Thursday, May 22, 2014

Memorial Day Picnics and the Weekly Special with Mary Anne

Yikes! I can’t believe this will be Memorial Day weekend! I mean, I know that Monday is Memorial Day, but somehow it just never really sunk in that that makes this Memorial Day weekend.

Aldi has pineapples again for 89 cents each, and cantaloupe for 99 cents each. Tomatoes on the vine are $1.49 for 24 ounces ($1.00 a pound, or about 30 cents each). Strawberries are $1.49 for a one-pound box. Brats are $1.99 a pound and beef franks are $2.49. Bun length wieners are $2.99 for three pounds, or $1.00 a pound. Barbeque sauces are 99 cents for 18 ounces, and steak sauce is 99 cents for 10 ounces. Deli mustards (honey mustard, spicy brown and Dijon) are 79 cents for 12 ounces and yellow mustard is 69 cents for 20 ounces. Hamburger dill chips are $1.69 for 32 ounces and kosher dill spears are $1.69 for 24 ounces. Sliced cheese is $1.79 for twelve ounces. These prices are good through next Tuesday, May 27.

Walmart has corn on the cob for 20 cents an ear. Ground chuck is $13.45 for 4.5 pounds, or $2.99 per pound. Oscar Meyer wieners are $1.50 a pound. Prices are good through Monday, May 26. Don’t forget that Walmart will match the price of a local competitor’s printed price on an identical item if you take in the ad.

Marsh has whole seedless watermelons for $2.99 each. The ad says that they average ten to twelve pounds each. At ten pounds, that would be 30 cents a pound; at twelve pounds that would be 25 cents. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.89 a pound in the family pack. Ground beef is 20% off, but they don’t say what the original prices are. Prices are good through next Wednesday, May 28.

Kroger has one pound packs of Eckrich franks ten for $10.00, or $1.00 each. Sour cream and dip are also ten for $10.00, or $1.00 per pint. Johnsonville brats and Italian sausage are $2.99 for 19 ounces. Vidalia onions are 59 cents a pound. Cream cheese is $1.00 for an eight ounce pack. Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue sauce is $1.00 for 18 ounces. Boneless chicken thighs are $1.99 a pound. Green beans are 99 cents a pound. Prices are good through next Wednesday, May 28. They had Swai (Vietnamese catfish) nuggets on sale for 99 cents a pound when I was in on Saturday, but it wasn’t in the ads. They said it might be on sale again this week.

IGA has ground chuck for $2.99, in packs of 3 pounds or more. Hunt’s ketchup is 99 cents for a 24 ounce bottle. Kraft barbecue sauce is 99 cents for an 18 ounce bottle. Fryer wings are $1.59 a pound. Keta (chum) salmon sides are $2.99 a pound. “On the vine red ripe tomatoes” and “red ripe tomatoes” are both 98 cents a pound. Various kinds of pickles are $3.79 for 80 ounces. Ball Park franks are two 15-ounce packs for $3.00, or just over $1.50 a pound. Bar-S franks are 89 cents a pound. Eckrich franks are 99 cents a pound. An eight pound box of quarter pound “pure beef patties” (32 patties) is $21.00, or $2.63 per pound or 66 cents per patty. They’re 75% lean, so it’s not a great price per pound, but the convenience might be worth it – especially if you’re having that many people for dinner! Prices are good through Monday, May 26.

We pretty much have to go with picnics and grilling, don’t we? It’s not only traditional for Memorial Day, but the sales seem to be geared that way, too. A lot of things don’t need recipes, like wieners and brats. And you know how to make potato salad and macaroni salad and things like that. I’ll give recipes to round out your Memorial Day picnic.

You can’t have a good picnic without dessert. Just plain fresh fruit is good. A ten pound watermelon should yield at least 30 cups of fruit. If you eat the watermelon in slices, though, or wedges, you’re likely to eat more than if it’s cut up in bite-size pieces. So let’s say 20 servings of a cup and a half each. That’s 15 cents per serving. A pineapple should yield about eight to ten slices. Let’s say nine slices. That’s 10 cents per slice. A quarter of cantaloupe is a bit over a cup of diced fruit and costs 25 cents. Or make a huge fruit salad from a quarter of a watermelon (save the rind and use it for a basket to serve the salad in), a cantaloupe, a pineapple, and a pound of strawberries, all for just under $4.15. Figure three cups of strawberries, four cups of cantaloupe, five cups of pineapple, and eight cups of watermelon, or a total of about 20 cups of fruit salad. That’s about 21 cents per cup. Or any combination of fruit. They all go well together.
If you happen to have some fresh mint (grow some if you have a chance – it grows like a weed!) to add, that’s even better.

If you want to get a bit fancier, you can grill the fruit. I knew about grilled pineapple, but did you know you can grill other fruit, too?

And don’t forget good old toasted marshmallows and S’mores! S’mores are traditionally made with graham crackers, Hershey’s chocolate bars, and marshmallows, but Mom used to give us chocolate coated graham crackers to put the roasted marshmallows between. A word of warning – use metal toasting forks, not sticks, unless you’re really sure of the sticks. Use the wrong ones and you can have an unpleasant reaction, from a bad taste to a blistered mouth. I don’t have the cost for S’mores, but I know that the chocolate covered graham crackers are cheaper than using Hershey bars.

You can’t beat homemade ice cream as a summer time treat. But what if you don’t have an ice cream freezer? Not to worry. Just make your own and a batch of Coffee Can Ice Cream. You’ll get just over two cups, or a pint, of ice cream at a cost of about $1.00. A pint of ice cream isn’t very much, especially if you have to divide it among a lot of people, but it may keep the kids occupied making it. A cup of ice cream would cost about 50 cents, and half a cup of ice cream would cost about 25 cents.

Grilled corn on the cob is delicious and easy. The corn is 20 cents an ear, and most people will eat either one or two ears.

Grilled Onions are great on hot dogs and hamburgers, and Vidalia onions are especially good for this. One Vidalia onion will probably weigh close to a pound and will serve four at 15 cents a serving.

Looking for something a bit different than your regular old run of the mill grilled hot dogs? How about a Seattle Dog – a grilled wiener with Grilled Onions, cream cheese and mustard. How much these cost will depend on what brand of hot dogs you buy. The cheapest are 89 cents a pound, or about 11 cents each, and they go up from there. Let’s say $1.50 a pound. No, let’s say $1.60 a pound, because that divides more easily. Assuming eight wieners to a pound, a Seattle Dog will cost about 65 cents.

Now let’s put it all together and make some menus. It’s Memorial Day, after all, so I’m not going to be quite as strict about keeping things to $1.50 per person. For a holiday meal, let’s go up to $2.00 per person. So, to review the prices, including the chicken and sides from a couple of weeks ago:

Seattle Dogs - 65 cents each.
Grilled corn on the cob - 20 cents an ear.
Grilled onions - 15 cents a serving.
Coffee can ice cream - 25 cents for half a cup.
Watermelon - 15 cents for a one and a half cup serving.
Pineapple - 10 cents per slice, or about half a cup.
Cantaloupe - 13 cents for an eighth of a melon, or a bit over half a cup.
Strawberries – 50 cents a cup.
Mixed fruit salad - 22 cents a cup.
Chicken leg quarter, with rub or sauce - 95 cents.
Coleslaw - 20 cents a cup.
Brats (just the brat, no bun or anything) - about 60 cents each.
Plain wieners (just the wiener, no bun or anything) - starting at 13 cents each.
Buns - about 11 cents each.
Quarter pound hamburger patties – 65 cents each.
Ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc. – about 10 cents per person.

So let’s see. How about a Seattle Dog, a cup of coleslaw, an ear of corn, and a big wedge of watermelon for just $1.20? Or a hamburger, with grilled onions and ketchup, mustard and pickles, an ear of corn, and a cup of ice cream for $1.61? Or a brat on a bun with a slice of cheese, or a … Well, you get the picture.

Happy Memorial Day, and many, many special thanks to those who gave their lives for our country. We salute you!

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