Well.... are you ready? Do you have your list done? Are your recipes organized?
I hope last week helped you start thinking about how to have meals at the dinner table.
Don't forget that I have files with all that info already laid out. If you would like a copy please leave me your email.
You have your list in hand and you are ready to shop. Here are my tips for shopping day.
#1. Start Early and plan on using a good chunk of your day. By planning ahead, you will only have to do this big trip once every three or four weeks so you can use your day to do it right. The stores will also be less busy if you go earlier in the morning.
#2. As you shop, keep your basket organized. This way when you lay it on the belt it will also be organized. Then it will be bagged with like items, and so much easier to put away when you get home with it.
#3. Stock-up. Part of being prepared is having a store on your own shelves to shop from. This allows you to stay away from the grocery store as much as possible. My rule of thumb is to spend an extra $10 every trip on something. This time, I stocked up on green beans.
We were out, and I like to have a supply on my shelf. I try to have enough of the item for one year. We use about one can a month in Shepard's Pie so I know that I need 12. Now when I go to make Shepard's pie I won't be running to the store for one can of green beans. I do this every trip. I try to buy items that are on sale. ie: if you notice in an ad that BBQ sauce is $.89 then stock up and buy several.
#4.Pack Hot and Cold bags in your trunk.
I always have more then 1 store to go to. I use these hot and cold bags to keep my frozen and refrigerated items good until I am finished. They really work great. If you put a few frozen in with a few refrigerated you will be set. I always try to buy icecream products at my last stop.
#5. Once you are home, unload your Hot and Cold bags first. This takes care of anything requires refrigeration quickly.
#6. Now move on to your produce. Take a little bit of time now, and it will save you so much throughout the week. I wash all of my fruit, except Strawberries. They seem to spoil if they have to much moisture around them.
a. for grapes I take them out of the container. Wash them, and then leave some in a bowl. I pull the bowl out of my fridge every morning for easy snacking. The rest go back in to the container they came in. I wash it and dry it well to prevent any spoiling.
b. once I have washed everything I leave them on the counter to dry. I move on to putting the rest away and when I come back to it, it is all dry.
#7. Buy items in bulk. Freeze what you don't use, or store in #10 cans.
a. Apples, plums, pears, grapefruit and oranges will not spoil if kept in your fridge for a long period of time. I buy enough of these to last us close to 3 weeks.
b. This is how I buy lettuce.
I get it ready by breaking off the end and placing it in a ziplock bag. I keep the bag open on one end. Then when I am ready to eat it, I only wash what I am using. It will keep it so much more fresh. I make salads for myself almost every day. I only pull out 2 or 3 leaves and cut them up. Your produce will last longer if you only make what you are going to eat.
c. I also freeze peppers. I will pull out what I need and freeze the rest. Make sure you label it with a date.
d. I also buy massive bags of shredded cheese and separate them in to 2 cup bags. The simplest way to do this is to place a big ziplock bag in a bowl and fill it with the cheese. The bowl holds the bag open so nicely. Label it and then place it in your freezer.
e. Anything else that I buy in bulk such as pasta sets on my shelf once I open it, I dump it into # 10 cans.
(these big bags of flour will be dumped in my buckets when I run out of what I already have. Notice that we also store water in these 2 liter bottles.)
f. I have 5 gallon buckets with flour and sugar in them.
g. I also buy food storage items, such as powdered milk, rice, beans and wheat that I keep on a shelf for use in an emergency or if I don't want to go to the store.
#8. Open all of your boxes. I open anything my kids need to get into.
#9. Plan to make an easy meal on grocery shopping day. You will be wore out by the time that you are done.
Here are two great recipes:
French Bread Pizza
1 loaf of French bread sliced in half
1 # ground sausage
Jar of Alfredo or stuff for homemade
Any topping you like:
load the French bread with all the fixins
Broil in oven for 5 minutes until cheese melts. Eat immediately
From Krysta Moes
Black Bean Burgers
1 can black beans
1 can green chilies
1 C. bread crumbs
1 t. chili powder
1 egg beaten
¼ C. cornmeal
2 T. vegetable oil
Mayo, lettuce, cheese, and salsa
Put beans in a food processor blend until mashed. Remove and add chilies, bread crumbs, chili powder and egg. Shape into 6 patties and coat with cornmeal.
Cook patties in skillet over medium heat. Heat 5 to 10 minutes.
Put mayo on buns, add burger and top with cheese, lettuce, and salsa, and avacado.
#10. Enjoy looking in your fridge and pantry and seeing how prepared you are.
Meet me back here next Thursday to learn about making ahead.