How I Cut Our Grocery Budget In Half + A Yummy New Recipe

To be fair, I’ve really only tried this new system for one week, but this week, I did cut our grocery budget in half.  Here’s how:

We were running to the grocery store or stopping by it on the way home from work about four times a week.  It was bordering on crazy- no one wants to go to the grocery store that often.  And, with no plan for our food, we were out of things all the time, which meant that at least one extra time a week, I’d tell Nathan just to go out for lunch because I’d open the fridge and we’d be out of bread or deli meat or some other crucial lunch ingredient.  We used to be better about meal planning, but since we moved into our house in June, our “normal” fell apart.

So I went back to our old system of planning every meal for the week, and shopping accordingly.  This is what I used back when we lived in our apartment (the first year we were married), and at that time we were consistently spending about $50.00 a week.

Yesterday, I sat down and made our meal plan for the week.  While I kept an eye on the price to make different meals, I wasn’t necessarily looking for the very cheapest meals I could make.

Monday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Roast in Crockpot, Spinach Salad, Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips

Tuesday:

 Breakfast: Oatmeal or Scrambled Eggs, Grapefruit

 Lunch: Chicken Soup & Grapefruit (Leah), PB&J, Carrot Chips & Orange(Nathan)

 Dinner:  Tacos

Wednesday:

 Breakfast: Oatmeal/Scrambled Eggs, Grapefruit

 Lunch: Tacos, Oranges

 Dinner: Leftovers from Monday night

Thursday:

 Breakfast: Waffle with Peanut Butter and Maple Syrup

 Lunch: PB&J, Carrot Chips & Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Dinner: Chef Salads

Friday:

 Breakfast: Oatmeal/Scrambled Eggs, Grapefruit

 Lunch: Lunch Out (Nathan), PB&J, Leah

 Dinner: Out

Saturday:

 Breakfast: Shepherders Breakfast

 Lunch: Leftovers

 Dinner: Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Sunday:

 Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito (Egg, Cheese, Tomato & Pepper in Tortilla)

 Small Group Snacks:  Popcorn, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Carrot Chips/Ranch

You might notice I skipped Sunday lunch and supper.  Typically, we have lunch at one of our mom’s houses.  Dinner on Sundays is usually something light, especially since we have snacks afterwards with our small group.

We get our meat once a year from my Dad, who raises Angus cattle.  The only meat I bought for this week was a package of turkey bacon for the Shepherders Breakfast (Hashbrowns, bacon and eggs), and a very small ham for the chef salads.  I didn’t have to buy grapefruit either…we have about 100 grapefruits because an older couple at our church found out that I love grapefruit, and they brought me back a TON from their trip to Texas.

Still, I bought the typical amount of groceries that Nathan and I would need for a week, and instead of spending about $100.00, our bill yesterday came in at just $47.88!  All it took to make this change was a plan.  Dave Ramsey would be proud!

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Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips

My students are on spring break this week, so I’m working only about half of what I usually do.  That’s why you might actually see a decent number of blog posts this week!  Anyway, I’ve decided to make some of the things I pin on Pinterest this week, since I have extra time.  Last night’s thing was Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips, and they’re definitely going to be made again!

I started by cutting 3 medium potatoes in 1/4 inch slices.  Then, I boiled them in lightly salted water for 5-7 minutes.

Cheddar Bacon Potato

I sprayed a baking pan with PAM Olive Oil spray.

Then, I put my potatoes (water drained, and patted dry) on the baking sheet.  I covered them with another thin layer of PAM Olive Oil spray.

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I ground some pepper on them, but skipped salting them since I figured bacon and cheese would make them salty enough.

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I sprinkled each potato with some Real Bacon Bits, and a pinch of cheddar cheese.

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They went into a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

loaded oven chips dip

(Photo from Vittles and Bits)

The recipe called for dipping them in a chipotle ranch sauce, but I was in a hurry, so we just dipped them in a little bit of ranch dressing.  Yum!  I’m definitely making these again!

Chocolate Pie + Coconut Whipped Cream

I made this new recipe for chocolate pie the other day, and it turned out way different than I expected.  Instead of being a pudding consistency, it was almost like a gooey brownie.  It. Was. So. Good.

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE PIE

2 cups white sugar

5 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 cup flour

1 12-oz can evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup butter

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First, I took a refrigerated crust and pressed it into the 9-inch pie pan.

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In a medium saucepan, I stirred together the sugar, flour, and cocoa.

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Then, I whisked in the can of evaporated milk.

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Before turning on the heat, I added the egg yolks and butter.  It’s really important to mix this all together before turning on the heat and keep whisking constantly to keep chunks of egg from forming.  I know this from experience-Chunky Egg Pie, anyone?

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I cooked and stirred just until all the butter had melted.

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Finally, I poured the filling into the pie crust and baked it at 350 for 35 minutes, until the pie wasn’t “wobbly” when I shook it.

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I wanted to try something a little different from my usual whipped cream, and I keep seeing stuff pop up on Pinterest about Coconut Milk Whipped Cream.  It was a great replacement for whipped cream, and Nathan really liked it, but I can’t say I will make it again.

All I did was open a can of coconut milk- the milk was separated into thick “cream” and some watery liquid.  I drained the liquid and put the thick cream into a bowl.  I whipped it for about 3 minutes with a tablespoon of sugar and a splash of vanilla.

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