Easy Home Cooked Meals

How I prepare for them!

I am sitting here this evening typing this post up, realizing there is a little more into getting “ready to go to the store” than I ever gave myself credit for. LOL! My whole point to today’s post is that with some planning ahead and organization, you will be able to quickly throw together all the ingredients that you will need for delicious quick home cooked meal.

If you categorize your pantry and fridge into three groups that will help you out. Each person has a different way that they look at organization, which is just fine! So, you may look at the following information and say, “no way lady, my way is much better!” I am completely fine with that! The following is not made to throw a curve ball but is aimed more for those who would like some ideas on how to better organize their own kitchens and shopping trips.

What would be the benefit of organizing my store trips?

First, do you go to the store every day or every other day or are you more of a “get it all done in one trip” type of shopper? I am a get it all done in one trip type of shopper. I honestly really do not love shopping for anything! So, I get myself ready to go, get to the store and spend an hour in there and I have everything we need for a month. I get some very strange looks because usually the majority of the other shoppers are in there with a little basket and I see a lot of raised eyebrows.

But I feel as though I am being efficient, and I don’t have to try to beat the evening dinner crowd. Plus, if you go shopping for meat mid-morning, you will see a beautiful display of fresh meat that they put out and you can have first pick. Nothing that makes my anxiety worse than standing next to three or four other people and we are all staring at the same two beef roasts.

Let me introduce you to how I organize my kitchen!

  • Cold/frozen – This is the meat category
  • Pantry (Dried/canned) – This category includes bags of dried rice, bag of dried pinto beans, dried split peas, canned green beans, canned corn, chili beans, chicken and beef broth, noodles
  • Fresh foods – This category includes Milk, eggs, creams, fresh fruits and veggies, cheese etc.
  • Spices dried and fresh

Before I go to the grocery store, I always make a list of what I need to get. I make my list generic usually unless there is something specific that I need. Due to my “order of operations” type personality I usually make my list in order of how I walk through the store to be as efficient as possible. Also, to help keep myself on track so I don’t do a bunch of frivolous spending. It adds up VERY quickly just with the necessities!

When I go to the store I determine what my main group is that I am purchasing to restock so I am not buying everything at one time. I will usually make one trip specifically for meat especially if there are a bunch of my favorites on sale.

Prepare for your store trip

Before going to the store, I always do the following:

  1. Clip my coupons and review the weekly ads (I am a King Soopers girl through and through). Kings Soopers has a very convenient app that allows me to see the weekly ads and I can add coupons to my King Soopers card without any issues. This is where I generally see what types of meats are on sale and if any are “buy one get one” free right now. You also get money toward gas rewards and my kiddos school. So, it’s an all-around win!
  2. Check my pantry inventory, I always like to make sure that I have a bag of white rice, dried pinto beans, cans of tomatoes (plain diced and crushed), corn, green beans.
  3. Check my freezer inventory
  4. Do my fresh foods need a “refresher”
  5. Do I have all the spices that I need?

At the store

Meat is extremely expensive, but I find that in one trip if you shop carefully you can get $300 worth of meat for about $150. This amount of meat will last my family of 4 about 1 month. The meats that I generally like to keep an eye on are:

  • Ground beef
  • Chicken breasts
  • Chicken thighs
  • Chicken legs
  • Salmon filets
  • Tilapia
  • Beef roasts
  • Pork Spare Ribs

Discount meat section – I only grab met out of the discount meat section about 3 of 10 times I check it out. Sometimes the meat does not look good at all and there is no way that I would want to try to cook it up.

I mentioned in a prior post that I love to go the day after Thanksgiving because the store is amazingly quiet and empty! Plus, there are awesome sales on food that was not purchased prior to the holiday and needs to be sold. There are always turkeys that customers pre-ordered but did not come pick up. The turkeys must be sold right away so they cut the price in half usually. So, I can usually pick up a $30-$40 turkey for half the original price. I always grab 2 or 3 of those and freeze them. I do the same with bone in hams.

Canned foods and bagged rice and beans. Always keep an eye on the canned foods and buy them when they are 10 for $10. Yes, I will layer the whole bottom of my cart with 10 cans of plain diced King Soopers brand canned tomatoes and 10 cans of plain crushed King Soopers brand canned tomatoes. I have found that the King Soopers brand tends to have more consistent quality than some higher scale brand tomatoes. I am rarely disappointed with the King Soopers brand foods and the King Soopers Private Selection is even better!

The reason that I buy so many cans at one time is that I will use 6 cans of tomatoes for my spaghetti and that many cans I already have the base for about 10 meals. I also choose to purchase the unseasoned tomatoes as they taste fresher and I can season them as I want for the meal I am making. Not as delicious as fresh cut tomatoes of course but who are we kidding the amount of tomatoes that I would have to purchase to make my spaghetti would completely blow the idea of being able to cook cheaper at home!

Purchase your awesome bounty!

When I go to the store I purchase everything at one time. Yes, my bill tends to run anywhere between $200-250 every couple of weeks. But on a positive note, I am not having to stop by the store every night for dinner. And I get all my shopping done in one trip. Sometimes I will have to go back for fresh vegetables or fruit to go with my meal, but I can run in and out of the store in 5 minutes. I make a mental note of what meals I am making for the week and grab the veggies for the whole week.

Every time that I go to the grocery store, I am always looking out for sales. That way I can buy the items that I want when they are the cheapest. This summer my husband bought a stand-alone freezer that has been so amazing for us. There are usually many BOGO and discounted prices on meat during the summer. I watched for sales all summer and spent about $800 (total amount actually bought about $1200) in meat, but I was able to stock up the freezer and we have enough meat for the whole winter. Pretty exciting to me!

Important note: Do not purchase more meat to freeze than you have room for!

I want to hear what you think – tell me what your preference is!

How much do you usually spend per day / week at the grocery store? Do you prefer to go daily or every couple of days or once a week?

Do you generally purchase large amount of groceries at one time or do you make one trip per meal or two?

Do you think that any of the above would help you save money and time? Gas?

16 thoughts on “Easy Home Cooked Meals”

  1. Hi Elizabeth! Great post. I like how you have the questions at the end :). For my family of two, we spend $140 every two weeks on groceries. We go every payday weekend which is every two weeks for us. It is so cheap for us because we intermittent fast for breakfast and our lunches are provided by our employers. Leaving dinners as our only meals. I will make sure my wife is doing all the above tricks…she is the brains behind the operation. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I think that is super cool that that your lunches are provided by your employers as I know that lunch expenses can add up very quickly! If your wife is able to use at least one of my frugal approaches, especially with the meat purchasing, I bet she could get your bill down at least another $30/month. That would save you guys about $360 a year on groceries, that is a pretty good saving right there! thank you for visiting my site and I hope to see you again soon!

  2. Hey Elizabeth. Thank you so much for this really helpful post. I am not the most domesticated person in terms of the governance of a kitchen and the management of groceries. Your post really delineates everything really clearly and provides some really great ideas and concepts that I would not have even thought of. Thank you again and I look forward to more to come from art in the kitchen!

    1. I really appreciate you taking a few minutes to check out my site! I really hope there is something that you are able to take with you today, even one little concept change could dramatically help organize your kitchen. If you decide to try one out, let me know how it turns out for you. Also if you decide to try out one of my recipes, (I only have one right now, but building that) let me know how that goes. Thanks again for visiting!

  3. Oh, you made a long list of recipes for a kitchen and the organizing steps required to have a delicious cooked meal.

    This a fantastic information not only for mothers but also anyone who has the flair to do it.

    Thanks a lot for sharing and looking forward to reading more articles.

    Wishing you a THUMPING Success.
    Cheers!

    1. I appreciate that! That is who my site is aimed for is anyone that has the desire to get into cooking and baking. I also definitely feel that it is important to teach our young to be able to create delicious meals for themselves! Thank you again for visiting and hopefully you will come back again soon!

  4. Well you certainly do a lot of cooking! I spend about $500 a month on groceries in total & usually shop at the beginning of the month & then 2 weeks in . I have 2 kiddos so I’d love to see some easy yet tasteful recipes I could make with the kids 🙂

    1. I like to make a lot of food every time I cook, I usually double my recipes up. The reason is so that I can freeze half and already have at least one more meal ready for one of those nights that mom is just to tired to cook. Especially during the school year. I know you know what I am talking about. 🙂 I have one recipe up for delicious pizza that takes a little planning but your kids would be able to help you with. I am working on adding more as soon as possible. If you decide to try one of my recipes out, let me know how it goes! Thank you for taking the time to come visit my site!

  5. Great post: there are great reasons for bundling all your shopping together and you are right it takes a lot of organising and a bit of planning: but hey perfect planning prevents poor performance and that all helps with making the pennies go a long way. We eat a lot of fish so I tend to get that daily as required but for everything else it’s a one stop shop. Look forward to reading more of your posts

    1. Yes for sure, I think you would need to go get fish daily! We only eat fish once a month or so but my kids love it! When the Salmon is on sales I will buy a couple and freeze them. If we had access to fresh fish (we are in a land locked state) we would for sure get it more frequently! thank you for commenting!

  6. Wow, this is such an amazing guide that I need to implement into my own kitchen asap! I’m not in the kitchen often but I know very well my wife will love if I organized the kitchen for both of us because it’s usually a mess and easily gets unorganized when we’re not careful. Thanks for this!

    1. I spent many years with an unorganized kitchen and realized that I was throwing away a lot of food that expired. I felt really guilty about that so, one day I sat myself down and organized my pantry, sadly I threw away about $200 in canned/bagged foods. That really made the realization hit home that I needed to be more organized! When I buy food I have specific places on my shelves for each of the canned foods. When I do find something on sale, I pull the old cans forward and put the new ones in the back. Its been about 2 years since I did my first organization and with my new shopping method, I rarely have to throw away anything. They say a clean home is a happy home and I feel the same for my kitchen. Now I love getting in my kitchen and making delicious foods! Thank you for visiting the site and I hope you will come back soon!

  7. I shop about once a month…our children are grown and live elsewhere but my husband and I eat at home most every night. I go to Kroger’s and use their card that is a savings as well as gas points…I clip coupons but we have a click list option…I use this frequently…I can go through their ad and shop as well as look in the kitchen to see what I will need all from the comfort of our home. I choose a time to pick it up and I take my coupons with me and they take them off when I get there. This option works well for me because I never have to enter the store and therefore don’t do binge buying…also I am lazy and I too do not like shopping…I don’t have my kitchen organized and that is great advice…I will
    Work on that…looking forward to trying your recipes as you post them…this is a great site…will visit often!

    1. I have not used the click list option with King Soopers (Also, Kroger for those of you who are unaware), I have seen it start to pop up in our stores. I will have to try that out and save myself more time! All about being efficient! I am glad you enjoyed your visit and I appreciate you taking the time to comment! Have a great day!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad you stopped by and I am going to put up additional recipes this week. Feel free to comment on any of the recipes that I put up. Thanks for visiting!

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