Thursday, March 16, 2017

March Grocery Challenge Days 15 and 16 - Meal Planning to Get Me Through

This was dinner yesterday - blackened ahi tuna with mango salsa and a side of butternut squash risotto. Dessert was a flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. This was after I realized I only had $22.18 left in the budget this month and I had a moment of anxiety. Then I decided to take inventory of what I had to reassure myself I had plenty of food to get me through til the end of the month. I came up with...

3 lb chuck roast
ahi tuna
tilapia filets
turkey burgers
frozen DiGiorno pizzas
chicken breasts
spaghetti with meatballs
pot stickers

OK. I'm fine. I just need to plan out my meals. I decided dinner would be blacken ahi tuna with a side of butternut squash risotto. I still had a bunch of cooked butternut squash left over from the night I made the adobo beef a while back that I had thrown in the freezer plus one aging apple I didn't want to throw out. Arborio rice is one of my pantry staples as I love risotto.

Thursday would be baked chicken breasts. That way I could make some other dinners later with left over baked chicken (such as enchiladas) if there were leftovers.

I work all day Friday. It's St. Patrick's Day so I thought about buying some corned beef to put in the crock pot but then decided to go with the chuck roast I already had as my family prefers chuck over corned beef anyway.

Looking over the new week's grocery ads, I didn't see much. Aldi's ad starts on Wednesday so I made a trip to pick up some produce. They usually have the best prices on produce but sometimes they run out of the sale items later in the ad week.

Wednesday Mar. 15th
Aldi trip...

5 lb bag of red potatoes @ 1.49
1 lb bag of baby carrots @ 0.79
3 lb bag of onions @ 0.89
3 lb bag of mandarin oranges @ 2.89
total $6.06

$6.06 at Aldi

Next was a small trip to Meijer. My main reason for going to Meijer was to get razors and ice cream. My "buy" price on ice cream is $2 for a 48-oz container. Since the Turkey Hill deal didn't work out for me at Kroger this week (as it came to $2.49 after Mega Sale and coupon), I found that the Meijer Purple Cow ice cream was on sale for $2.50, with an mPerks available for $1 off 2, which brough me down to my $2 "buy" price. I also heard that they had 10-packs of disposable Bic razors priced at $2.99 and there is a coupon out for $3, making them free. Can't pass up free! Of course I had to go check it out.

Also needed some onion soup mix for my chuck roast. My crock pot recipe is very simple - just sprinkle a package of instant onion soup mix over your roast, then add a little water plus whatever veggies you want and turn the crock pot on. I also came across some Welch's frozen mangos that were on clearance and I so happened to have some Welch's frozen fruit coupons in my purse. They were available as a printable last month and didn't expire until July so I held on to them waiting for a deal. Generally it is much cheaper to freeze your own fruit. Mangos though, I'll pay for cut up mangos. Ever try to cut up a mango? I always end up with a squishy mess as all the fruit sticks to the huge pit in the middle. I have yet to figure out how to cut up a mango.

2 48-oz containers Purple Cow ice cream @ 2.50 each
2 bags Welch's frozen mangos @ 2.23 each
1 2-pack box of Meijer onion soup mix @ 1.19
4 10-ct packages of Bic disposable razors @ 2.99 each
1 Gatorade Whey Protein Recovery bar @ 1.59
subtotal 24.20
- 1.00 (off 2 Purple Cow ice cream mPerks coupon)
- 4 (2.99 Bic 3/5 insert coupon; register adjusted coupon down to 2.99)
- 2 (1.50 Welch's printable coupon)
- 1.59 (free Gatorade Whey Protein bar Meijer Catalina coupon)
+  .95 tax
paid $7.60

Paid $7.60
All the razors are being donated and I thawed some mangos to make the mango salsa

Thursday Mar. 16th
I wasn't going to go to the store today... THEN, I heard that there was a free deodorant deal at both Meijer and Kroger that started today. Both stores have the Arm & Hammer Ultra Max deodorant and the Arrid deodorant on sale for $1, and there was a $1 off coupon for both products in this weekends inserts. I also happened to get an extra insert in one of my papers so I had 5 coupons for each product. I was afraid that if I waited later in the week all the product would be gone so I ran to Meijer while G was at dance tonight.

I chose Meijer over Kroger because I currently have an mPerks reward available for $3 off if you spend $30 on personal care products. The razors I got for free on Wednesday counted for $11.96 of that $30 and the deodorant would count for another $10, leaving me with only $8.04 left to "spend" to earn the $3.

Got all the deodorant I wanted...

Paid $0.70 for the tax, otherwise FREE!

Keeping two and donating the rest. Can you see why I'm addicted to this game? I understand why the re-sellers do it.

I still had some butternut squash left over so I made butternut squash soup for lunch by blending some butternut squash with some chicken broth, then throwing in some garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and sage (all to taste). Topped it off with some pepitas.

Also made homemade soft pretzels...

Dinner was baked chicken with leftover risotto.
Yes, I have plenty of food. I think I'll be just fine.

March Grocery Spending: $140.78
March Donation Spending: $13.49

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