Sunday, July 26, 2009

All You Grocery Challenge Week 2

Week 2 Menus
Monday: lasagna; whole grain French bread; romaine salad with blueberries, feta, almonds, craisins, and vinaigrette dressing. Greta went to her boyfriend’s house for dinner and was asked to bring salad and bread.
Tuesday: Thai Beef and Rice; romaine salad with tomatoes; sautéed mixed garden veggies
Wednesday: lunch-Persian Pilaf; dinner-marinated grilled chicken breasts; rice; spinach salad with hb egg and diced ham. Greta ate dinner at a friend’s house.
Thursday: French meat and potatoes; broccoli; peach cobbler
Friday: Curried chicken salad with remaining fresh spinach, mini croissants, blueberry cheesecake for dessert when Jared’s friends came over in the evening
Saturday: lunch-leftover curried chicken salad, leftover whole grain French bread; dinner-grilled hot dogs on buns with fresh salsa or chili and cheese, fresh fruit bowl of 7 fruits.
Sunday: noon meal-marinated London Broil; carrots; mashed potatoes; Caprese salad (sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with herbs and vinaigrette). Greta was at boyfriend’s house. Evening meal-hoagies on homemade wheat rolls; raw veggie sticks

Week 2 Notes
The Mystery Q item (one penny item) at Publix this week was frosted flakes. I almost didn’t put it in my cart, but then I decided I could donate it to charity if nobody in the house wanted to eat it. As it turns out, our son-in-law was thrilled to have that kind of junk food for breakfast.

I decided to make lasagna again this week because I wanted to use up the rest of the big carton of ricotta cheese. As I was making it, I saw a container of leftover spinach so I added a spinach layer to the lasagna. It went over very well with the family. There were leftovers for lunches the next day.

When I made the tossed salad on Monday, I threw in fresh blueberries instead of the fresh strawberries called for. I laughed when I realized that I usually substitute most of the ingredients in this particular salad: almonds for the walnuts we never have, feta for the fresh Parmesan cheese we rarely have, and romaine for the called-for baby spinach. I do always use the dried cranberries and the vinaigrette dressing called for.

My neighbor brought over a few extra veggies from his garden last week. I used up the last of them in a mixed veggie sauté side dish. I also tossed in a small container of leftover veggies from the refrigerator. (Sometimes I take our neighbors some homemade bread or cookies in exchange for their produce.)

I had several onions and green peppers that needed to be used up. I diced them, spread them on parchment-lined cookie sheets, and quick-froze them. Then I poured the little cubes into zipper bags. They are very handy when making casseroles.

On Thursday I was late getting home. Heather and I threw together a casserole of sliced potatoes, seasoned meat, and diced bacon. I used two lb of the ground turkey I bought on sale yesterday, and the rest of a large bag of aging potatoes that needed to be used up. I thawed a partial package of bacon in the freezer from some time ago. Then we noticed that the peaches I bought on Monday were ripening unevenly; they weren’t fully ripe, but some already had spoiled spots. When Luke jabbed thumb holes in three of them, that settled it. We would have peach cobbler for dessert even though we rarely have dessert on week nights. I used a recipe for a cakey topping and it was delicious.

For our chicken salad on Friday, I deboned the leftover chicken pieces from Sunday. There was a mix of white and dark meat. Even though the recipe calls for diced cooked chicken breast, it doesn’t really matter if you use a less expensive mix of white and dark meat in most recipes.

I garnished the chicken salad with the remaining handfuls of fresh bagged spinach I got on manager’s special on Wednesday.

I had a CVS coupon for $2 off 2 Gold Emblem nuts. I bought two packages of chocolate covered peanuts for 99 cents each. With the $2 coupon they were free. I shared them with the family after dinner.

Heather got two boxes of baby cereal free at Publix as part of a new mom packet.

I got a free bagel at Einstein’s on Friday because I clipped a coupon they had in the paper several weeks ago. The coupon is good until 11 am over and over on Fridays during July and August. Sadly, I forgot to go Friday of week #1. But the coupon is stuck to the front door now so I will see it as I walk out the door.

On Saturday Jared came home from working at CVS with a bag of FREE food that the boss let him take because it wasn’t selling from the clearance cart. He had: 2 cans evaporated milk, mandarin oranges, 2 bottles seasoning salt, a Kraft easy mac, Town House Flipsides crackers, and 2 lb pistachios. I guess you could say this is like clean dumpster diving(!) because the stuff was headed to the dumpster.

David had free lunch at work on Saturday because the boss ordered in pizza for everyone.

A friend gave us a small watermelon and six ears of corn on Sunday, extras that had been given to them.

Week 2 Purchases
I spent $40.77 at Publix on milk (on sale ($1.99), cheese (sale), yogurt, tuna (BOGO), tomato paste (9 cents after coupons), powdered sugar, 2 lb boneless skinless frozen chicken breasts (on sale $4.99), and in-season fresh produce.

I returned the watermelon I bought at Kroger last week because it had a rotten area. I got store credit of $4.47.

I spent $33.83 at Kroger for a whole pork loin (on sale $1.99 lb), 12 chubs ground white turkey (on sale 99 cents lb), 1-quart yogurt (on sale $1.88), fresh in-season produce, powdered sugar (coupons), brown sugar (sale and coupon), and manager’s special markdowns: rye bread 49 cents, sourdough loaf $1.79, bag spinach $1.39. Besides the senior discount, I also got $4.47 off because I had store credit from the rotten watermelon.

I went back to Kroger on Saturday to buy 12 more chubs of ground turkey before the sale ends; also got more grapes on sale, spending $14.45. I am having a hard time keeping fresh fruit stocked!
Greta was invited to her boyfriend’s house for dinner and was asked to bring bread and salad. She bought the groceries, as well as grapefruit juice, spending $7.22. She didn’t know I was doing the Grocery Challenge, so I’m sure she could have done better on her purchases if she had really tried.

Our total spending for week #2 was $96.27, a little over half my weekly allotment.

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