We have had ( and are having ) some busy weekends as summer comes to and end and life picks back up again – why does summer always seem like vacation even though we have the same routine? Kevin’s summer hours ended, I head back to work full-time, school is back in session which means morning commutes are more stressful and time to stock up the pantry for the cold weather. OK – maybe it’s not going to get THAT cold THAT soon, but I’m preparing.
Without realizing it, I tend to stock up the freezer for the cold months and by the time the first peak of warm weather shows, it’s time to eat fresh food! This week I did a huge grocery haul and planned meals for the next two weeks due to holidays and wedding travel. Here’s a look at what $99 of groceries looks like. I also did some meal prepping as usual.
I talked about stocking up on sale items for future use ( Dinner for $10 ) – this will save you time and money. Time, because you already have the food on hand ( maybe even keep a running inventory of your freezer or pantry ) and Money because you spend half the price or more on something you would normally buy anyway!
Sale items I stocked up on:
Shrimp ( originally $19.99/2lb = sale $11 each ) 45% savings
Grass Fed Hot Dogs ( originally $7.99 = sale and coupons $5.99 ) 25% savings
Morning Star ( originally $4.99+ = sale 3/$10 plus free french fries ) 45%+ savings
Ground Turkey ( originally $5.99 = sale and coupons $2.99 ) 50% savings
Naan ( originally $2.99 = sale $1.99 ) 30% savings
Chicken Breast ( originally $2.99/lb = sale $1.79/lb ) 40% savings
I have a method to my madness (usually) which, in this case, means I DO NOT buy certain items unless they heavily on sale and/or I have a coupon. Shrimp is one of these items. Shrimp is SO expensive and I feel like it’s all I want to eat sometimes. I will only buy shrimp if it is $6/lb or less ( preferably $5 – $5.50/lb ) and second is mayonnaise. Yes, it’s an unhealthy condiment but one I CANNOT live without. I only purchase mayo when it is on sale AND I have a coupon. Naan is a pantry staple in our house. When I saw them on sale this week I had to grab 2 more packages – they can easily be frozen, but we eat it at least once a week so I know they won’t go to waste.
After all my shopping is done, it’s time to prep some items for the week. Some weeks contain more prep than others and this was one of those weeks. To be honest, I am so OK with that because it makes week nights smooth as butter!
I make my menu, prepare a shopping list being as specific as possible ( list number of zucchini or bananas you need so it’s not a guessing game when you’re in the store ) and then plan what I will prep ahead of time. Some easy items to prep are yogurt, hummus & veggies and overnight oats.
This week, prep took a little longer – I shredded the zucchini and carrots for muffins ( adapted from here ) using my food processor, then cooked/pureed the eggplant in the food processor and baked the “meat”balls as well. We mixed and baked the zucchini muffins, peeled/mashed/mixed bananas and cooked pancakes, cooked a batch of eggs, chopped celery and onion & made tuna fish, and steamed five heads of broccoli.
It was a lot of cutting, chopping, cleaning, washing and cooling – I got a little run down and luckily Kevin finished things up. Come Monday, all we have to do is boil water for pasta and heat sauce and dinner is ready! Crockpot chicken on Tuesday takes no time at all and just like that, two days worth of meals are almost completely done for you!