Week 1: Tackling the Grocery Store with $55 in Cash

The Menus:

  • Day 1:  Toasted Barley with Mixed Vegetables (Betty Crocker’s New Choices Cookbook); Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Slivered Almonds; Chocolate Bread Pudding
  • Day 2: Broccoli Noodle Casserole (The Big Book of Casseroles); Tossed Green Salad with Assorted Vegetables and Dillon French Dressing
  • Day 3:  Zucchini Cakes (Grazing Along the Crooked Road), Carrot or Vegetable Soup, Apple Kuchen
  • Day 4:  Lentil Soup (Almost Vegetarian), Tossed Salad with Ranch Dressing, Bread
  • Day 5:  Ravioli with Herbed Ricotta Filling (How To Cook Without a Book); Tossed Salad

These meals will, of course, be intertwined with the ever-popular “clean out the fridge” extravaganzas that allow us to find out exactly what’s been lurking behind that head of cauliflower. 

The Ingredients:

I headed to the grocery store yesterday with a big list of ingredients, dinner menus for 5 nights, and $55 cash in my pocket.  I was wearing old glasses & bummy clothes, bearing a strong resemblance to a homeless person.

I shopped at Marc’s, which is a fabulous Cleveland-area grocery store that’s right around the corner.  They have great deals, but they don’t take debit or credit cards, so I had to make do with the cash on hand.  So as I put things in my cart, I wrote down the cost of each item on my shopping list, and then added it all up before I went to the checkout.  I then found I was at least $5 over, so had to go around putting non-critical items back on the shelves (which, I have to say, was slightly humiliating – and probably was made more so by my attire).

At one point, I was standing in front of the stuffing display simply AGONIZING over the 50-cent variance between Pepperidge Farm and no-name stuffing mixes.  Finally, I said “Girl, step AWAY from the STUFFING!”  I decided to make my own herbed fresh bread crumbs (which will probably be better, and healthier, in the zucchini fritters anyway).  The other tense moment was when I discovered that Marc’s was out of chunk Parmesan (which, while expensive initially, lasts an almost uncanny period of time when you grate it yourself!).  So I had to choose between Asiago ($4.18 for something that wasn’t quite what I wanted) and pre-grated Parmesan ($1.99 for something that I know is a rip-off).  Based on my cash flow situation, in this case I had to go with the Parmesan.  I wasn’t willing to drive over to Giant Eagle just for cheese.

Purchased: (items in italics are things that are staples in our household but not needed for any particular recipe this week)

  • Naan bread ($2.36), grated Parmesan ($1.98), frozen broccoli ($1.89), frozen Brussels sprouts ($1.89), garbanzo beans ($0.89), mini chocolate chips ($2.34), ricotta cheese ($2.29), cottage cheese ($1.99), brown rice ($2.00), green onions ($0.99), parsnips ($1.69), zucchini ($1.28), whipping cream ($2.00), 2% milk ($1.89), chocolate soy milk ($3.18), vanilla soy milk ($3.18), romaine lettuce ($1.67), wonton wrappers ($1.99), turnips ($1.69), spinach ($1.50), bananas ($1.14), green pepper ($0.80), egg noodles ($1.50), cucumber ($0.50), colby-jack cheese ($1.34), whole wheat bread ($1.67).
  • GRAND TOTAL:  $45.55 (Total for recipe ingredients: $34.44)

(Just a note:  Granted, I’m only cooking for a family of two.  However, most of the recipes I’m making serve 4 to 6, and most of the ingredients I’ve purchased will be applied to more than one recipe.)

Already On Hand:

  • Barley, carrots, vegetable stock and bouillon, dried dill, olive oil, butter, stale chocolate cupcakes, eggs, lentils, onion, celery, apples, flour, herbs & spices

In the next post:  Day 1 – Toasted Barley with Mixed Vegetables, Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Slivered Almonds, Chocolate Bread Pudding

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~ by clevelandkat on November 9, 2010.

2 Responses to “Week 1: Tackling the Grocery Store with $55 in Cash”

  1. The many layers of “clevelandkat” continue to be revealed…I had NO idea you were such a wordsmith! Love the blog!

    On another note, since you are shopping on a budget, I would start following the dealseekingmom.com blog. She is based in Columbus and does coupon matchups for all of the sales ads (grocery and drug stores) for the week. In the matchups, she also provides links to internet coupons. You may get to the point that you want to choose your recipes based on the items being offered on sale each week. Facebook me if you want more details…

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