THINK AHEAD: STOCKING UP NOW

Wegmans

By Jenny Jiménez on October 29, 2018

There we go again.  Another week behind us.  I don’t know about you but wow is this year flying by.  I could barely keep up.  This got me thinking about prepping for the winter.  Like bears preparing for winter hibernation, we need to stock up for the cold weather ahead.  We do this for two reasons.  First, so when that snow storm comes, we don’t have to rush out to the grocery store and Second, so we always have back up meals at home.  Remember hearty meals doesn’t mean it has to take hours to prepare.  

Something about the winter that makes you feel lazy and want to just cozy up by a warm fire and chill… or is that just my fantasy? LOL

The great thing about this time of year is how comforting and filling the food is.  That’s right ladies, bring out the stretch pants because you’re gonna need them through March 😉 .

 

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Keep these four things in mind when stocking up for the winter:

Stock up on things that are versatile, like pasta.  There are a million ways to cook pasta.  You don’t have to be a great cook to know how to boil and add salt.  I usually don’t like to spend more than 30 minutes to prepare food during the work week.  Having real meals and not fast food is important to your health and your wallet.  You can use pasta in a ton of meals and salads so this is a good one to have in your pantry.  Don’t buy all the same pasta either.  Purchase a variety so you have some flexibility in your meals.  

Freeze, Freeze, Freeze.  The freezer is your new best friend.  Keep it clean and organized.  Things that freeze are always a bonus.  Most people don’t realize that you can freeze practically anything.  I said practically, don’t go throwing all your items in the freezer.  Be realistic about what you want to pull out of there in a month or two.  Fruit, vegetables and cheese are all good to freeze.  I actually stocked up a few weeks ago and bought around 15 bags of shredded cheese.  Different varieties of course.  You can also make meals ahead and freeze those as well.  This way you just have to warm it up before eating… one less thing to do.  

Load up on meat.  If you’re anything like me, then you are a dinosaur.  And not the cute plant eating type, nope I’m a T-Rex.  I love all things meat so don’t skimp on this one.  Remember you can toss some chicken and veggies into your crockpot and eight hours later dinner is ready with little to no effort.  These are the meals we need for the winter.  I prefer to cut up and prep my meat after purchasing.  Then I’ll portion them out into freezer bags and label them with the date they were bagged.  This helps you use older items first.  Quick Tip: I’ve found that meat is generally cheaper when purchased Tuesday through Thursday in the early afternoon.  

Don’t forget your canned goods.  People often donate canned goods for good reason… they seem to last forever, well not forever but you know what I mean.  Don’t forget about your tuna and canned chicken – chicken salads are awesome.  Also beans, don’t forget your beans.  Keep this on hand for those chili days.  I mean you’ll have the meat and cheese so why not the beans right.  Pick up a few varieties.  Don’t just load up on one type.  Remember you want options.  

 

I love the house brand pasta and sauce at Wegmans and despite what people may think you can actually get it at a really great price.  Below is what I purchased this weekend.

My Pasta_Sauce

Currently the pasta and spaghetti sauce is on sale at my local Wegmans through December 29, 2018.  They generally run this sale each year so I take advantage and stock up.  The pasta, well most Wegmans pasta is on sale for $0.79 per box and the sauce is $0.99 per jar.  They have several different flavors.  My favorites are Marinara (I use this for dipping mozzarella sticks), Tomato Basil (this one is great for topping everyday pasta), Meat (this one I use for lasagna and those types of meat sauces) and Parmesan Romano.  They also had mushroom but I didn’t purchase that one.  My kids do not care for it much.  

My Sauce

 

 

As for pastas, these are some of my favs.  Obviously I need to stock up on the Spaghetti, Lasagna and Fettuccini but I also like Penne, Shells, Elbows for macaroni and even Orzo for soup soups headed my way.

 

My Pasta

 

I spent a total of $24.58 on 14 boxes of pasta, 14 jars of sauce.  I do plan to shop more before the sale ends.  I’ll put a few of my favorite recipes in future posts to let you know how I use it and some quick time saving meals for weeknights.  You’ll notice some varieties of pasta I was able to purchase in a box of 4.  This saved me an extra $0.17.  It may not seem like much but over time that does add up.  

Sauce

Sauce zoomed

Pasta

Pasta zoomed

While I only purchased fourteen boxes of pasta and fourteen jars of sauce, I will definitely be returning to purchase more.  In addition I really enjoy their soups so will be stocking up on that also.  Since I’m still in the process of my kitchen renovation and expect that will be the case for several more weeks.  Whatever I cannot fit in my pantry, I will just put in an air and water tight bin and keep on a shelf in the garage. 

 

Stocking up like this will generally last me about a year.  Do a little research on your local stores and seeing what you can stock up for the winter and save yourself some money.  The goal is to be proactive so when you’re driving your kids around to all their practices, you aren’t stressing out over food.  One less thing to worry about is always good, right? 

 

Don’t worry, what to do with all of this food coming up in a future post.  In the meantime I would love it if you would share this and my other posts with friends and family.  Helping others is what it’s all about.

 

Stay tuned to future blog posts by subscribing to my blog below and to the right so you’ll be the first to know when I post!

 

Have a great week!

Jenny

 

The post Thinking Ahead: Stocking Up Now appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jiménez.

PRODUCTIVE AND THEMED GROCERY SHOPPING

By Jenny Jiménez on October 8, 2018

Hello ladies! What a crazy day it’s been, and it’s only Monday, ha!  I wanted my first blog to be something helpful and practical that you could use, so I’m going to show you today how I meal plan and do my grocery shopping.  Most people have their own way of doing this but as a single mother living on a single income, I’ve found that this method works well for me and my family.  Working outside of the home at a fulltime job and managing my home solo makes me aware of the very very very little time we single moms have to get things done.

MENU AND GROCERY LIST

First things first, I like to write out my menu and grocery list on Wednesdays.  I usually do this during my lunch break or when I have a few minutes to think about it.  Since we have a limited amount of time on weekends with our kids, I find that unlike others who recommend you do this on a weekend, I prefer not to.  I want my weekends to rest and for spending quality time with the kids and family.  I’ll give some suggestions on that in a future post. 

I like to theme my menus.  For instance if it’s a chicken week, my menu may look something like this. 

BP1 Weekly Fridge Menu

I found this calendar that I use for my weekly menu at Christmas Tree Shoppes for $1.99 if I recall.

BP1 Weekly Fridge and Menu 

Children hate the word leftovers so the goal is to make different meals that consist of some of the same ingredients.  I mean who doesn’t love getting the most of their time and money.  After all, I have teenagers at home who love to eat (I do too but we’ll keep that between us ;))

I don’t always theme my menus but if I know it’s going to be a crazy week then I find that doing this saves a ton of time.  After my menu I write out the shopping list.  Since I’m doing this during the workday most of this is by memory of the ingredients I think I have and may need.  I’ll take a few minutes to look through the pantry and fridge when I get home and make some adjustments as needed.

TJJ Blank Weekl Menu_Shopping List

This is a weekly menu with shopping list that I created to keep me organized and on budget each week.

 FREE printable link below!

 

TJJ Weekly Menu_Shopping List Example

This is an example of my menu and shopping list this week

Be sure to also include the prices of your grocery items as I did in the completed list above.  At least what you can remember.  It’s important to write down the prices on the grocery lists because it’s going to help as you budget your grocery allowance.  Get into the habit of looking at prices if you don’t already.  If I don’t know the price of an item, I give a good guestimate, usually on the conservative side.  For example if I think a green pepper might be between $1-2, I’ll write it out as $2 (the higher amount on my list).  This way you’re not going over budget.  I like to know what I’m working with.  This is also a good idea because if you ever see an item on sale that is really marked down, you can always stock up on it. 

GROCERY SHOPPING AND MEAL PREP

You’ll notice that I did not have to include pasta, spaghetti sauce and shredded cheese to my shopping list.  This is because I like to stock up on some items when I see them on sale for a really good price.  Every once in a while I’ll find shredded cheese for $1.25 for a 2cup/16oz bag (the standard size).  When this is the case I buy several bags and freeze some of them.  By several I mean 20 bags.  I also do this with the spaghetti sauce and pasta… beans and tomato sauce too! I live by a Wegmans and this time of year their pasta boxes go on sale for $0.79 and the spaghetti sauce for $0.99.  I’ll usually buy around 20 boxes of pasta (spaghetti, ziti, penne, etc.) and around 35-40 jars of sauce (tomato/basil, marinara, meat, parmesan and romano, etc.).  I’ll use the marinara sauce for dipping mozzarella cheese sticks in or when making meatball hoagies or pizza, such as my naan bread pizza in my menu above. 

I budgeted $75 to shop but only spent $53.23.  Since I’ll have enough money left over after my grocery shopping, I would most likely take $10 or $15 and put it aside for when I shop in bulk or great sales, like with the cheese or pasta. 

So, just to review, I write out my menu and shopping lists on Wednesdays then go shopping on Saturday and meal prep either on Saturday or Sunday.  It really depends on how busy my day on Saturday is.  The reason I prefer to go grocery shopping on Saturday is because super markets are crazy on Sundays.  That’s when a lot of people go grocery shopping and I really don’t like going grocery shopping and feeling like I’m in a Black Friday sale, and afraid I’m going to get run over.  It’s better for my sanity.  My workweek is stressful enough and I want this errand to be as stress-free as possible. 

One more thing, remember the goal is to only shop once per week.  Even if something runs out, you’ll have to make due until next week’s shopping.

Stay tuned to future blog posts by subscribing to my blog on the right so you’ll be the first to know when I post! 

Oh, don’t forget to click here to download a FREE printable copy of my Menu/Shopping List above so you’re prepared for your next shopping trip!  You’ll just need to subscribe with your email to download.

Happy Shopping!

Jenny

The post Productive and Themed Grocery Shopping appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jimenez.