I have been spending wayyy too much money eating out, especially since my salary went down as I am no longer acting in higher role. Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy I am no longer doing that role because I was very busy and felt very isolated. I am back working with a great team who makes me laugh and they do things together like coffee or lunch. This is better than the extra pay. However, with a smaller salary I really need to smarten up on the spending. So, the first thing I did was try to find someone who mastered it and while I found a few ideas, they were not exactly everything I needed as they were American. However, I got some great suggestions from Bobbie from www.livinginretrospect.com. One of her articles talked about going through your cupboards and seeing what you have, then come up with a meal plan for 30 days. Yikes!!! I like variety, but not sure I could come up with 30 days’ worth of meals. I also needed breakfast and lunch where she provides great ideas for dinner.
I reviewed my previous grocery bills for the last few months, and no I didn’t keep my receipts. I should have but I didn’t. I looked at my withdraws from my debit account and found them to be way out of sorts. Some weeks I spent $120, while others I spent $60. It all depends on what I had on hand and if I actually wanted to cook, which I didn’t the past month.
The next thing I did was follow Bobbie’s suggestion and did an inventory of what I had in the fridge, freezer, cupboards and pantry. Well, I have LOTS of things I can use. I had things in the cupboard that I wasn’t sure what to do with them like sardines, and rice roll paper. So, now comes the fun part, finding recipes I can make with the ingredients I have on hand that don’t take too much time and not too many ingredients. I don’t have patients for either.
Let me warn you though that finding recipes is LOTS of fun, but it can also be very VERY time consuming. So, I thought I would give you a head start and wrote down a few that you likely already have.
Another important thing to note about me is I don’t ever follow the recipes exactly, but they always seem to turn our great. Just ask my man…because there’s never any leftovers.
One more note, I didn’t write down exactly what I bought at the grocery store, but I do know I went over againJ. However, here’s what do I have on hand to eat in the house to make these meals.
what do to with a Roast Chicken
Rice dishes that taste better than take out Chinese (secret ingredient?)
- I used what i had in the cubbard i.e. rice, and the fridge…left over roast chicken, carrots, zucchini, green onions and 2 eggs. Secret ingredients? I added ½ teaspoon of Sesame oil. Omg sooo good.
Chicken and rice soup
Left over roast chicken, carrots, celery, onion, chicken stock, Italian seasonings and cooked rice (or you can add uncooked rice to your chicken stock and then add veggies after it’s cooked. It tastes amazing.
NOTE: you can make your own chicken stock by simply boiling the carcus after you take off the meat and add the same ingredients above, minus the rice as that’s for when you are ready to eat it.
Thai Curry chicken and rice
Steam and veggies you have on hand, the add 1 teaspoon thai curry paste, can of coconut milk, left over roast chicken, and stir and make your steamed rice as you’re doing this and voila…
Pasta that’s somewhat healthy
cold asian noodle salad? /carrots/green onion/sugar snaps, noodles, (soy ginger dressing)
I replaced a few items with carrots and celery
Sheppard’s pie with ground deer meat (it actually tastes better than ground beef)
I only used onions, cream corn and corn niblets, deer meat and cauliflower to replace potatoes
- Thin sliced apples or grapes/lettuce/almonds (mustard vinegrette)
What I found for Sardines
Note: I’m not sure I’m going to try this, but thought I would post it for you;)
French onion soup
- I like to cook my onions in butter, then add water and beef broth if I have it or chicken stock works well too, then the onion soup mix. I use whatever cheese I have on hand, but the best I found was swiss.
NOTE: Trick to make the toast fit the bowl? Use the bowl to cut the bread by using the inside of the bowl it like a cookie cutter.
If you’re looking to find ideas for things to cook and budget friendly grocery stores, here’s a few that I like.
www.Costco.ca (great price for hummus, coffee cream, zucchini, eggs, spinach and mini cucumbers)
www.Walmart.ca (good price on chicken breast and pork)
www.producedepot.ca (best fruits and veggies because they are not oversized. You know, the ones that was injected with god knows what)
Good luck and if you have other places to save money, please let me know. I love to save and try new things.