Author Topic: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget  (Read 89019 times)

rdaneel0

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #750 on: October 14, 2018, 10:35:53 PM »
Still in awe of your grocery budget for a family with kids. FWIW, this is the best pulled pork oven recipe I've ever found: http://www.tasteofsouthern.com/pulled-pork-bbq-in-the-oven-recipe/

Goldielocks

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #751 on: October 15, 2018, 11:16:59 PM »
Still in awe of your grocery budget for a family with kids. FWIW, this is the best pulled pork oven recipe I've ever found: http://www.tasteofsouthern.com/pulled-pork-bbq-in-the-oven-recipe/
I just made pulled pork yesterday!  Must be the season for pork sales.
It is the easiest and cheapest recipe:

Easy, Cheap Pulled pork, 
16 servings @1/3 lb each. $0.63/serving...  that would be $0.35/serving in APowers land...

Two Large Onions $0.10   (yeah I bought the 50lb bag of onions  because they looked great, and now I am not sure what to do with it all. Gulp.)
One bottle BBQ sauce $1.00
5lb Pork loin, to fit pot  $9.00 ($1.77/lb super sale here)

Two large onions, chopped - in bottom of crockpot.
Porkloin, cut into 4 pieces to fit crockpot.
Top with 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce.
Turn on low, heat to 165'F, stir a couple of times. about 6 hours.  Don't let it stay at that temp for long! Remove from pot, shred.
Return to pot, top with last 1/2 bottle bbq sauce. Turn off for 1-2hr until 135'F. Turn to "warm" and let sit until dinner.   

This needs the low temp cooking and the BBQ sauce because the loin gets too dry too quickly.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #752 on: October 16, 2018, 04:44:47 AM »
Still in awe of your grocery budget for a family with kids. FWIW, this is the best pulled pork oven recipe I've ever found: http://www.tasteofsouthern.com/pulled-pork-bbq-in-the-oven-recipe/
I just made pulled pork yesterday!  Must be the season for pork sales.
It is the easiest and cheapest recipe:

Easy, Cheap Pulled pork, 
16 servings @1/3 lb each. $0.63/serving...  that would be $0.35/serving in APowers land...

Two Large Onions $0.10   (yeah I bought the 50lb bag of onions  because they looked great, and now I am not sure what to do with it all. Gulp.)
One bottle BBQ sauce $1.00
5lb Pork loin, to fit pot  $9.00 ($1.77/lb super sale here)

Two large onions, chopped - in bottom of crockpot.
Porkloin, cut into 4 pieces to fit crockpot.
Top with 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce.
Turn on low, heat to 165'F, stir a couple of times. about 6 hours.  Don't let it stay at that temp for long! Remove from pot, shred.
Return to pot, top with last 1/2 bottle bbq sauce. Turn off for 1-2hr until 135'F. Turn to "warm" and let sit until dinner.   

This needs the low temp cooking and the BBQ sauce because the loin gets too dry too quickly.

Try it using Boston Butt (the upper part of the shoulder) instead of loin.  It's cheaper, but more importantly, it is much moister than loin and does not need to be babied.  I cook it whole on the smoker at 250 F, which takes anywhere from 10 to 14 hours depending on the size of the roast.  But if you're doing it in a crock pot (where the moisture can't evaporate), you can cut it into smaller pieces so it will cook faster.  Although you'll want to trim the exterior fat down to less than 1/4 inch, resist the urge to try to cut out all the internal fat.  That's where all the flavor and moisture come from.  Cook until it can be shredded easily (sorry, I've never done it in a crock pot, so I can't tell you how long that takes).  If you don't cook it until it shreds easily, it will be tough and fatty.  But cooked to the right internal temp, about 195 - 205 F, it is melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy without being too fatty.  I promise you it will be way better than loin.

Stachetastic

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #753 on: October 16, 2018, 05:07:01 AM »
We use the Butt as well. DH cooks it overnight in the crock pot and the dogs spend the night salivating. DH puts a can of beer in with it, and it is SO good.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #754 on: October 16, 2018, 05:23:04 AM »
Monkey Uncle

Two Large Onions $0.10   (yeah I bought the 50lb bag of onions  because they looked great, and now I am not sure what to do with it all. Gulp.)

You can make caramelized onions. Slice up a whole slow cooker full of onions and throw in some butter. These onions can be used for burgers, onion soup, recipes. Here are some instructions: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-caramelize-onions-in-the-slow-cooker-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193413

I made these in the past and they are like gold! Freeze what you can't use and put them in small baggies.

Goldielocks

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #755 on: October 16, 2018, 04:11:28 PM »
Still in awe of your grocery budget for a family with kids. FWIW, this is the best pulled pork oven recipe I've ever found: http://www.tasteofsouthern.com/pulled-pork-bbq-in-the-oven-recipe/
I just made pulled pork yesterday!  Must be the season for pork sales.
It is the easiest and cheapest recipe:

Easy, Cheap Pulled pork, 
16 servings @1/3 lb each. $0.63/serving...  that would be $0.35/serving in APowers land...

Two Large Onions $0.10   (yeah I bought the 50lb bag of onions  because they looked great, and now I am not sure what to do with it all. Gulp.)
One bottle BBQ sauce $1.00
5lb Pork loin, to fit pot  $9.00 ($1.77/lb super sale here)

Two large onions, chopped - in bottom of crockpot.
Porkloin, cut into 4 pieces to fit crockpot.
Top with 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce.
Turn on low, heat to 165'F, stir a couple of times. about 6 hours.  Don't let it stay at that temp for long! Remove from pot, shred.
Return to pot, top with last 1/2 bottle bbq sauce. Turn off for 1-2hr until 135'F. Turn to "warm" and let sit until dinner.   

This needs the low temp cooking and the BBQ sauce because the loin gets too dry too quickly.

Try it using Boston Butt (the upper part of the shoulder) instead of loin.  It's cheaper, but more importantly, it is much moister than loin and does not need to be babied.  I cook it whole on the smoker at 250 F, which takes anywhere from 10 to 14 hours depending on the size of the roast.  But if you're doing it in a crock pot (where the moisture can't evaporate), you can cut it into smaller pieces so it will cook faster.  Although you'll want to trim the exterior fat down to less than 1/4 inch, resist the urge to try to cut out all the internal fat.  That's where all the flavor and moisture come from.  Cook until it can be shredded easily (sorry, I've never done it in a crock pot, so I can't tell you how long that takes).  If you don't cook it until it shreds easily, it will be tough and fatty.  But cooked to the right internal temp, about 195 - 205 F, it is melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy without being too fatty.  I promise you it will be way better than loin.

It is way better than the loin, for certain, but is absolutely not cheaper.  i
Boston Butt is about $3.00/lb here, plus has more fat to meat, so about double the price (although it is labelled as a different cut, and hard to find as a true boston butt).   Meat is rarely below $2/lb and only the porkloin seems to come in at this price and be a boneless cut.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #756 on: October 17, 2018, 04:49:10 AM »
Still in awe of your grocery budget for a family with kids. FWIW, this is the best pulled pork oven recipe I've ever found: http://www.tasteofsouthern.com/pulled-pork-bbq-in-the-oven-recipe/
I just made pulled pork yesterday!  Must be the season for pork sales.
It is the easiest and cheapest recipe:

Easy, Cheap Pulled pork, 
16 servings @1/3 lb each. $0.63/serving...  that would be $0.35/serving in APowers land...

Two Large Onions $0.10   (yeah I bought the 50lb bag of onions  because they looked great, and now I am not sure what to do with it all. Gulp.)
One bottle BBQ sauce $1.00
5lb Pork loin, to fit pot  $9.00 ($1.77/lb super sale here)

Two large onions, chopped - in bottom of crockpot.
Porkloin, cut into 4 pieces to fit crockpot.
Top with 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce.
Turn on low, heat to 165'F, stir a couple of times. about 6 hours.  Don't let it stay at that temp for long! Remove from pot, shred.
Return to pot, top with last 1/2 bottle bbq sauce. Turn off for 1-2hr until 135'F. Turn to "warm" and let sit until dinner.   

This needs the low temp cooking and the BBQ sauce because the loin gets too dry too quickly.

Try it using Boston Butt (the upper part of the shoulder) instead of loin.  It's cheaper, but more importantly, it is much moister than loin and does not need to be babied.  I cook it whole on the smoker at 250 F, which takes anywhere from 10 to 14 hours depending on the size of the roast.  But if you're doing it in a crock pot (where the moisture can't evaporate), you can cut it into smaller pieces so it will cook faster.  Although you'll want to trim the exterior fat down to less than 1/4 inch, resist the urge to try to cut out all the internal fat.  That's where all the flavor and moisture come from.  Cook until it can be shredded easily (sorry, I've never done it in a crock pot, so I can't tell you how long that takes).  If you don't cook it until it shreds easily, it will be tough and fatty.  But cooked to the right internal temp, about 195 - 205 F, it is melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy without being too fatty.  I promise you it will be way better than loin.

It is way better than the loin, for certain, but is absolutely not cheaper.  i
Boston Butt is about $3.00/lb here, plus has more fat to meat, so about double the price (although it is labelled as a different cut, and hard to find as a true boston butt).   Meat is rarely below $2/lb and only the porkloin seems to come in at this price and be a boneless cut.

Wow, I guess BC is an expensive place for food.  Regular price for Boston butt here is around $1.79/lb, and it frequently goes on sale for less, sometimes for as low as $0.99/lb.  A boneless loin roast is more expensive, although sometimes the whole loin will go on sale at a price that is about equal to regular price on the butt.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #757 on: October 17, 2018, 05:55:57 AM »
Is whole bone in pork shoulder the same as Boston Butt or Picnic? They are on sale here for $0.99 a lb.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #758 on: October 17, 2018, 04:17:58 PM »
Is whole bone in pork shoulder the same as Boston Butt or Picnic? They are on sale here for $0.99 a lb.

Maybe.  A true whole shoulder is the Boston butt and the picnic still connected together.  It usually weighs 15 - 20 lbs.  I have never seen a whole shoulder in the grocery store meat market.  Usually you have to get a butcher to order it for you.  Regardless of whether it is the whole shoulder, butt, or picnic, $0.99/lb is a good price pretty much anywhere in the U.S.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #759 on: October 17, 2018, 09:55:20 PM »
I'm overdue to post some grocery errands from saturday. But here we go:

Sprouts:


Green chile: $.49
Grapes (4.5lb): $3.15
Onions (7lb): $3.54

Total receipt = $7.18

--------------------------------------------------------

Safeway:


Cake mix: $.75
Frosting: $2.25
Olives: $8.80
Sugar: $.99
Milk: $2.18

Total receipt = $14.97

------------------------------------------------------------

King Soopers:


Eggs: $2.97
Rice: $0 (freebie)

Total receipt = $2.97

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #760 on: October 17, 2018, 10:20:34 PM »
Also, grilled hamburgers for dinner saturday.


APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #761 on: October 19, 2018, 09:34:51 PM »
Errands on Thursday...

Sprouts:


Carrots (5lb): $2.99
Cabbage (8lb): $2.60
Lettuce: $.99
Ginger: $1.23
Tomatoes (3.6lb): $3.20

Total receipt = 11.01. I'm going to try making sauerkraut or kimchi with the cabbage/carrots, so we'll see how that turns out.

-----------------------------------------------------------

King Soopers:


Otter pops: $1.00
Bananas: $.35
Soda: $1.65

Total receipt = $3.00. SO's birthday celebration is tomorrow, hence the soda that we don't usually buy.

---------------------------------------------------------

Walmart:


Gluten-free pasta: $3.96
Hot chocolate: $3.36

Total receipt = $7.32. SO loves cocoa, so the kids "bought" it to give as their birthday present to her.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Safeway:


Olives: $5.28
Pepperoni: $3.00

Total receipt = $8.28

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Today, I had a job on the other end of town, so I stopped in the discount store:


Corn meal: $1.58
Chocolate chips: $3.96
Gluten free tortillas: $.50
Bread: $0

Total receipt = $6.04. Yes, the bread was free. They were literally giving it away, as they had too much. Not sure why, but who was I to say no to free food?
« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 06:27:28 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #762 on: October 21, 2018, 12:34:37 PM »
Took all that cabbage today, and put together a batch of sauerkraut. Now it just has to sit on the counter and ferment properly (fingers crossed).

I had 7.8lb of cabbage, trimmed it to 7.2lb. Also added three large carrots, a whole onion, a knob of ginger, and some red pepper flakes.



I used the slicing disc for the Cuisinart-- no need to grate it super fine.



I had to split it into my two biggest mixing bowls. It condenses down once the salt starts breaking it down and releasing the water, but until it gets there, it's a lot of cabbage volume.



Carrots and onions I ran through the same food processor blade



The most important part, according to what I've read on the internet, is the right amount of salt. 2% of the weight-- my digital scale is incredibly helpful here. Once I added the salt, I mixed it around by hand. Literally, hand-in-the-mixing-bowl mixed by hand. This is actually kind of important, because as you grab and squeeze and twist and crunch the cabbage around, it helps it release the water and create the brine. It should end up looking a bit soggy with some liquid in the bottom. Then I packed it into jars:



As I packed it down, the liquid should squish up to just cover the surface. I rigged together some weights to hold the cabbage just under the juice, otherwise it dries out and doesn't ferment. In one jar is a tall/narrow mason jar, sitting on top of a plastic screen thing I stole from a gallon jar of pepperoncinis at work years ago (the screen holds the whole surface of the cabbage down, while the mason jar provides a way to apply a weight), the other is a tall blue plastic cup and a sour cream container lid.



Then I realized that they were just the right height to wedge under my cabinet, instead of trying to balance a weight on a squirrelly jar:



Yes, those are Legos. they made a perfect adjustable spacer. I wedged it just tight enough to keep the cabbage just barely under the surface of the liquid. I also took some plastic wrap and sealed the space around the mason jar. Not to make it airtight, but I don't want dust or bugs or rando microbes to be floating in.

It's supposed to sit for a week (maybe two?) and ferment. I think the rate of fermentation depends on the ambient temperature.

One jar is straight cabbage, the other has the other veggies added. Hopefully it'll end up a bit more like kimchi than traditional sauerkraut. I literally just used about six packets of pepper flakes that I had in the cabinet leftover from eating pizza out at Costco, lol. No special spices here.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #763 on: October 21, 2018, 12:54:04 PM »
Also, I had to run an errand yesterday, because I did a bad. I didn't look at the cake recipe for the cake I made for SO's birthday. So I had to buy some last-minute baking stuff:



Milk: $1.99
Cocoa powder: $3.99
Powdered sugar: $1.99

Total receipt = $7.97. Made Texas sheet cake. Was delicious. Yes, there will be leftovers for days. That's ok with me, lol.


Goldielocks

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #764 on: October 21, 2018, 07:51:03 PM »
I love the lego spacers..

I am also cooking with cabbage today -- lazy cabbage rolls.   Cabbage here was 47 cents/lb and is now back up to "normal sale" level of 97 cent/lb.  *

Recipe is food Value, no gluten, and I can make a low-carb version for the high protein dieter in the house.   

*ETA -- bonus, I have hidden 5 onions in the recipe.   Still trying to figure out the onion problem, and french onion soup is next.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 07:53:30 PM by Goldielocks »

OtherJen

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #765 on: October 21, 2018, 07:53:25 PM »
That sheet cake looks insanely good, @APowers . Im guessing it tastes even better than it looks.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #766 on: October 21, 2018, 09:28:39 PM »
Love a good Texas sheet cake! Our kids made us a cake for our anniversary (they are 11 & 12 & it turned out way better than expected), so we will also be eating that for a couple of days. Yum.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #767 on: October 21, 2018, 10:35:36 PM »
That sheet cake looks insanely good, @APowers . Im guessing it tastes even better than it looks.

It turned out really fantastic. And my sheet pan is 14"x18", so I'm guessing it will be friday by the time it's actually gone.

galliver

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #768 on: October 21, 2018, 10:58:35 PM »
Yes, those are Legos. they made a perfect adjustable spacer. I wedged it just tight enough to keep the cabbage just barely under the surface of the liquid. I also took some plastic wrap and sealed the space around the mason jar. Not to make it airtight, but I don't want dust or bugs or rando microbes to be floating in.

It's supposed to sit for a week (maybe two?) and ferment. I think the rate of fermentation depends on the ambient temperature.

One jar is straight cabbage, the other has the other veggies added. Hopefully it'll end up a bit more like kimchi than traditional sauerkraut. I literally just used about six packets of pepper flakes that I had in the cabinet leftover from eating pizza out at Costco, lol. No special spices here.

My mom's Russian-style recipe requires taking off the weight twice a day and poking holes down to the bottom (otherwise pretty identical...oh, includes carrots though). It also gives you a good opportunity to taste; it's done in about 3 days for how I like it (not too sour, still crunchy). I make it in a big mixing bowl and have found a plate that sits in there pretty well for pressing with a jar of water on top, then only put it in jars when it's done and I'm moving it to the fridge. I wanted to try my hand at kimchi, but the recipes I found seemed more involved than my mom's recipe and I chickened out. I'm excited to see/hear how yours comes out!

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #769 on: October 22, 2018, 07:38:52 PM »
Checked my sauerkraut today, and there is some nice bubbling action happening, so that seems like a good sign that the fermenting is moving along.



I was a little worried that the kitchen counter might be a little cold for the bacterial action to happen, since I keep the house thermostat set at 69F, and that corner of the kitchen always seems to be colder than the rest of the house. Though it's been reasonably warm and sunny during the day lately, so not as big of an issue as when it's below freezing outside.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #770 on: October 23, 2018, 10:47:09 PM »
Dinner tonight was taco rice. With green beans. Canned green beans. Eugh. I was kind of hoping the kids would like them, which....they tolerated them. Are there any ways to eat canned green beans that aren't mostly gross?


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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #771 on: October 24, 2018, 12:23:20 AM »
Soup.  Vegetable soup.  Nobody wants crunchy vegetables in soup, anyway.

Oh!  I think if you put them into potato / carrot / onion/ pea  samosas.. the mush texture would fit right in.?  I guess just look for recipes where "mush" is the way it is supposed to be done, then see if you can slip some beans in.

Deeo fried green bean fritters?

galliver

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #772 on: October 24, 2018, 08:18:41 AM »
I believe green bean casserole usually uses canned? I generally prefer fresh but it was edible, with all the creamy ingredients and french-fried onions. Might not be what you're going for though, haha.

Soup.  Vegetable soup.  Nobody wants crunchy vegetables in soup, anyway.

This is false *raises hand*. :P  I like vegetables to retain a lot of bite, even in soup...like the ones you get in won-ton soup. Nothing mushy!

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #773 on: October 24, 2018, 08:23:45 AM »
A little bacon fat and crumbled bacon with the green beans. Mmmmm...bacon!

OtherJen

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #774 on: October 24, 2018, 08:25:19 AM »
A little bacon fat and crumbled bacon with the green beans. Mmmmm...bacon!

Bacon truly fixes so many things.

lollipop_hurricane

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #775 on: October 24, 2018, 09:09:15 AM »
I actually like canned green beans with vinegar, or in a three bean salad,with garbanzos and some other bean.  My MIL makes a refreshing 3 bean salad, and she ALWAYS uses canned beans for it. 

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #776 on: October 24, 2018, 09:13:52 AM »
If you are open to trying a new cuisine, I make a Persian recipe (lubia polo) & canned green beans are preferred for me. (The recipe calls for fresh/frozen, but after experimenting with both, prefer canned). http://honestandtasty.com/beef-and-green-bean-rice-loobia-polo/

Roadrunner53

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #777 on: October 24, 2018, 11:43:38 AM »
Here is another thought about canned green beans. Try draining them, then refrigerate them so they are cold and maybe a little more bite to them. You could mix them with kidney beans and diced tomatoes (all cold too). Then add balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some Italian spices. Let it sit a while in the fridge to absorb the spices and vinegar.

rdaneel0

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #778 on: October 24, 2018, 12:02:17 PM »
You can use almost any type of bean to make a veggie patty/dumpling. Just puree them and add in a bit of egg and flour and seasoning, then you can pan fry or add to soup! You can also use green beans in casseroles, I think they are best with mushrooms, cream, potatoes, and a breadcrumb topping :) 

OtherJen

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #779 on: October 24, 2018, 02:21:48 PM »
Okay, clearly you should make a green bean casserole in memoriam.

Woman who created green bean casserole dies at 92

galliver

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #780 on: October 24, 2018, 04:54:07 PM »
Okay, clearly you should make a green bean casserole in memoriam.

Woman who created green bean casserole dies at 92

Oh no! :O

foobaz

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #781 on: October 26, 2018, 08:20:17 PM »
There are so many great ideas here. When I went to look for some of these ingredients at my local grocery store the prices were 2-3x of what people were posting here. It's time for me to move somewhere with lower cost-of-living.

Goldielocks

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #782 on: October 26, 2018, 10:32:03 PM »
There are so many great ideas here. When I went to look for some of these ingredients at my local grocery store the prices were 2-3x of what people were posting here. It's time for me to move somewhere with lower cost-of-living.
Where are you?  Others on here may be able to suggest where the deepest discounts are in your area.  I am in a much more expensive region than APowers, but not 3x, that's for certain.

OtherJen

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #783 on: October 27, 2018, 05:00:34 AM »
There are so many great ideas here. When I went to look for some of these ingredients at my local grocery store the prices were 2-3x of what people were posting here. It's time for me to move somewhere with lower cost-of-living.

Keep in mind that many of the reported prices are sales and store loyalty deals. For example, pork shoulder is not normally $0.99/lb anywhere so when it is, I stock up.

Flipp is a good website/app resource for grocery sales (assuming you're in USA or Canada).

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #784 on: October 27, 2018, 05:29:44 AM »
There are so many great ideas here. When I went to look for some of these ingredients at my local grocery store the prices were 2-3x of what people were posting here. It's time for me to move somewhere with lower cost-of-living.

Keep in mind that many of the reported prices are sales and store loyalty deals. For example, pork shoulder is not normally $0.99/lb anywhere so when it is, I stock up.

Flipp is a good website/app resource for grocery sales (assuming you're in USA or Canada).

Where are you?  Others on here may be able to suggest where the deepest discounts are in your area.  I am in a much more expensive region than APowers, but not 3x, that's for certain.

I was just going to say these same things. In fact, for most of what I buy, if I were to walk into the grocery store right now, it would be about 2-3x the price. Not because I live in some HCOL area, but because _I only buy when it's on sale_. For instance. I just bought asparagus yesterday: $.97/lb; but asparagus is normally $2.99/lb, and if you walked into Sprouts today, that's what you would pay. I didn't, because they were out when it was on sale, and I got a raincheck. When asparagus isn't on sale, I don't buy it, I buy something else that's <$1/lb. Like broccoli, or green beans, or cauliflower, or cabbage, or whatever happens to be on sale that week (or I buy nothing and we eat frozen veggies until something goes on sale, or I buy as little as possible).

Assuming you're in the lower 48 states of the U.S., you should have 3-5 different grocery stores within a reasonable driving distance, and you should absolutely take time to look at their weekly ad flyers and shop based on those sales. Eventually you'll start noticing that the prices are cyclical, and you'll be able to primarily buy at the low-price points for almost everything.

anonymouscow

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #785 on: October 29, 2018, 07:38:54 AM »
I think "Pumpkin stuffed with everything good" is a good cheap meal for the season. It's basically a pumpkin oven cooked stuffed with bread, meat, cheese, etc.

Some people use the pumpkins as decorations, and if you don't carve them you can eat them later.

Pumpkins are in season and you don't have to follow the recipe exactly, we make it with whatever meat is on sale, stale bread, peppers, onions, etc.

OtherJen

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #786 on: October 29, 2018, 08:19:10 AM »
FYI Great Lakes/Ohio Valley Mustachians: Meijer just issued a store brand sale flier that will be running through Thanksgiving week. No idea if all store brand products are included, but several good basics are listed.

robartsd

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #787 on: October 29, 2018, 09:47:01 AM »
I think "Pumpkin stuffed with everything good" is a good cheap meal for the season. It's basically a pumpkin oven cooked stuffed with bread, meat, cheese, etc.

Some people use the pumpkins as decorations, and if you don't carve them you can eat them later.

Pumpkins are in season and you don't have to follow the recipe exactly, we make it with whatever meat is on sale, stale bread, peppers, onions, etc.
Growing up, our stuffed pumpkins were usually filled with a mixture of rice, ground beef, and vegetables. I'm not particularly fond of the stringy texture of large pumpkins, but I did like the flavor.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #788 on: October 29, 2018, 09:53:43 PM »
Saturday was a full day's worth of running a yard full of tree limbs and branches through a giant (rented) wood chipper. I now have four giant piles of wood mulch. I certainly didn't want to make dinner after that, so we went to Costco and had pizza. Total = $14.31.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, a belated update on grocery errands:

Sprouts:


Asparagus (3.2lb): $3.08
Apples (7lb): $6.15
Lettuce: $2.58
Avocados: $1.50
Tomatoes (1.9lb): $1.66

Total receipt = $14.97

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

King Soopers:


Reese's bar: $0 (freebie)
Apples: $.99
Chorizo: $0 (freebie)

Total receipt = $.99. I cooked up the chorizo with some eggs for dinner tonight, and it was worse than mediocre. This is the second time I've tried to cook chorizo, and it's been a pretty complete failure both times. It's like a greasy meat paste, with a bitter aftertaste following the spice flavour. For free, it was worth a try, but I definitely wouldn't buy it again.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Safeway:


Milk: $2.29
Pomegranates: $2.97

Total receipt = $5.26
« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 06:09:50 PM by APowers »

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #789 on: October 29, 2018, 10:21:08 PM »
Also, update on the sauerkraut....It's Alive! After a week of fermenting, it is definitely doing what it's supposed to. After a taste, the plain sauerkraut seemed a little "cabbage-y" still, so I am going to keep it on the counter for a while longer. The kimchi also needs to ferment a bit more, but it tastes phenomenal! I'm pretty stoked about it. I'm pretty *meh* about kraut (SO loves it, however), but the kimchi is just the right amount of spicy and tangy and MmmMmm. I think I'm going to let it ferment a bit longer, too, but it is already delicious.

Dabnasty

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #790 on: October 30, 2018, 08:48:43 AM »
Reese's bar: $0 (freebie)
Apples: $.99
Chorizo: $0 (freebie)

Total receipt = $.99. I cooked up the chorizo with some eggs for dinner tonight, and it was worse than mediocre. This is the second time I've tried to cook chorizo, and it's been a pretty complete failure both times. It's like a greasy meat paste, with a bitter aftertaste following the spice flavour. For free, it was worth a try, but I definitely wouldn't buy it again.

Greasy meat paste seems accurate but the bitter aftertaste seems odd. It may be the brand, I've tried several products called chorizo and they do vary quite a bit. I wouldn't let it turn you off completely, I like to mix it with several other ingredients to the point where it's more like a seasoning than a main ingredient. Something like chili or beans, rice, potatoes, vegetables, etc.

In other words, don't think of it as the Mexican version of breakfast sausage.

OtherJen

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #791 on: October 30, 2018, 03:45:21 PM »
Reese's bar: $0 (freebie)
Apples: $.99
Chorizo: $0 (freebie)

Total receipt = $.99. I cooked up the chorizo with some eggs for dinner tonight, and it was worse than mediocre. This is the second time I've tried to cook chorizo, and it's been a pretty complete failure both times. It's like a greasy meat paste, with a bitter aftertaste following the spice flavour. For free, it was worth a try, but I definitely wouldn't buy it again.

Greasy meat paste seems accurate but the bitter aftertaste seems odd. It may be the brand, I've tried several products called chorizo and they do vary quite a bit. I wouldn't let it turn you off completely, I like to mix it with several other ingredients to the point where it's more like a seasoning than a main ingredient. Something like chili or beans, rice, potatoes, vegetables, etc.

In other words, don't think of it as the Mexican version of breakfast sausage.

Maybe also try fresh chorizo from a Mexican grocer. I love the stuff, but I am picky about the source.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #792 on: October 30, 2018, 06:22:15 PM »
Reese's bar: $0 (freebie)
Apples: $.99
Chorizo: $0 (freebie)

Total receipt = $.99. I cooked up the chorizo with some eggs for dinner tonight, and it was worse than mediocre. This is the second time I've tried to cook chorizo, and it's been a pretty complete failure both times. It's like a greasy meat paste, with a bitter aftertaste following the spice flavour. For free, it was worth a try, but I definitely wouldn't buy it again.

Greasy meat paste seems accurate but the bitter aftertaste seems odd. It may be the brand, I've tried several products called chorizo and they do vary quite a bit. I wouldn't let it turn you off completely, I like to mix it with several other ingredients to the point where it's more like a seasoning than a main ingredient. Something like chili or beans, rice, potatoes, vegetables, etc.

In other words, don't think of it as the Mexican version of breakfast sausage.

Maybe I burned it? I didn't think I did, but still, it didn't taste "burnt"-- just bitter aftertaste. I can see it being pretty good (assuming no bitterness) as a chili/bean/rice dish flavour component. Still, I wouldn't go out and buy it again.

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #793 on: October 30, 2018, 06:26:35 PM »
Dinner tonight was cornbread and baked beans. It seemed like an appropriately autumnal dinner, given the chilly weather and lowering snow clouds. Also, both the kids really seem to like cornbread, which is fantastic, because it is not only gluten free, but also dirt cheap-- I don't know of any other flour-ish substance I can get for 20/lb. And it's super easy to make...like literally the easiest quickbread ever. I could make this without even touching a measuring cup.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 08:42:30 PM by APowers »

mountain mustache

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #794 on: October 30, 2018, 08:13:03 PM »
Dinner tonight was cornbread and baked beans. It seemed like an appropriately autumnal dinner, given the chilly weather and lowering snow clouds. Also, both the kids really seem to like cornbread, which is fantastic, because it is not only gluten free, but also dirt cheap-- I don't know of any other flour-ish substance I can get for 20/lb. And it's super easy to make...like literally the easiest quickbread ever. I could make this without even touching a measuring cup.



What is your cornbread recipe?? So many seem to have 50/50 flour and cornmeal, and I'm always looking for one that is just cornmeal!

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #795 on: October 30, 2018, 10:06:01 PM »
Dinner tonight was cornbread and baked beans. It seemed like an appropriately autumnal dinner, given the chilly weather and lowering snow clouds. Also, both the kids really seem to like cornbread, which is fantastic, because it is not only gluten free, but also dirt cheap-- I don't know of any other flour-ish substance I can get for 20/lb. And it's super easy to make...like literally the easiest quickbread ever. I could make this without even touching a measuring cup.



What is your cornbread recipe?? So many seem to have 50/50 flour and cornmeal, and I'm always looking for one that is just cornmeal!

Recipe? Lol!!! I wanted a recipe, and looked for one on the internet and there's only a gazillion of them. I knew I couldn't use flour, since Kiddo is gluten free, so that helped me narrow it down a bit, but there was still only a few hundred thousand. I basically just looked at the general basics that tended to be in common, and then kind of winged it. So here's what I do:

Cast Iron Skillet. This was insisted on in all the recipes touting their authenticity.
I put in a big dollop of bacon/pork grease. I probably use about the equivalent of 1/3 stick of butter. ish? Basically, be generous, and then use a little extra still.

It should be about as hot as possible without smoking. I want a nice crust on the bottom, so I'm shooting for a serious sizzle as soon as the batter hits the pan. Medium to medium-high will usually get the pan there while I mix up the batter.

Preheat oven to 375F

Batter:
-Corn meal
-Salt
-Sugar
-Baking soda
-Baking powder
-Eggs
-Buttermilk/substitute; I've been using watered-down homemade yoghurt, since that's what we've had on hand lately
-Water

I don't know that any real precision is needed here, as long as you keep in mind what the ingredients' functions are.

Corn meal is the body-- starch and fiber, mostly;
Salt, for umami delicious flavour enhancement;
Sugar, because fresh corn/meal is sweet, and modern corn meal just...isn't;
Baking soda for leavening (starts immediately, but needs the acid from the buttermilk/etc to work);
Baking powder for leavening (works without the acid, but takes longer);
Eggs are critical as a binder (without them, you have a pan of super-crumb);
Buttermilk/etc is to provide an acid for the baking soda, and to provide a bit of creamy, buttery flavour-- but any slightly acidic liquid combo should work (milk with a bit of vinegar, watered-down yoghurt, plain water with some lemon juice, etc);
Water to allow the corn meal to soften and to allow all the other ingredients to do their chemistry magic.

I start with about 1.5 cups of corn meal, then I take my tablespoon (not a measuring spoon, just a large spoon from the silverware drawer) and add about 1/3 spoon of baking soda + powder + salt, plus about 4-6 spoons of sugar. I use 2 eggs, and about 1-1.5 cups of buttermilk (or whatever). Then I add water until it's a bit thicker than pancake batter.

Skillet should be pretty screaming hot now, so I pour it into the pan-- it should sizzle as it touches the pan, the grease should smush up around the sides as it pours in, and it should look like it's starting to rise a bit around the perimeter. Then pop into the oven for about 20 minutes. Maybe 23. Should be done when a butterknife comes out clean.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 10:14:14 PM by APowers »

nkt0

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #796 on: October 31, 2018, 06:25:29 AM »
Maybe I burned it? I didn't think I did, but still, it didn't taste "burnt"-- just bitter aftertaste. I can see it being pretty good (assuming no bitterness) as a chili/bean/rice dish flavour component. Still, I wouldn't go out and buy it again.

Or maybe there was a reason it was free? :D

SheWhoWalksAtLunch

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #797 on: October 31, 2018, 10:14:03 AM »
You've inspired me.  I read this thread all the way through earlier this month, let your badassitry sit for a bit, then gave myself the obligatory face punch.  Groceries are my last frontier.  Ive optimized everything else over the years, but I used to give myself a semi-pass when it comes to food.  I already shop sales fliers for our closest grocery store, and were slow food / whole food for the most part, but with cleaning and pet supplies included in our purchases we still average $75 a week for two adults, a dog and two cats (for an average of $375 a month please note: face punch already applied). 

Thanks to you, Ive investigated other sources of food/cleaning/pet supplies (all a few miles and a LOT of traffic out of my way) and created a price book for the shelf stable items we purchase most often. Going through the last two months of receipts to create this was eye opening all on its own.  The notebook (free giveaway from a work conference) now lives with the cloth shopping bags (free giveaways for presenting at work conferences in the past) in my car and whenever I find myself near those alternate sources I can check prices and stock up.  If i stick to the plan, our grocery bills can only go down.  Thank you for being so open about how you do what you do. 

APowers

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #798 on: October 31, 2018, 09:22:19 PM »
You've inspired me.  I read this thread all the way through earlier this month, let your badassitry sit for a bit, then gave myself the obligatory face punch.  Groceries are my last frontier.  Ive optimized everything else over the years, but I used to give myself a semi-pass when it comes to food.  I already shop sales fliers for our closest grocery store, and were slow food / whole food for the most part, but with cleaning and pet supplies included in our purchases we still average $75 a week for two adults, a dog and two cats (for an average of $375 a month please note: face punch already applied). 

Thanks to you, Ive investigated other sources of food/cleaning/pet supplies (all a few miles and a LOT of traffic out of my way) and created a price book for the shelf stable items we purchase most often. Going through the last two months of receipts to create this was eye opening all on its own.  The notebook (free giveaway from a work conference) now lives with the cloth shopping bags (free giveaways for presenting at work conferences in the past) in my car and whenever I find myself near those alternate sources I can check prices and stock up.  If i stick to the plan, our grocery bills can only go down.  Thank you for being so open about how you do what you do.

Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad I've been inspiring you to turn your optimizing gun on to yet another area. I love when people strive for and accomplish more efficiency in their lives. Just paying attention almost always puts you ahead of where you were before, and you're doing even more than that. Way to go!

CrustyBadger

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Re: Have a sub-$200/month Grocery Budget
« Reply #799 on: November 01, 2018, 04:43:37 PM »
I was just going to say these same things. In fact, for most of what I buy, if I were to walk into the grocery store right now, it would be about 2-3x the price. Not because I live in some HCOL area, but because _I only buy when it's on sale_. For instance. I just bought asparagus yesterday: $.97/lb; but asparagus is normally $2.99/lb, and if you walked into Sprouts today, that's what you would pay. I didn't, because they were out when it was on sale, and I got a raincheck. When asparagus isn't on sale, I don't buy it, I buy something else that's <$1/lb. Like broccoli, or green beans, or cauliflower, or cabbage, or whatever happens to be on sale that week (or I buy nothing and we eat frozen veggies until something goes on sale, or I buy as little as possible).

I've been thinking about what you said here APowers.  I live in suburb of Washington DC which I think of as a HCOL area (although the part I live in is definitely more affordable than many- still our grocery prices seem to be higher than where my parents live, for example.

I always thought the lowest cost I could reasonably find for produce was $1.99/pound.   Yes, you can sometimes get things even cheaper if you buy a 50 pound bag of it.  But for the most part I think that is the best price for most produce around here.

I took a look at a few of my grocery stores this past week to see if ANYTHING was being sold for less than $0.99/pound (other than bananas which always are $0.49/pound.  I was surprised that I could find a few:  red onions, jalapeno peppers, Japanese pumpkin, and cactus pears.  Also, one store was running a special on a certain type of large orange that almost looked like a grapefruit -- I forget the name.  And one apple was being sold at that price.  So, it was more than I had expected.

If I move up to $1.50/pound I find a few more options; and then at 1.99/pound a lot that you would expect:  non-organic carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes and so on.

I'm interested to keep paying attention now and to lower my price point to start looking for more meals I can make using the $0.99/pound ingredients.  It's fall now so I expect mostly we will see the squashes and root vegetables, not the greens at that price.  These aren't foods I typically cook that often.