Occasionally, I like to give myself an end-of-the-month grocery shopping challenge. Can I make meals for my family with what I have on hand rather than spending the rest of the money in my grocery budget?
Take this month, for example. I still have half my grocery budget to spend but just one week left in the month. While I could certainly trot off to the grocery store and buy everything I need for the meals I’ve planned, I wonder how little I could buy and still provide nutritious meals for my family. Can I cook with what’s in the pantry and freezer, saving money in the process? Let’s see.
A quick look through my supplies on hand shows the following:
- Beef. Lots of beef. (We bought ¼ cow this fall and are set until spring. More on buying beef in bulk in a later post!)
- 1 roasting chicken
- 1½ pounds ground sausage
- ½ package egg noodles
- 1 box elbow macaroni noodles
- 1 box spaghetti noodles
- 1 box chicken stuffing
- 1 package frozen salmon
- 1 package frozen whiting
- 5 lbs. potatoes
- 1 bag white rice
- 24 oz. sour cream
- 1 package mozzarella cheese
- A variety of frozen and canned fruits and veggies, including tomatoes, green beans, corn, onions, peppers, carrots, peaches, and blueberries
- Baking supplies (flour, baking powder, baking soda, yeast, etc.) and spices (bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, poppy seeds, basil, oregano, etc.)
- 1 package Grands biscuits
- 2 dozen farm-fresh eggs, courtesy of my neighbor down the road!
Sunday – Spaghetti and meatballs with homemade spaghetti sauce
Monday – Roasted chicken, stuffing, corn
Tuesday – Creamy crockpot beef and noodles, green beans, Grands biscuits
Wednesday – Poppy seed chicken (with the leftover roasted chicken), served with rice and roasted peppers
Thursday – Biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs, served with frozen fruit cocktail
Friday – Whiting with fried potatoes and corn
Saturday – Homemade pizza with homemade pizza sauce topped with sausage and pepperoni
Guess what? The only thing I need to buy is milk, bread, butter, lunch meat, and fresh fruit. Instead of spending a couple hundred dollars, I can get away with spending less than $40, keeping the rest in the bank!
Anybody else trying to cook with what you have? If so, what does your menu look like?