Every Day

How I Save on Groceries

Unless you live under a rock, you know that prices have risen rapidly in the past year. We have all been paying a lot more for food and many other products. Because of this, I have been shopping differently this year.

I always try to find a great sale. I scan the flyers each week to see what has a rock bottom price that week. For example, this week Top’s had Newman’s Peach Salsa on sale for $ 2.00 each. If you purchased 5, you got 100 gas points. Gasoline here is $3.46 a gallon. That 100 points equates to $ .10 off for each gallon on a fill up. We love this peach salsa so I bought 5. I have not been able to find a recipe that replicates it.

The only other thing I got was a 1 lb. container of strawberries. By using a Super coupon, I was able to buy them for $ 2.99. Most of the strawberries in my markets have been rotten the past couple of months. But these actually looked good and the price was right. We love a few strawberries or blueberries for a sweet treat. I have plenty of blueberries in the freezer. I froze them when they were in season this past August.

I did not make a special trip to buy these 6 items. I had other errands to run and Top’s happened to be on my route.

We no longer get the newspaper so I don’t get the printed coupons. But most of them I can find online. The majority of them are not for products that I use. But if there is one I will print it and match it up with a sale before it expires. For the first time in a couple of years, I found coupons in the market. They were $1./2 Green Giant Riced Veggies. I took a few to use when they go on sale because we do use these.

I use Fetch and Ibotta to save also. Fetch is so easy and I can use it to get $25. Walmart gift cards which I use for groceries. All you have to do is scan your receipt. Ibotta is not as user friendly so I use it less frequently. But if they have a free item after rebate, I will look for it when I go to the market.

It’s been hard to keep up a price book with prices rising so rapidly. However I do my best to update it when I see a new price. I also still have a great memory so I pretty much know what prices are at a any give time. That way if I spot a deal in the market, I grab it.

Meat has been the biggest issue in my area. I saw a package of Nathan’s hot dogs the other day for $ 9.00. We love them but I will not be buying them any time soon. I refuse to pay that for them. The cheapest meats in our area have been chicken and ground beef. Whenever Aldi’s puts the organic ground beef on sale in the 3 pack for $ 4.49 a lb., I purchase a few. I can get regular ground beef here for $ 2.99 a lb. but it looks and tastes awful. Chicken has been under $2.00 a lb. so we have been buying a lot of that recently. However, with the bird flu rearing it’s ugly head in the U.S., I would not be surprised if they start ordering the killing of chickens and then there will be a real shortage and the prices will skyrocket if you can even find it. I can’t tell you when the last time was that I purchased any other meat. It’s been a long time.

I am always on the look out for reduced price meat. However, these days I don’t see much. Many months ago I found sausages at Niagara Produce on reduced price so I bought a few packages. However I have seen none since. If I do and it is something we eat, I would not hesitate to purchase it and freeze or can it.

I am researching local farms because we are seriously considering ordering a half of a cow to be picked up this fall.

We only buy fresh produce when it is on sale. Lately, we have been sticking to the basics like lettuce, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, apples, and cabbage. We love simple salads and Hubby loves to make a coleslaw that is more like a Waldorf salad with apples and walnuts. Apples and cabbage have been in season. I have 10 lbs. of carrots that I got on a sale a while ago. I have some in the fridge and I canned some slices. We use a lot of onions and carrots in different recipes like casseroles, soups and stews. Onions and potatoes I buy in 10 lb. bags at the produce store. Apples we buy in bulk quantities there also. I love cooking up onions and apples to put on pork ribeye chops. I have freeze dried green and red peppers in a #10 can that I use in dishes like Spanish rice, etc. I also use frozen peppers for stir fry.

Dairy products are purchased at Aldi’s 90% of the time. They have the best prices here. We use heavy whipping cream and half and half, butter, eggs, cream cheese, milk and sour cream. I purchased all of our butter for a year when they had it on sale during Thanksgiving.

We also purchase all of our cheeses and most of our deli meats there. Hubby enjoys provolone on sandwiches and we love ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami, pepperoni and salami on different charcuterie boards. I buy cheeses to snack on or shred with our Kitchen Aid.

Many, many items we have been buying in bulk at our Amish store and Gordon’s Restaurant Supply. Flour, sugars, oatmeal, spices, green olives, dried fruits, nuts, and maple syrup are so much cheaper than the market prices. If you store them correctly, they keep a long time. Hubby makes the best granola with some of these items.

One of the ways we have been saving on groceries is by eating the proper portions. Your body only needs food to live. With prices so high and shortages everywhere, it does not hurt to start rationing your food. Some of the markets have done it by setting limits on what you can purchase. You can do it at home and make your food last longer. I believe that shortages will continue and prices will escalate even more.

We also eat every morsel of food that we buy. There is no waste in this household. I refuse to burn up money by throwing food out. If you can’t use it all up before, it goes bad, freeze it or can it.

We are now making any food that we can from scratch. Hubby has been making cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, our salad dressings, etc. Any condiment that we are running out of and that we have the ingredients for he makes.

We don’t eat a lot of bread and rolls but we are making what we do eat. We have a bread maker so it makes it easier. Although it you don’t, there are many recipes out on google for bread that you just put together and bake. No kneading necessary. We are getting low on tortillas also, so they will be the next thing I will try my hand at making.

Make your own desserts and yogurt which is easy to make in a pressure cooker. Eat fruit for a sweet treat instead of junk food. Junk food prices are outrageous!

Lastly we just don’t buy an item that we feel has risen too high in price. We have our limits on what we are willing to pay. Soda, many meats, and other items are off our list today.

I have much more I could say on this topic but I will leave that for another day. What are you doing differently now when buying your groceries? Feel free to leave a comment.

Every Day

Freezer Cooking Day

A while ago a friend gave me a freezer cooking recipe. It has lingered in my stash of recipes for a long time. Even though I had a very busy day, I decided I was making it at dinnertime. The only thing I was dreading was cooking up a lb. of bacon. I had cooked an extra lb. this past weekend specifically for this recipe but Hubby saw it in the fridge and had been eating it. When I went to check earlier today that I had everything for this meal, I found that out.

So I took a package out of the freezer and thawed it out. While that was happening, I was out at appointments, stopping for milk and bringing my 3 books back to the library that I read. I picked up one that was in that I had a hold on and 2 more.

So late this afternoon, I cooked and cooled the bacon. Just before dinner, I crumbled the bacon into 1 cup portions(2 of them). 

Then I added 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs to each of two paper plates, added the 1 cup of bacon to each, and added 1 Tbsp. of minced onion to each. You can skip the onion if you don’t like it or add more if you want more. Then I mixed these three ingredients all together on each plate. 

Next I measured out 1 cup of ranch dressing into 2 different bowls. Lastly I washed chicken tenderloins before I used them. 

Then I dipped each tenderloin into the ranch dressing for each dish. Then into the breadcrumb, bacon, and onion mixture.

Here is the meal that I made to freeze. 

I wrapped this pan of Breaded Chicken Bacon Ranch in foil, labeled it and added directions. I didn’t date it because we will cook it the beginning of November. If I was going to keep it for any length of time I would label it. Don’t buy special labels; just use anything you have hanging around which I did.

Here is the dish that I baked for dinner tonight at 375 for 30 minutes and it was perfect. 

It was so delicious that Hubby was thrilled that we had leftovers for tomorrow night. This recipe is definitely a keeper. It goes together easily if you have the bacon cooked ahead of time. The next time you cook bacon, cook an extra pound like I did. But then put it in a freezer bag and freeze it. That way Hubby or anyone else who lives with you won’t eat it before you get a chance to use it. Just pull the cooked bacon out when you pull your meal out to thaw.

I really hated the thoughts of cooking another pound. So when I was in the market picking up the milk, I priced those packages of ready cooked bacon which I have never used. I almost choked. I would need 2 pkgs. and they were $ 5.79 each. No way was I paying that for the bacon. So I bit the bullet and cooked another pound.

I am going to try this recipe next time with chicken breasts that I have cut in two lengthwise. I think they would cook in about the same amount of time.