Peapod Grocery Haul – $28.09 Per Week Budget/Meal Plan

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I can’t even begin to explain how much I am loving Peapod right now, and how much of a bargain it has been for me and my family. When it comes to feeding myself and my husband healthy and wholesome meals (for the most part ūüėõ ) for very little money, this really is where it’s at.

So, just to start, I’d like to let you know that my order came out to over $100. About $20 of those dollars went to household items such as toilet paper, dish soap, and cat food to last the month. The rest? Food for nearly 3 weeks.

It could last a bit longer depending on how much we actually end up eating on a day-to-day basis. We also aren’t quite at bare fridge/freezer yet. We have a 3-4 days, if not more of meat in the freezer. We also have frozen vegetables, and leftovers in the fridge. Regardless, I calculated this food plan for 21 days.

I’d like to also throw it out there that I will probably be going to the street markets once a week and spending a few more dollars on fresh fruit for snacking and smoothies. I might also pick up some rice. I also took it upon myself to “shop the pantry”, therefore there are some items I will be cooking with over the next 3 weeks that I already have at home.

Though my meal plan is still sort of a rough draft, this is what I have in the works right now:

Breakfast:

  • Waffles
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal (in pantry)
  • Smoothies

Lunches:

  • Sandwiches
  • Smoothies
  • Leftovers

Dinners:

  • Italian sausage, Peppers, and Potato Bake x3
  • Spaghetti & Meat Sauce x3
  • Beef Stew x2
  • Teriyaki Chicken x3
  • Spanish Chicken Stew x2
  • Classic Roast Chicken x3
  • Tacos x2
  • Chili x2
  • Oven-baked Fish Fillets x3

The idea behind this meal plan, (and for the most part, all of my meal plans), is buying and cooking in bulk and eating leftovers for 2-3 consecutive dinners. It is also using the same ingredients, with different seasonings, for many different dishes. Stews are very inexpensive to cook and it makes a TON!  The stews, as well as the Italian sausage bake will all incorporate the same vegetables. Chili and tacos are both very low-cost, especially if you buy your beans dry and cook them in bulk for the week. (However, this week, I did buy them canned because they were less than 60 cents a can.) The fish fillets are indeed frozen Рvalue size bag of 12 for $3! Teriyaki chicken is very low-cost and simple as well. It only calls for (the cheapest cuts you can find) chicken, soy sauce, sugar, and a few fresh ingredients such as garlic and ginger which I keep on hand.

This is really handy for families who have differing work schedules and don’t spend a lot of time at home during meal time. It not only saves time and money, but when it comes to soups, stews, and chili, it really does get better the longer it cooks and the more times it is reheated on the stove.

I honestly really enjoy the process of cooking, but I realize that a lot of people just don’t have the time/don’t want to invest the time in cooking when they could be investing that time in doing something else (leisure activities, for example). I’d rather be spending my free time playing video games than cooking and cleaning! No lies here!

 

 

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Key Foods Haul $60 2-week Budget

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This morning my husband and I trekked to Key Foods, about a mile away from our apartment. I’ve only been here a few times and already I can tell this is going to be¬† new favorite neighborhood grocery store! (I also just found out they deliver to Brooklyn!)

They have an awesome selection of generic, as well as premium foods. In terms of bargains, the best was hormone free/organic chicken thighs for less than $1/lb this week. They also had some nice cuts of chopped steaks and pork chops for less than $2/lb.¬† Key Foods offers many mark downs and manager’s specials on both meat and produce. As you can see in my photos, I scored both mark down veggies as well as meats.

If it wasn’t so far away (and it wasn’t soooo damn hot outside!), I’d definitely be heading down there more often. I can’t seem to locate my receipt, so here is a list of what we purchased:

  1. Gal. of Milk
  2. Pure Leaf Sweet Tea
  3. Jelly Rolls
  4. Peach Pie
  5. Prelude Popcorn Chicken
  6. 5.5lb Hormone-Free Chicken Thighs
  7. 3lb Pork Loin
  8. 1lb Cubed Steaks (4 total)
  9. Jennie-O Turkey Kielbasa
  10. Oscar Myer All-Beef Hot Dogs
  11. lb Lemons
  12. Earthbound Farm romaine lettuce
  13. Carton of White Button Mushrooms
  14. Veggie Medley – Carrots, Cauliflower, Broccoli (fresh)
  15. Jumbo Yellow Onion
  16. 12 Pack Poptarts
  17. Bag of Berry Colossal Crunch – Generic Cereal (Captain Crunch)
  18. Town House Butter Crackers
  19. Best Yet Angel Hair Pasta – Whole Wheat
  20. Italian Village Cheese Ravioli – Frozen
  21. Friendship Sour Cream
  22. Key Foods Paprika

Meal Plan:

  1. Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
  2. Chicken Noodle Casserole
  3. Creamy Mushroom Chicken
  4. Raviolis
  5. Meat Jun
  6. Teriyaki Steak
  7. Smothered Pork Chops
  8. Breaded Pork Chops
  9. Kielbasa Stir-fry
  10. Homemade Corn-dogs

Lunches – Sandwiches/Salads, leftovers

Breakfasts – Cereal, Pop-tarts

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Reminder: Check A-L-L Grocery Catalogs!

 

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When I load up my Flipp app, there are literally hundreds of catalogs that pop up. On a regular day (or week), I usually don’t bother looking at any of the catalogs for stores that I don’t frequent. To be honest, I am probably missing out on deals I’m not even aware of. In truth, it is kind of a pain to skim through tons of catalogs, but in the long run, you do save money. Effort always pays off.

 

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Frugal Foods: Simple Sandwiches

When it comes to saving money and time, sandwiches are an awesome alternative to large meal prepping. I love sandwiches – really. I love being able to whip something up quick and easy without really getting my hands (or the kitchen) dirty. When I’m feeling lazy, sandwiches are my go-to meal.

One of my favorite memories is sitting on the dining room table with my grandmother at 7:00am with a mug of roasted brown rice tea, and a fresh bag of Pandesal (Filipino dinner rolls). She’d scramble up a few eggs and we’d stuff them inside these warm bread rolls.

Today, I still enjoy a¬†simple egg sandwiches. However, you could say I’ve branched out a little bit as well. Here are my top 10 favorite sandwiches I like to make for breakfast, lunches, or with leftovers the night before:

  1. Basic tuna and avocado sandwich. Literally just these 2 ingredients with the exception of a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. No mayo! Perfect between 2 slices of whole wheat bread. If you like to get a little fancy, here is a great recipe that adds a little something extra.
  2. Avocado and fried egg sandwich. Again very simple – very basic!
  3. BBQ chicken sandwich. Today for lunch we tossed boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the oven smothered in honey BBQ sauce and baked it on low for a few hours before shredding it up. Works great topped with your favorite shredded cheese blend Рpiled high on a sesame bun! This is a really affordable and easy lunch or dinner idea that anyone would love.
  4. Basic BLT club sandwich with your choice of deli meat. I love a simply turkey sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato and real mayonnaise.
  5. Tuna salad sandwich with the works.
  6. Chicken, beef, or lamb gyro with Katt‚Äôs Valhalla Sauce (NYC’s infamous white Halal sauce). Ok guys – just so you know, that sauce is crack. LOL.
  7. Meatball sub with fresh mozzarella.
  8. Grilled Cuban sandwich
  9. Vietnamese sandwich
  10. Last, but not least – and definitely the best – Philly cheese steak sandwich!

 

 

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Grocery Haul 05/17/2016 – Peapod Grocery Delivery/Stop & Shop NYC (Tri-State Area)

Hey Gang,

I just ordered a ton more groceries from Peapod today! Like I mentioned in previous posts, Peapod is my all-time favorite grocery delivery service, and I frequently use it to purchase groceries in bulk ‚Äď something that is almost impossible as a city dweller, like myself, with no car.

Though my bill did in fact hit the $60 mark, I should mention that I also purchased a few things that were not food items (cat food and cat litter) + some pantry/fridge restock items (bread crumbs, sugar, oats, ketchup, and vegetable oil) that many folks would not buy every single week.

For the 2-week meal plan itself, again, we’re focusing on cooking in BULK, the cost is just $45, assuming you already have some of these pantry items in your home.

Here is a detailed list of exactly what I purchased:

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What meals ¬†have I planned for this grocery haul? I have 7 meals ‚Äď all with at least one additional day of leftovers! Though I have only 7 meals planned, these groceries will more than likely last 10-14 days – if not more.

  1. Basic baked BBQ chicken
  2. Oven fried/or pan fried chicken tenders
  3. Pasta w/ meat sauce (marinara)
  4. Pasta w/ Italian sausage (marinara)
  5. Pasta w/ spinach Alfredo sauce
  6. Bacon cheeseburgers
  7. Meatloaf

Breakfasts/Brunches/Lunches will be huevos rancheros (which, by the way, is one of my all time favorite breakfast meals ‚Äď it’s cheap, easy, and delicious!), black bean and cheese quesadillas/tacos/burritos/burrito bowls, bacon & eggs, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, breakfast tacos, oatmeal, cereal, and/or cereal.

All of these meals are basic/classic meals I’ve cooked several times before, and I’m sure you have too. Do you have a favorite recipe for one of these meals?

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15 $5 Soups & Stews

When it comes to eating frugal, soups and stews really are the way to go. The idea is you end up with 6-8 servings (or even more!) of leftovers. This can be easily refrigerated then reheated over the next 2-3 days, or popped in the freezer for another day, week or month! You save a lot of money and time cooking in bulk. Here are 15 of my favorite $5 soups and stews (approximately $1 per serving)!

  1. Cheap Chili 
  2. Stuffed Pepper Soup
  3. Kimchi Stew *
  4. Chicken and Orzo Soup
  5. Lentil Soup
  6. Minestrone Stew
  7. Cuban Pork and Black Bean Stew
  8. White Bean, Sausage and Spinach Soup
  9. Potato Soup
  10. Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
  11. Corn Chowder
  12. Chicken & Dumplings
  13. Pea Soup
  14. Sausage, Eggplant, and Pepper Stew
  15. Goulash
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$60 2-Week Meal Plan

For a complete look at everything I purchased for this meal plan, check out my grocery haul post here.

— MEGA¬†meals — (these are meant to last 2-3 days or be thrown in the freezer for later)

“Fully Loaded” Slow-Cooker Spaghetti Sauce by Betty Crocker¬†This is the spaghetti sauce I grew up on. My Dad would make this in our crock pot over the weekend and it was sooo good. It was thick, savory, with huge chunks of sweet¬†Italian¬†sausage.

Old Fashion Beef Stew  I love my beef stew with an ample amount of veggies. I go beyond the usual onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes. I love to add a generous amount of frozen sweet peas and white button mushrooms too!

Chicken & Spinach Mac & Cheese¬†What’s there to hate? Lol!

Cheesy Chicken Veggie Chowder¬†¬†This is one of my original recipes I posted back in March. It’s also one of my all-time favorite cold-weather meals. We still have a little bit of cold weather left before Summer arrives so I’m trying to enjoy every little bit left!

— “Will provide leftovers for tomorrow.” —

Chicken noodle casserole¬†This is a no-fuss, simple, and easy recipe I’ve been using for quite a while now. I really love the cream of chicken/mushroom with the sour cream, and a buttery-cracker topping is so much better than breadcrumbs in my opinion. What I love about this recipe is it’s basic. You can fancy it up anyway you want. I highly recommend adding in some frozen peas, or even fresh chopped broccoli.¬†¬†Onion? Garlic? Anything you want! Mixing in some finely shredded cheddar cheese would also make a great addition as well.¬†

“Amish” Oven-Fried Chicken ¬†Who hates fried chicken? It’s probably unheard of. ūüėõ When I ran into this recipe, I was looking for something lazy but tasty. I wanted a recipe that I could throw together without going out and buying additional¬†ingredients. The great thing about this recipe is you get this amazing –¬†juicy¬†on the inside, crunchy on the outside, everyday chicken dinner without having to go out and buy all these extra ingredients. More than likely, you will have flour and seasonings in your cupboard making this a perfect go-to meal for when you have nothing in the¬†cupboard/fridge.

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$30 5-day Meal Plan

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Hey all – I know I haven’t published many blog posts over the last few weeks. That’s because my parents are in town! ūüôā I can’t wait to share a bit more about their visit in later posts. If you’re interested in keeping up with¬†our adventures, feel free to follow my Instagram account for regular updates on food spots, tourist attractions, and the like!

Let’s move on to this upcoming week’s meal plan! So what’s on the menu?

Dinners (with leftovers!) FYI –¬†Recipes will come as I prepare these meals.

  1. All-beef Smoked Sausage or Kielbasa Hash w/ Bell Peppers + Onions
  2. Salisbury Steaks w/ Mashed Potatoes and Homemade Mushroom Gravy (Green beans or your favorite veggie on the side!)
  3. Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts w/ Rosemary Garlic-y Roasted Potatoes (Green beans or your favorite veggie on the side!)
  4. Roasted Chicken w/ Homemade Mushroom Gravy and Mashed Potatoes (Green beans or your favorite veggie on the side!)
  5. Cheesy Meatball Subs with Sweet-Marinara Sauce

Lunches

  1. Leftovers
  2. Variations of egg salad, tuna, and avocado sandwiches on whole-wheat bread.
  3. Ham & cheese sandwiches on whole-wheat bread
  4. Grilled cheese sandwiches on whole-wheat bread.

Breakfasts

  1. Ham, eggs, and home fries.
  2. Cheese omelettes on whole wheat bread.

What we already had on hand:

  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Lemons
  • Eggs

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Frugal Foods: Stuffed Pepper Soup

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I love Stuffed Pepper Soup because it’s filling, affordable, and delicious.

There are quite a lot of different variations of Stuffed Pepper Soup on the web. In my version, I go for a savory, sweet, and spicy Italian flavor that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

Ingredients:

  • Ground beef
  • Bell peppers
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • Beef broth
  • Garlic
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Dried pasley
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Chile flakes
  • Sugar
  • ¬†Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooked rice

Directions:

  1. Start by browning your meat in a large soup pot. While your meat browns, chop and add your onion, celery, bell peppers, and fresh garlic. Let that cook for about 15 minutes – allowing your veggies to soften.
  2. Next, add your beef broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce, along with your seasonings (oregano, basil, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, Chile flakes and a few pinches of sugar.)
  3. Simmer on low for 35-45 minutes. In the meantime cook your rice.
  4. To serve: scoop rice into a bowl, then pour soup over rice. Serve with cheese on top if desired.

P.S. Many recipes suggest adding uncooked rice directly to the pot, but I often find that makes rice soggy and the soup mushy.

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Frugal Foods: Beef Stew

Beef stew is my all-time favorite comfort food. Like so many other soups and stews, it only gets better the longer it’s been simmering in a pot. That’s why I always make a massive serving and eat it for 3-4+ days. It makes great leftovers for lunch as well.

Ingredients:

  • Stewing beef (preferably Angus beef – high fat marbling!)
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • All purpose flour
  • Thyme (preferably fresh AND dry)
  • Parsley (preferably fresh AND dry)
  • Bay leaves
  • Tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Low-sodium beef broth (recommended), homemade beef stock, or water
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Sugar

Directions:

  1. Start by mixing salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme and parsley in with a cup of flour. Next coat your beef generously in the flour mixture and set aside.
  2. Sear¬†beef on high heat until crispy on both sides. The most important part is searing the beef. The trick is to make sure your pot is hot before adding your oil, ¬†and making sure your oil is hot before adding your meat to the pot. All you want to do is crisp the edges, you don’t want to cook the beef yet.
  3. Remove beef from the pot and set aside to rest. Brown onion, garlic and celery to the pot. Add more vegetable oil if needed.
  4. Add beef broth, stock, or water. Add splash of Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, bay leaves, a few pinches of sugar, and a generous spoon full of tomato paste. Return beef to pot. Simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  5. Once beef is tender, add carrots and potatoes and let simmer for an additional 35-40 minutes or until your desired tenderness/consistency. As the potatoes cook, your stew will thicken.
  6. Feel free to add in frozen peas and mushrooms in the last 10-15 minutes. You can also add in other spring vegetables such as leeks, turnips, and green beans.

Enjoy!

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