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Grocery Shopping, Week 7 (Costco)

Groceries from Costco this week

It's been a while since I posted about my grocery shopping trips. There are too many things I would like to blog about on a weekly basis! Grocery shopping, weekly menus, kitchen tips, new recipes, posts answering your questions, and just random "here's what I've been cooking!" posts... Hmmm, maybe I should do a poll and see what you really want more of! As it is, I just blog whatever's on my mind, without sacrificing too much sleep or family time. ;)

Anyway, last week I shared about some of my money-saving intentions for the year. I'm very happy to say that I've already paid a bill online for the first time, Moshe and Ruth are in cloth diapers (potty training commences this week... I think), and I got our trash service reduced to the smallest can (which will save $84/year! on garbage!!).

And with 1 day left in January, my groceries have come in within-budget and that makes me pretty happy. :) We went to Costco 2 times in January (instead of 4!!) and even lived for 7 days without sour cream. We are spoiled and almost have to have sour cream with our beans. ;)

Today (January 30) was actually our second Costco trip for the month, and since I plan to not go for at least 2 more weeks, I spent part of January's grocery money (I had $137 left for the month) and a little of February's.

More Costco groceries

I piled our kitchen table FULL for a picture, but couldn't quite figure out how to get it all in one picture. So I walked around the table, taking pictures. I think I'll have to figure out a better way next time! ;)

Here's what we bought:

Dry pinto beans (25#)                    $12.85
Non-fat milk (2 gallons)                  $3.98
Whole milk (6 gallons)                   $11.94
Frozen chicken breast (6.5#)           $15.25
Mozzarella cheese (5#)                  $9.55
Mexican cheese (5#)                      $11.98
10" flour tortillas (40 ct.)                 $4.99
Cinnamon (2 x 10.7oz.)                  $5.30
Butter (4#)                                    $8.52
Organic green beans (5#)               $5.45
Sour cream (3#)                            $3.59
Cream cheese (3#)                        $5.69
Heavy cream (2 qt.)                       $6.95
Beef hot dogs                               $10.99
Romaine lettuce (6ct.)                   $2.99
Hoagie rolls (18 ct.)                       $2.99
Multi-grain bread (2 loaves)           $3.99
Large eggs (5 dozen)                    $7.39
Broccoli florets (3#)                       $3.99
Pink Lady apples (12 ct.)               $4.99
Maple syrup (1 qt.)                       $12.55

Total spent: $155.92

Used from January's food budget: $137.00

Used from February's food budget: $18.92

Also purchased for this week: Bananas at QFC ($5.46)

Total food budget for February remaining: ($420.00 - $18.92 - $5.46 = $395.62

More Costco groceries

I still had carrots, celery, a few apples, 2 oranges, and some lettuce in the fridge, as well as peas in the freezer, so we will have plenty of fruits and vegetables! :) We were out of cheese, tortillas (lots of bean burritos in the last month!), chicken, and sour cream. :)

The whole milk will be used for cereal, cooking, and making lots of kefir. :) The fat-free milk is for Joshua. He is still lactose-intolerant, but we have been making our own lactose-free milk which has REALLY helped the food budget! (Lactose-free milk is about $7/gallon and Joshua drinks a homemade mocha frappuccino every day still!)

More Costco groceries

The hot dogs and buns ("sandwich rolls") are not a normal purchase, but something Joshua decided to get to give me a break from cooking this evening. :) We will freeze some of the buns and hot dogs to eat during another week, since while I like high-quality hot dogs, I don't enjoy them nearly as much if they are a regular food item. ;)

I think going to Costco bi-weekly (rather than weekly) will save us money, even if (or maybe "because of"!) we have to do without something every now and then... because I refuse to pay "regular price" for things when I know Costco has them cheaper!

Going bi-weekly will also save us TIME. Even though Costco is only 3-4 miles away (as close as nearly every other grocery store), when every weekend has to include grocery shopping, it's a real time drain. And this kitchen has a big enough fridge and freezer that I can easily store enough milk, etc. for longer than 1 week! :)

So... let me know if you enjoy hearing about my grocery trips, because I am thinking of trying to regularly (i.e. every week!) share about our grocery purchases and food budgeting, at least for the next couple of months. :) And, if you've posted about your groceries or food budget recently, I'd love it if you shared the link in a comment! :)

Weekly Menu Plan (November 7-13, 2010)

Bow tie pasta with sauce
Bow tie pasta with beef, sauce, and cheese --
one of the simple meals I served while we were busy packing and moving! :)

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Thank you all for the encouragement to me after my last post! You all are such a huge bessing to me!! :) The past week has been refreshing and renewing in a variety of ways. I've even got company scheduled to come this week, which is motivating and energizing! HalleluYah! :)

This week's menu plan:

Breakfasts: Mocha Frappuccinos (Joshua), bananas, and kefir

Lunches: Salads, nuts (mixed nuts for Joshua at work, peanuts in the shell for us at home), and leftovers

Dinners:

Sunday -- homemade pizza, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, apples and cream cheese apple dip

Monday -- Grilled chicken breast, seasoned baked potato wedges, steamed or roasted carrots

Tuesday -- Farmhouse Chicken, green beans, creamy pear salad (recipe to come!)

Wednesday -- Grilled chicken salad, homemade bread, sliced pears and apples

Thursday -- Beans, rice, and tortillas with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tapatio; cooked peas, fresh apples

Friday -- homemade pizza, green beans, sliced pears

Saturday -- Taking cooked pinto beans in the crock pot to a potluck, along with sides (Mission chips, sour cream, cheddar cheese)

Cooked pinto beans with toppings
Pinto beans, "dressed up" :)

Weekly Menu Plan (August 8-14, 2010)

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Homemade strawberry jam and all-natural peanut butter from Costco. We've found that the natural peanut butter is more runny than "regular" peanut butter, so we do open-face sandwiches with it.

This week's breakfasts:

Cooked oatmeal, fruit smoothies, or (for Joshua) mocha frappuccinos

This week's lunches:

PBJ sandwiches, cottage cheese, cooked pinto beans, or (for Joshua) salads

Ruth (2), my helper girl
Ruth (2) with the salads and frappuccinos she helped me make ahead for the week

This week's dinners:

Sunday

Oven-roasted chicken, raw veggies (carrots, broccoli, tomatoes), and fresh fruit (apples, peaches, bananas)

Monday

Chicken Squash Bake (yay! I LOVE this!!), grilled scalloped potatoes

Tuesday

Grilled chicken breast, grilled broccoli, salad

Wednesday

Grilled chicken fajitas (with leftover chicken), grilled corn on the cob

Thursday

Breakfast for dinner -- Apple Cheese Pancakes, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, fruit smoothies

Friday

Pizza, grilled corn on the cob, fresh fruit, fresh veggie sticks

Saturday

Beans and Rice with toppings (cheese, sour cream, fresh tomato salsa)

Ways with rice: Cooked, fried, and casseroled :)

Cooked rice is one of my go-to side dishes when we're having fish for dinner. I don't always have potatoes or bread, so rice has become the carb choice that I always have on hand! :)

Hot off the grill (or straight from the oven), place a fish fillet on a bed of hot rice and as the flavorful juices drip from the fish, the plain cooked rice turns into a delicious seasoned rice -- perfect for savoring with bites of the fish.

4-rice blend

We like the flavor of Basmati rice, a white long grain rice. Another favorite is Sun West's four-rice blend (shown above) we find at Costco, though due to price it's more of a treat than a staple food. :)

Chicken fried rice

After cooking rice to go along with a dinner, the leftover rice can be turned into Chicken Fried Rice (or Simple Fried Rice -- an even easier, meatless version).

Chicken fried rice

I also like to use leftover rice in casseroles. Turning leftovers (like rice) into a whole new meal means we don't even notice we're eating leftovers! ;)

Spinach Rice Casserole

Spinach Rice Casserole is one of my favorite quick-and-easy ways to serve leftover rice!

More casserole favorites that use cooked rice:

Rice Lasagna

Rice Medley (a childhood favorite!)

Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake

Our favorite beans and rice!

And perhaps my top favorite way to eat rice is with beans! :)

What's your favorite kind of rice? If you have a favorite recipe using rice, I'd love to hear about it! Leave it (or a link to it) in a comment! :)

Weekly menu plan (June 6-12, 2010)

A few photos from last week's menu plan:

Smoky salmon chowder
Smoky Salmon Chowder

The Smoky Salmon Chowder was a big hit! It had been a number of months since we had this chowder, and I added extra chunks of (leftover) salmon fillet to make it meatier, since it was really the "main dish" at that meal.

Crustless beef quiche
Crustless Beef and Spinach Quiche (before baking)

When I made out my menu for the week, I forgot that (A) we were having company on Friday (even though it was on my calendar!!) and (B) our company didn't like fish. So, I pulled some cooked ground beef/onions/spinach from the freezer and made a crustless quiche. It wasn't the fanciest of meals (especially in appearance!) due to my lack of planning, but it sufficed. I am NOT superwoman, after all! ;)

Pumpkin dinner rolls
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls (before baking)

I also made these pumpkin dinner rolls, which I allowed to rise too high, so they fell a little in the oven and looked rather odd! :P Most of them still tasted okay, thankfully. :)

A photo I forgot to add earlier today:

I made the dough for the pumpkin dinner rolls in my bread machine. Although I had to "babysit" it by scraping the sides, it easily handled the huge amount of dough. :)

On the menu for this week:

Sunday -- Leftovers (all meals)

Monday -- Easy grilled salmon with lemon, rice, broccoli, Matza Ball Soup

Tuesday -- Salmon chowder, fried rice, green beans

Wednesday -- Grilled mahi mahi sandwiches on homemade buttermilk wheat buns

Thursday -- Grilled Sea Bass (new recipe), green beans, watermelon

Friday -- Homemade pizza (or else some grilled chicken breast -- diet-friendly ;D), fresh fruit (bananas, apples, and grapefruit), green beans

Saturday -- Depends on whether we have guests or not, but most likely some grilled fish and rice with asparagus! :)

Weekly menu plan (May 30-June 5, 2010): Lots of fish!

We filled our nearly-empty freezer with about 50 pounds of fish fillets. What a blessing! I now have mahi mahi, salmon, and sea bass. This week we'll be eating fish for dinner every day. In future weeks, when the freezer isn't quite so packed, I'll be adding more variety to our dinners.

Here is the "fishy" menu plan I came up with!

Sunday

Leftovers (grilled salmon & broccoli, onions, rice), mixed fruit (also leftover), Olive Garden Salad and Dressing (also leftover) and Easy Baked Apple Oatmeal (also leftover!)

Monday

Grilled mahi mahi tacos (using ideas from comments on this post)

Tuesday

Grilled salmon with fried rice (Will be inventing this somewhat! Any suggestions?)

Wednesday

Grilled mahi mahi sandwiches on homemade buttermilk wheat buns (new recipe) with homemade tartar sauce and lettuce, cooked carrots, green beans

Thursday

Creamy salmon chowder (Yummy -- recipe coming!). salad, green beans, and a mahi mahi idea from this post

Friday

Dilly Tuna Melts on whole wheat pita breads (using grilled mahi mahi instead of tuna), cooked corn, green beans

Saturday

Undecided (depends on where we are that day, but most likely something for a potluck or picnic!)

Weekly Menu Plan -- May 23-29, 2010

Here's my plan for this week:

Sunday

Leftovers, which include homemade pizza, broccoli, spaghetti, baked apple oatmeal, and beans.

Monday

Grilled chicken (made into chicken fried rice), cooked peas, applesauce, and homemade bread

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Tuesday

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (from the freezer), cooked peas, salad

Wednesday

Grilled salmon served with broccoli and rice (recipe coming), Italian potato salad, applesauce

Thursday

Grilled Lemon-Garlic Mahi Mahi fillets, seasoned baked potato wedges, Maple Rosemary Bean Salad, cooked peas

Thin-Crust Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza

Friday (with guests)

Homemade pizza, two kinds -- Thin-Crust Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza and Mediterranean Herb Chicken Pizza, Olive Garden Salad and Dressing, New York Cheesecake

Saturday (with guests)

Grilled fish (salmon and mahi mahi), rice, Olive Garden Salad and Dressing, Creamy Potato Soup, fruit salad, and New York Cheesecake

Joshua's container of salad

Lunches will be green salads (for Joshua and me), leftovers, or peanut butter sandwiches (for the kids)

Breakfasts will be homemade mocha frappuccinos (Joshua) and oatmeal with toast and fruit (the kids and me). I'll make a dish of Easy Baked Apple Oatmeal on Friday to serve for Saturday breakfast with our guests, along with scrambled eggs and toast.

Sounds like a busy week ahead, doesn't it?! Thankfully, most of these meals are either pretty simple or else something I'm fast at preparing (due to lots of practice). :)

Weekly menu plan: Emptying the freezer

This week's menu plan has been focused on finishing up the last few freezer meals in preparation for a large (50 pounds!) order of frozen fish. Joshua works for a seafood company, and every now and then they have an employee sale where we have been able to get high-quality frozen fish for a dollar or two per pound! Amazing! And such a blessing! :)

To hold all the fish, my freezer needs to be close to empty. Here is what it looked like at the start of the week:

The frozen veggies and fruits (there are also blueberries and peas in the freezer door) will easily be gone by next week, when the fish arrives. I'm still keeping room for lots of pre-cooked ground beef and chicken, which is very convenient and doesn't take up much space (especially when vacuum-sealed!).

Chili!

This chili was from the freezer, and tasted SO good! :)

We've also eaten Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake this week, and in the next few days, I'll be making Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti and meatloaf.

Spinach Rice Casserole

Yesterday for dinner, we had Spinach Rice Casserole from the freezer. It was REALLY good!

I must say, I am enjoying having the week basically "off" from any major cooking! :)

After our fish arrives, we'll be eating more fresh veggies (rather than frozen), grilled fish or chicken, and either homemade bread, rice, beans, or potatoes.

We've been trying to focus on fresh fruits and veggies and grilled lean meats, with a smaller emphasis on whole-grain carb sources. I think a lot of my freezer meals are less "diet-friendly" and for that reason, I probably won't be making frozen lasagna, spaghetti, etc. in the future. The rare occasions when we indulge in lasagna or spaghetti, it should be made fresh in my opinion! ;)

Last week's menu in pictures

Skillet rolls

I've had long-term difficulty with consistently making and/or following menu plans, but since Moshe's birth about 3 months ago, I have been doing much better about making a plan and almost always following it! And, it's getting easier too. That was something I didn't expect! But, like most things in life, the more I practice the faster and easier it gets! :)

This week, however, I'm not going to post my menu plan. Instead, I want to share some pictures from last week. Here is the menu plan I made for last week, and following are some of the photos I took throughout the week! :)

Soft tacos

Soft tacos and some of the toppings: seasoned taco meat, cooked pinto beans, lettuce, green onions, peppers, avocado, cheese, and sour cream. I actually piled all the toppings on the tortilla and ate it like a tostada.

We use the corn tortillas from Costco and lightly fry them in a skillet for tacos. Easy and soooo yummy!!

Crustless beef quiche

This quiche was my meal from the freezer this week. I wrote about it in my post about making freezer meals for after my baby was born. This has turned out to be one of my favorite freezer meals! :)

Skillet rolls

I tried a new rolls recipe from the Prairie Girl Wanna Be blog: Skillet Yeast Rolls. I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. Joshua said they were very good, but I really prefer my dinner rolls to be less biscuit-y. The name (skillet "yeast" rolls) led me to expect something beyond a fluffy biscuit. :)

Skillet rolls

Mine didn't look as delicious as Phyllis's do. Maybe I would have liked them better with all-purpose flour and no whole wheat flour. Mine didn't get very rounded on top, though they did rise a bit.

I did like baking them in my cast iron skillet though! I think I will try again in the future, but with a different recipe.

(Does anyone have another skillet rolls recipe to suggest??) :)

Natural Fruit Cake

When I was pulling out my freezer meal, I found this mini loaf of natural fruit cake that was hiding! Yummy! :)

Cooked pinto beans with toppings

I cooked a big pot of pinto beans and the children and I warmed some for lunches on several days last week. I love pinto beans!

In this photo, my beans were topped with fresh tomato salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado.

Cooked pinto beans with toppings

I always use dried pinto beans, since they taste fresher and are much cheaper. I cook 3 pounds at a time, and freeze any that we won't use within 5-7 days.

...And I think that is all of the random food photos from last week! :)

Weekly Menu Plan -- May 2 - 8, 2010


New graphic created by ASourceOfJoy

Sunday

Lunch: Turkey gravy with mashed potatoes, broccoli, fruit salad

Dinner: Basmati rice with orange chicken, broccoli, fruit salad

Monday

New pizza experiment, green beans, apple and pear slices

Easy grilled salmon with lemon

Tuesday

Grilled salmon, rice, and sauteed broccoli and red onions

Wednesday

Freezer meal, green beans, fruit with yogurt dip

Our favorite beans and rice!

Thursday

Lunch (guests): Beans and rice w/sour cream, cheese, creamy guacamole, and Tapatio

Dinner: Soft tacos made with corn tortillas, Beans and rice on the side, green beans, and fruit

Tammy's Easy Pizza

Friday

Easy pizza, corn, fresh fruit

Saturday (potluck)

Simple bean tacos (will make on Friday, place in glass dishes, and reheat in oven)

Simple Bean Tacos

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