April 15, 2011

Saving on the Grocery Budget

I know I teased this on a previous post and have been intending to get to it....

Everyone wants to save at the grocery store.  We are no different.  Our children are growing and so are their appetites.  However, the paycheck has not really heard of this development.  So we adjust.

If you like to coupon and live where there is a Kroger or Roundy's store, try following my friend Jessica's blog: Mom For Him.  I don't spend much time on coupons, but she does have great updates on freebies and sometimes the coupons do save me some good cash.  Besides, I like her.

Back to the topic. Out of the blue one day (thanks, God) in January I had a thought.  "What if I could buy something we could eat off of for a whole week???"  Well, I worked through that over time and we tried a few things.

The general gist of what we do, at least once a month, is to buy a large bird or cut of beef (if on sale) and cook it and use the meat for 4-7 more meals.  This method is not easy for me.  I like variety in life.  So, I have to be creative (also not one of my great strengths).  However, it saves some money and does make dinner fairly simple for most of the week.

Here is a sample plan:
On the Thursday or Friday of the previous week buy a turkey (approximately 15 lbs) and thaw in the frig.

Roast in oven on Sunday or Monday.  Enjoy a "Thanksgiving Meal" that evening.  Simply mashed potatoes, veggies, and any canned cranberry sauce will do (I can about 40 jars a year...Ryan is an addict...and I do love my Grandma's recipe.) That same night pull all of the turkey meat of of the bones and put it in large storage container in frig.  Take ALL remaining parts of turkey and put them in a stock pot.  Now make your own turkey broth by halving this recipe.  Leave it on the stove until later the next day.

For the next three days we will enjoy some of these recipes:
Enchilada Casserole (simply grind up some of the turkey meat with a food processor or similar tool) My kids love this dinner!
Turkey Sandwiches and fresh veggies (dress these up with some cranberry sauce and homemade buns)
Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (see recipe below)
Turkey Tetrazinni (scroll to the very bottom and open PDF for recipe: it is delicious!)

On that third day take any remaining meat and portion it into freezer bags labeled for additional meals to be eaten sometime over the next few weeks.

We have done this idea with chicken and cooked up two whole chickens one evening and repeated all of the above.  Chicken doesn't necessarily go as far, but is much more versatile in cooking and the recipes with it are nearly endless. 

So that is how we have been saving some grocery money. Now for the promised recipe: 

I made this soup recipe up one day and it turned out really yummy.

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup Serves 6-8
3 C Shredded Turkey (or Chicken)
1 1/2  C Wild Rice
4 C Chicken or Turkey Broth
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup (as much as I don't like to use this, it did add a slight richness and is quite spread out over a large amount of soup)
3 sliced carrots
3 celery ribs, sliced
1 onion, chopped finely
5 C Water
3 Beef Bouillon Cubes (I learned from a beautiful soupmaker once how much depth and beauty beef broth adds to a soup; I just haven't tried to make my own yet)
Spice with generous amounts of oregano, thyme, parsley, and salt.

Cook in slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 on low. It may seem like a lot of liquid, but because of the rice the soup ends up somewhere between a cream and broth based soup thickness. 


Jessica-MomForHim said...

Thanks for the linky-love! You are too sweet! ;-) This is a great post--good ideas!

Diana said...

Good job Heather, on saving money on meals!

Thanks for shaing the recipes. Thanks also for the link to Jessica's blog. I can't use the store coupons but we are going to Target Sun to see if we can get a bag and then on Monday to get our cinno bites, yummy.

Did you know that you can use your crock pot to make stock. No worry of having a flame on the stove overnight or all day.

I'm going to try and cook ground beef and turkey ahead a freeze it so that I don't have to do that step when it is time to prepare dinner. Also, doing the same thing with pasta or rice (by the way, you can cook rice in the crock pot too!) then just pull what I need out of the freezer in the morning so that by the time lunch or dinner needs to happen I'm already half way there!

Keep up the good work.