This week I am challenging myself to limit the grocery shopping to $20.00 out-of-pocket (OOP) and make our meals from what I already have in the pantry and freezer. The $20.00 will go towards milk and the few other things that we will need such as extra fresh veg AND my weekly allowance for the homeless. I have been wanting to do an "online" challenge like this for quite some time, and with a little nudge from my cuz Rebecca, coupon buddy Russell, and Mother Nature (we might be snowed in!!!!) it feels like the right time.
First, I want everyone to understand that I have a garden every year, so I probably have more of a jump on what is in the freezer than most. I don't have to buy a lot of the vegetables I cook with, and since I make our stock and rolls from scratch I can really keeps food costs down in those areas. That being said, I am going to try to include at least 1-2 of the free or very cheap items that I have picked up over the last few weeks in each meal.
Pasta Carbonara with Ham/Side of Bird's Eye Primavera Blend. Utilizing free noodles, very cheap Cure81 ham and free Bird's eye Recipe Ready veg as the side.
Ravioli with Marinara and Pan-Seared Eggplant/Side salad. Utilizing cheap Celentano ravioli, home-made marinara (includes cheap Ragu) from the freezer, pre-breaded and sliced eggplant from the freezer (last summer garden), using free salad dressing for the salad.
Chicken and Dumplings. Utilizing free Knorr Homestyle stock (this will be a first for me) and free Grands Biscuits as the dumplings.
Brunswick Stew/Rolls. Utilizing cheap Lloyds BBQ as the BBQ base, free Bird's Eye Southwest Blend, free mustard, okra and tomatoes from my garden. Homemade rolls and ham stock.
Fish Sticks/Tator Tots/Sauteed Cabbage. Utilizing really cheap Gortons fish sticks and Alexia tator tots. The kids will love this one, but personally I'm not looking forward to it.
Smoked Pork Stir-Fry. Utilizing free rice and Bird's Eye stir-fry blend, smoked pork from the freezer (the hubs is the best!)
For the kids: PB&J with green peppers, ham &cheese rollups with carrots and cheese crackers, boiled eggs and muffins with purple cabbage.
Mommy and Daddy: Leftovers, tomato soup and grilled cheese 1x, egg salad sandwiches, sliced pork sandwiches.
Homemade banana muffins and boiled eggs with cantaloupe, pancakes and sausage with strawberries, ham and cheese omelet with cantaloupe and toast, oatmeal with blueberries, cereal (if it's warm enough or the weekend).
In all honesty, the items I can see myself buying this week for these meals is milk, lettuce and tomato. I purposely excluded cheese (except Parmesan) to keep my cost down. I don't think anyone will notice though!