A menu on a Monday (plus what I’ve spent on groceries this year)

by Kristen on March 17, 2014 · 34 comments

in Menu Plans

I’ve been such a slacker with these monthly menu plans.  Part of the problem is that in the winter, I am really, really unmotivated to take pictures of our meals because the light is so terrible.

cutting board with veggies

However!

Despite the fact that there are 8 inches of snow on my deck this morning, spring is indeed coming and days are getting longer, and so I will be getting more camera-happy at mealtimes.

Which means menu plans should be a little more consistent around these here parts.

I do plan my menus ahead of time, but so that I can share pictures, I share a week’s worth of meals after we’ve eaten them.

I made a butterflied, salted, roasted chicken, which we ate with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a green salad.

skillet roasted chicken

Then we had a meal of old standbys…strawberry green salad and sloppy joes on homemade hamburger buns.
strawberry salad and sloppy joes

Next up: Grilled steaks, sweet potatoes, and green beans

I’m not one to buy steaks, but when you buy 1/4 of a local cow, then you get some fancier cuts along with your ground beef.

grilled local steaks

Then I had some prosciutto from Aldi that needed to be used up, so I made prosciutto-wrapped chicken breasts, which is a recipe from my six-ingredient cookbook.

I cannot for the life of me remember what we had with this.

proscuitto wrapped chicken

Leftover steak became steak quesadillas, which we ate with guacamole, salsa, and some fruit.

Here’s how I make bacon quesadillas, but for the steak version, I filled the tortillas with sliced steak, a bit of salsa, some green onions, and cheese.

steak quesadillas

I made a couple of homemade pizzas, and we drank root beer.

(Root beer with pizza is the occasional exception to our (tap) water-drinking lifestyle.  Ok, that and breakfast tea.)

homemade pizza

And we topped off the week with a date night.

I took some very detailed pictures of a grocery shopping trip in February, but then never posted them, so here you go.

(The first picture is includes clearance candy I bought after Valentine’s Day and also some sweetened beverages that we bought for one of the girls’ birthday meals.  It’s kind of a tradition around here to buy juice boxes on birthdays.  My girls think these are a super awesome treat, due to the afore-mentioned water-as-beverage lifestyle around here. ;) )

IMG_9777 IMG_9771 IMG_9768 IMG_9765 IMG_9764

I don’t have specific grocery totals for this particular shopping trip, but as of the end of February, I’d spent about $1300 on groceries, which is about $166 a week.

That’s a bit artificially low, though, because I paid for the beef last year, and we’ve obviously been eating that this year.  But still, I’m pretty happy with my average, given that I’ve been buying a few more organic things, my kids are eating more (The teenager and the almost-teenager are definitely hungrier than they used to be!), and I’ve been sticking nearly 100% to local, organic chicken.

Ok.

I promise I won’t skip a month between menu plans next time.  ;)

Leave a Comment

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelli March 17, 2014 at 8:20 am

How did you go about locating the farmer who sold you the beef? Also – do you have any hints on sourcing local organic chicken?

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2 Kate F. March 17, 2014 at 8:59 am

I usually start at this website:

http://www.eatwild.com/

Lets you search locally….

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3 Kelli March 17, 2014 at 10:30 am

Thank you! Great source!

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4 Kristen March 17, 2014 at 9:25 am

I found him through a friend, but the eatwild website is a good place to start. Also, once your local farmer’s markets open up, you can sometimes find beef and chicken farmers there.

You can also use google too..something like “local Indianapolis chicken” should help you a bit (I have no idea where you live…I just randomly picked a city!)

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5 WilliamB March 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Also http://www.localharvest.org/.

I’ve found it to be *very* hit or miss. The data are provided by the growers, who are terrible at updating. When I have to use it, I spend a lot of time on legwork: emailing, telephoning, following up, etc.

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6 Kris March 17, 2014 at 8:25 am

I’m salivating over the strawberry salad. Yum.

Thanks for posting your weekly average. My 10-year-old son out-eats me during most meals and I’ve been wondering how much my grocery bill will go up as the kids get older.

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7 Battra92 March 17, 2014 at 8:26 am

Ahh puberty. Get ready for some fun times ahead. ;) The insatiable hunger is something that caused a lot of issues for me when I hit puberty. I ate everything in sight and gained a ton of weight.

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8 Kristen March 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

I will fall over in shock if my kids ever move past the skinny threshold…they just seem to be growing up (and up and up and up) and not out at all.

Fortunately, it seems to be much, much easier to find skinny-waisted clothes once they’re tall enough to get out of the kids clothing sizes. Juniors and young men’s clothes are cut so much slimmer. It really is a wonderful thing for my kids!

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9 Ruth March 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

At first I thought $1300 was for just Feb and my jaw hit the floor. Glad you clarified with the weekly average :)

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10 Kristen March 17, 2014 at 9:23 am

Ha. That would have given me a heart attack too.

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11 Molly F.C. March 17, 2014 at 9:44 am

Kristen, regarding the organic chicken you purchase, are you comfortable with sharing what price you pay per pound? I’m asking because there is a local farm that I’ve been wanting to order from but haven’t so far because of the cost. I’m totally on board with buying the best quality you can, and I love supporting small farms. This particular one charges $12 per pound for boneless skinless chicken breast which is not in the budget for my family of five. As the warmer weather comes I will have other options as there will be lots of farmers’ markets & CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) to take advantage of.

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12 Kristen March 17, 2014 at 9:53 am

Mine is more like $7/lb for chicken breasts, so yeah, that does sound kind of high!

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13 WilliamB March 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

You’ll pay less if you buy whole chix – and get more, too, because you’ll get the bones for stock and picking over for extra meat (I get about 1/2 c. per raw carcass, 3/4 c. for a cooked carcass). If you have enough cash to buy in bulk, you may be able to negotiate a lower price.

In my big city area I pay $4.50 – $5.50/lb for a whole local chicken, but I’m taking their word for how they’re raised. Whole Foods regularly has sales of organic whole chix for $2/lb, and moderately happy chix parts for that amount or less.

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14 Tammy March 17, 2014 at 10:00 am

I have roast chicken on my menu plan already, and I’m going to give that butterfly roast chicken a try! Looks so good!

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15 Gladys March 17, 2014 at 12:01 pm

The steaks and pizza look so good!

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16 Alexandra March 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Sorry for the random question, but where did you get the Russian stacking dolls in the first picture?

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17 Kristen March 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

We got those ones for Sonia from Amazon at Christmas. She wanted to put them in the picture. :)

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18 Alexandra March 18, 2014 at 10:30 am

Thank you – I will have to check if they still have them

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19 Maria March 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Are you able to get herbs at Aldi? I can’t get cilantro at mine, I have to go to a regular grocery story to get some produce. But the basics are usually covered. I too am interested to know where you get chicken and what you generally pay for it. We have Sprouts here, which carries it but at a higher price. I’ve talked to my dad about getting a 1/4 cow for beef, and we might be able to do that soon. I like being reminded that those options exist. Not only to save money but to allow us to eat better in general as well.

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20 SandyH March 17, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I’m with you on the cilantro and other herbs. My Aldi doesnt have them either. Also no green onions. Another frustration this month has been no heavy cream for the last two weeks at Aldi.

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21 Kristen March 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Yup, mine doesn’t carry cilantro either. Mine has started to have green onions, but they come in a plastic bag, so I’ve stuck with buying them from a regular grocery store.

Mine has had heavy cream on a regular basis for probably about a year now, but it used to be a special purchase item. I’m so happy it’s there regularly now!

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22 Diane C March 18, 2014 at 10:01 am

Is is possible to speak to your local Aldi Store manager? Their store footprints are so tiny that they probably have to pick and choose what will fit and appeal to the highest number of customers. If they know it will sell, they might be willing to add it to their mix.

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23 Kristen March 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

Well, I’m pretty sure if they start carrying cilantro, it’ll be in plastic packaging, which means it won’t help me much! I’ll still opt to buy the $0.99 unpackaged bunch from a traditional grocery store.

24 Wendy March 17, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Your toilet paper has the same logo but a different name from mine lol. It’s called “Angel Soft” over here on the west coast. But yeah, same baby and font.

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25 Katie | The Surly Housewife March 18, 2014 at 1:01 am

Thank you for sharing your menu plan! It’s so helpful for me to see since I am getting read to plan our menu after been gone on vacation. The pizza looks devine!

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26 Kim March 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

Can I just say THANK YOU for posting your average weekly grocery shopping tally? I follow another blogger who says she spends about $40 a week to feed her family of FIVE. I couldn’t help thinking, “What is wrong with me?!” as I’ve been spending at least $166 a week or more (including toiletries, paper goods, household items, etc.) and feeling very guilty about it. I think your grocery spending philosophy is much more realistic – esp since you eat lots of fresh produce and local meat and rarely eat out:) Thank you so much for being both frugal and realistic!

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27 SheB March 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and I like to see how your grocery has changed now that you have 2 older ones.

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28 Liz @ Economies of Kale March 18, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I love the menu plan posts :) The quesedillas and roast chicken look great.

I’m looking forward to a time when I can buy beef in bulk, but it’s not worth it at the moment being single and sharing a freezer.

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29 Steph Nelson March 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

I’m catching up on blog reading so sorry for the late comment! :)

I just wanted to comment on your drinking water habit. I grew up with drinking water only, a glass of milk at dinner and very very very rarely was allowed to drink soda. I hated it (the drink restrictions) as a kid but now as an adult it kinda amazes me that basically all I drink is water. Besides coffee but that is made with water. ;)

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30 Kristen March 30, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Yep-it’s such a gift to already be in the habit of drinking water.

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31 Jen Paddock April 1, 2014 at 3:48 pm

How about growing your own herbs? x

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32 Kristen April 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I do grow basil. But I haven’t had much luck with cilantro, the other herb I use regularly. :)

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33 Maria April 1, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Basil is super easy to grow but some herbs can be tricky in a hot climate, like Texas. Outdoors they do great in spring but then as it gets hot, they change and become less tender and flavorful. Others can be grown very successfully in the ground or containers, but it depends on space and sun exposure available. It is a good reminder though.

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34 Kristen April 1, 2014 at 5:14 pm

My problem with cilantro is that it kept going to seed before it got very big at all. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong!

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