Grocery challenge week 1 part 3

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One more post this week about the Grocery challenge, hosted by Owlhaven. And then I’m done talking food. For awhile anyway. I wanted to share some recipes with you today.  First let me talk about using leftovers and pantry items.

I used to really stink at this. Well I guess I still do. It’s really hard, especially in our day and age of go go go but I also believe it’s entirely possible to make a decent meal using the items you have. And I know this sounds crazy but I think I’ve gotten better at this by watching the Food Network, especially the show Chopped.

No really. Stay with me.

Ever since I started watching that show it seems like I think differently. I’m not afraid to throw items together that I maybe wouldn’t have thought went together in the past.  Here’s a few recent examples:

I had bought 3 packs of tortilla shells on sale last month. These are great because they last a long time and are really versatile. Well I also had spinach, sliced mushrooms and tomatoes that were getting close to going bad – I really need to use them.  So we made quesadillas using the tortillas, shredded cheese and the veggies. Sounds simple right. In the past I probably wouldn’t have thought to use the veggies in this way.

The next night we still had a few of the veggies left and so we made some pasta, a sauce with butter, garlic and lemon and then sauted the veggies to put on top. Yummy!

One more example – you might have seen on my menu that we were suppose to have date night Saturday night. Well we were really tired so that didn’t happen, but I didn’t have anything on the menu. Don’t panic! I’m sure we have plenty! I started with making up some mashed potatoes – erring on the side of less than we need – we always have way too many leftovers. I was trying to think of something to go with it and then saw we had some sausage. I fried that up with some onion. Added some garlic and Worcester sauce and served that all with the potatoes and a veggie on the side. I was going to make a sauce but kinda chickened out. That’s ok, it was still good and we still had leftovers even though I didn’t make as much as I normally would.

Do you have any ideas for using leftovers and/or pantry?  Leave a comment – I’d love to hear about them!

A few things about eating out vs eating at home. This is hard especially with both of us working fulltime outside the home. It’s exhausting to then try to think of what to make for dinner. That’s why having a menu helps so much. But if I’m really honest with myself it’s also about being lazy. For example the other night I was tired and decided to run and get Taco Bell. It was only $9 but after I got home I realized I had everything I needed to make tacos, burritos or the chicken ranch thing I got.

Or the rolls I picked up on my shopping trip. I have a great recipe for homemade caramel rolls/monkey bread. It’s so easy and yummy and definitely cheaper than $5.  I’m not saying you should never go out. And I know we’ll still go out – but this has definitely helped me realize some of those times I spend money when I don’t need to.

Ok, on with the recipes…

Goulash – no recipe – brown hamburger, add 2 cans diced tomatoes, 2 cans tomato sauce, cooked elbow macaroni and seasoning.

Jalapeno bites and Crispy Potatoes

Keilbosa subs – saute keilbosa and then add sauerkraut and a little Tabasco sauce (even if you don’t like kraut, try this). Put lid on and let cook on low-med for 10 minutes or so. Use a brat bun and load up keilbosa, kraut (if you like which I don’t), tomato slices, onion and mustard.

Pork roast, potatoes and carrots in crock pot – pretty self-explanatory but one trick my sister taught me was to put water in the crock pot about 1/2 full. Let cook on low for 10 hours and the pork is SO tender.  If you wanted to do BBQ sandwiches instead of the potatoes and veggies, after 8-9 hours take out most of the water and add BBQ sauce and shred pork. Let cook another 1-2 hours.

Tortilla wraps – I’m not sure what I’ll make here – you can do what I talked about above, or make quesadillas – just grill tortillas and add cheese and another or filling – or put cheese and veggies and cook in a Foreman Grill.

Grilled chicken, grilled potatoes – This is Hubby’s doing. The chicken was on sale $3.99 for  a 10 lb bag (legs and thighs). He said he’s going to cover it with butter, salt and pepper and grill it.

The potatoes are something my family has done forever, especially when we are camping. Take a big piece of tin foil and put 3-4 Tbls of butter in the middle. Slice potatoes thin and put on top of butter. Add sliced onion and more butter and then cover it with another piece of tin foil. Put it on the grill for 20-30 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the potatoes.

Pasta and veggies – Yahoo for Sam the Cooking Guy. I love this guy. He gave us this idea for pasta. Cook up a mixture of butter, garlic and lemon juice and put over cooked noodles. It’s so easy, yet so good. You can add veggies if you’d like but you don’t really have to. We’ll usually make up some calf/broccoli/carrots to go with it.

Chicken Crock Pot and rice – I got this recipe out of Fix It and Forget It but I changed it a little. Take 3-4 frozen chicken breasts and put in crock pot. Add 1 can cream chicken and 1 can cream of mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Shred the chicken and then serve over rice or noodles. It makes a really yummy gravy.

Stir fry and rice – again pretty self-explanatory – you can do anything here. We usually use chicken and/or sausage and then add frozen veggies.

Fish and pasta – This is one of Pat’s amazing dishes – he puts fish (tilapia), lemon, onion and garlic in tin foil and grills it. Sorry – not sure how long – but it’s so amazing! And then we just serve it with a side dish of pasta or rice.

Ok – I guess that’s all I have for recipes. I’ll try to share a few more in the next week or so.  And I almost forgot – I need to update on where we’re at spending wise.

We realized we were out of coffee and straws. Two very important items to have in this house.  That was $7.00. And then one of our grocery stores had triple coupon day and so I went and picked up a few things. Spent $16 and the total before coupons was $26. That’s pretty good, right?

Anyway – that means I’m at $149. So I’m done with my two week total and have now officially switched to my monthly total of $300!  I don’t think that’s cheating, just adjusting how I keep track. $151 to go!

Click here to view other Grocery Challenge posts.



One thought on “Grocery challenge week 1 part 3

    sincerelyanna said:
    September 9, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Great tips, Missy! Thanks for sharing them. I could use a boost of confidence in both planning for a week of meals at home plus saving at the grocery store. So far this week I cooked spaghetti on Monday, tortellini on Tuesday, homemade meatballs for – wait for it – spaghetti on Wednesday, and meatball subs on Thursday. I need to broaden my horizons a bit 🙂

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