Friday, August 8, 2014

What Do You Eat When Nothing's on Sale? and the Weekly Specials with Mary Anne

Boy! The sales are really bad this week! I mean, really bad! I am so tempted to do something different this week, though I don’t know just what that would be. Something that doesn’t require me to come up with food stamp budget meals. It’s one thing, though, for me to ignore the fact that there are no good sales for purposes of this blog, and another thing entirely for you, when you have to put three meals a day on the table with no good sales.

Here’s what I found in the way of sales:

Kroger has 10 ears of corn for $3.00, or 30 cents an ear. Cherry tomatoes are 10 for $10.00, or $1.00 each for 10.5 ounces. Green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli crowns, Roma tomatoes, leaf lettuce, peaches, plums and nectarines are all 99 cents a pound. Iceberg lettuce is 99 cents a head. Four half gallons of milk are $5.00, which is $1.25 per half gallon or $2.50 per gallon.

Marsh has bacon for $2.99 a pound. Locally grown whole seedless watermelons (10 – 12 pound average) are $1.99. Locally grown sweet corn is 10 ears for $3.00, or 30 cents an ear. Cabbage is 49 cents a pound.

Walmart has ground chuck for $2.99, or 4.5 pound chubs for $13.45. Whiting (a mild white fish) fillets are $2.50 a pound, or $10.00 for 4 pounds.

Aldi has blueberries for 99 cents a pint and mangoes for 49 cents each. Green and red grapes are 99 cents a pound. Strawberries are $1.49 a pound. Organic baby carrots are 99 cents a pound. Eggs were still $1.19 a dozen when I was there on Tuesday, but milk went from $1.69 a gallon to $2.79 a gallon in a week.

See what I mean about the sales? Some good prices on produce (though I hate to buy produce at the store when it’s available at the Farmers Market), but nothing much on meat.

Speaking of the Farmers Market, don’t forget that you can still exchange up to $16 of food stamps each week for up to $32 dollars of Market Bucks, which means you can get meat, eggs, dairy and produce there for half price. And that includes plants to grow your own food, too.

Okay, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to come up with menus for the whole week – breakfast, lunch and supper. And I’m going to keep it to an average of $4.15 per person per day, or $29.05 per person for the whole month. And since I’m assuming a household of four people, that comes to $116.20 for the family. That sure sounds like a lot, but I’m sure it’s going to go very fast.

Here are the rules. I’m going to assume that I have a few things on hand – a little bit of ketchup or mustard, some spices, things like that. But most things I’ll have to buy. And I’ll buy them at this week’s real prices. I didn’t get a chance to check all of the prices, but most things are on sale so I know those prices for sure, and I checked on the prices for chicken legs, milk and eggs, and those are the biggest things. I’ll give menus for three meals a day, and the meals will be of reasonable size. I won’t use potatoes or pasta or rice or bread or beans or things like that. And I’m going to spend no more than $116.20 for four people for one week. (For those of you who may have missed it in my previous posts, the average food stamp benefit per person actually received in Indiana is about $116.20 per month. That’s where I’m getting my numbers from.) The meals won’t be exciting, but they will be filling and reasonably nutritious. And they will definitely take advantage of the summer produce!

I know that when money is in short supply (and when money isn't in short supply, too, if that ever happens!) time is likely to be in short supply, too. Some of the recipes and menus are quick and easy to throw together. Others not so much. One of these days I'm going to do a whole week's worth of menus and recipes that are quick as well as cheap, but, unfortunately, that's not this week. Most of them aren't too, bad, though. They probably don't take much more time than piling everyone in the car and going out for fast food, and they're a lot healthier and cheaper.

It took a lot longer this time than it did in April when I presented a week’s worth of menus on a food stamp budget, but I was able to make it work. On paper only. I’m not doing an actual Food Stamp Challenge this week. I’ve done them several times before, usually for a whole month rather than just a week, and I’m sure I’ll do them again. Just not this week. I’ll present my menus first (quantities are given per person), then my shopping list, and finally the recipes. Spoiler alert – I came in at $112.19!

By the way, for a different approach to eating on a Food Stamp Budget, check out Leanne Brown's Good and Cheap: A Snap Cookbook

---Mary Anne---


B – eggs scrambled in butter
L – tuna salad (lettuce, tuna, cucumber, grape tomatoes, ranch dressing), grapes
S – roasted chicken leg quarter, OVEN FRIED ZUCCHINI

B – HOMEMADE YOGURT, blueberries
L – chicken salad (chicken, celery, mayo, teriyaki sauce, lemon juice)

B – eggs scrambled in butter
L - CABBAGE SALAD, watermelon
S - ZUCCHINI SKILLET SUPPER, carrots, a peach

B – HOMEMADE YOGURT, blueberries
L - SLICED FRITTATA WITH TOMATO SAUCE, cucumber in sour cream and vinegar

B – eggs scrambled in butter
L – tuna salad (lettuce, tuna, cucumber, grape tomatoes, ranch dressing), grapes
S - BZM-MHC MEATLOAF, fresh broccoli, salad (lettuce, cherry tomatoes, ranch dressing)

B - HOMEMADE YOGURT, blueberries
L - BAKED PEACH PANCAKE, salad (lettuce, cherry tomatoes, ranch dressing)

B – eggs scrambled in butter
L – chicken salad (lettuce, chicken, cucumber, grape tomatoes, ranch dressing), grapes


7 dozen eggs @ $1.19 per dozen
2 pounds butter @ $2.79 per pound
1 pint sour cream @ $1.29 per pint
5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese @ $1.99 for 5 ounces
8 ounce block cheddar cheese @ $1.99 per block
8 5-ounce cans tuna @ 68 cents per can
3 pints blueberries @ 99 cents per pint
4 pounds grapes @ 99 cents per pound
5 heads lettuce @ 99 cents per head
1 bunch celery @ $1.49 per bunch
1 2-pound bag carrots @ $1.49 per bag
2 3-pound bags onions @ $1.49 per bag
2 16-ounce bottles ranch dressing @ $1.49 per bottle
1 30-ounce jar mayo @ $1.99 per jar
1 16-ounce bottle teriyaki sauce @ $1.99 per bottle
1 25-ounce bottle olive oil @ $3.85 per bottle
3 14.5-ounce cans tomatoes @ 69 cents per can
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce @ 29 cents per can

2 half gallons milk @ $1.25 each
1 pound hot dogs @ $1.00 each
1 loaf bread @ 99 cents each
3 10.5-ounce packs cherry tomatoes @ $1.00 each
2.5 pounds peaches at @ 99 cents per pound
2 pounds green beans @ 99 cents per pound
2 pounds broccoli crowns @ 99 cents per pound

1 watermelon @ $1.99 each
1 2-pound head cabbage @ 49 cents per pound

1 4.5-pound chub ground beef @ $13.45
2 10-pound bags chicken leg quarters @ $6.90 each
1 1-pound jar sunflower seed kernels @ $2.50 each
1 head garlic @ 40 cents each

Farmers Market:
6 cucumbers @ 3 for $2.00
5 large zucchini and 1 huge zucchini @ 3 for $2.00
1 huge zucchini @ 75 cents each
1 eggplant @ $1.00 each
1 green pepper @ 50 cents each

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