Hello, all... I'm going to skip the bargain meal post this week because I'm away for the weekend, and we all know what bargain meal every sale is pointing to this week... our Thanksgiving Feast! I don't plan on doing much other cooking this week- I'm going to haul a couple of pre-cooked meals out of the freezer and keep things easy while I get ready for the big day. And of course, there will be leftovers galore after that. I hope everyone has a happy, safe, blessed and TASTY Thanksgiving!
(scared turkey picture by Scott Bauer source ARS license Public Domain)
This week at Stop and Shop, there are still frozen Shady Brook Farms turkeys for .47/lb! I have to tell you, I am so glad I went ahead and roasted a turkey last weekend. It ended up making enough white meat for 6 meals, enough dark meat for my husband to snack on all week, and a whole gallon of delicious broth- for less than five dollars. I will share with you a recipe I tried this week-- I wanted to use up potatoes because I had 2 big bags of potatoes in my cupboard. I made Turkey Potato Tetrazzini, following this recipe here, but with some changes. I made my own "cream of turkey" soup using this recipe here. I didn't end up using all the cheese that the recipe calls for- I just mixed a little parmesan into my cream of turkey soup and put a little shake of parmesan between each layer of potatoes. Finally, I used carrots instead of broccoli. I served it with a side of vegetables and some cranberry sauce (hey, it's on sale left and right so why not eat it?)
At the same time, I made a whole batch of more traditional turkey tetrazzini with spaghetti and froze it up for later. I am finding that it's almost as easy to make 2 dinners at a time than only one, and it saves me so much time later! The only downside is, I hope that we aren't all sick of turkey leftovers before Thanksgiving even happens. I'll definitely do my best to try to space out our meals throughout the winter, without forgetting about all that turkey that I froze!
This week at Shaw's, boneless chicken breast chicken is 1.99 a pound, asparagus is 1.77/lb (until Sunday only!) and Rice-a-Roni is $1/ box. You can make a nice casserole with all of the above; try a variation on Asparagus, Chicken, Wild Rice Casserole.
If you need some "cream of" soups in the pantry, Shaw's has its own brand on sale for .89 a can. However, I am trying to break my own personal recipe addiction to Cream of Chicken soup. There isn't much going for it nutritionally and it can be kind of expensive. But I just love how it tastes even though my inner whole foods snob is screaming. Last week, after I made turkey broth, I experimented with making "cream of turkey soup" that I could use in the dinners I planned to make from all that leftover turkey. I used this recipe here- I didn't have all the seasonings listed, but it still came out tasting really good. I'm sure once we get used to using homemade cream-of-whatever soup, we won't even notice the difference.
This week at Shaw's, I'm mainly excited about yet another Catalina sale that will allow me to replenish my dwindling supplies of Progresso Soup, Chex Mix, and Fiber One Bars. Definitely all processed and packaged, but my kids and hubby eat it up like there's no tomorrow, and all those Box Tops for Education should ensure that every kid at my daughters' school gets a new laptop or something.
Apart from that, there really isn't anything too exciting in terms of meat or produce sales, at least to me. For this week's bargain meal, I came across a recipe for Cheesy Spinach Lasagna which calls for cream cheese and bacon, of all things. Shaw's Cream Cheese is .99 for an 8 oz. brick, and Butterball Turkey Bacon is $2 for a 6 oz. package (you might be able to do better than that with Shaw's brand bacon.) Shaw's boxed vegetables are .89 a package, if you need spinach, and Barilla lasagna noodles are 1.67 a package. The recipe calls for provolone cheese and a little cottage cheese, but I think you can substitute and improvise there if you don't have those.
To be honest, I really don't plan my meals around sales. I have enough food stored in my cupboards and freezer to last a long time. For my weekly shopping, I buy things that are very cheap with coupons to replenish my pantry, and I buy milk and fruits and vegetables. If the sales aren't good at Shaw's, I get my milk at the gas station and my produce and eggs at a local farm stand. So, the bargain meal is definitely a nifty idea and all, but if all I had to go on was what was on sale at the local grocery stores, it would be really tough to come up with 7 different frugal dinners each week!
I know it's not actually Thanksgiving. I just feel a little silly because I've been roasting a turkey today. Stop and Shop has Shady Brook Farms frozen turkeys on sale for .47 a pound which, if I'm not mistaken, is an amazing price. I don't think meat can be much cheaper than that unless they're giving it away. So I bought a little 10 lb. turkey for less than $5 last night- I left it in a cooler in my car because it was 29 degrees overnight- and started roasting it early this morning.
Directions on how to cook a turkey from its frozen state without thawing it first are here. I have to say, it was very easy to do and much less messy than dealing with a nonfrozen, slimy bird. The only tricky part is making sure that you remove the giblets and neck partway through cooking, because you can't get them out when it's frozen solid. My 10 lb. bird took about 6 hours to cook and the turkey was very, very moist and tasty.
When the turkey was roasted, I let it rest for a while and then cut off all the useable meat. I'm not a fan of dark meat but my husband will eat it, so I saved all those parts separately. The white meat will be frozen to use in recipes (I'm thinking I will make Turkey Tetrazzini and Turkey and Rice Casserole.) Then I cut up the carcass and used it to make stock, which is still cooking right now. Once it's done, I'll freeze that in containers as well.
Between the meat and stock it looks like this turkey will provide at least 5-6 meals. Not bad!
I'm glad I ended up doing this because we're having Thanksgiving at my parents' this year, so we won't have our own turkey to get leftovers from. Of course, this wouldn't be a bad time to buy your Thanksgiving turkey, if you have the freezer space (I sure don't). I wasn't sure how I would like the Shady Brook Farms turkey, but it was very tasty (they do season it with brine or something because it's a tad salty, but not bad.)
This week, Stop and Shop has White Gem Homestyle Roasting Chickens on sale for .99/lb. I've seen better, but it isn't a bad price. A 5 lb bag of All Purpose Potatoes are 1.77- again, not great, but not awful. (If you live near Shaw's, they have 5 lb. bags of russet potatoes for .99 this week!) Try a roast chicken and potatoes recipe- here's a suggestion that sounds good.
Asparagus is on sale for 1.77/lb, which is a great price for asparagus. I have tried to like asparagus because my husband really likes it, and I found that the skinnier, more delicate asparagus is tastier to me. I found directions here on cooking asparagus in the microwave, which was really easy and they came out tasting very good.
Did I really just type an "11" for the month? I can't believe how fast 2009 is flying by.
When I stopped in at my Shaw's yesterday, there was a big box of Chi-Chi's Tortillas (fajita size, flour) marked down to .30 a package. I bought 5 packages because I really can't fit much more in my freezer! Then, when I got home, I made one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest dinners in my repertoire- quesadillas. This is how you do it:
Arrange tortillas on a cookie sheet you've sprayed with nonstick spray
Top with literally anything- diced tomatoes, leftover veggies, meat or chicken. I topped mine with leftover taco filling from the other night, and Mozzarella cheese (I know, not exactly Mexican, but Mozzarella always tastes good to me.)
Put another tortilla on top.
Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is bubbly and tortillas are browned on the edges.
Slice with a pizza cutter and serve with a side salad or veggie.
Everyone loves them, which is surprising because my kids don't really like tacos that much or other Mexican-style foods. And they are just so easy. I tried to figure out how much dinner cost us last night- since everything was leftover except for a little bit of cheese and the tortillas, I don't know, maybe a dollar?
This week at Shaw's, you may not be able to find any tortillas on clearance, but the same Chi-Chi's Tortillas are on sale for 1.99, and Sargento shredded cheese is Buy 1 Get 1 Free. Ro-Tel tomatoes are .88 a can (even cheaper with the coupon that you can find here) and Shaw's mild green chiles are 2/ $1.