Thursday, September 1, 2011

Less is More

Remember when I mentioned how I HATE letting my ingredients go to waste?

My goal this week when I was menu planning was to buy things that I would use, and possibly use more than once.

In doing this, I managed to get away from the grocery store spending under $25 for the week (Score!).

Here's how I did it. Bear with me:
  • Kroger has chicken on sale for $1.99/pound this week. Looks like I'll be working with chicken!
  • I searched for a chicken recipe I enjoy that doesn't have overly complicated or too many ingredients. Skinnytaste's Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili is one of my favorites, easy to put together (especially spectacular since I don't get home from work til 7:30 pm), all of the seasonings are already on hand, and many of the ingredients are one-timers (I'm looking at you, canned beans and tomatoes). This means I'm really only going to have chicken left after making this.
  • SO I searched for another chicken recipe without too many ingredients. Enter cheesy chicken bagel pizzas. I had homemade marinara, mozzarella, and chicken, so all I needed to buy was two bagels. I made it even more delicious by breading the chicken bits in panko crumbs. Unfortunately, the pictures didn't do it justice, and I had a showdown with the broiler again. I think we tied.

Here's their picture, since mine wasn't quite as pretty.

Between those two meals, it may not sound like much, but that chili is going to go FAR. It was Tuesday night's dinner and has managed for a couple lunches and dinners for the rest of the week as well. I'm a creature of habit, though, so I can eat the same things day in and day out and be content. This weekend's trip to the grocery store will be another adventure for my Less is More Challenge to myself!

Any tips from you all on the art of buying less ingredients while using more?


emilybites said...

I need to get better at doing this. It's so hard for me because when I'm brainstorming recipes for my blog I don't want to post too many similar things in a row (and I get randomly excited about things and want to make them RIGHT NOW) so I often have to buy more than I need of certain ingredients. I should plan better, this was a great reminder.

Anonymous said...

I also hate letting ingredients go to waste! I try to buy veggies frozen a lot b/c otherwise I never seem to use them up in time. I've gotten a LOT better at planning meals around what I already have in my cupboards. First and foremost, before I plan meals for the week I look in cupboards and my fridge and see what is about to go bad. Then I make sure I use that up first!

Stacey said...

Cooking for one is definitely a challenge! I have learned to LOVE leftovers. I've also been buying bulk meats when they're on sale. I have a TON of chicken in the freezer as well as some random beef things. I'll freeze 1-2 chicken breasts at a time, so I can take them out and make smaller portions of things.

I mean, that's the theory behind it. In reality, 1-2 breasts will make 2-4 servings, so I still get leftovers. But I can stock up when it's 1.99/lb and have chicken to last me a month (or longer... I may or may not have once bought 8 lbs of chicken. And I may or may not live alone.)

Reena the Diva said...

well, working at the grocery store is helpful. not only because of sales but when they REALLY markdown meat us employees are usually the first to know about it so we hurry up and buy it on our break and then store it in teh fridge there, lol

DBF is the real helpful one in this house though. He's a natural cook and can "throw together" anything with whatever ingredients we have in the house. i have yet to possess that ability.

Emily said...

Stacey, I've bought a 10 pound bag of chicken before and I live alone. I love buying in bulk!

I am SO okay with eating the same thing every single night of the week, which is why leftovers don't bother me and I can live off of only 2 fully planned dinners over the course of a week.

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