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"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, February 6, 2015

Tightwad Meal Planning for One (or Two) & Monthly Grocery List


As a single person and a non-cook, I find meal planning  almost impossible. Entertaining is a whole other ball game.

Because I only go grocery shopping once a month, I stock many standards like tuna fish, cheese, onions, potatoes, etc. (See grocery list below.)

Perishables are a challenge. Shelf Life Advice recommends: "...keeping leftovers...about 3-4 days, but some foods last a little longer."

I am exploring which foods freeze the best. I am not ready to make an investment of time and money to can or pickle foods.

Because I try to make a new recipe as often as possible, I have lots of leftovers. I am often guided more by what needs to be used now.

In the frig are a serving of noodle soup, a leftover baked potato, two portions of green salad, a meatloaf, remains of whole roasted chicken, 7 eggs, half a loaf of hard bread, half a loaf of sliced multi-grain bread, 1 opened pkg of chunk mozzarella cheese, 1 tomato, 2 potatoes, 2 small red onions, 7 half stalks of celery, 1 pkg turkey lunchmeat, a bit of peas and other items.

I find potatoes very versatile, plus they keep longer then other vegetables. I microwave them whole or in casseroles, fry them, boil them, and use them in a variety of dishes. So, I made potato pancakes using the leftover baked potato, first.

Then, I tackled the roasted chicken.

Without an oven, I occasionally buy a whole roasted chicken. The roasted chicken had already provided three meals, I deboned the remainder (2 breasts, neck and thigh) and diced the meat. I used one of the green salads and topped it with one portion of diced chicken, saved another portion of diced chicken to make chicken salad, froze a third portion to make chicken soup, and froze the bones to make chicken stock.

I am gradually learning to balance making new dishes and rehabbing leftovers to avoid spoilage. For example, because I make alot of fruit spritzers using a small amount of juice, a container of juice can go bad, so I freeze the juice in ice cube trays to make sure I don’t waste juice to spoilage. Later, I put one or two juice cubes in a glass and add club soda to make more juice spritzers.

When I buy a loaf of bread, I wrap half of it in another bag and freeze it, again to avoid spoilage.

Now, the freezer is full.

So, breakfast was potato pancakes. Lunch was salad with diced chicken. Don’t know what will be for dinner but my guess is it will involve leftovers.

Recent successful tightwad tactic:

Poured a dollop of vinegar into an almost empty mustard jar, closed with the lid, shook vigorously to capture the mustard remains, and saved the liquid as a vinaigrette dressing.

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Monthly Grocery List

I don’t buy everything on this list at one time. I buy various items over time and store them. Then, when I go shopping, I buy items I need to replenish or items needed for recipes I am planning to make.

For planned recipes:
Wax paper/plastic wrap

Spices I have:
Oregano
Basil
Rosemary
Curry
Cumin
Cilantro
Garlic powder
Black peppercorns
Paprika
Thyme

Spices I need:
Ginger
Turmeric
Parsley
Dill
Molasses?
Caraway seeds
Coconut milk
Almonds

Toilet paper
Acid
Fabuloso
Dish soap, liquid
Laundry soap, liquid, sensitive
Shampoo
Trash bags
Quart or larger resealable food storage bags

Cranberry juice
Orange juice (calcium)
Apple juice
Grape juice, white/red
Jamaica, concentrate
Horchata, concentrate
Lime juice, concentrate

Cocoa Milk powder mix
Ensure mineral/vitamin Choc powdered drink mix
Tea bags
Instant coffee

Club soda
Tonic water
Ginger ale

Rolls
Bread loaf
Flour tortillas

Milk
Yogurt
Cheeses
Eggs
Butter
Olive oil

Peanut butter
Jelly
Mayo
Mustard
Ketchup
Vinegar
Ranch salad dressing
Chili sauce
BBQ sauce
Tomato sauce
Salsa, canned
Capers

Honey
Sugar
Flour
Baking powder

Rice
Pasta, various
Spaghetti
Oatmeal
Crackers
Beans, black, refried, red, canned
Beans, garbanzo, white, dry
Mushrooms, canned

Tomatoes
Mushrooms
Spinach
Celery
Cabbage
Iceberg lettuce
Green peppers or red peppers
Onions
Carrots
Squash
Cucumbers
Pepinos
Potatoes, white, yams

Figs (calcium)
Bananas
Apples
Oranges
Blueberries (frozen)
Strawberries
Grapes
Limes
Fruit, canned, pineapple, peach, mixed

Chicken
Oysters, canned
Salmon, canned, fresh, frozen?
Tuna fish, canned
Pork
Fish*****
Spam, canned

Peanuts
Raisins
Fried plantains
Pretzels
Mini cakes

There are three tiendas (mom and pop convenience stores near me). I pick up bread, fresh vegetables & fruit, milk, soda, etc. if needed.

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