Monday, April 30, 2018

April 16-30: Buying and Eating

We started out the month of April with a $369.30 allocation for groceries and meals out.  During the first two weeks we spent a total of $52.64 for both.

That meant we had $316.66 of the allocation remaining for the second half of the month.  Here is how we did.

What We Ate:  bean nachos; French bread pizza with sausage, onions and peppers;  seafood Alfredo, lima beans, garlic bread; leftover bean nachos and grapes; steak salad and garlic bread; hamburgers on the grill, fried green tomatoes and cheesy coleslaw; stroganoff from the freezer and noodles with buttered carrots and salad;  white bean Alfredo with pasta, garlic cheese toast, sliced peaches with yogurt; easy cheeseburger potatoes, leftover sides;  leftover BBQ chicken from the freezer, fried sweet potatoes,lima beans,  leftover fruit;  hotdogs on the grill, baked beans, leftover sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables, fruit;
Cheeseburger potatoes, leftover baked beans, leftover mixed vegetables;  tuna noodle casserole from the freezer, salad, peas, muffins; spaghetti with sausage and peppers, tomato bread, lima beans

What We Bought:

Commissary:  pretzels, poptarts, baking chocolate (2), onion soup mix , Italian dressing, sliced peaches, chopped mango, chocolate frosting, sliced pears, Greek yogurt (2small), frozen lima beans, garlic bread (2), bagels, whole grain bread, rainbow sweet peppers, green onions, carrots (1lb), cucumber, salad greens, brownie mix, green tomatoes, tomatoes.  $35.23

Aldi:  Coffee, chips and dip, pretzels, cereal for snacking, M&M's, melon, mustard, cookies, pitas. $16.38

Total for groceries:  $51.61

Eating Out:

Breakfast with Marge:  $22.90
Chinese Food with Margea:  $20.11
Lunch with Marge:  $17.80

Total for eating out:  $60.81

Grand total for the second half of the month:  $ 112.42

Grand Total for April:  $165.06   Having a stockpile of items really helps you eat well for less.

The unspent $204.24 will be added to our cushion which now stands at $849.06 with a total of $465.47 being from this year.  Buying mainly when things are on sale adds up.

For the first third of the year we have spent $ 1013.51.  That averages out to $4.65/person/day for groceries and meals out.

Friday, April 27, 2018

RV Cooking From Scratch, Sort of

Even with bringing lots of food precooked and frozen, there will come a time when you want to or need to cook a meal.  But, if you are like me, you probably want to keep it simple.  Here are a few I like.

Cheeseburger Potatoes:

1 box scalloped potatoes, I used a store brand, mixed as directed except I used 2/3 cup French Onion dip, again a store brand, in place of the milk called for

To the above I added 1 1/2 precooked cheeseburgers and a cup of cheese crumbles

Bake as noted on the box.

Two meals and a lunch.

A little help made this "scratch" meal RV simple.

Vegetable Fried Rice:

Cook a package of Knorr's fried rice as directed but add vegetables such as peas, sweet peppers, onion, carrots

Season with extra ginger and soy sauce

When cooked, stir in a scrambled egg or two.

Serve with fruit.  Melon is good.

Spaghetti With Marinara Sauce:

Heat jarred pasta sauce, adding ingredients as desired  (onion, sweet peppers, meat, mushrooms, olives)

Cook the pasta of your choice

Serve pasta with sauce and cheese

RV super simple.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

An Easy, Vegetarian Dinner for Two Adults For $0.75

Bean burrito pizza.

2 cans kidney beans  $1 (on sale), pureed in food processor with the enchilada sauce.  Or, make from dry and save more.

3 cups grated sharp cheddar. $1.50. (On sale), sprinkled on top

1/2 can red enchilada sauce. $0. 25 (bought at salvage)

Homemade pizza crust. $0.25 I used the quick Cuban Bread recipe.

$3 for 16 large slices.

 That is enough for  four meals for the two of us, at a cost of $0.75 per meal.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Easy RV Meals: Restocking Shop

We are parked at a military base, $23/ night vs $75/night, and decided to do a restock shop at the commissary.

Here is what we bought for the next week or so:

Pretzels since we are out of the chips we brought
Poptarts for breakfast since they were on sale
Onion soup mix for burgers since it was only fifty cents for two envelopes
Italian dressing for salad
Canned sliced peaches, pears and mango since fresh was costly
Chocolate frosting for a chocolate cake I made
Greek yogurt to go with fruit and for a recipe
Frozen limas for vegetable variety
Premade garlic bread to make pizza and serve with meals
Multi grain bread for sandwiches and toast
Rainbow sweet peppers for pizza and salad
Green onions, cucumber, salad greens and tomatoes for salad
Carrots for salad and vegetable variety
Bagels for breakfast and to serve with meals
Brownie mix because Mike is hungry for some
Green tomatoes because I love them

The above cost us $34.23.

We still have prefrozen meals, meats, cheeses and eggs.  So, we are all set for awhile now at a cost that doesn't break the bank.

I could have made the pizza crust and bread and skipped the onion soup mix, but opted for ease and convenience over cost.  The poptarts, brownies, and green tomatoes are pure treats.  Money isn't everything.  :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Easy RV Eating

RVing is supposed to be a vacation.  But, if we eat out every meal it's a vacation we can't afford.

So, cooking a lot in the camper is a given.
Feeling like a drudge is not.
Here's how I do one without the other.

First, in the couple of weeks before we head out, I cook extra and freeze meals.
I stock these frozen meals in the camper freezer to draw upon during our trip.

This vacation we will be feasting on:

Cuban black bean soup
Beans for bean nachos
Ham and cheesy potatoes
Bacon and lentil soup
Penne with sauce and cheese
Leftover steak for steak salad
chicken slices in gravy
White bean Alfredo

Then, I think of easy sides I can cook and freeze:

rice side dishes
cheesy potatoes
tomato bread
fried green beans
garlic cheese bread
Asian rice salad

Then, I go for basics out of my freezer and cupboards to make easy meals:

frozen veg
boxed potato mixes
rice mixes
Beans and hotdogs
Ham steak
pasta sauce and pasta
tuna for sandwiches and tuna casserole
canned potatoes for tortilla Espana
canned garbanzo beans for hummus
Pasta and peanut butter for spicy Asian peanut noodles
Cold cuts and cheese for sandwiches

For breakfast I have been making and freezing:

sticky buns
French toast

We also have eggs, bacon and bagels along.

A few things will be bought along the way and there will be a few meals out.

But, we are fairly well set for the trip.  It will be pretty easy and most was purchased at sale price so we don't break the budget.  A win all around.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 1-15: Buying and Eating

Our April monthly allocation is $369.30.  We have carried over a cushion of $587.83, of which $261.23 is from this year.

For the first half of the month:

What we Ate:

white bean pasta Alfredo with peas, cheesy bread, fruit, yogurt; meatless chicken fried steak, green beans, stuffing; for Sandy liver and macaroni and cheese; Welsh rarebit on English muffins, fried potatoes, peas and carrots;  maple glazed grilled salmon, oven roasted smashed potatoes, corn; leftover turkey from the freezer with gravy, rice made with chicken broth, fried green beans, strawberries; pasta and sauce from the freezer, tomato cheese bread from the freezer, peas and carrots; ham and potato from freezer, mixed vegetables, toasted bagel half, grapes; chicken with gravy, stuffing, cheesy potatoes and peas, all from the freezer; ham steak, baked sweet potato, fried cabbage, tomato bread, grapes;cheesy and creamy chicken with rice, baked sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables, and raspberry muffins; BBQ chicken, corn, macaroni salad; tuna noodle casserole, peas and carrots, grapes

What We Bought:

Save a Lot:  cherries  $1.99

Aldi:  olives (2)  $6.58

Price Rite:  jasmine rice (25 lb), spaghetti sauce (4), salt, cherries, ketchup (2), coffee, ground turkey (3 lb.), grapes, cheese (2), eggs (6)  $30.26

Total groceries:  $38.83

Eating Out:

Lunch coming home from D.C.    $4.02
Bar Stool Sailing for Mike:  $ 9.79

Total eating out:  $13.81

Grand total:  $52.64

We have $316.66 left of the monthly allocation for the last half of the month.
I feel great about that.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Two New Meatless Recipes

The Prudent Homemaker, a wonderful frugal blog, has a recipe section that I often peruse.  These two recipes, husband approved, come from there.  I'm trying to increase our number of meatless meals since they are better for our health as well as our budget.

White Bean Alfredo:

2 cups cooked white beans
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 pound pasta

Blend first four ingredients and heat.  I use the microwave so it doesn't stick.
Serve over cooked pasta with extra cheese.
I add peas for color.

Meatless "Chicken" Fried Steak:

2 2/3 cups oatmeal, not steel cut, they won't work
1/4 cup dried onion
1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth. I use chicken broth
2 eggs
2 tsp sage
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp seasoned salt

Mix above ingredients til wet and sticks together.
From into patties.

Oil for frying


Serve with gravy:
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3 cups milk, I use reconstituted dry milk

Mix together and heat.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Use It Up Stromboli

Leftover pasta sauce, a few slices of pepperoni, a small amount of Italian sausage, sauteed onion, mushrooms and sweet or hot peppers, chopped olives, mozzarella cheese, the dough for one loaf of bread.

Roll out into a rectangle.  Cover with toppings.  Roll.  Bake.  Slice.

Sub in leftover meatloaf or hamburger and use cheddar cheese.

Try smoked turkey or ham with Swiss cheese and ranch dressing instead of pasta sauce.

This is a great way to use up the bits and pieces lurking on your refrigerator shelf or in your crisper drawer.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

1963 Cake Mix Cookies, Slightly Updated

One white cake mix, chocolate peanut powder, and peanut butter pieces equals easy chocolate peanut butter bar cookies.

I have an old 1963 Cookie Cookbook.  It's one of my favorites.

Some of the recipes make life easier by using a cake mix as the base.  These were my go to cookies when my girls were young.

The Original recipe was

1 cake mix
1 egg
1/3 c oil

Mix and bake.

Today I decided to try a new take on these cookies.

Awhile ago I purchased some chocolate peanut butter powder at salvage that I have been working my way through.

In my Christmas stocking Santa gave me some peanut butter pieces.

I decided to take one of the inexpensive cake mixes I have and make some chocolate peanut butter cookies.

1 white or yellow cake mix
4 ounces peanut butter pieces
1/3 cup chocolate peanut butter powder
1 egg
2/3 cup oil
1 tsp. Real vanilla

Bake at 375.  Do not over bake.  They will get crunchy if you do.

If you use real peanut butter and don't use the peanut butter powder, decrease oil to 1/3 cup.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Chicken Paprikash Soup

My mom and sister make/ made straight Chicken Paprikash.  Me, it's too much work.

So, I turned it into a soup.

Chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cups chicken broth, I used homemade

Put all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 5-8 hours.

Mix 1 cup sour cream with 2 Tbs. flour.

Add to above just before serving.

Serve with crackers to take the place of the traditional dumplings.  Oyster crackers work especially well.