Week Two of the 60 Day Grocery Makeover is shaping up to be a success. I’m learning how to be a pro-fridge-forager, seeking out and using up all the things. This makes me happy because the more miles I can get out of our groceries, the lower our effective weekly grocery budget will be.
Last week, I talked about finding the ingredients for an impromptu cauliflower soup by a perfect assemblage of odds-n-ends in my fridge. I love it when you can accomplish two things at once; cut down on food waste AND maximize the grocery budget with no extra shopping. Two birds, one stone? Indeed! This week, I was again able to extend our weekly menu by an extra day, but this time it was by getting two dinners from one.
Meals On Repeat
I had planned on making the white bean and kale soup recipe last Friday, but because of the aforementioned cauliflower soup miracle, it was pushed to Saturday. I had some extra pasta and marinara sauce left in the pantry, so I thought I would add that to the soup and salad. It was really tasty and made quite a bit of extra food. With everyone’s blessing (teenagers included) I made more salad to go with the leftover pasta and soup the following evening. It was exactly enough to cover two dinners with no leftovers to worry about. Even better was the time savings I had the second night because putting dinner together was so quick!
By another stroke of luck, we managed to have someone else feed our kids this week – always a welcomed event in my opinion, though I’m sure we’ll soon pay it back (kids tend to show up around here). They were both at friends’ houses one evening over the weekend and had dinner there. Since each of them eat more than I do, there was a significant amount of dinner leftovers in their absence. I put three lunches or dinners for a later date in the freezer. When I get them out, I won’t deduct the cost from that week’s budget since they’ve already been pain for this week. Another grocery budget and time saver.
Breakfast Truly Is Important
Breakfasts have been working out really well around here too. I’ve been able to make some yummy things with what I already had on hand. I know oatmeal is a very cheap and healthy option for breakfast, and I do sometimes make it, but I love having a warm, savory egg breakfast most mornings. As long as I can enjoy it and make the grocery budget work, I’m going to stick with that breakfast as much as I can. However, I do deviate occasionally, like today for instance. It was a crazy morning, so I had to throw together a smoothie and run.
I got a good price on pasture-raised organic eggs this week, which worked out to 30 cents per egg. If I eat two, that brings it to 60 cents plus a few cents more for whatever leftover produce I find in the crisper to include. On Saturday, I poached two eggs, toasted two slices of the leftover baguette (free courtesy of the bakery my son works at) , mashed and seasoned half an avocado (on sale for 50 cents each) to make a delicious weekend breakfast.
That’s around $1.10 and some change. How much would a restaurant charge for that plate? I’m guessing a lot more (plus tax and tip) and most likely wouldn’t have been made with nice organic eggs. I actually looked up the menu for our favorite nearby breakfast place , Le Peep, and just 2 eggs ordered a la cart cost $2.79 (plus tax and tip). They don’t offer an equivalent breakfast, but given that price, I’m sure it would be quite a bit more than $2.79. Just another example of how cooking at home is so healthy and economical.
Perhaps at this moment, you’re thinking to yourself, “Hey, there were NO avocados on the shopping list for this week!” Right you are – I bought 4 avocados (2 for $1.00) during the first week at varying stages of ripeness. Several years ago, I learned quite by accident that putting avocados in the fridge extends their lifespan by a week or more, so long as you put them in when perfectly ripe. So, these avocados are a hold-over from last week’s grocery budget.
Leftovers In Disguise; Trick Them All!
The shrimp fried rice turned out really well too. I had lots of goodies to throw in and not a grain of rice remained! The nice part of this dish is that a little protein goes a long way. I used lots of fresh veggies and brown rice, which made a light, filling, healthy meal.
Check your fridge, pantry and freezer. Be creative and make some good, cheap grub this week! Happy cooking!