pantry, and what I had stored away in the freezer, I was able to make a simple, filling, frugal dinner meal for us in about a half hour.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 7/5-7/11

Last week's menu plan went pretty smoothly! I was able to get some baking done last week and now I have several items (mainly breakfast items, like a new recipe of cherry apple bran muffins) that I can pull from the freezer. I also spent Thursday afternoon at my parents’ house working at clearing out a lot of the over grown brush and trees on their 1.6 acres along with spreading topsoil along their relatively new concrete driveway and hubby came and joined us after work, then my parents’ took us out for dinner to Wendy’s! They actually took us out twice because we spent Friday at their house too so we went to dinner at Bob Evans! Just in case you are wondering we even spent Saturday at their house too but then we came back to our house for dinner as I had spaghetti sauce simmering all day so I just had to boil some noodles and bake the bread. With spending so much time at my parents’ house and hubby having a four day weekend (Fri-Mon), it was a busy holiday weekend!

For this week’s shopping trip I worked at getting enough to last us for a couple of weeks. Payday is the 15th so I am hoping that with what I purchased and what I still have in my pantry and freezer we will have enough to make it! I should only need to get milk and eggs in the house, and thankfully both are on sale this week!!

This week’s menus are kid friendly meals! My oldest son turns 13 this week so I asked each of my five kids what they would like for dinner this week.

For this week’s lunches that are listed below are for the kids and me! Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or carrot sticks along with fruit juice or water. Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover along with various snacks for his work lunch so I don’t take the time to plan his lunches. He just takes the next oldest leftover on the stack in the fridge.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 400 other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie’s site or look down in my right sidebar for my menu suggestion lists!

Sunday (7-5)

Breakfast: eggs, sausage, hash browns, and mini cinnamon rolls(from Pillsbury)

Lunch: sandwiches & chips

Dinner: chicken rice soup (from leftovers), breaded chicken tenders, and mini grilled cheese sandwiches

Snack: snack basket or cookie

Monday (7-6) Happy 13th Birthday, J!!!

Breakfast: cereal and toaster strudel, (J & Hubby going out for breakfast)

Lunch: mini pizzas and pizza rolls

Dinner: bacon cheeseburgers served with fries and corn on the cob

Snack: cake and icecream

Tuesday (7-7)

Breakfast: waffles and sausage

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: grilled lemon pepper chicken & fish served with egg noodles and green beans

Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (7-8)

Breakfast: bagels, and cereal,

Lunch: sandwiches & chips

Dinner: Bakin’ Miracle chicken served with mashed taters and corn

Snack: snack basket

Thursday (7-9)

Breakfast: eggs and muffins (from freezer)

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner: sloppy joe sandwiches served with fries and fresh veggie tray

Snack: snack basket

Friday (7-10)

Breakfast: cereal and toast

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner: creamy chicken served with egg noodles and green peas

Snack: ice cream night

Saturday (7-11)

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch: ???

Dinner: ???—probably will be at my parents’ house again

Snack: snack basket or popcorn