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.
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:
Spices I need:
Dish soap, liquid
Laundry soap, liquid, sensitive
Quart or larger resealable food storage bags
Orange juice (calcium)
Grape juice, white/red
Lime juice, concentrate
Cocoa Milk powder mix
Ensure mineral/vitamin Choc powdered drink mix
Ranch salad dressing
Beans, black, refried, red, canned
Beans, garbanzo, white, dry
Green peppers or red peppers
Potatoes, white, yams
Fruit, canned, pineapple, peach, mixed
Salmon, canned, fresh, frozen?
Tuna fish, canned
There are three tiendas (mom and pop convenience stores near me). I pick up bread, fresh vegetables & fruit, milk, soda, etc. if needed.