Monday, August 15, 2011

From the Grocery List to the Dinner Table

When I go grocery shopping, there are some products that I buy almost every shopping trip. I'm not very brand loyal, so I'll usually buy whichever brand is on sale that week.
In produce--
I always buy bananas, salad fixings (leaf lettuce, cucumber, other veggies that are on sale), apples and organic carrots (Earthbound Farm carrots just taste better than non-organic) if I'm getting low, and whatever is on sale for the week that our family will eat. This week it was blueberries that were FREE when buying two Ocean Spray juices, salad mix for $0.88, peaches for $1.59/lb. and pears for $0.97/lb., sweet corn for $0.22 each and red potatoes for $3.53. I also bought Caesar salad mix to eat with pizza, and a green pepper and mushrooms to make kabobs.
In dairy--
I always buy three gallons of milk, two 2% and one skim. I usually run out before my next shopping trip and have to buy more here in town. I buy yogurt if it's on sale. I prefer Yoplait and don't buy many other brands. I also like Stonyfield organic yogurt, but it's expensive so I don't buy it often. I buy cottage cheese, chunk cheese and shredded cheese, and orange juice, whatever is on sale or the cheapest. If I'm low on eggs, sour cream, creamer or butter I'll buy what's cheapest.
In the frozen section--
If I'm low on frozen veggies or they're on sale, I'll buy some. Sometimes I buy frozen pizza for the weekend. Sometimes I buy ice cream. I don't buy a lot of frozen food, mostly if it's a good sale that week.
In the bakery--
I buy two loaves of 100% whole wheat bread. Occasionally I'll buy white bread to placate the husband and kiddos, but I don't want them to come to expect it every week! My weakness is donuts/rolls, so if there's something on sale I'll probably buy it. This week it was caramel rolls. It was awesome with my Saturday morning coffee.
Other grocery items--
I look through the sale ad to see what's a good deal for the week. I buy whatever cereal or crackers are a good deal, if they're varieties we eat. I buy whatever chips are on sale to go with lunches. M&M's (individual size) were $0.55 and I used a $0.75/2 coupons, so $0.35 for both. Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats were $2.66. I've been wanting to try the steel cut oats, but they're usually quite expensive. Pineapple chunks for kabobs and tidbits for pizza. Hunts spaghetti sauce for $1, and free spaghetti when you buy 3 sauces. Two cans of tuna for a lunch option. Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding 5/$4 and used a coupon for $0.45/3, so $0.71 each. Frosted Mini Spooners for $0.97. Keebler Fudge granola bars for $2.77, but there was a tear pad on the display to try the product for free (send in receipt and UPC, get refund check). Bugles (the kids love 'em, but I rarely buy them). Eggo waffles on sale for $1.66, used $1/2, so $1.16 each. Johnsonville sausage for weekend breakfast. Garden of Eatin' blue chips for $2.99-$1 coupon=$1.99. Kangaroo pita chips for $1.99. Deli ham and turkey for sandwiches. Suave shampoo and conditioner for $0.99 each. Bic razors for $4.44-$2 coupon=$2.44.
I buy what I need for meals in the week(s) ahead. I bought pizza dough mix, hot dog buns, pepperoni and Canadian bacon for pizza, Elliott's hot dogs, baby back ribs for $1.97/lb., fresh chicken breasts for $1.97/lb., boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut up chicken fryer.
I also buy whatever I'm low on or out of. This week I needed chili powder and cumin, liquid hand soap, garbage bags, bulk coffee (always coffee!), cooking spray, sunflower seeds for hubby, Q-Tips.
This week I saved $80.12 or 30% by shopping the sales and using coupons.

Menu Plan Monday 63

It's hard to believe that summer is winding down, although it's still three weeks still school starts. We're trying to pack all we can into these last weeks! Meals will be simple so I don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday-Clean out the fridge/leftovers
Monday--Hot dogs, watermelon, chips
Tuesday--Homemade chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, veggie
Wednesday--Chicken kabobs
Thursday--Chili mac

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 62

I'm not grocery shopping until the end of the week, so I'm cooking out of the pantry/freezer this week. Here's what I have planned:
Sunday--Homemade chicken soup
Tuesday--Chicken stir fry with brown rice
Wednesday--Pork tenderloin
Thursday--Grilled chicken

From the Grocery List to the Dinner Table

This is what I bought for groceries last week:

I bought this case of blueberries for $24.99 at our local grocery store (not where I do most of my shopping). Last year I bought a case for $17.99, so the price has gone up quite a bit. I froze most of them to use through the fall/winter. In the long run it's a money saver as I saw frozen blueberries in the grocery store were over $4 each.

For my regular shopping, I saved 34% or $121.90 buy shopping the sales and using coupons.

The freebies for the week--

Creamette spaghetti FREE with purchase of 3 Hunt's spaghetti sauce, Pop Tarts 12 pk. FREE with purchase of 4 Mini Wheats, Blueberries FREE with purchase of two Ocean Spray

Breakfast items--

Master English muffin bread $1.66, Kellogg's Mini Wheats (4 total) 4/$10-$1/2 coupons=$2.00 each, Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch and Rice Krispies 3/$8-$1/2 coupon=$2.16 each, Hungry Jack pancake mix $1.99, Eggo waffles $1.66-$1/3=$1.33 each, Johnsonville breakfast sausage $2.97, Jennie-O turkey bacon $1.99


Barrel o' Fun chips $2.50, Barrel o' Fun tortilla chips $1.99, Whole wheat bread $1.99 each, Kraft mac 'n cheese $0.75-$1/2 coupon=$0.41 each, Foster corn dogs $5.99, Deli salami $2.47, Deli hony ham $2.89

Meat and sides--

Ocean Eclipse salmon 4 oz. individally packaged 10/$10 (Made this awesome grilled salmon!), Gold'n Plump boneless, skinless chicken breasts $7.97, Gold'n Plump boneless, skinless chicken thighs $7.97,Gold'n Plump cut up fryers $4.94, Ground beef $13.13, Mr. Dee's sweet potato fries $2.50, Jack's pizza $2.49


Nabisco Teddy Grahams $2.49, Kashi pita crisps $2.99-$1.50 coupon=$1.49, Cheez Its $1.99, Kemps tropical popsicles $2.50, Kemps ice cream bucket $2.99, Hunt's snack pack pudding 5/$4


Broccoli $0.92, Grapes $3.86, Dole salad mix $1.88, Bananas $1.86, Green beans $2.20, Green peppers 2/$0.97, Organic carrots $1.66, Roma tomotoes $0.43, Seedless watermelon $2.97, Idaho potatoes $3.49, Honeydew melon $5.44


Eggs $1.59, Cruz whole wheat tortillas $2.39, Westfield Farms shredded cheddar cheese $1.99, Crystal Farms string cheese $2.99, Yoplait Delights 4 pks. $2-$0.50 coupons=$1.50 each, Westfield Farms butter $2.50, Arrowhead cottage cheese $2.50, Coffeemate creamer $1.66-$0.55= $1.11, Reddi Wip $1.99, Crystal Farms American cheese $1.99, Arrowhead orange juice $3.99, Super One milk $2.50 each for 2, $3.49 for 3rd

Pantry items--

Hunt's ketchup $0.75, Chicken of the Sea tuna $0.69, Hunt's spaghetti sauce $1.00, S & W kidney and black beans 2/$3, Hunt's diced tomatoes $1.00, Kool Aid mix $1.99, Flavorite mandarin oranges (to add to fruit salad) $1.00, Del Monte pineapple $1.00, Nestle chocolate chips $2.49-$1/2 coupon=$1.99 each, Peter Pan peanut butter $0.99, Lime juice $1.79, Sunflower seeds $1.99


Ocean Spray cranapple juice 2/$5, Twizzlers $0.99, Bulk coffee $3.49,Bottled water 24 pk. $2.50, Royal Oak charcoal $4.94, Angel Soft 12 big rolls $4.94

Grilled Salmon

We grill often in the summer, especially when it's as hot and steamy outside as it has been. Sometimes I get tired of the same old burgers, pork chops or chicken that we seem to make most often, so last week we tried grilling salmon. The marinade added a nice sweetness to the salmon. (Recipe from
I also decided to do baked potatoes on the grill for the first time ever. I drizzled olive oil on aluminum foil, sprinkled with seasoning salt, and rolled each potato in the oil to coat. I wrapped them up (individually) and cooked on the grill about 45 minutes or so, until they were soft.
I rounded out the meal with fresh green beans. This was definitely the best meal of the week!

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste (I didn't have any lemon pepper and used garlic pepper instead)
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

From the Grocery List to the Dinner Table, Vacation Edition

Little Winnie Lake

We were on vacation last week with my parents and sisters and their families. We took turns cooking the main meal of the day, and our family made homemade pizza with salad one night and grilled hamburgers, cole slaw and baked beans another night. Here's what else I bought before vacation:

Breakfast items--

Life cereal ($2.99-$0.75=$2.24)


Whole wheat bread (2), cottage white bread, unsweetened applesauce, chips, deli turkey and ham

Meat and sides--

Pizza crust (6), pizza sauce ($1-$1/5=$0.80 each), pizza toppings (pineapple, black olives, Canadian bacon, pepperoni), hamburger buns (3) ($1 each), chicken drumsticks (2/$, used 2-$1 coupons=$1.50 each), frozen pizza (2)

Snacks--More junk food than I usually buy, but it was for sharing on vacation

Graham crackers (2) ($1 each), Pretzel M & M's, 8 pk. fun size candy bars--Milky Way, Twix, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, vanilla wafers, Keebler Chips Deluxe, Quaker granola bars, almonds, sunflower seeds, Lunchables (4) ($1 each), Tribe hummus


Broccoli, sliced mushrooms, romaine lettuce, mini carrots, plums and peaches ($1/lb.), coleslaw mix, spinach, roma tomatoes, apples, cucumbers, bananas


Coffeemate, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, orange juice, bagels, butter, string cheese, block cheese, shredded cheese, milk

Pantry items--

Wacky Mac ($1-$0.40 coupon=$0.60), Flavorite peanut butter, taco shells, chocolate chips, pancake mix, canned peaches, canned pumpkin (2), Chi-Chi's salsa (2) ($1-$0.50=$0.50 each), Langer's apple juice ($1 each)


Paper plates, bottled iced tea (2), whole bean coffee, Pull Ups, bottled water, 3 pk. Zest soap ($1.99-$1=$0.99), Capri Sun (2), 6 pk. donuts (my weakness!), Kotex Lightdays, kids' toothpaste, Take and Toss straw cups

Monday, August 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 61

It's been over a month since I posted a Monday menu for the week! July was hot and busy and I've been keeping things simple for the most part. The last week we were on vacation and shared menu planning with the rest of my family (sisters and mom). Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday--Grilled pork chops, herbed rice, corn
Monday--Grilled chicken thighs with this marinade, spanish rice, salad
Tuesday--Grilled salmon (see a theme here?!), fresh green beans, grilled potatoes
Wednesday--Something easy because hubby and oldest son won't be here