Sunday, April 3, 2011

Food Budgeting and Our Meal Plan for the First Week of April

I have a very impressive friend who budgets X per week for groceries, then actually sticks to that amount. We have no budget (shocking, I know) and no idea what we spend at the grocery store. This last month, however, we had to keep our grocery receipts for a University study in which B is participating. I haven't had the fortitude to add them all up, but I know it would not going be pretty. It's not that I am a total spendthrift at the grocery -- I buy most of my meat on special or marked-down, keep an eye out for BOGOs, and always buy the cheapest available frozen pizza (B's favorite after-school snack and one of the few prepared foods I ever buy). But, I have a weakness for expensive seafood, cheese and other fancy items. PSA: regular food blogging may be bad for your grocery bill.

My project for April is to see by what percentage I can cut my monthly grocery bill -- without actually knowing what it's been running. My goal is 20%. I think I have a pretty good idea what the problems are, so part of the project is to see the extent to which I'm spot on. At the end of April, I'll add up the two months of receipts and see how I did. If I am way off, I'll try again in May after analyzing the two months' receipts.

The primary focus with this week's meal plan this week is to clean out our freezer, and to a lesser extent, the pantry and fridge.

Monday - Crunchy Asian Salad with Grilled Sweet & Spicy Chicken

My new friend at Shih's Cooking made this enticing Crunchy Asian Salad last week. Her recipe included poached chicken, but our weather looks grill-worthy so I'll be marinating, grilling and glazing mine. The chicken is in the freezer, the orange juice, chili garlic sauce, ginger, garlic and carrots are in the fridge, and the rest of the ingredients for the dressing are in the pantry. Need to buy: spinach, red cabbage, green onions, peanuts.

Tuesday - Pork Chops Marsala, Smashed Red Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli

This meal is a carry-over from last Thursday when I was giving an evening exam and W had a track meet. Thai take-out can be a fine thing. Need to buy: nothing.
Wednesday - Alligator Sauce Piquant, Creamy Grits

Thanks to a recent trip to New Orleans, my freezer is stocked with alligator,turtle and crawfish. Tomatoes, onions, grits and chicken broth are in the pantry. Need to buy: peppers, herbs.

Thursday - Grilled Chicken Caesar

The chicken and bread for croutons are in the freezer. Romaine, garlic, Parmesan Reggiano, anchovies are in the fridge. The rest of the dressing ingredients are in the pantry. Need to buy: nothing.

Friday - Smoked Chicken Sandwiches with Barbecue Sauce, Pickled Onions, Creole Buttermilk Slaw

The smoked chicken is in the freezer. The buns are in the bread box. The onions, horse radish sauce and vinegar are in the fridge along with Monday's leftover red cabbage and the barbecue sauce. Need to buy: buttermilk.

Saturday - Dinner Out

Plans have been made!
Sunday - Breakfast for Dinner

Lots of options -- potatoes, onions, English muffins, syrup and Bisquick in the pantry; bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon, eggs, spinach, green onions, and lots of kinds of cheese in the fridge; hash browns in the freezer. Need to buy: nothing.


Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Nice to see someone else who shops BOGO's. I never heard that name until a couple of months ago and our Publix started handing out a BOGO flyer.

Good for you for planning. I look at the weekly sales flyer at my favorite store and plan from there.

JGH said...

If only I'd gotten here on Sunday, I might be a little more organized today. I may just try those pork chops tonight!

Lynn said...

I's never heard the term BOGO before a friend used it a couple of weeks ago -- but i like it!

Jen -- I've never made the pork chop marsala recipe before. If you want a tried true family favorite make this one:

The Food Hound said...

I keep a weekly food budget but it's very, very generous :) And yesterday I blew it out of the water with a $60 leg of lamb, haha!! But it made 12 portions, so we have a hefty amount of lamb stuffed away in the freezer. I rationalize what I spend on food by packing our lunches every day. The hospital does offer a discount in the cafeteria, but I would NEVER eat their food. Ugh. Processed crap and probably grade C meat. My health is worth something :)

Lynn said...

We have to turn in our month of grocery receipts early next week so I am going to have to pull them out and add them up soon. Maybe we'll take bets tonight at dinner on what the weekly average is!