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grocery bill.

February 9, 2011

Okay, here’s my promised post on our grocery bill. In our household, I’m the one who does the shopping, though my husband will run out to the store if I’m in a bind and need a special ingredient, or we’re lacking supplies. I’m also the one who meal-plans, though my husband has veto power (i.e. no casseroles; sorry to those who love them!). In the past, I tried doing one massive trip to the grocery store for all our food needs, but I ended up wasting food (fresh stuff) or buying a lot of processed things. Now, I’m perfectly fine going to the store once a week (usually on Sunday evenings) and planning meals for that coming week.

Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday. And being the biggest football fan that I am (please read: sarcasm), I made my menu for the week and waited for 5:30 pm – kick-off time. As soon as the game started, I drove to the grocery store and boy, was it perfect. No crowds, and I could shop in peace. Blissful, I tell you!

For this week’s meals, I had planned on making margherita pizza with homemade whole wheat crust, tomato-basil soup, spicy lentil soup, chicken salad (for my lunches), bistek (beef marinated in soy sauce and lemon) and feijoda (Brazilian beans & rice). This was my grocery bill:

– 6 small Gala apples = $2.00
– 4 oz package Private Selection organic basil = $3.59
– 2 medium-sized potatoes = $1.33
– 1 large lemon = $0.62
– 1 red onion = $1.49
– 6 oz package Kroger brand walnuts = $2.49
– 2 yellow onions = $1.37
– 4 roma tomatoes = $1.04
– 8 thin organic carrots = $1.49
– 1 loaf whole grain artisan bread = $2.99
– 2 cartons Kroger brand low sodium chicken broth (32 oz each) = $2.98
– 5 lb Kroger brand white whole wheat flour = $2.25
– 10 oz package chorizo = $1.29
– Kroger brand dozen large eggs = $1.69
– 1.31 lb cubed steak = $4.57
– 48 oz Kroger brand frozen chicken tenderloins = $8.99
– 17.75 oz Kroger brand coleslaw dressing = $1.99
– 4 cans Kroger brand crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz each) = $2.28
– 2 cans Kroger brand black beans (15 oz each) = $1.36
– Craisins = $2.99
– small carton Kroger brand whipping cream = $1.25
– Cantare 8 oz package of fresh mozzarella balls = $3.99
– 24 oz jar of Premium Selection salsa = $2.50
– 64 oz Campbell’s low sodium tomato juice = $3.09
– 24 oz can of Kroger brand cornmeal = $1.09
– 28 oz can of Kroger brand sliced, stewed tomatoes = $0.99

Total = $61.71

Monday, we ate lunch at the dorms and ate dinner at our friends’ house. No money spent on food there.

Yesterday (Tuesday), I packed my lunch – chicken salad pita. My dinner was more chicken salad (I love this stuff) and my husband bought some fast food (I was running late from a dr’s appointment and did not have enough time to make him dinner for his break; the husband does not like chicken salad). I also ended up making tomato-basil soup later in the evening, for future use – currently frozen.

Today (Wednesday), I am making spicy lentil soup in the crockpot (will freeze also). In a little while, I’ll be attempting to make my own pizza dough, for margherita pizza (dinner tonight).

Breakdown of dinner meal costs =

1. fast food meal from Golden Chick = approximately $7 for 8 chicken tenders and 2 sides

2. tomato-basil soup = approximately $3.40 total for 8 servings/$0.425 per serving

from this week’s purchase – 4 cups of crushed tomatoes ($1.71 for 3 cans), 4 cups tomato juice ($0.39 for 4 cups), 15 basil leaves ($0.05), 1 cup whipping cream ($1.25 for 1 carton); already had in stock – 1/2 cup butter, black pepper and salt.

3. spicy lentil soup = approximately $4.57 total for 6 servings/$0.76 per serving

from this week’s purchase – 2 potatoes ($1.33), 1 can stewed tomatoes ($0.99), 4 small carrots ($0.76), 4 cups chicken broth ($1.49 for 1 carton); already had in stock – onion [not from this week’s purchase], minced garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, cumin, curry powder and ground coriander. I also added about 1 cup of shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken I purchased last week and have frozen since (I’m not counting the cost of that hear, as I mainly used the chicken for the chicken salad, so I am using the whole cost of that below).

4. chicken salad = approximately $7.34 for 4 servings/$1.84 per serving

(from this week’s purchase – 1/2 cup walnuts ($0.75), 1/2 cup craisins ($1.50), 1 tbsp coleslaw dressing ($0.10); already had in stock – shredded rotisserie chicken ($4.99 when purchased), mayonnaise, paprika and black pepper.

Wow, it’s really interesting to see the breakdown costs of each meal. (Note: these are all approximations, plus, I’m not that mathematical so pardon any mistakes). This goes to show that it’s far cheaper to make food at home than it is to eat out, even with fast food.

I’ll update later this week how much the bistek, pizza and Brazilian beans & rice will cost. Upcoming posts: tomato-basil soup recipe, chicken salad & spicy lentil soup recipe.

PS – if you’re wondering how what we eat around here for snacks, we usually graze on a “trail mix of sorts” – semi-sweet chocolate chips, walnuts & raisins, plus we always have fruit (like the apples or bananas) and granola bars, plus Kedem kosher tea biscuits. We’ve also been slowly eating up the last of wheat thins and brie, which we usually have on hand. Plus, I keep a stock of unpopped popcorn kernels in the pantry for a sodium fix. Every once in a while, we’ll buy a bag of Cape Cod potato chips (our favorite!) or some junk-food-ie type of thing. We really do try to keep our snacks healthy.

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