Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pasta with leeks; grocery savings

September 25, 2013

I debated skipping grocery shopping this week. Well, for about two seconds. Then I wondered who was I kidding. I needed ice cream. Ha. There has been talk that the military may not get paid on October 15th. I'm really hoping it is just a scare tactic but I figured that I should plan our budget over the next few weeks a little more carefully just in case. I had gotten out of the habit of really meal planning. I sat down a few days ago and came up with meals. I tried to make most of the meals out of items that I already have at home. Once again, it seems that I have collected a bunch of random items that need to get eaten up soon. I kept all this in mind as I made my grocery list this week.

My pre-challenge weekly commissary average was $175. Today I spent $18.97 on toiletries/cleaners. I spent $5.09 on impulse items. I got a new yogurt. The coconut one comes with toasted almonds and dark chocolate chips. Key lime comes with graham crackers and white chocolate chips. I also got the kids each a pack of ramen noodles. I decided to grab a vegetarian ground sausage again this week. I spent $10.16 on gossip magazines. I spent $53.48 on food. WHAT?! That's awesome. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $86.39 out of pocket. This is a savings of $88.61. My pre-challenge weekly restaurant average was $80. This week we went out for Japanese and out to Ruby Tuesday. Japanese is always expensive for us. We spent $106.36 this week. Ouch. This is over by $26.36. The kids did great packing lunches. They saved $18.85. This brings our savings for the week to $81.10. Our grand total savings is $4,622.80 in 343 days!

I tried a new recipe tonight that I got from a friend. I altered it a bit. Heat a little oil and butter and saute some onion. The recipe then calls for ground beef but I used the vegetarian sausage. I let that brown up a bit. I decided to take the "sausage" out of the pan, set it to the side, and add it back later. Add 2 or 3 sliced leeks, a small can of tomato paste, and one cup of vegetable broth. We love garlic so I decided to add in a clove of fresh garlic. I used homemade broth. Let it cook for 15 minutes. Season it with 1 tablespoon of mustard, 1 tablespoon of paprika, salt, and pepper. I had to add extra broth as it cooked down. My guess is that I added almost an extra cup of broth. When done cooking, stir in one cup of sour cream. I stirred the sausage back in and added rotini pasta. I served it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. I needed to use up some of last week's farmer's market finds. I had a zucchini, yellow squash, garlic, red onions, and tomato. I sauteed them up with olive oil and butter. I added local white wine, salt, pepper, garlic & wine seasoning, and basil.

Our family had mixed reviews with dinner. The kids weren't too thrilled with it. I think that the reason my daughter didn't really like it was the mustard. She isn't much of a mustard girl and I always think that I can fool her and "hide" it and she won't taste it. She always does. Ha. I'll learn one day. My hubby said it was good but that we should add mushrooms to it. Mmmmm. Agreed.

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