8.01.2011

meal planning + monday + slow cooker = good things

1. Grocery shopping on a (non-holiday) Monday morning is a lovely experience, even with toddler in tow. The stockers are out en force, the produce is all prettily arranged and there are deals to be had. Add to that, the store is generally close to empty of other customers. Joy! Bliss!

2. Menu planning.  It saves time, saves sanity on weeknights and saves money. Having all of the ingredients for a weeks worth of dinners on hand, after just one shopping trip, saves money in time, gas, and eliminates the let's-just-get-take-out last ditch dinner. I shared earlier this month that I had subscribed to E-Mealz to help with this task.  It is working out great!  I usually spend about $100/week on groceries.  In the two weeks I have been using E-Mealz, my total at the checkout has been down to $64-68/week.  Huge savings, guesswork taken out of meals and the headache of sitting down to plan and write a complete list is nearly eliminated. Loving it! I am subscribed to the Any Store Regular Family Meal plan. If you are interested in checking out the plans to see if this could be a solution for your family, click here:
Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!
3. Look for little known deals. At our grocery store, $ off coupons get added to packages of meats on Mondays mornings. The cuts are still fresh but, marked down after the weekend rush to make room for new shipments. I saved $4.00 (in addition to sale prices) last Monday just with these extra deals on meats I was already planning on purchasing from my shopping list.

4. Pay attention to sales + coupon doubling. My store doubles all manufacturer coupons up to 99 cents. I bring all of my coupons along while shopping so that if I run into an in-store special that isn't on my list but, have a coupon, it can make for a great deal. Last week, I had two 75 cent coupons for Minute Maid Enhanced Juice Blends. The item was on sale 2/$6. Using both doubled coupons, I came home with two bottles for $3.00.

5. Keep the catalinas! Catalinas are the coupons that print out at checkout. I buy organic milk for George, which is a significant cost factored into our weekly grocery budget. Almost every time I shop, I get a catalina back for my next organic milk purchase. Today, my store had Stonyfield Farm organic milk on special for $3.19 per half gallon. I used a Catalina for $1.50 off of two half gallons. So, a gallon of milk totalled $4.88. Less than the price of regular milk and great savings on a product that we buy normally.

6. Using a slow cooker in the summer yields great meals, without heating up the house!  I am always on the look out for new and tasty slow cooker meals.  Last weekend, I came across one on Pinterest that looked too simple and yummy not to try. I worked it into our meal plan for the week and made it on Monday.  Delicious and a new favorite discovered.  You can follow the above link to the original recipe and, here is my tweaked version, reflecting chicken I had in our freezer and sneaking in more veggies:
Crockpot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken
Recipe and photo credit to: Six Sister's Stuff

8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 16 oz. bottle honey bbq sauce (or Hawaiian version, if you can find one)
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
2 bell peppers, any color (I used green and orange) roughly chopped
hot cooked rice

Add chicken to bottom of crockpot.  Pour bottle of bbq sauce over chicken.  Add pineapple and veggies on top.  Cook on HIGH 3 hours or LOW 4-6 hours. When finished cooking, shred chicken with two forks and mix ingredients together.  Serve over hot rice.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with E-Mealz and have received no compensation for this post. Simply a satisfied subscriber passing along information.

3 comments:

Aurie{OurGoodLife} said...

That chicken looks so yummy!!

I'm glad you are finding success with the meal planning :)

Great tips on grocery shopping too!

Jennifer said...

Great tips. I really need to get back into menu planning. I was doing so well, but with DH in school at night, dinners need to be either super quick or for just me.

nfaband said...

Well this recipe sure sounds yummy, thanks for sharing it Jen, and the fact that it used the crockpot makes me smile, especially on hot days.

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