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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Minimalist in Manhattan Update

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Hey gang,

Summer is officially here! What does that mean? Seasonal fruits popping up at your grocery stores, BBQ-ing, and outings with family and friends to local parks and beaches, among many other things. I’ve noticed some very obvious changes in sales at our local grocery store that has somewhat made budgeting difficult over the last few weeks. Aside from eggs and cold cuts (such as hotdogs), everything has been insanely over priced!

Before I meal plan for the week, I’m going to check out all the catalogs for nearby grocery stores that I don’t usually shop at to see if prices are any better.

Anyone else experiencing a spike in prices?

-Jocelyn

 

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Frugal Tips – Shop Your Pantry!

Today was a great example as to why it is important to shop your pantry before going out to buy something else.  Let me explain.

This morning my husband woke me with news that there was an error alert on my desktop screen. Of course Luna (my cat) decided to sleep on my keyboard last night. She somehow  managed to manually reset my computer! (LOL) I was not surprised; this is definitely a Luna thing. She has turned off our Xbox One with her tail, as well as reset the internet Рquite the trouble maker! Unfortunately, I spent the remainder of the day getting my laptop back in working order!

Anyhow, all of this had me completely forgetting that I had the Peapod delivery set for this afternoon! I missed 3 calls from Peapod¬†while focusing on my laptop fiasco¬†– one that they were in the neighborhood, another when they arrived, and a last one that¬†notified me of¬†out-of-stock items that did not make it in my delivery.¬†It is one of my favorite features about Peapod, yet the alert only works if you pay attention to your phone…

So, as you can imagine, I was completely thrown off from my meal plan I had put together for the next few weeks. Instead of going out to the store to pick up those missing items, we decided it would make more sense money-wise to first see what we had in our pantry.

A lot of the time we think¬†there is nothing to eat in our homes, but in reality, we have food – we just don’t really want to eat it – or don’t know what to eat it with, how to prepare it, ect.

This is a great time¬†to get creative and/or to check out some recipes online.¬†Tomorrow we plan to do just that! I’ll¬†keep you folks posted¬†on how well we improvise with what we already¬†have at home!

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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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$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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9 Foods to Buy When There is Nothing On Sale

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There really hasn’t been any good sales in the neighborhood over the last few weeks (hence I haven’t really posted anything lately¬† – on top of that, my parents are in town! More on that in another post.)

I couldn’t imagine being tight on money, needing to feed my family, and not really having many options. All the meat and produce (the bulk of wholesome, fresh food) are ridiculously high this week, as it was last week as well. This dilemma inspired my blog entry today.

So, when the price of meat and produce is high, what should you buy?

Here are 9 go-to pantry items I recommend buying, as well as other foods that generally do not fluctuate in price very much or often:

  1. Canned tuna (A can of tuna is more than enough protein for a meal, and you are likely to find a can of tuna for less than $1.50.
  2. Rice
  3. Dried beans, legumes, and pasta.
  4. Canned tomatoes (stewed, diced, sauce, pasta sauce and paste). Very versatile. You can make anything from pasta to stew with canned tomatoes.
  5. Oats, grits, polenta, porridge.
  6. Tortillas
  7. Bread
  8. Bananas (bananas generally are always under $1 a lb, and can be purchase for less than $3 a bunch all year round.)
  9. Eggs (even when eggs are expensive, it’s still a great investment. Even if you pay $4 a dozen, that’s still a week of protein-rich breakfast. If you can find a dozen eggs for under $2 a dozen, I highly recommend stocking up. Eggs are such a great meal idea any time of day – breakfast for dinner anyone?)
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Meal Plan 3/17-3/24 – Simple Dinners

Hey all, this week is all about simple, easy, and no-fuss meals. Nothing complicated ¬†happening on this week’s menu –¬†and that’s exactly what I’m after!

All of these dinners can be made for less than $30. My budget usually sits at around $40 dollars a week. I use the remainder $10 dollars on oats, cereal, milk, and bread. Sometimes we have leftovers for lunch, otherwise, I pick up some deli meat or canned tuna to make sandwiches Рwhichever is cheaper.

Here is what’s on the menu:

Baked French Onion Chicken

Basic Chicken Strips

Basic Fish Sticks

Meatloaf 

Spaghetti with meat sauce

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$34/Week Meal Plan & Grocery List

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So for this week’s meal plan, we’re¬†focused on making 5 large¬†wholesome meals for 25 ingredients or less. To do this, we will be using a lot of the same ingredients¬†in order to reduce the amount of items we need to buy.

Meals:

Grocery list:

Meals-

  • ¬†3-4 quartered chicken legs $1.75
  • Ground beef $2.50
  • Boneless pork chops $3
  • Carrots $1
  • Broccoli $1
  • Cream-style corn $1
  • Fresh, canned, or frozen corn $1
  • Bell pepper 50¬Ę
  • 5 lb bag potatoes $1.50
  • Celery $1.50
  • 2 lb bag onions $1
  • Pork gravy packet $1
  • Brown gravy packet $1
  • Crushed tomatoes $1.50
  • Box of chicken stock (or chicken¬†bouillon cubes) $1.50
  • Corn tortillas $1.50
  • Can of black beans (or bag of dry beans) $1
  • Enchilada sauce $1
  • Cheddar cheese $2
  • Mexican blend cheese $2

Breakfast & Lunch- (keeping it simple w/ cereal and leftovers!)

  • Milk $3
  • Cereal $2.75 (family size bag – generic)
  • Leftovers

= estimated $34.00

 

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