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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Meal Plan Week of March 30th

Another easy week, using meals and precooked meats from the freezer---saves a lot of time during the week. I did move a couple of meals around last week, so I moved the Taco Bake to this week. My cost for dinners this week comes out to around $25.


3/30 Monday

Breakfast for dinner

Ham egg and cheese pancake sandwiches $1.50

Pinapple slices .65

Tater tots .75

$2.90


3/31 Tuesday

ribs (from the freezer)5.00

corn .40

salad 1.00

$6.40


4/1 Wednesday

spaghetti and meatballs (whole grain pasta .50, meatballs $1.50, sauce .00) $2.00

green beans .45

$2.45


4/2 Thursday

bbq pork quesadillas $1.75

salad $1.00

beans $1.00

$3.75


4/3 Friday

baked potato bar assorted toppings $3.00

chili, cheese, cheesy broccoli, ham, sour cream, salsa

salad $1.00

$4.00


4/4 Saturday

brown sugar chicken $2.00

brown rice .50

broccoli .50

$3.00


4/5 Sunday

Taco Bake $2.25

Corn .40

$2.65



Saturday, March 28, 2009

Leapster Games

Thanks to The Thrify Mama for the head's up...




I had just printed the $5 off any Leapster game coupon this morning, as Big K has been especially enamored of his Leapster recently, so I thought I'd keep myself on the lookout for a sale to go with it! Looks like Target will have these on sale for $15 starting tomorrow. That makes $10 games! Hubby was actually impressed, and that takes a lot! LOL. Thanks, Crystal!

If you want the coupon yourself, you can head to coupons.com, or grab it from the Quick Print toggle at the right.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Baker's Trip Today 3/27

I spent $19.70 and saved $23 at Bakers today. $10.65 of my total went to 3.5lbs. of pork chops and 2.5lbs of ground beef.
The other $9 went to
-1 box Quaker Oat Squares cereal
-1 box Quaker Life Cereal
-2 boxes Quaker Fiber and Omega 3 bars
-1 bottle sugar free pancake syrup
-1 Sure deodorant
-2 lemons
- 2 loaves of Nature's Pride 100% Whole Wheet Bread.

Nice manager's special on the pork chops---.99/lb! I am actually kicking myself today as I should have gotten more at that price. Oh well.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fru Fru Friday


At Hubby's suggestion, I promise to get these recipes up sooner, so that if you do decide to make a fun weekend cocktail, you can track down the ingredients!

Since I am still celebrating my birthday---I'm a big believer in certainly celebrating the birth week, if not the whole birth month ;)---this drink is perfect!

The Birthday Cake

2oz. Cranberry Juice
4oz. Pineapple Juice
1oz. Vanilla Vodka

Mix everything in blender with ice...blend until smooth, and serve.

Bakers Bargain Meal of the Week


This week, I see a couple of good combos:

Meal #1:

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Mushrooms
frozen veggies
Bread and Butter

You need:
1/2lb. of ground beef@ $1.77/lb= .89
Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce= $1
Kroger Spaghetti= $1
1 8oz. package of mushrooms @ $2- use half= $1
Green Giant big Bag veggies= $2
Kroger Value Bread= .79

Brown beef in medium skillet. Add 1/2 package of mushrooms, sliced. Add sauce and simmer. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions. Warm veggies and serve everything with bread and butter on the side.

Total cost of meal- $5.89

Meal #2--Fun Family Meal (We make these "sometimes foods" at our house):
Sloppy Joes
French Fries

You Need:
1lb. ground beef= $1.77
1 can Manwich= $1
Kroger buns= $1
Ore Ida Potatoes= $2.77

Total cost of meal is $6.47

Meal #3:
Brown Sugar Chicken
Frozen veggies
rice

You Need:
3lbs. chicken leg quarters(.59/lb-buy 10lb. bag for $5.90)= $1.77
Green Giant Big Bag Veggies= $2
1 cup of brown rice= $1

Total cost of meal is $4.77

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hy-Vee Shopping Trip and Deals 3-25


I was quite please with this week's Hy-Vee trip. As I mentioned in another post, I will head back for milk that with coupons comes to $1.38/gallon...well worth the trip. Here's how today's savings worked:

10 Yoplait Yogurts- 10 for $5.00-buy 10 and get a dollar taken off at the register for 10/$4. Plus, you can head to Eat Better America and get another $1 off 8. Makes them 10/$3 or .30 each.

Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers- .88 each- had a coupon for .50 off 1

7 Barilla Pastas at .99 each- all of the whole grain pasta is included in this so I bought several. I don't always see the whole grain at this price

Hy-Vee Flour 5lb. bag- $1.18

1lb. roll Hy-Vee Mild Pork Sausage $1.50

1 bag of Tyson Chicken Nuggets- $4.99. Had a $1 off any Tyson bagged product...think it was from March clippings, not sure= $3.99

Roma Tomatoes at .88/lb= .60

Hormel Always Tender Pork Roast @ .99/lb- $5.80 for the roast, plus I had a $1 coupon

4 16oz. blocks of Hy-Vee chunk cheese at 2/$5= $10

2 Dole Greener Selection Bag Salads @ .99 each= $1.98

2 Louis Kemp Crab Delights- BOGO- $2.99

2 packages Hy-Vee Flour Tortillas @ $1.18 each= $2.36


otal Spent= $39.64
Total Saved= $35.50

Fareway Bargain Meal of the Week 3/25

Look! Recipes from famous celebrities---and on a budget! Go figure. With a show like 24 you'd figure he could afford prime rib. But I guess "minute steaks" fit in with the theme. LOL.

Here's your shopping list:
1lb. minute steaks= $2.89
mushrooms= $1.29
Steamfresh veggies= .99
Rotella's Vienna Bread= .99

Here's your Menu:
Kiefer Sutherland's Minute Steak with Mushrooms
Steamfresh corn
Bread and Butter

$6.07

Bzz Agent has Shined Down Upon Me...

Did I mention my latest Bzz Agent campaign? Maybe not, as I've been (not so) patiently waiting for my Bzz Kit to arrive...but in the meantime...I got in on the Diet Mtn. Dew campaign. HALLELUJAH! As if I don't rave about that enough anyway. Truly. I think I even have raved about it here on my blog before. I am very picky/choosy/discriminating when it comes to diet soda...I was well into my adulthood before I could do it. And it was Diet Mtn. Dew that helped me make the transition. My Gateway Soda, if you will. LOVE THIS STUFF. No calories, full flavor, and with caffeine. Since I get up at 3:30 in the morning for work, and have a long day, Diet Mtn. Dew has been a close, personal friend. So yeah Bzz Agent...I think I can help with some WOM. LOL.

Waiting for the mailman...that's me.... (grin)

Hy-Vee Bargain Meal of the Week 3/25


Hy-Vee has some nice meal options this week. I will be cataloging the sales and some coupon matchups a little bit later today, so please check back on assembling a master shopping list. We'll focus right now on some mealplanning for a few meals out of this week's ad here.

Meal #1:
Crockpot Shredded Pork Burritos
Corn
Orange slices

Buy:
2lbs Hormel Pork Shoulder Roast at .99/lb (I bought 6lbs to divide into multiple meals)- $1.98
1 package Hy-Vee Flour Tortillas $1.18
1 jar Hy-Vee Picante Sauce $1.33
1 sweet yellow onion @ .59/lb= about .30
1 can Butter Kernel Corn= .48
1lb. oranges= .69
Hy-Vee 16oz. Chunk Cheese @ $2.50- you will use 4oz shredded= .62

Place roast into crockpot- pour in picante sauce, the onion, chopped, a little garlic powder, and set on low for 7-8 hours. Remove roast, shred with fork, and then put back into crockpot to meld with the liquid.

Warm up tortillas as directed, warm up corn, shred cheese, slice oranges. Serve meat in tortillas with cheese, and serve corn and oranges on the side.

Total for meal is $6.58 (or less depending on amount of meat/tortillas used- I would probably get two meals out of this for our house, but our boys don't eat us out of house and home yet)


Meal #2:
Pasta with italian sausage and roma tomatoes
tossed salad
steamed green beans

Buy:
1 box whole grain Barilla thin spaghetti= .99
1 package Honeysuckle White Italian Sausage, 1.25lbs.= $2.99 (you will use half)= $1.50
1 sweet yellow onion= .30
4 Roma tomatoes at .99/lb= about .75
1 bag Dole Premium Salad Mix= .99
1 bag Green Giant Steamers= .88

Boil water to cook spaghetti according to directions. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook sausage as directed. Remove sausage, slice half of it into bite size pieces, and freeze half for another use. Add 2T olive oil to skillet, and add chopped onion, cooking 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add chopped roma tomatoes, a splash of balsamic vinegar, 3 cloves minced garlic, and 1t Italian seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer another 3 minutes. Add sausage, heat through, and toss with cooked pasta. Top with grated parmesan, if desired. Microwave green beans, toss salad with dressing of choice, and serve!

Total of meal is $5.41 ( I had an IP for .50 off the Steamers, would make it $4.91)

Meal #3
Potato and sausage skillet
Niblets corn
cottage cheese

Buy:
10lb. bag of potatoes @ $2.88- use 3lbs= .87
Green Giant Steamers Niblets corn= .88
Midwest Country Fare Cottage Cheese- use coupon @ .99
1 sweet yellow onion= .30

Use:
leftover italian turkey sausage= $1.50
1 cup of the cheese you bought up above= .62

Thaw sausage from last meal if you put in freezer, and slice Heat large skillet to medium high heat. Peel potatoes if desired- I like to leave the skins on. Slice potatoes, chop onion. Add to skillet with 3T olive oil, 1t garlic powder. Cook potatoes 20-25 minutes until cooked through, stirring occasionally to brown throughout. Add sausage, heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle 1 cup of grated cheese over top to melt. Heat corn, serve on side with cottage cheese ( we like ketchup with our sausage/potato skillet, you might like it as well)

Total for this meal is $5.16

Hy-Vee Milk Deal!!!


Hy-Vee is running a special for Thursday, Friday and Saturday only:

Gallon of Roberts Skim, 1% or 2% for just $1.88. Gets even better if you have your Roberts coupons from the 3/15 ad insert . 50 cents off a gallon, which makes it $1.38!!

Free Stuff for Birthday Celebrations

LOL.....it just figures that a woman would have to go find her own free stuff for her birthday? ;)

This is awesome...lists all the places in your area that will give you something free for your birthday. Free Birthday Treats.

Monday, March 23, 2009

First Day Into Meal Plan and Already Changes...

The storms are ripping through here like crazy...and the tornado clouds were just few miles away, so for a timesaving measure tonight, I switched dinner up a little bit

Rosetto Steamers Cheese Ravioli- onsale at Fareway for $2.99 a bag, I had a coupon for $1.50/2, which made it $2.24
Free spaghetti sauce from my garden
parmesan- .25
green beans- .40

$2.89 for the meal

PLUS...I got some fresh strawberries at Fareway, that I sliced ($1.49/lb, I'm using 1/2lb.), sweetened with a little sugar and will be serving on Grands biscuits (got during the big Bakers Pillsbury sale for .40) with Cool Whip and ice cream for dessert.

Dinner AND dessert for under $5! Gotta love it! :)

How do you make YOUR chicken stock?


If I ever have to buy store bought chicken broth ever again, I might actually cry real tears over it. This is my favorite thing to make now. It is super easy, I can use up veggies and spices around the house, it tastes better than canned, doesn't have the sodium, and it's FREE! Doesn't get any better than that.

Today's stock has my chicken frame, the juices from baking last night, 1 chopped onion, couple of stalks of celery, some baby carrots, about 6 cloves of garlic, 3 bay leaves, and some pepper. I like to use fresh parsley when I have it, or rosemary. I've also been able to use up leftover white wine.

Let it simmer 2-3 hours for some rich, delicious broth. Freeze it in ice cube trays, dump them into a zip loc baggie, and you're done!

How do you make your stock?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Aldi Trip 3/22

Needed tortillas for a fresh round of breakfast wraps for the boys. Grabbed a few other things that I like to get at Aldi- like eggs, tater tots,some cheese, mushrooms, bananas, cream cheese and celery. Also picked up 2 bags of Easter grass for the boys' baskets. I'm pretty proud of myself on Easter this year--I've been picking up stuff slowly, and stashing it, so by Easter we're going to have jelly beans and chocolate eggs coming out our ears.

Total for this trip- $16.02

Made 3 grocery trips last week: $32 at Hy-Vee, $32.05 at Bakers and $3.50 at Aldi for 2 gallons of milk. So last week's total was $67.55.

This week I am going to try to spend as little as possible. We have the $16.02, and my Schwan's guy didn't show up 2 weeks ago, so I will have around $15 with him. Might need milk, but besides that, barring any amazing sales, hoping to just work with what we have. Menu is built around foods we already have, and I'm pretty well stocked on produce for the week.

If I stay on target, we'll have spent around $230 on groceries this month. And I've managed to add a LOT to our stockpile as well. Looking forward to trying to do it all over again for April!

Menu Plan Week of 3/23



Busy week this week. Tuesday I have a work function, so it's frozen pizza night for the boys at home. I was able to get some free coupons for these- I typically don't ever buy frozen pizza, but free is good, right? Wednesday we'll probably use a restaurant gift card for dinner as it's my birthday, and as much as I actually enjoy cooking, I'm closing the kitchen LOL. The rest of the week is relatively easy, and I was able to keep the cost way down. Under $15 for 6 nights of dinners. Thank you stockpile!


3/23 Monday

chicken and spinach alfredo pasta $1.50

(using chicken from last night’s roasted chicken)

biscuits with butter garlic tops .50

peas .50

$2.50

3/24 Tuesday

Pizza night for boys .00

(Palermo’s frozen pizza I had 2 free coupons for)

Mandarin Oranges .65

.65

3/25 Wednesday

kitchen closed- Mom’s birthday-I’m not cooking ;)

3/26 Thursday

chicken alphabet soup (using chicken and stock from Sunday’s chicken) .60

grilled cheese sandwiches 1.00

green beans .40

$2.00

3/27 Friday

steak, carmelized onion and blue cheese wraps $2.75

salad .50

$3.25

3/28 Saturday

Taco Bake $2.25

Corn .40

$2.65

3/29 Sunday

baked chicken drumsticks and thighs $1.50

polenta slices with mushrooms, Italian tomatoes and parmesan $1.50

broccoli .50

$3.50

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Being Healthy and Frugal

Over the past few days I've seen several people questioning the idea of eating healthy on a budget. I've also seen people state that junk food costs less than healthy food. I have found that eating on a budget has actually been MORE healthy, and helped me lose weight along the way. Here's why:

-We eat out much less, meaning no fast food, no calorie laden, over-sized meals at restaurants.
-We meal plan. When I lay out a plan of what I'm going to eat. I'm much more likely to eat it, and much less likely to cheat.
-It has led us to eat actual portion sizes, which is much less than what people typically eat. The suggested serving for meat is only about 3oz. I know very few people who follow that. Thanks to meal planning and setting aside what we're going to eat, we actually do follow that. And 3oz. of meat certainly costs much less than 8oz!
-We supplement our meals with inexpensive things like rolled oats, brown rice, barley and dried beans. Things that are GOOD for you, and that many people don't get enough of in their diet.
-Many times it's cheaper to make something from scratch than get the convenience version. And the homemade version has less salt and no preservatives.

I scratch my head every time I see someone question healthy eating on a budget. Setting a food budget has been the best thing we've done for our pocketbook, waistline and our health!

Taco Bake

1/2 lb. ground beef
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups cooked
1 package taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 can crescent rolls
1 cup of cheddar or co-jack cheese
lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream and salsa for garnish

Preheat oven to 375. In medium skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef. Add beans, seasoning and water-cook according to packet directions. Unroll crescent rolls and put into bottom of pie dish like a pie crust, pushing edges of triangles together. Put meat mixture over crescents, sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream and salsa

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fru Fru Friday 3/20


In honor of the first day of spring, we're making a drink today that reflects what I have: Summer Dreams!

Summer Dreams Cocktail

2 oz. Midori Melon Liqueur
1oz. Orange Juice
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
Ice

Shake all ingredients together with ice in a shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a pineapple slice.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fareway Bargain Meal of the Week 3/19

As sports season kicks in for many families, making weeknights tough, I have a couple of quick meals here, along with a grill meal

Meal #1:

Spaghetti Marinara
Tossed Salad
Texas Toast

Your shopping list:
Barilla Pasta- .99
Ragu Pasta sauce- $1.48
Dole Bag Salad- .89
New York Texas Toast w/ cheese- $2.50 (use half- $1.25)

Total cost of meal is $4.61

Meal #2:
Cheese Ravioli with Italian Tomatoes
Tossed Salad
grapes

Your shopping list:
Rosetto Frozen Pasta: $2.99
Del Monte Diced Tomatoes, Italian style- .99
Dole Bag Salad- .89
1lb. grapes - .99

Total for meal- $5.86

Meal #3:
Grilled Iowa Chops
Baked Potatoes
green beans

Shopping list:
1.5lbs chops $2.82
10lb. bag potatoes $2.89 (use about 2lbs.- .58)
VIP Frozen green beans- .88

Total for meal: $4.28

Hy-Vee Bargain Meal of the Week

I was really happy with Hy-Vee sale prices this week. I will post my shopping trip from yesterday a little later this morning. With the weather turning warmer, here's a meal for the grill.

Your shopping list:
Dole Salad Blend (on sale 2/$4)= $2 (use half)= $1
Can of Hy-Vee Mandarin Oranges= .67
1 1/2 lbs. assorted pork chops= $2.98
baby carrots= $1.88 (use 1/2)= .94


Your Menu:

Lemonade Pork Chops
Steamed carrots
Salad with Oranges and Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Total of meal: $5.59

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baker's Bargain Meal of The Week

Baker's is doing another week of their Mega Event. When you purchase 10 participating items using your Baker's card you receive $5 at checkout. You can have up to 3 $5 rewards per transaction.

For meals, here are some combinations I see:

Breakfast:
1 dozen Dillons large eggs- .88
1 lb. Kroger Value Bacon- 1.67
Kroger Value Biscuits- .37
Driscoll's Strawberries or Blackberries- $1.88

Dinner:
You will need to pick up from Bakers-
2lbs. chicken drumsticks= $1/lb.= $2
1 lb. asparagus

Your Menu:
Spiced Orange Chicken with Lentils (From the Cooking For Less-Chicken Cookbook)
Steamed asparagus

3T All-Purpose Flour
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp italian herbs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 drumsticks
2T olive oil, divided
Finely grated peel and juice of 1 orange
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
8 ounces dried lentils (about 1 1/4 cups) rinsed and drained
Additional salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
Orange wedges and chopped fresh parsley (optional)

In small plastic bag, combine flour, coriander, cumin, salt, herbs and pepper; shake until well mixed. Add 1 drumstick at a time into mixture and shake to coat. In large skillet, heat 1T olive oil over medium high heat. Add drumsticks: coo 5 minutes or until brown, turning occasionally. Stir orange peel and juice into skillet. Cover; reduct heat to low and simmer 20 minutes until chicken is no longer pink in center.

In another large skillet, heat remaining 1T olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; coo and stir 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add chicken broth and lentils; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are tender and broth is absorbed. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Arrange lentils on serving plate; place drumsticks on top. Stir honey into chicken juices in skillet. Heat through- spoon over chicken and lentils. Garnish with orange wedges and parsley.

Great Ulta Deals this week

I'm pretty strong, and pretty good when it comes to setting goals and keeping them, be it budgets, spending, losing weight, etc. Once I make up my mind, I'm fairly resolute. But just like everyone else, I have my weaknesses. Starburst Jellybeans (or any of those Jelly Belly knockoffs), cooking magazines, and Ulta! I was first introduced to Ulta in Denver when I discovered that I lived 2 blocks from one of these heavenly stores. You can get your drugstore cosmetics, salon goodies and department store colognes, along with a lot fo the foo foo skincare, all in one place, and generally at competitive prices. They also have a pretty good loyalty card reward program, and if you get on their catalog list you'll get some nice coupons. BONUS: They take manufacturer's coupons! With that in mind, here's what I see this week:

-In Sunday paper, $3.50 Ulta coupon on your $10+ purchase
-In mailer, $3.50 coupon on your $10+ purchase (two nice transactions!)

B1G1 on L'Oreal Cosmetics, use $3/2 coupon available when you sign up at L'Oreal website here
B1G1 Revlon Lip, Eye and Nail Cosmetics and Beauty tools
B2G1 Maybelling, Neutrogena and Almay Cosmetics (cannot combine brands)
B1G1 Ulta Cosmetics

Plus,
B1G1 50% off of Select Haircolor from Garnier, L'Oreal and Clairol.


Have fun shopping! If you see any additional deals, coupon matchups, please let me know!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Running out of ingredients....are you a borrower?


I was reading Kaycee at In The Moment's post about being out of eggs and syrup while in the middle of making things that required eggs and syrup---Kaycee has some great substitution ideas, and you can check them out here.

This reminded me of an exchange I had with my neighbor last week. Our neighbors right behind us are super sweet, and we have a gate in the fence that separates the two homes, so it's easy to get back and forth. Their daughter does some sitting for our boys. From time to time, K phones over if they need an egg to make cookies, or oil, or milk, etc. I almost always have what they need and am always happy to loan out.

So last week, K called to see if she could borrow 1/3 cup of vegetable oil. I was happy to oblige, and K started telling me how I never borrow anything and I need to borrow something sometime! LOL!!

1) I need to just bring her over and show her the developing stockpile. Means I am less likely to borrow. But means she's more likely to get what she needs! :) Quite frankly, I'm always pleased to be able to help a neighbor out.

2)Even if I did run out of something, I think that I tend to be more like Kaycee and improvise. It's not that I have any qualms with borrowing; I don't. I just tend to react in the moment and adjust accordingly.

How about you? Are you a borrower, or an improviser? Do you mind borrowing, and do you mind loaning? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Week of 3/16


There are a couple dishes here I moved from last week, like the Sunday chicken---weather is so nice here, we decided to pull some spareribs out of the deep freeze instead. Menu works out to about $25 for 7 dinners. I'll be using my home canned spaghetti sauce, which helps on cost, and also several items I got on deep discount or with coupons. Couponing has made a huge difference in our budget. I'd been cost conscious, but adding coupons has just taken it to a new level.


3/16 Monday

spaghetti with sausage sauce $1.75

(1/2lb. sage sausage $1, pasta .50, sauce .00, cheese .25)

green beans .40

$2.15


3/17 Tuesday

nachos $3.25 (cost is lower this week from what I list in the stock recipe as I've gotten cheese for nearly free)

apples .40

$3.65


3/18 Wednesday

homemade baked chicken nuggets $1.50

cheesy broccoli .25

steak fries .30

$2.05


3/19 Thursday

lemon shrimp with angel hair pasta $6.00

crescent rolls .50

$6.50


3/20 Friday

cheeseburgers $3.00

tater tots .75

$3.75


3/21 Saturday

grilled pork chops $1.75

alfredo noodles .60

corn .40

$2.75


3/22 Sunday

herb roasted chicken $2.50

cheesy potatoes $1.00

salad .75

$4.25

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Grocery shopping for the week and the totals are in...

Earlier in the week, I was at $9.04 in spending. Wednesday and Friday I did my final stops and got everything I wanted for the week. I had anticipated a Schwan's visit, but he didn't make it, so I won't have to worry about that for another 2 weeks. I could, in all honesty, cut Schwan's out 100%, but a) there are a few convenience items I like to have, b) the best ice cream sandwiches ever. EVER. And c) we like our delivery man, have developed a relationship with him over the years and I know his business is very much affected by the economy right now, so I try to set aside a small amount to get the things we like there.

Wednesday, I hit Bakers and took advantage of the Mega event. Some of the coupon matchup highlights:

Daisy Sour Cream: $1.49 mega event price - .45 blinkie that had been available a couple of weeks ago= $1.05

Crest Toothpaste: $2.50- $1 MC and $1.50 P&G esaver= FREE

Land o Lakes Spread: $1.19- .55 IP= .64 each

Ken's Salad Dressing: $1.79- $1 MC from last week's inserts= .79

Kelloggs Little Mini Wheats: $2.00- $1 IP= $1

Kotex Tampons: $2.50- .75 MC= $1.75

Fiber One Bars: $2.00- .60 IP and $1 S-cuts= .40

Betty Crocker Potatoes: .99- .40 IP and .35 s-cuts= .24

Colgate toothbrush: $1- .75 MC= .25

I also took advantage of the pork loin sale at $1.77/lb.

My total OOP was $26.42 and I saved $41.24 (61%) . The checker was really funny. She thought this was amazing, and started showing the receipt to the baggers and other checkers. "Look, she's a really smart shopper!" LOL.

Okay, running total $35.46. Now on to No Frills for their coffee, chicken breast and soda sale.

2 Folgers: 5.49- .25 MC= $5.24
3lb. bags of b/s chicken breasts: $3.99 ($1.33lb.)
2 liter Diet 7-Up: .59

When I got to the meat dept., the big bin that had held the bags of chicken was completely empty. So I asked the butcher if they were totally gone. He said yes, but then pointed me over to where they kept the other brands and said to grab one and he'd adjust the price for me. When he was putting the sticker on, I said "They went crazy fast today, huh?". And he said "worse". Apparently it had been a very BUSY day all day. So my total here was $15.06, and I saved $7.79. I am now also very well stocked in coffee. Which is wonderful. I hate running out of coffee. I once ran out and was forced to buy some (gasp) not on sale. $8. I literally cried. Husband laughed at me for days for that one.

Running total now $50.52

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fru Fru Friday 3/13


Sex and the City made this classic drink famous. This week we give a nod to the Cosmopolitan!

1 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Triple sec
1/2 oz. Rose's sweetened lime juice
1/2 oz. cranberry juice
Lime wedge


Add liquid ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake well. (When you're tired of shaking, shake a little more, and it will be perfect) Place lime wedge on the rim of a martini glass. Pour mix into glass. YUM.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hy-Vee Deals 3/11-3-17


After going through the online ad, the paper ad, and the special Friday the 13th supplement here are the best deals I see at Hy-Vee for the Omaha metro this week.


Friday the 13th deals available only on 3/13:
green seedless grapes- .88/lb.
Hy-Vee 100% Apple Juice 64 oz. - .99 limit 4
Hy-Vee Russet Potatoes, 5lb. bag- .99
Pork Steaks- .99/lb.


Other Deals-
Cheerios 8.9oz- 1.68- use .55 printable that had been available= $1.13
Pepsi 2 Liters- .88 each
Lynden Farms Frozen hash browns- .98
Hy-Vee Cottage cheese 12oz.- .77
Dole Broccoli 1.38 each
Oscar Mayer Bacon- 1.99 w/ in ad coupon
Hy-American singles 8oz- .88 w/ in ad coupon
Grimmway Farms Baby carrots 1lb.- .88 each
Progresso Soups- 8 for $10- use $2/4 coupons here
Hellman's Mayo- $2.99- use $1/1 coupons here
Coffee Mate Creamer 32 oz.- $2.98 use $1/1 here
Lysol Wipes 2/$4- use $1 coupon here= $1

What deals did you find? Let me know by commenting below!

New Chicken Coating Creation Tonight

This is what happens when I start playing around in the kitchen. This got RAVE reviews from the family, and the boys DEVOURED their chicken. I used drumsticks, but hubby and I decided this would also be AMAZING with boneless/skinless chicken breasts cut into nuggets.

Preheat oven to 375.

beat 1 egg thoroughly. Stir in 2T milk and 2T melted butter
In large ziploc, place 1 1/2 cups cheezits. Crush well. Add 1 packet ranch dressing mix.
melt 2T additional butter


This works for about 6-8 chicken drumsticks- dip chicken in egg mix, coat well, then transfer to cheezit mix. Place drummies on cookie sheet, drizzle with remaining butter, then place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.

I give this one 4.5 OH MANS!!!!! If you want additional zip, add 2-3T hot sauce to the egg mixture.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fareway Bargain Meal of the Week 3-11



Fareway is the place to get your St. Patricks Day grub on. We're having Corned Beef with Cabbage and Potatoes! Please note the cabbage is .01 per pound. Yes. ONE CENT.

Here's your shopping list:


3lbs. corned beef brisket $1.17/lb= $3.51
2lbs. Red "B" Size Potatoes $.49/lb= .98
4lbs. cabbage= .04


Here's a good recipe for corned beef.


$4.53 is your total for the meal. You will hopefully have leftovers for some sammies too!


Thanks to Erin over at www.5dollardinners.com for hosting the BMOW!! Menus based on sale ads from all over the country can be found here.

Hy-Vee Bargain Meal of the Week 3-11

Soem pretty good meat deals again at Hy-Vee. I could have come up with several different meal options, but I stuck with 2:

Menu Plan A:


Chicken Oreganato
fresh steamed broccoli
Knorr rice
cottage cheese


You will need-
2lbs. chicken thighs at .79/lb.= $1.58
1 lb Dole Broccoli= $1.38
1 package your choice Knorr rice= .88
1 12oz. container of cottage cheese= .77
Total = $4.61


Menu Plan B:
I'm a St. Louis girl- we LOOVE our pork steaks. At home, people generally cook them with barbecue sauce and grill them, basting with sauce until you get what I've heard referred to as "candy meat". Nice crunchy ends and good bbq flavor. Since I don't get home for this treat often, we'll offer it as an option this week!


Grilled Pork Steaks
Baked Potatoes
tossed salad


Your shopping list
1.5lbs of pork steak at .99/lb= $1.44
2lbs of russet potatoes- (5lbs on sale for .99)= .40
Bag of Dole salad mix= $2.00
Total= $3.84

Bakers Bargain Meal of the Week



There are some strong seafood deals this week at Bakers- $1.99/lb for Catfish nuggets, buy one get one free for shrimp, etc. I really don't know what to do with catfish, so you're on your own with that one :) I decided, after picking up one for myself, to focus this week's meal around pork loin at $1.77/lb. My pork loin was around $5 for 3lbs. I will be dividing that up and using it for a few different meals. Please note that while this recipe says it serves 6, it calls for 3lbs. of meat---a tad much--I am basing pricing on using 2lbs.- you could probably cut it back even more for a family of 4. If you have some cheese at home, a little sprinkling on top would go far!

Your shopping list:
2lbs. of pork loin $3.54
1 can of Kroger corn .48
1 can of Kroger diced tomatoes .48

The recipe-
Pork Tamale Pie

If you're in the mood for a sweet treat after, and you get 10 qualifying items in the Mega Event, you get $5 off. That makes the Haagen Dazs Cups .49!

Cool offer from Earthbound Farm


Take this quiz from Earthbound Farm Organic for the chance to win coupons--for every quiz that is taken, Earthbound Farm will donate $1 to Healthy Child Healthy World.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How do you teach a child to make friends?

I had a good Mommy cry yesterday, and a good look inside myself. Our 6yo is going through evaluation for ADD. It's something that I always suspected was the case, but seeing the evaluation forms and the in class monitoring reports has been very difficult. Our son is doing fine academically, and it appears that he is a very happy, smiley inquisitive child at school. He also appears to be quite loved by the teachers and staff for his sunny disposition and unique personality. Unfortunately, his lack of impulse control and his ability to disrupt the class and distract the other kids has made him quite unpopular with his peers. Here I go, I'm starting to tear up again as I write this---as a mom, I want the very best for my child--to be able to meet his needs, physically, emotionally and spiritually. And I want him to have a wonderful childhood with friends that want to be with him. It's very hard to acknowledge that he's struggling in this area.

I want to be able to positively affect change for my son and help teach him the behaviors and social skills that will help him be more accepted by the other children. My first thought is to show him through example. That's when I hang my own head and have to admit that I'm not the best example. I've let my career consume my time outside of family life, and since most of our family and closer friends live out of state, we've never really developed a close circle of friends here. I have many people that I know through work and who we see socially on occasion, but I don't think those would be big examples for him.

I sort of feel like I can't just talk the talk, but I'm going to have to walk the walk and try to develop some relationships and scenarios where we can both be better at interacting and being social. Going to be doing some reading and looking for some books on the subject on Amazon---think they have "How to Make Friends and Influence People- First Grade Edition" ?

I sure hope we can turn this moment into a positive opportunity for us both.

Looking really nice for budget this week

I think if all goes the way it looks we're going to come in under budget by quite a bit! I took my Walgreens trip Sunday and spent $5.57. (And I'm getting $6.57 back in rebate on my gift card)

Yesterday I hit Bakers for 2 boxes of oatmeal, grapes, lemons, red wine vinegar and tarragon vinegar, along with a Mitchum deodorant, and spent $7.58, thanks to my Pillsbury catalina and other coupons.

Today one more quick stop at Walgreens for a couple more Coffee Mate creamers, more gum, another Glade Sense and Spray (I put one in my office at work and love it--think I'm going to put the other in the ladies room), and some jelly beans--I don't feel good so I buckled for sugar. (It was Mike and Ike's Jelly Beans for goodness sake---willpower evaporated). Total OOP was $1.56.

I have 2 things I'll be ordering from Schwann's, for about $15. Sale ads hit tomorrow, but besides a few items I have preliminarily set my sights on for the Baker's Mega Sale and some milk, I really don't see any big trips.

I have been very happy at how our spending has been so far this year. We have seriously impacted our grocery spending year over year, without trading quality of what we eat. Quite frankly, I think it's far improved, as we've cut down on the convenience foods, which means we're not eating anything processed. Looking forward to seeing March as a whole---think this is going to be my best month yet!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Walgreens Trip 3/8

Hit Walgreens for a quick trip tonight. Promptly forgot a couple things, so I will probably take another trip tomorrow. Here's how I did:

1 Glade Sense and Spray $7.99 ($4 MC and $4 ES) = .01 profit
3 Orbit Gums $1.99 (ES coupon for 3/99)= .99
Colgate Total Advanced= $3.49 ($2.50 ES and $1 MC)= .01 profit
Axe Shampoo= $5.99 ($5.99 rebate in ES)
4Coffee Mate Vanilla Creamers $2.49 each (BOGO and 2 $1.50/2 coupons)= .50 each
2 Blue Diamond Almonds= $3.49 each (BOGO and $1/2 MC)= $2.49/2
Used $6.50 in RR

Total OOP was $5.59 and I'll get $6.58 back on my gift card. Nice!

Menu Plan Week of 3/9




This week's meal plan gives us a nice variety of chicken, beef, pork and seafood, and is all relatively easy, for just about $26.


One tip for using beef in wraps, skillet dishes, etc.--As a time saver, when I catch sirloin on sale, I bring it home, cut it up into small bite size pieces, and put about 3/4lb. into each freezer bag. If I know the specific purpose, I go ahead and add the marinade then, and then pop in the freezer. The night before I plan to make the dish, I pop the meat in the fridge, and when I'm ready to cook, I have the meat cut, marinated and ready to go! It's a real time saver for week night cooking.



3/9 Monday

parmesan chicken drumsticks $1.90

alfredo noodles .75 (egg noodles tossed with a few Schwann's alfredo chips)

asparagus $.75

$3.40


3/10 Tuesday

grilled ham and cheese sandwiches $1.25

tomato soup .60

apple slices .40

$2.25


3/11 Wednesday

tacos $2.40 (meat 1.50, cheese .40 shells .50)

corn .40

$2.80


3/12 Thursday

lemon shrimp with angel hair pasta $6.00

asparagus .75

$6.75


3/13 Friday

steak and blue cheese wraps $2.75

(sirloin, carmelized onions, blue cheese and romaine in tortillas)

steak fries .50

$3.25


3/14 Saturday

asian pork noodles $2.50

broccoli and cauliflower .50

$3.00


3/15 Sunday

herb roasted chicken $2.50

cheesy potatoes $1.00

salad .75

$4.25

Lemon Shrimp With Angel Hair Pasta

1lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/3 cup of olive oil

2T butter

3 cloves of garlic, minced

dash of salt and pepper

juice from one large lemon

1T lemon rind

splash of white wine (optional)

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

fresh grated parmesan

1lb. angel hair pasta


Boil water to prepare pasta. In large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil, butter, and garlic, and add shrimp to pan. Cook shrimp about 3-4 minutes until pink. Add pasta to water and cook according to instructions. Add lemon juice, lemon rind and wine (if using) to shrimp in skillet. Drain pasta, add to skillet and toss to coat. Add parsley and toss again. Serve with fresh parmesan.

Asian-Style Pork and Noodles


This is a simple, quick recipe that I find to be pretty kid friendly---something about adding peanut butter that the kiddos just love. Easy to turn the heat up or down on this according to your family's tastes.

Asian-Style Pork and Noodles

1lb. ground pork (thank you Baker's Mgr's Special) .99

2 carrots, finely chopped .20

½ onion, finely chopped .15

3 cloves of garlic, minced .10

½ cup chicken broth .00 (free from my stash of homemade stock cubes)

1 ½T minced fresh ginger .15

3T soy sauce .05

3T peanut butter .20 (we make our own-yum!)

1T honey .15

1T bottled lime juice .05

1tsp chili paste .10

½ lb. spaghetti .50

Chopped green onion for garnish .15


Cook spaghetti according to directions. In medium skillet, brown ground pork. Add onion, carrot and garlic, and cook 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients until smooth and heated through. Drain pasta, add to skillet and toss to coat. Garnish with green onion.


$2.80 serve with frozen broccoli (1.00) and some grapes (1.00)


Total for the meal- $4.80!


Check out Erin at 5 Dollar Dinners for more great recipes!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fru Fru Friday


Every week I'm going to give you a recipe for a good happy hour cocktail...what I call "fru fru" drinks. This week it's my favorite... the Apple Martini!

2oz- Vodka

1.5oz- Apple Pucker

Splash of Sour Mix

Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin half filled with ice and shake vigorously (about ten seconds). Strain into a chilled glass.


The Tuna Can Runneth Over...

Is it just me, or have the grocery stores gone absolutely mad with tuna sales? I've noticed it for the past few weeks, and while I realize Lent is here, I actually think it's the stores' attempt to showcase frugal meals. Often times, the can of tuna on sale will be conveniently placed with the box of mac n cheese that is on sale.

Now, don't get me wrong---I've seen some wonderful recipes that involve tuna. And oddly, while pregnant with both boys, I couldn't get enough tuna skroodle salad. I do get the occasional craving for tuna salad sandwiches. I am not anti-tuna by any means. I do, however, think that the stores find it easy to go to the classic cheap dinner option, when they might be missing out on a bigger opportunity.

Growing up, when we needed to pinch pennies, I always knew it, because POOF! The tuna noodle casserole magically appeared on the table for dinner time. Only when money was tight. Never heard Dad say "Honey, I got a bonus today---let's celebrate with some Tuna Noodle Casserole!". I actually don't think my parents liked it very much, but it was cheap.

I don't ever want my children to grow up with those kinds of connections. At our house, living frugally and learning to eat well for less is a lifestyle, not just a reaction to the moment. If we have extra money, I would rather shove it into savings for a vacation than bloat my grocery budget. It's sort of like the difference between the diet and the lifelong change of eating habits. The tuna can is like the frugal-eating equivalent of the rice cake. Do you really, really want to eat that rice cake, or is it just because you think you'll save some calories, but you'd really rather have a bagel? I contend that if you really want the bagel you will end up eating it anyway, so skip the rice cake and eat HALF the bagel. Frugality is the same way. If you are only fixing foods you think are cheap, but you'd really rather have steak, you will eventually "blow it", and have the steak. Better to find ways to eat the foods you enjoy while cutting costs on other things that aren't as important to you.

We will always have tuna in our house, as I'm sure you will. I do hope, however, you will challenge yourself to finding ways to stay frugal every day, and to make the foods you like affordable and manageable in your budget, not change the way you eat just to save a little money in the short term. I will continue to bring you the ways we manage to do that at our house, and I look forward to hearing your success stories!

(Grab a great deal on tuna this week?)

Happy Friday! :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Check your Hy-Vee

I have searched both the print ad and the online ad for this week, and can't find it, so I'm not sure if it's a Hy-Vee wide unadvertised special or just a markdown at the store I was at, but a whole end cap in the meat dept. today for whole chickens at $.45 a pound! GREAT PRICE! I bought 3 hehehe. Thank goodness for the deep freeze, which is starting to get really full. I was able to grab a lot of meat on my Hy-Vee trip today-the chickens, half a ham, free roll of sausage, 2 packages of bacon. Good for stocking up!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Little People Wealth: Calling 911 For McNuggets? How far is too far?

I covered this story in my newscasts this morning, complete with the 911 audio- Little People Wealth has a nice take on this-

Little People Wealth: Calling 911 For McNuggets? How far is too far?

Bakers Bargain Meal of the Week 3/4


I'm Protestant, not Catholic, so I've never observed the Lenten Friday tradition---although I do love a good BYOB Fish Fry as much as anyone! :) I do, however, love Lent for the fish specials. It's a good time to stock up on seafood for the freezer and pantry. Whether you eat this on Friday or Tuesday, it's an easy, affordable meal I hope you enjoy!

Salmon Patties
Broccoli with 3-Cheese Sauce
grapes

Your shopping list:
1 can of Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon- $2.49
1 bag Green Giant Big Sauce Broccoli 3-cheese- $2.00
1lb. grapes $.88

Total for meal is: $5.37

Fareway Bargain Meal of the Week 3/4

With the weather here going all kattywampus on us--up, down, up down....I'm getting really itchy for Spring. It's all made worse by the fact that we're being teased with some wonderful temps in the 50's and 60's this week. Sure hope that they'll stick with us, although I rather suspect that we're going to get at least one more snowy kick in the pants.

As I study this week's Fareway ad, I'm finding myself drawn to the early Spring veggies and fruits that are on special. That, combined with a wonderful sale on chicken leg quarters, inspired this weeks menu:

Baked Chicken with Smoked Paprika
Strawberry Asparagus Green Salad
Steamers Corn

Your shopping list:

10lb. bag of chicken leg quarters @ .39/lb -4lbs. needed for recipe= $1.56
1 lb. strawberries= .99
1 lb. asparagus at 1.47- you will use half= .73
1 bag of Dole Spinach= $1.47
1 bag of Steamers corn = .99

Cost of main meal ingredients= $5.47

Hy-Vee Meal Bargain Meal of the Week 3/4

You can see this week's ad online here.

This week's bargain meal is Skillet Mushroom Chicken with tossed salad and Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots, and sliced canteloupe.

Your grocery list:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.79lb.
1 bag Hy-Vee Garden Salad .68
1 2lb. bag of Grimmway Farms carrots .99
1 8oz. package of Monterey Whole White mushrooms .99
1 canteloupe $1.56

Your recipes:

Skillet Mushroom Chicken ($3.18 for 4 servings)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.79
1T lemon pepper
8oz. mushrooms, sliced .99
1T olive oil .10
2 T butter .20
2 cloves garlic, minced .10
1 cup chicken broth ( I make my own---use canned if you need to)

Heat pan to medium high heat. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper, add oil to pan and cook chicken 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add butter, garlic and mushrooms, cook 5minutes. Add chicken back to pan, add broth, cover and simmer at low heat 10 minutes. Serve chicken with mushrooms on top.

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots (.74)
1lb. carrots, sliced .49
2T brown sugar .05
2T butter .20
1/2t cinnamon

In saucepan, cover carrots slices with water, bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain carrots into a colander. Add butter and brown sugar to pan and bring mixture to bubbling over medium high heat for 2 minutes-add carrots and cinnamon, toss to coat and serve.

Serve with salad (.68) and 1/2 the cantaloupe (.78), seeded and cut into slices.

Total for Meal- $5.38

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Did you know that March is National Frozen Foods Month?

Yes, a whole month dedicated to frozen foods.....




Please note that my freezer has only looked this nice when it was brand new and I was first transferring things over to it. Neither has it looked this empty...I'm always cramming stuff in. Two refrigerators, one deep freeze, and I fill it all up. No wonder I'm so intrigued by this month's theme.




Kudos to the inventor of frozen foods---Clarence Birdseye. Thanks to him, my life is much easier---I can buy foods in bulk when they are on sale and freeze them. I can have better quality veggies during the winter months. And I can prepare meals for use at another time.

You'll most likely see lots of great sales from the grocery stores as they celebrate National Frozen Foods Month. I thought it this was a great time to review storing foods in your freezer, how long things will keep, and freezer meals you can prepare at home.

According to the USDA, here are the lengths of time you can keep foods in the freezer at zero degrees for food quality (you can safely keep foods indefinitely):


Bacon and Sausage- 1 to 2 months
Casseroles- 2 to 3 months

Egg whites or egg substitutes- 12 months

Frozen Dinners and Entrees- 3 to 4 months

Gravy, meat or poultry- 2 to 3 months

Ham, Hotdogs and Lunchmeats- 1 to 2 months

Meat, uncooked roasts 4 to 12 months

Meat, uncooked steaks or chops- 4 to 12 months

Meat, uncooked ground- 3 to 4 months

Meat, cooked- 2 to 3 months

Poultry, uncooked whole- 12 months

Poultry, uncooked parts- 9 months

Poultry, uncooked giblets- 3 to 4 months

Poultry, cooked- 4 months

Soups and Stews- 2 to 3 months

Wild game, uncooked- 8 to 12 months


You can freeze a vast array of food, especially if you know the best practices. A great resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation.


Once you are savvy about how long to freeze, and what you can freeze, you can store leftovers this way. You can also make meals specifically to be frozen and used at a later date. There are numerous cookbooks devoted to this. There are also many resources available online. Here are a few:

http://www.frugalmom.net/once_a_month_cooking.htm
http://organizedhome.com/freezer-cookbook-recipes-freezer-cooking
http://www.30daygourmet.com/
http://www.dinnersinthefreezer.com/


Just make sure you leave some room for ice cream! :)


Other Resources:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/focus_on_freezing/index.asp

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/freezing/how-long-you-can-freeze-foods-10000001012124/index.html

http://www.helpwithcooking.com/food-storage/foods-freeze-well.html

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Walgreens Trip Today

Got my Walgreens trip in this morning to take advantage of some of the deals. I didn't get in and have a "free week" by any stretch, but I was able to get some pricier items that we use here on a regular basis at a savings, and also stock up on some soda. Today, no free toothpaste---toothpaste that paid ME to take it home! LOL. My cabinet is going to fill up pretty soon. Here's what I got:

3 12-packs Diet Mountain Dew @ 3/$11- you get a $3 RR
1 23 oz. Sugar Free Metamucil for $9.99 - $2 coupon I got for signing up for samples
1 17.9 oz. Miralax for $18.99 with a $4 RR- $2 coupon
1 Vaseline Lotion for $4.49 with a $2 RR - $1.25 from today's Red Plum
1 Fiber One Toaster pastries at $1.99 minus a .60 coupon
1 Chex Mix Bars at $1.99 minus a .60 coupon
2 Herbal Essences Shampoos at $2.99 each minus a $3/2 coupon
1 Colgate Max Toothpaste at $3.29- gave me a $3.50 RR, and I had a .75 coupon! Almost a dollar in overage! (***Please note that I looked at my RR twice--the ad says a $3.29 RR, but I really got a $3.50 RR, so your earnings may be higher as well!)

Total was $73.18

With coupons, I paid $50.61

And I got $12.50 in RR, along with a $1 coupon for PopTarts. So with RR it was like I paid $38.11. Both the Miralax and Metamucil will work with my Flexible Spending Account, so I'll save even more!

Meal Plan Week of 3/2




I revised my menu just slightly for tonight. I'm reposting as tonight's chicken will feature prominently in a couple other meals this week. I was able to grab whole chickens for .59/lb at Hy-Vee, and so tonight's bird is 4lbs. I used to be soooo afraid of whole chickens because I didn't know what to do with them, but they are incredibly versatile and great value. For some advice on other things to do with whole chickens, click here.


This week's dinners clocks in under $21. Using coupons and homemade items can really make a difference in your weekly food costs!



3/1 Sunday

Crockpot Sticky Chicken (coat in olive oil, penzey’s minced lemon peel, penzey’s herbes de provence, garlic, salt and pepper and cook on low for about 8 hours) $2.90

roasted sweet potato slices .50

Fresh Asparagus .75 (steam- toss with 1T olive oil, 1T lemon juice, 1t Dijon mustard and 1T honey)

$4.15


remove leftover meat from frame for tomorrow’s meal and freeze a small amount for Wedensday’s quesadillas. Make stock for Wednesday’s soup.


3/2 Monday

chicken, spinach and mushrooms in angel hair pasta 1.65

chicken .00 (leftover from Sunday chicken), pasta .50, mushrooms .50, spinach (leftover from frozen stash), .00, garlic .05, onion, .10, olive oil .10, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, parmesan .40

salad .50 (lettuce, carrot, tomato, vinegar and oil)

frozen broccoli .40

$2.55


3/3 Tuesday

pan fried pork chops $1.80

au gratin potatoes .60

honey glazed carrots .50

$2.90


3/4 Wednesday

black bean soup $1.20

chicken and cheese quesadillas $1.00 (chicken .00, cheese .50, tortillas .50, sprinkle of Penzey’s adobo spice)

carrots in dip for the boys .40

$2.60


3/5 Thursday

Johnsonville smoked sausages (onsale w/ coupons for $1.20 for 6—will have 2 leftover for white bean and kale soup in the future) in Rotella’s brat buns .50(these are carb heaven, but a special treat) and cheese .25 $1.95

homemade steak fries .40

apple slices .40

$2.75


3/6 Friday

breakfast for dinner

ham, egg and cheese biscuits $1.40

tater tots $.75

$2.15


3/7 Saturday

chipotle steak, onion and pepper fajitas $4.05

steak 2.00, onion .20, pepper .75, tortillas .50, cheese .50, penzey’s adobo seasoning and penzey’s ancho chili powder .10

cheesy refried beans (made from pinto beans) .50

$4.55


3/8 Sunday

sundried tomato pesto chicken pasta (will post later) $2.50

frozen broccoli .50

$3.00


$20.50 for the week


Head over to Menu Plan Monday for hundreds of other meal plans. Laura, the queen of OrgJunkie.com has been a real
inspiration in helping me stay organized and stick to my weekly meal plans!

Black Bean Soup

Michelle’s Black Bean Soup



This is a hearty meal that is easy to prepare, inexpensive and great served with quesadillas or cornbread.


4 cups of cooked black beans (or 2 cans) .50 (made from dried)

2 cups of chicken broth (or 1 can) .00 (I make my own-have also made this using my homemade vegetable stock--try substituting a Corona for some of the broth!)

3 slices bacon, chopped .30

2t olive oil .10

½ onion, chopped .15

2 cloves garlic, minced .05

1 stalk celery, chopped .05

1 carrot, peeled and chopped .05

1 can of diced tomatoes with juice .00 (I grow and can my own)

1t cumin

1T ancho chili powder (I’m using Penzey’s-you could use regular chili powder) .05

couple dashes of liquid smoke (optional, but ups the nice smoky flavor from the bacon and ancho powder)


Brown bacon in dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, celery, and carrot and cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add broth, tomatoes, beans and spices, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Top with chopped cilantro and serve with lime slices and sour cream if desired.


This is VERY good when prepared the day before and reheated. It allows the flavors to really meld.

$1.25


Erin at www.5dollardinners.com cooks $5 dollar dinners every night! She's been a great source of inspiration and ideas---check her out here