Food Waste Friday: Nothing!

Part of saving money, especially when it comes to groceries and food, is to not waste the food that you do buy.  If you work hard to save money and purchase good, wholesome food for your family, then why would you want to throw it in the trash each week?

Now I’m not clever enough to have come up with Food Waste Friday on my own.  I’m participating along with some other great people, including Kristen, a.k.a The Frugal Girl.  Why don’t you join us and see how much money you can save by actually eating all the food you buy?

Yep, for the third time since I joined Food Waste Friday I have no waste to report.  We’ve actually had quite a bit of leftovers lately (in addition to what Chad takes to work for lunch), but Lizzie and I have taken one for the team and eaten them all for lunch.

Since I don’t have any food waste pictures to post, here’s a random picture of Maddie I just ran across.

Happy Friday!

How about you?  How much food do you waste each week?  Join us in trying to create a food waste-free household!

Advertisements

Menu Plan 9/24 – 9/30

Every Thursday I plan to share what our meal plan is for the upcoming week.  Meal planning is one of the easiest, most controllable things you can do for your family to save money and eat healthier.  

As always:

I typically shop on Thursday or Friday because that is when our local stores typically start their “special sales”.  That and I don’t like shopping on the weekends because a) the stores are more crowded and b) we’re usually pretty busy on the weekends and I hate taking time away from family time for grocery shopping.

My meal plan goes from Saturday through Friday.  We typically eat out once a week, usually on Fridays, although we might change that up a bit to take advantage of kids eat cheap/free nights on the other days of the week.

For lunch the girls usually eat either tuna fish, hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, or quesadillas, along with fruit, veggies, yogurt, or some other quick and easy sides.  Chad usually takes leftovers as his lunch to work.   I usually have leftovers if they need to be eaten up, or will eat whatever the girls are eating.

So here is what is on the agenda for us this week.

Saturday:  Chili

Sunday:  Spaghetti — I have a photo session at 6, so I can have this all ready before I leave and Chad can serve it up when they’re hungry

Monday:  Mexican Lasagna that I found on Pioneer Woman’s blog.  I have a church meeting and can make this in advance.

Tuesday Homemade chicken nuggets and either potatoes or homemade mac & cheese depending on whether I need to use up potatoes or not.

Wednesday:  Tuna Noodle Casserole from Momma Cooks

Thursday:  Breakfast for dinner or pizza

Friday:  Eat out or breakfast for dinner or pizza

On the shopping list for this week: 

My goal is to spend under $100 each week on groceries.  I also want to track what percent of my budget I’m spending on what items.  Right now my major categories will be Fruit/Veggie, Meat, Dairy, and Other.  This week the totals are:

  • Fruit/Veggie 31%
  • Meat 20%
  • Dairy 20%
  • Other 28%

For produce, this week Price Chopper has grapes for $.99 and a 3 lb bag of Jonathan apples for $2.99.  They also have a 3lb bag of yellow onions for $.99, I’ll buy one and chop them and freeze them to use in various casseroles that call for chopped onions.

For meat they have 80% lean beef for $1.79/lb.

For dairy (and in dairy I include eggs, etc.) they have shredded cheese for $1.49.

In grocery they have canned tomatoes and chili beans for $.39/can.  I totally plan to stock up here, we go through cans of tomatoes like crazy, and we use chili beans a LOT during the fall and winter in chili and Mexican dishes.  I know I mentioned yesterday how dried beans are much cheaper, however I think this sale might make the canned kind the best deal.  They also have saltine crackers for $1.49.  I don’t like too have a lot of processed food around, but you have to have saltines around in the winter for soups and such.  Oh, and canned veggies are $.39, I need to grab a few more green beans since my kids are obsessed with eating canned green beans at lunch.

HyVee doesn’t have as much this week.  For produce they have mushrooms for $1.49 and a 32 oz bag of whole carrots for $.99.  For meat they have split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) for $.88/lb.

They do have some coupons in this week’s ad for eggs for $.69, butter for $1.99, and a 5 lb. bag of flour for $.99.  I actually still have flour from my huge bag I bought at Costco, but I am getting low and at $.99 for 5 lbs I think this price is lower per unit than the Costco one.

Oh, and HyVee has chocolate chips (well, all baking chips) for $1.68.  I love this time of year when these start to go on sale, I love to stock up so that I always have chocolate chips on hand.

I expect I’ll spend around $90, and that includes the 3 gallons of milk Chad picked up from Costco last week.  I love when I have good stock up weeks and still stay under budget!

What’s on your menu plan for next week?

Midwest Mexican Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Chili

Mexican is (most of) my family’s favorite style of cuisine.  We eat it a LOT.  I want to share some of my favorite recipes with you as well as try some new ones.  Now let me clarify — I am NOT Mexican.  I am no where near Mexican.  The closest I am to Mexican is I’ve been to Mexico twice.  And it was only Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, so I’m not sure that counts.  Anyway, my recipes are not necessarily authentic Mexican.  These are recipes using basic ingredients like meat, cheese, canned tomatoes, beans, chilis, sour cream, tortillas, chips, chili powder, cumin, etc.  What I like to call “Midwest Mexican”.  Ahhh, it all falls into place, doesn’t it?

I have a confession.  This isn’t a new recipe for me.  I made this last year.  And it was very good.  So when we had that turn of cold weather here last week I knew I had to break it out again.

Picture courtesy of Veronica’s Cornucopia.

I forgot to take a picture until it was all gone.  Oops.  So I borrowed one.  From a random blog.  Yep, I totally just did that.

The recipe actually comes from Momma Cooks who got it from A Year of Slow Cooking.  I changed up a few things.  The recipe below is how I made it.  Oh wait, I actually left out the chili powder.  Since my homemade enchilada sauce can often be a bit spicy, I left it out to avoid making it too spicy.  Not for me, for my weenie kids who can’t handle the spice.  (Are you picturing Jack Nicholson right now?  “You can’t handle the spice!”  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go watch A Few Good Men.  Now.)  But I think next time I’ll add it back in.

This is a great, easy go-to recipe for the chilly days we have ahead.  (Get it, chili, chilly?  Ha!)  I’m on a roll today, huh?

Okay, enough of my antics, here is the recipe.

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared enchilada sauce
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (any kind of “flavor” you want)
  • 4 cups pinto beans (either 2 cans, drained and rinsed or prepared and cooked from dried)
  • 1 TBSP dried minced onion
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips for toppings

Directions:

Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Pour enchilada sauce and beans on top.  Add in onion, chili powder and cumin and mix together.  Cook on low for at least 6 hours.  Pull chicken out and shred then return to slow cooker before serving.  Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, chips, or any of your favorite toppings!

Tip of the week:  Use dried beans (fully cooked, of course) in place of canned.  Prepared dried beans cost about half the price of canned, volume for volume.  And they don’t contain any of the additional preservatives that you may find in canned beans.  And in my opinion, they taste better and have a better texture.  They do take some extra time, but you can easily make them a day or two before and store them in the refrigerator before adding them to the slow cooker.  And it’s well worth it!

I shopped til I dropped.

As I’ve been mentioning, consignment sale season is upon us here in KC, and yesterday I hit my favorite sale to stock up on my girls fall and winter clothes for the year.  Since this sale is my favorite, its the one I consign to, and I volunteer as well so I can shop the earliest pre-sale the day before the sale opens to the public.  I do this because a) it’s not as crowded as when it’s open to the public and b) you get first pick of all the really great stuff at the best prices.  This is especially helpful if you’re looking for something specific or hard to find, like an outdoor toy/playset or a bike.

However I was looking for neither, this year’s trip was just for clothes.  Of course I had to get Carlie some clothes. She can still wear some of last year’s clothes, but most are getting to short on her.  They’ll only last a few months before she needs the next size.

Maddie I just needed to fill in some holes where I did not have particular items when Carlie was that age.  It’s ironic — Carlie and Maddie are the closest in age (18 months) but yet are so different in terms of size and body type.  Carlie was a chunky baby, and she’s still outgrowing the thick thighs and tummy.  She might have that tummy her whole life (poor kiddo).  Maddie is a skinny-minny who only wears a 3T for the length.  All her adjustable waist pants are on the smallest setting so they don’t fall off of her.  And she can still pull them off without unbuttoning them.  And actually, her Halloween costume is an 18 month size.  Ironic given Lizzie can wear 18 month size already (my second chunky monkey).

And even though I have a ton of baby girl clothes from my older two, Lizzie had to go and be a different size for the season.  She’ll wear 18 months but the older two wore 18 months size in the summer, so I had to buy some new clothes for her too.

I got to the sale at 4:15, and I didn’t get out of there until 8.  Four hours of shopping.  I was pretty pooped.  I guess in all fairness I shopped until 7:15 but I happened to finish around the time the consigners (who were let in at 6) were wrapping up so I caught the long line.

But I ended up with 77 pieces for just under $300 (tax included), including a Halloween costume and a winter coat.  And a “piece” is everything on a hanger.  So if someone combined a shirt, sweater and leggings on a hanger, that’s one “piece”.  So really I have more than 77 items for that much.  That’s less than $4 per piece, and I’m guessing less than $3 per item if I were to count the number of items.

I’d love to show you some pictures, but after I got home last night, kissed the girls good night, did the dishes, folded some laundry, sorted through the clothes, then sat down, I was done for the day.  So we’re picture-free today.

Now all I have to do to get the girls ready for winter is figure out what I need for tights, additional leggings and socks, and I need to find them some casual and dressy shoes.  And we’ll be ready for winter!  Well, physically at least.  Mentally I’m so not ready…..

Miscellaneous Monday: The Emmy’s, premier week, and a new book

After taking the weekends off I am too lazy find it hard to remember to get a post ready for Monday.  So I’m going to try out Miscellaneous Monday.  Just random thoughts or happenings from me.  If you’re like me you probably can’t handle much more than that on Mondays anyway, right?

Miscellaneous #1:

I watched the Emmy’s last night.  It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a whole awards show.  I admit it was better than the past few times I’ve watched.  Jane Lynch did a great job as host, and there were quite a few funny sketches and songs.  I was happy to see Modern Family clean up.  I love that show, I don’t think they’ve ever made a bad episode. It premiers this week, I can’t wait!

Miscellaneous #2:

Speaking of premiers, it’s premier week!!!!  I admit, I’m a TV addict.  I have a whole slew of shows I cannot miss and I get really bummed when they’re not new.  Last week Parenthood premiered, this week we get How I Met Your Mother, Harry’s Law, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, Desperate Housewives (final season, boo!), and I’m sure I missed a few in there.

Picture courtesy of imdb.com.

I love Grey’s.  I even love watching old episodes on Lifetime when I can.  Such a good show.

There’s a few new ones I might try to catch too, if I can remember to DVR them.

Because who watches live TV these days?

Miscellaneous #3:

I’m reading a new book right now.  I realized I just don’t feel right when I don’t have a book I’m in the middle of reading.  It gives me something to look forward to — a little downtime during the day or as a way to relax before bed at night.  I feel a bit empty and lost when I don’t have a book to read.  Or a new TV show to watch (see Misc. #2 above).

Anyway, this one is Fan. Tastic.  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  It’s about….wait for it…witches.  I know, you wouldn’t have guessed that, would you?  And vampires and daemons and whatnot.  I’m in the middle of it and I had a hard time putting it down to type this post.  So you should really feel lucky that I chose you over the book. That’s how much I love you all.

Okay, now back to the book.

Picture courtesy of amazon.com.

Peace out, homies.