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Boy, oh boy, am I glad the weekend is almost here. We had another crazy week at work, and I’m glad for a reprieve.
This was the first week of our monthlong Meal planning challenge! It started off … rocky, but I think we recovered well. I like that the monthlong plan takes pressure off of me to create a new meal plan each week. It’s freed up a lot of my time.
See what we ate this week and how much it cost. Did you try a cool new recipe this week? Share in the comments!
P.S. Be sure to check out The Picky Pinchers Cookbook!
It was Monday morning and I was having a rough time getting my life together. However, I still made myself cook some tasty breakfast omelets. I quickly chopped peppers, onions, mushrooms, and jalapeno. I cooked them until they were done, tossing them into my layer of cooking eggs, sprinkling the affair with cheese.
In a panic I realized I forgot to add meat! I rummaged in the fridge and found a leftover ham steak. Perfect! I cubed it and added it to the omelets.
I’m not always a big fan of ham, but this was really tasty. As an added bonus, it used up leftover meat that was in our fridge.
Lunch: Super Bowl leftover hot dogs. We watched the Super Bowl at Picky Nikki’s house on Sunday. We’re not big football people, so we just chilled with the fam for a while. We came home with leftover hot dogs, which we paired with chips for today’s lunch.
Dinner: Corn Dogs and tater tots.
Omg, y’all. Today was such a shizshow.
We were supposed to cook minestrone for dinner tonight. However, we forgot to make ground Italian sausage, so that idea was out. Then I tried to make a zoodles dish, but we didn’t have chicken defrosted.
Completely flustered, I went to Emergency Plan A: frozen corn dogs and tater tots. I should have just made a pizza, since this was A LOT of cased meat in a span of 48 hours.
But oh well.
To top it all off, the corn dogs came out looking butt-ugly. Like, I had to chuckle because they look so bad. Who knew corn dogs exploded in the oven??
Whatever. I had a hard day and it was a hot meal on the table.
We bought bulk corn dogs and tater tots at the store for moments just like this. We would usually throw our hands in the air, say “Life is hard and we deserve Taco Bell,” and eat a 900-calorie Dinner of quesaritos. This wasn’t a particularly healthy or gourmet meal, but it kept us on track, so I’m happy about that.
Breakfast: Sausage biscuit / yogurt bowl.
I heated up a pre-cooked biscuit and sausage patty, threw it in a Tupperware, and called it breakfast for hubs. I wasn’t in the mood for a sausage biscuit, so I made a yogurt bowl. I topped my famous homemade yogurt (recipe here) with honey, bananas, strawberries, and cocoa nibs for crunch.
Lunch: Leftover corn dogs.
I never want to see a hot dog again, y’all.
Dinner: Butternut squash noodles with pesto, chicken, sundried tomatoes, and cheesy bread.
Hallelujah! A real dinner!
We bought spiralized butternut squash at the store. We’re still in the market for a heavy-duty spiralizer since the one we were graciously gifted for Christmas broke.
After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found that steaming is the #1 way to cook spiralized veggies. I topped the veggies with a storebought pesto, since I realized storebought pesto is cheaper than DIYing it. I seared chicken in the cast iron and thinly sliced it, topping it with chopped sundried tomatoes.
I had extra time on my hands and the meal needed an extra somethin’-somethin’, so I broiled some cheesy bread. My sister gifted us a few homemade baguettes, which I sliced and topped with cheddar cheese before broiling them. They were awesome!
(I keep the baguettes frozen and use a hunk of them each time)
Breakfast: Chorizo potato breakfast bowls.
This is Mr. Picky Pincher’s favorite breakfast. It’s an easy one, too, if I remember to cook potatoes the night before. It’s impossible to cook potatoes in time in the morning, unless I start them at 5 am.
And I’m so not cooking at 5 am.
Anyway, I pre-cook the potatoes by coating them in oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder. I roast them in the oven until they’re nice and tender. Frugal tip: I roast them on top of my Silpat (Amazon link here) baking sheets instead of parchment paper to save money.
While the potatoes bake, I cook diced onions, garlic, and red pepper until tender. Then I cook one pound of chorizo sausage. I stir everything together in one big Tupperware and it’s ready to grab ‘n’ go in the morning.
I know people like to make frozen potatoes for breakfast. I’ve thought about doing that with this meal, but we just don’t like the taste of frozen and reheated potatoes. Blech.
Lunch: Leftover noodles.
Dinner: Minestrone. Soupppp! It was a bitterly cold day today. I had to work in Austin today and forgot to bring a jacket. I was SO COLD. I couldn’t feel my toes for the better part of the day.
So it made me happy when I remembered soup was on the menu.
Although it tastes better when cooked the day before, minestrone is still flavorful made the day-of.
I cooked the soup base, which is carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and homemade (yes, homemade!) Italian sausage. Poor Mr. Picky Pincher stayed up late last night just so he could grind and season sausage from a huuuuuge pork shoulder we bought last week. What a sweetie.
Normally you cook pasta for the soup in the soup itself.
However! I knew this soup makes a great freezer meal, but the pasta always gets gross when frozen. I made the soup base without the pasta so we could have tasty freezer meals with the leftover portions.
I just topped the soup with cooked noodles and it was perfect. Hubs and I had both had long, hard days, so I made more cheesy bread for extra comfort.
Breakfast: Banana Nutella crepes.
Hom nom nom. I confess I’m not a crepe master by any means. Like, at all. I have a lot to learn. But making crepes has been so much fun. It feels like I’m bringing brunch to my own kitchen.
I used my lunch hour on Monday to cook a big batch of crepes using Alton Brown’s recipe. The difference in this recipe is that the batter is made in a blender, ensuring there are ZERO flour lumps.
It was a great recipe, and I’ll use it from now on. I cooked the crepes in a nonstick skillet and layered them in parchment paper before freezing them.
For breakfast, I took out a few crepes and reheated them in the nonstick pan. These suckers defrost and cook in the pan in seconds because they’re so thin. I kept it simple and did a sliced banana and Nutella filling. It was decadent, sure, but sometimes you need that.
Lunch: Leftover minestrone. Hom nom nom.
Dinner: Barbecue night! Brisket, baked potatoes, beans, and salad.
I pushed the ‘easy’ button for today’s dinner. We have lots of leftover brisket in our freezer. We also had lots of potatoes and beans. I decided to toss it all together in a ‘Texas barbecue dinner.’
This stuff is awful heavy, so I paired it with a side salad topped with feta.
Breakfast: English muffin bread with yogurt cheese, honey, and fruit.
We were supposed to make tacos this morning, but weren’t feeling it. Hubs had oatmeal and I had the Frugal Girl’s English muffin bread (recipe here). I’m grateful I cooked this last week and had it on hand in the freezer.
It looks like I topped the bread with cream cheese in the photo, but that’s actually homemade yogurt cheese! It’s a healthy, probiotic alternative to cream cheese. Its texture is like cream cheese, but yeah, it 100% tastes like yogurt. Still, it’s a better alternative if you’re trying to be healthy. All you have to do to make yogurt cheese is strain yogurt for 24 hours. Boom – cheese acquired.
I toasted the bread and topped it with said yogurt cheese, blueberries, strawberries, and a drizzle of honey.
Three slices of toast was a little much for me, so I saved the remaining slice for an afternoon snack.
Lunch: Leftover barbecue.
Dinner: Burgers and tots/fruit.
Since Mr. Picky Pincher works different hours on Friday, he has time to get his grill on. Today he’s grilling his famous hamburger patties. We’ll top the burgers with feta, mustard, ketchup, spicy pickles, and lettuce. Hubs will probably eat chips with his burger and I’ll have a side of fruit.
… But let’s be real, I’m gonna steal a few of his chips.
Let’s see what we spent this week!
On sale: $5.58
Coupons: $12.38 (aw yeah!)
Goals for next week
Okay, don’t panic, y’all. I can explain!
We started doing monthlong meal prep for February. This is part of our efforts to come in on budget this month after an egregiously expensive January. Part of the monthlong meal prep journey is buying all of our meat for the month ahead of time. This makes us use up the meat we have on hand, as well as be more aware of our consumption and use.
During this shopping trip, we bought chicken breast, a gigantic pork shoulder, chicken wings, a mega-pack of sausages, and sliced deli meat. Again, this is to get us through all of February. We stocked up on ground beef last month and realized we had more than enough to get us through February, so we didn’t need to buy any. Since I’m a loyal couponer at HEB, they knocked $3 off our meat purchase, which was cool.
We also stocked up on frozen foods like pizzas and corn dogs. I know these aren’t healthy, and the homemade versions would probably be cheaper. However, I bought these items so we would have a reliable Emergency Meal for hard days. To lessen the blow, I bought all of these frozen items based on coupons.
We also renewed our Costco membership! Since we’re buying bulk organic meat for the month now, it just makes sense. We did choose to end our Costco membership a few years ago, but now I think we’ll use it more.
Fingers crossed, at least.
We toured Costco after renewing the membership. I convinced hubs to splurge on a $1.50 GIGANTIC cup of soft serve. Such a good, cheap treat. At the store we bought a huge bag of chips for hubs (chips are his main snack), and I stocked up on bulk gum. I normally wait to buy packs and packs of gum when HEB does a bi-annual sale on gum. I forgot to stock up last time and needed to get some. I chew gum regularly throughout the day to keep myself focused and to avoid unnecessary snacking. We spent $15 total here on those items, which should last us a while.
As far as goals for next week, I can’t wait to see what our meat-free grocery bill will look like. I know many people do monthlong meal planning and do all shopping at once, but I don’t want to do that since I want to have fresh produce each week.
Let’s do this, y’all!
Also, If you’re interested in our grocery shopping system, I go over it in depth in this eBook.
We want to know: How did you save or spend money this week?
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