Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Grocery Challenge Day 1 - Taking Stock

No shopping for me today. Today was the day to take stock of what I have and try to meal plan.

Going through my cupboards, couple things are obvious. I have a HUGE amount of jarred pasta sauce. I may sound like a Wall Street trader but I have certain "buy" prices for food when it goes on sale. Last month I could get both Ragu and Bertolli jars for 0.67 after sales and coupons so I bought a large amount. My "buy" price for jars of pasta sauce is less than $1. I still have some Ragu coupons left - heck, it's a $1 off a jar - but they don't expire til next month so I'm just holding onto those and will use some of this pasta sauce this month.

I have several bags of shredded coconut. I guess we like coconut. We'll be having coconut themed desserts.

I have an ungodly amount of Crystal Light lemonade packets. I haven't bought Crystal Light in years. The reason I have so many is that Crystal Light is always a cheap "filler" item every time Meijer has one of those "Buy 5, Get $5 Off Instantly" sales so I would use it if I needed a fifth item as it usually came to 0.99 a box or less. I decided not to buy any soda this month (admittedly I have several cases in my basement) so I'll be making more lemonade.

I have lots of cheese - both shredded and chunk. I stocked up when it was 0.99 last month at Marsh. The cheese is usually around $3.99 so I was excited. I cut up some of the blocks so we'd have some easy snacks.

I am going to use these sauces...

They were all recipe helper type items - add a protein and a carb and you have a meal - that were nearly free when they first came out on the market and I just haven't gotten around to using them. I'm using them this month... and it's obvious I don't need any more of them since I don't use them!
Looking in the freezer, couple things that I will definitely thaw out this month...
A turkey. Yes, a whole turkey. We got them at work for Thanksgiving. We went to my in-laws and my parents' homes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and we were in Florida for Easter so this never got cooked. It will be Thanksgiving in June some day this month.
10 lb bag of frozen chicken leg quarters. I got this when Kroger had them on sale for 0.39/lb - so $3.90 for the whole bag. I was busy that week so I shoved the whole 10 lb bag into the bottom of the freezer, where it solidified into a huge brick of chicken. Obviously we're not going to eat 10 lbs of chicken at once so I've been ignoring it. Today I ended up throwing it on the concrete like a bag of ice, repeatedly, then pried the chicken apart and bagged it up into more manageable servings. Note to self - DON'T DO THIS AGAIN! 
Couple packages of wild game that have been sitting around forever - venison, wild boar, and walleye.
Other things I've stocked up on I'll probably use - ground chuck, buy price was $1.99/lb or less; chuck roast, buy price was $3.99/lb or less; sirloin, buy price was $6.99/lb or less; strip steak, buy price was $8.99/lb or less; chicken breasts, buy price was $1.99/lb or less.
So food prep for today...
I wanted some easy snacks. My family is lazy. If it's not cut up and accessible, they freakin' won't eat it! One of the kids requested celery a while back. I bought a whole stalk. It hasn't been touched. Today I cut up the celery. There's a bag of already peeled baby carrots that's been sitting in a bag in the veggie drawer. I suppose it's out of sight, out of mind. Put those in a clear plastic container. Also had a bag of pita bread that I sliced and baked into pita chips. A bag of pita bread is $2 at Meijer. It's cheaper to make your own chips than buy them. All of these will go with my stockpile of hummus - heck, it was 0.49 after coupons at Kroger last month.

For the sweet tooth, I baked 3 dozen coconut lime sugar cookies.

If I have time tonight I'm going to make coconut chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze it in balls to pop in the oven later.

Dinner was parmesan chicken breasts over linguine noodles and pasta sauce. I breaded up about 2 lbs of chicken; half of it I froze for later.

Now it's off to plan my grocery shopping for tomorrow. Originally I wasn't going to shop tomorrow as obviously I already have a lot of food. However, there are some coupons that expire tomorrow that I want to use. Sometimes it's a big debate for me whether to just let a coupon expire vs. run out to use it. This time I have 0.45 off a package of Angel Soft toilet paper. When I got them, I knew that Meijer runs the Angel Soft on their 10 for $10 sale all the time so I've been waiting... and it goes on sale tomorrow with the coupon expiring tomorrow too. Am I in dire need of toilet paper? No. Is it a good deal? Yes. It's 0.14 for a roll of toilet paper so I'm spending some of my budget on it. Hopefully it won't come back to bite me later in the month.
Thawing out salmon and ground chuck for the next couple days' meals. Might look up some crockpot meal ideas after that. See you tomorrow!

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