Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cooking this week

A few weeks ago, Rafe called me to ask how much I spent on groceries a month.  He said he was having a discussion with the guys at the base and when he told him we only spent 500$ a month on groceries (this includes cleaning supplies, diapers, non food items etc) they told him he was crazy and that we were probably spending at least 700-1000$ a month for a family of four.  I about fell out of my chair at that amount.  I know grocery prices have gone up enormously but to consider $1000 a month normal is shocking to me. 

Anyway, I sent him our recent grocery bill along with the explanation of some things I did to keep costs down.  I think that week I made Chinese BBQ ribs with flash sauteed sugar snaps and jasmine rice early in the week and on the weekend used the remaining meat and rice for a stir fry rice.  I am by NO MEANS very good at this; there are some coupon queens out there.  I don't use coupons very much because I mostly find they are for processed/junk food or things I wouldn't normally buy.  The things that cost the most are usually the non-food items like diapers and pullups.  When things are on sale I buy in bulk and I rarely pay full price for any meat item.  Mom picked up 2for1 on the shrimp. 

What we ate this week:
Steamed Shrimp
Baked Garlic Pepper Chicken Breast
Chicken Curry Salad
Plaza III Soup
Stuffed Shells with Broccoli and Chicken
Salmon Cakes with Dill Sauce

I cooked double portion of chicken breast (cook once, eat 2-3 times in various meals).  The night I made the chicken breast, I made chicken/beef stock with all the scraps I've been saving in the fridge.  I save leftover pan juices from roasting chickens and throw that in the freezer until I make stock.  I also save bones and trim from beef/chicken for stock.

I also made the base mix (chicken, curry, onions, currants and golden raisins) that night for the curry salad.  The next night I defatted the stock and made Plaza III Soup out of the stock and all the bits and pieces of frozen vegetables left from various meals.  We made our own cocktail sauce and the dill sauce will be made with plain yogurt instead of sour cream.

Items used bought on sale for the meals:  shrimp, chicken, ground meat, shells, spaghetti sauce, canned salmon, golden raisins, celery, onions.  I used herbs from my and my neighbor's gardens.

There were enough items left from most of the meals to have a second or even third meal.  I've been pureeing foods we eat and freezing them for Olivia in ice cube trays, along with using some purchased foods.  We had some leftover fruit I pureed; also made pear/apple sauce, butternut squash, beef stew, teriyaki green beans.  I'll end up pureeing some of the shell pasta dinner and soup for her also.  We have some pumpkins left from Fall decorations that I am going to cook with apples and puree; and I am going to take some of them and make pumpkin ravioli stuffing out of the rest (freeze the stuffing mix for Olivia but not make ravioli).

We typically have fresh fruit with every meal (this week it's been apples, grapes, oranges, pomegranates), vegetable if not in the main course, and sometimes salad and bread if no starch already in meal somewhere.  I made enough curry salad base to share with a neighbor.

Tomorrow I am making a roast pork shoulder with winter root vegetables and rosemary potatoes for Family Promise.  The meat for that only cost 97 cents a pound.  A friend of mine is bringing the salad and dessert.  I'm taking Amelia with us because I think it's good for her to get involved in this kind of thing early on.  The families we're feeding have 5 kids all together, two of them are 4 year olds.

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