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Week 5 Grocery Notes: Chicken leg quarters were on sale this week for .50 pound, so I purchased 20 pounds.
The best way to prepare such a huge amount of chicken is to remove the skin and place the chicken in a large stock pot. Bring it to a boil with a chopped onion and a bit of pepper. Once the meat is falling off the bone, strain the meat, reserving the stock, return the stock & bones to the pot and continue simmering. (I usually add a bit more onion, garlic, celery and a touch of tumeric to make a fragrant and flavorful stock. Total simmer time is about 1 hour.
Whilst the stock is simmering, remove the meat from the bones of the chicken, dice it and place it in a large bowl to cool. This will yield about 15 individual family size packages of pre-cooked chicken to add to casseroles, sauces, homemade pot pies and stews for fast easy meal preparation for the rest of the week. Once the broth is done, remove from heat, allow it to cool and package in ziploc or vacuum seal bags. (Freeze flat) to take advantage of freezer space.
With the remaining $40 of our grocery budget, using the grocery guide, I took advantage of the sales in our area and purchased the following: 1 head of lettuce, fresh broccoli spears, 4 fresh tomatoes, 2 cukes, pineapple, Milk, 2 lbs ground turkey, loaf of french bread, 2 packages of cream cheese, sour cream, crackers, apples,Cantaloupe, oatmeal and a mango.
Dinner: "Restaurant Night" - this isn't actually eating out, instead we use the individual portion size meals that have been vacuum sealed and frozen.
Superbowl Sunday 6th: We're getting together with friends and are bringing a hearty chicken chili to share. With a potluck style lunch/dinner buffet with friends, I'm quite sure we won't need to plan for dinner.
Initially I planned to add a shopping list for the recipes, but after spending nearly two hours compiling a list for the 1st weeks menu plan, it occurred to me that what you have on hand is not going to be the same as what I have on hand in my pantry and freezer.
For example, last summer we had an overabundance of tomatoes and zucchini, so our pantry consists of more than 60 jars of home canned tomatoes. While attending a farmers market last spring I discovered bundles of asparagus for only $1 per bundle, (which equals 2 side dishes per bundle!). I bought 26 bundles, which created 52 packages of asparagus (or, 1 per week). Your own family may not appreciate asparagus being on the menu once a week for a year!
Part of learning how to reduce your grocery bill is taking advantage of fruits and vegetables in season and pre-planning for their use later on it the year.
On occasion I add in alternative meal ideas. This is because you just never know how your day is going to go and whether you're going to feel like cooking, you might come down with the flu, or discover the kids neglected to tell you that "Science Fair" night is TONIGHT, etc.