Each week (in a perfect world) I sit down and plan a few meals I will be cooking over the next seven days. Remember I live alone so one dish may last me three or four meals.
Each week I base my choice of meals off of what I already have in my kitchen. This way when I go the store there is very little to buy.
So this week when I started looking around the kitchen these were the things that jumped out at me:
Chicken (I have alot of chicken courtesy of Zaycon foods)
Zucchini, Eggplant & Onion from some people who were nice enough to give me veggies
Marinara sauce that will go bad if I don’t use it this week
Parmesan bread crumbs that I bought at a farmers market a few weeks ago
With those ingredients in mind, I starting thinking through my favorite recipes.
One that immediately jumped out is my friend Merissa’s Homemade Chicken Nuggets. They are unbelievably yummy. And when I look down the list of ingredients the only thing I will have to buy at the store this week is eggs! Combine those nuggets with a bag of veggies (which I already have in my freezer) and that should be two or three meals. Harris Teeter has eggs on sale this week Buy One Get One Free which makes them $.99 a dozen. So for three meals my cost paid this week will be $.99.
I also want to use those other veggies so my immediate thought went to some kind of zucchini dipped in marinara sauce. So I found this receipe online for Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks. This will also allow me to use the bread crumbs as well. And since I will be buying the eggs for the chicken nuggets I do not need to purchase anything to complete this meal. So my total out of pocket cost this week is FREE!
Now my third meal for this week is a bit more complicated. I have a love of Sesame Chicken but it is SO unhealthy. Deep fried chicken is not really high on the list of things I want to put in my body. I have been searching for an alternative recipe and my friend Jen has what she calls Simple Sesame Chicken at Home. (I have been drooling all day over the picture). So to try to curb my craving I am going to attempt to make this as well.
Now this recipe has alot of actual ingredients in it so I will have to make an investment up front. My shopping list will include rice wine vinegar (about $2.50), cornstarch ($.97), ground ginger ($4.00- WOW), red pepper flakes ($2.50) and sesame seeds ($1.99). All the other ingredients I already have in my house. So this total will be right around $12.
So to make three dishes in my house this week will cost around $13. If I can cook the portions correctly that should be about $1 a meal plus most of the ingredients for the Sesame Chicken I will not have to buy again for a while.
This is what combining your stockpile and picking smart recipes can do. You will notice none of the prices above included a single coupon. So by taking a few minutes to plan, you can save big bucks!