My name is Andrea and there are 7 people in my family. Four eat adult-sized portions, 2 eat kid-sized, and 1 is toddler-sized. Of course that means we never know what or how much he will eat. He is fun like that.
We also have to be careful with what we buy as I have a child with Celiac Disease and we have numerous food allergies in the house. Shopping is a pain, I have to double check every label every time in order to be safe, so I try to only go out twice a month. On Saturday, January 16, I did my bi-monthly Aldi shopping. I used 1 cart. I usually have 2 but my husband, Mark, didn’t come with me like he usually does. He was busy getting situated to replace my brakes, which is another story in itself!
This week Aldi was out of green peppers, celery, and the yogurt we prefer. It was actually good they were out of green peppers because when I got home I found 3 hiding in the back of my fridge! I have no clue how they escaped my inventory! I still have to buy the celery, yogurt, and coconut milk beverage (we do not drink cow’s milk). The coconut milk comes from a different store so I won’t buy it until Tuesday when I am in that area.
This food will last for almost a full month for the 7 of us. It rounds out my planned meals and gives us lunch and snacks. I will go shopping again around February 1 to get fresh produce, more breakfast items if needed (we seem to go through breakfast items fast), and any other random items needed. That trip is always significantly less in cost.
Full disclosure; most of our meat was given to us. We have some seriously amazing friends who stocked us up when I had a child recovering from a serious burn. The burn unit at the local hospital insisted that healing happens with a high protein diet. My friends rallied and helped us out. We have protein powder and meat to last us through the winter! For those wondering, my kid is doing amazing. There is scaring, but not what we feared!
I plan my menu by the month, but it can change based on left-overs and “off” days (unexpected doctor appointments anyone?). This week alone I switched my pasta and potato days! I will show you 2 weeks worth of my menu. I have a binder with my meal plans and the recipes and a separate calendar I keep by my stove so my kids won’t ask me 500x “What’s for dinner?” I can just point and they can read.
Here is my 2 week dinner menu through January:
1/16 Gluten Free Pasta w/ garlic bread and salad
1/17 Baked Potato & Sweet Potato (my daughter used to have a potato allergy and still doesn’t like them much, but will eat sweet potato)
1/18 Tacos for #1’s birthday!*
1/19 Vegetarian One-Pot Lo-Mein
1/20 Shepherd’s Pie (w/ mashed cauliflower on top instead of potato)*
1/21 Black Beans & Rice
1/22 Korean Beef & Rice*
1/23 “Stuffed” Cabbage Casserole
1/24 Ground Beef Fajitas*
1/25 Ham & White Beans**
1/26 Venison Stew (thanks hunting friends!)
1/27 Ham & Pineapple on rice**
Chicken Legs (from a 10 lb family-sized bag***):
1/28 Pulled BBQ Chicken
1/29 Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie
1/30 My Cranberry-Orange Chicken
1/31 Pizza Party!
*ground beef is from about 2 lbs per meal. We cooked it up in advanced and portion and label the bags for each meal.
**the ham is from my husband’s work. Each employee was given one for Christmas. We will get more meals out of this (probably 2 more), but I HATE ham so I can only handle so much each month. I will freeze the extra cooked ham for next month.
***there will be left over chicken for meals the first week of February. Last time we managed 6 full meals for 7 people out of 10 lbs of leg. That is weighed with bone and skin, so less than 10 lbs of meat!
I already have all the meat and quinoa and beans I will need for the next 3 months or so. I also have pasta sauce, pineapple, BBQ sauce, gluten free oats, canned veggies and fruit, jelly, sunbutter (instead of peanut butter), and other items. My pantry and deep freezer are decently stocked right now. If I have significant leftovers I will rearrange my meal plan and/or freeze any items that need to be saved for next month.
Produce: 5 lb bag of potatoes, 3 lb bag of sweet potatoes, 4 lbs of onions, 6 (2 lb worth) kiwi, 2 mangoes, 1 avocado, 2 limes, 3 lbs gala apples, 1 package of snow peas, 1 lb jalapeños, 3 pints of blueberries (2 for smoothies, 1 for snacking), 2 clam shells of grape tomatoes, 5 roma tomatoes, 6 sweet peppers (yellow, orange, red), 4 lbs of carrots, 2 heads of cauliflower, 1 head of iceberg lettuce, 1 head of cabbage, 2 lbs of mini cucumbers, 7 (2 lbs worth) lemons, 6 bunches of bananas (45 individual bananas for smoothies and snacking), 3 bags of fresh spinach (for smoothies), 1 bag of Italian salad
*When I got home I discovered I still had 4 roma tomatoes. I am annoyed another item missed my inventory check. I am usually careful. I am planning on either rearranging some dinner menu items or freezing the extra tomatoes.
Frozen: 5 bags of California medley veggies, 3 bags of broccoli florets, 5 bags of peas, 3 bags of green beans, 1 bag of strawberries (for smoothies), 2 bags of peaches (for smoothies), 3 bags of gluten free chicken nuggets (this will last us. I buy 3 bags at a time and use 1 at a time for those nights when things do not go according to plan), 3 bags french fries (to go with nuggets), 4 gluten free pizzas (treat for Pizza Party!), 1 box stuffed jalapeño bites (treat for me), 4 packages of Apple Maple Chicken sausage (I cut these into my “stuffed” cabbage casserole so this is 4 MONTHS/MEALS worth)
Fridge: 3 bottles of juice (I normally do not buy juice but I have 2 kids taking a medicinal supplement that has to be taken mixed in juice. Darn illnesses.), 2 large humus containers (treat), coconut spread (instead of the dairy & soy free spread I usually get as a butter replacement), 5 packages of sliced cheese, 4 packages shredded cheese (yes, block is cheaper, but this saves me time and for me it is worth it), 1 block of smoked cheddar cheese (special snack for me and Mark; this should last a solid week or better)
Snacks: 5 apple sauce packages (for when we are out and about, I have large jars at home. this will last 3 swim meets and 2 outings), 3 bags of dried coconut, 3 bags of dried mango, 1 bag of dried berries and cherries, 2 bags of dried cranberries (1 is for my Cranberry-Orange Chicken), 1 bag dried goji berries (to add to breakfast smoothies; this will last several months), 1 bag of chocolate covered yogurt raisins (a special treat for Mark), 1 bag of chocolate covered pretzels (again, a special treat for Mark), 2 boxes cookies (these were marked down and are cheaper than the cookies a local Girl Scout tried to sell me), 3 of bags tortilla chips, 12 cans peaches in their own juice (this will last 2-3 months. I have other canned fruits in my pantry also. Canned fruit is only bought in the winter since fruit is slim pickings).
Pantry: 5 lbs jasmine rice, 4 lbs basmati rice (to replace what my 2 year old Captain Destructo destroyed on me), 3 jars of organic cold-pressed coconut oil (this will last, but I always buy 3 because my dog gets a large spoonful in her dry dog food everyday and I do not want to run out), 4 cans potato (this gets added to cabbage casserole so it is 4 MONTHS/meals worth), 1 can carrots (I add them to smoothie bags so it is 1 MONTH worth), 3 salt grinders (This is what we refer on the table and I buy to last), 3 chicken broth (used as backup in case I forget to take homemade broth out of freezer. This will last several months if I plan correctly)
Miscellaneous: 12 packages of rice cakes (we use these instead of bread for open-faced sandwiches), 6 large bags of gluten free pasta, 1 bag gluten free spaghetti (for the lo-mein), 2 loaves of gluten free bread (put in freezer and individual slices are taken out for garlic bread for certain meals), tortellini (Mark’s and my at-home date night meal. I have tomato pesto in my pantry), 2 loaves specialty bread (I will slice and freeze and pull out individual slices for Mark and me on special meal nights), 3 boxes instant oatmeal, 2 boxes gluten free cocoa rice cereal
I imagine you want the total, right? $342.04 for 171 items. That is $2 per item. I had a few “special” items; juice being the biggest “splurge.” Take away just the juice and I am under $2 per item! Remember, many of these items will last more than one meal and more than one month.
Thanks for shopping with me!