Sunday, January 31, 2010

This post is a questionnaire for all of you who know how to cook (that's you, Christina Larsen)

I am new to this. I have been down this road many times and I always end up frustrated.
I find recipes, I buys groceries, and they always go bad before I ever use them, wasting tons and tons of money.

I am no longer in a place to waste money (who is?) so I have got to get better at this.

My questions are:
1) How do you know what to keep in your house at all times? (I mean, beyond chicken...)

2) How do you keep those food from going bad so quickly? (i.e. when you buy tomatoes, avacadoes, lettuce, you have to use it soon or it gets bad fast)

3) How do you keep things in your house to cook, have ALL the ingredients you need for an average recipe, and not end up going to the store 4 times a week?!

4) Is it possible to cook a meal 6 days of the week, and do it all for $100 a week in groceries? Or am I kidding myself?

5) So let's say I can put together a recipe and I did well...NOW what do I do for side dishes?! (easy ones)


Please help. I want to be good at cooking, I want to provide great nutrients for my family, and I want to save money while doing it. I KNOW it's possible!!

10 comments:

Chrissy Galloway said...

I'm sending my mother-in-law to look at your blog. If ever there were a woman to answer your questions it's her. This woman fed a family of 6 on dimes practically. She will have good advice for you.

jessica kiehn said...

thank you!

Carman said...

I'm not a professional by any means, but I never go to the store more than once a week. I plan my menu for the whole week before I go to the store, and make a list of only the things I need for that week. This saves me from going every other day, and it also saves me from spending money on impulse things I don't really need.

And I can usually keep it under $100, as long as I don't need something expensive like a print cartridge, laundry detergent, or dog food.

I also have a master grocery list (of things I usually buy) saved on my computer that I have organized by aisle, one for the Pleasant Grove Wal-Mart and one for the Harps by our house. I just highlight what I need on the list, and I save myself from going down many of the aisles and just browsing. This helps tremendously with getting me in and out very quickly. I would be happy to email them to you if you want them.

jessica kiehn said...

yes Carman! email it to me if you get the chance!
jessicaikiehn@yahoo.com

Molly Carman said...

Brady and I always keep stuff for our favorite meals on hand: pasta, rice, beans (a few different kinds), tortillas, mac & cheese, potatoes, whatever. And then we get 5-6 different vegetables and a couple of fruits and it's a race to see if we can eat them all in time. With a bunch of different vegetables, we have lots of options, like salad, stir-fry, steamed vegetables, veggies & dip, fried rice, curried vegetables...
And then we also keep the basic seasonings and sauces on hand so we can always make chinese or indian or mexican food out of our rice & veggies.
And then we usually get something different, too, just to keep it fun.

Leslie McDaniel said...

You REALLY REALLY need to check out e-mealz.com

Have I never told you about it? I've been doing it for about 6 months now. Every week these women put together 7 dinner recipes. They put together your grocery list and give you the recipies. They have everything on the grocery list categorized (like what you need out of produce, frozen, etc). The best part is you choose what meal plan you want based on how many in your family and where you shop. We are on the family of 4 Wal-Mart plan since I only buy groceries there. I'm thinking you and Kevin would be on the Wal-Mart for 2 plan.

It costs $15 every 3 months (like $1.50 a week, but you save so much money because food never goes bad because you know exactly what you are having for dinner every night). Every week, I just print out my grocery list and go!

Of course there are some weeks when I won't like something they have one night or something, so I will just mark that off and change it to something I like to cook.

Jolie Enfant said...

I second what Leslie said. My husband and I are on our 4th week of e-mealz, Wal-Mart plan for 2 and it is soo great for several reasons-
1. I don't come home from work & stress about what I'm going to cook
2. The recipes are very simple
3. Your grocery list is planned out for you
4. Food doesn't go bad! (this was always my problem)
5. We usually have leftovers which usually become lunch the next day
6. You save money, eat healthy, and don't stress in the kitchen :)

Jordan

Larsen Family said...

OK, since this post was directed at me (sort of). I guess I should respond.

First things first, I only go to the grocery store every 2 weeks. I usually have a mega list on my fridge that I write down things when I use them; this makes the list easier. When it was just Tim and I eating, I probably spent $100 or less per week; but that was 12 years ago, so who knows.

Anyway, you always want to keep staples on hand for "quick" meals; rice, pasta, beans (dry or canned), pasta sauce (or ingredients to make pasta sauce), canned tomatoes (all types; crushed, diced, paste, sauce) You can make your own spaghetti sauce or add it to pasta or meat and you have chili. Canned tomatoes are very versatile.

When making out your list for the week, two weeks, or month. You need to have a menu in mind. What I do is try to get like items at the store for menu planning. For example, if I want to make chicken & noodles, I will get extra chicken so I can use it in BBQ chicken or baked chicken or a casserole. This takes away some of the guess work. I have a friend who tries to have a soup, fun-meal, nice dinner, sandwich meal, and pasta meal each and every week. If you plan out what night of the week you want each one, it can take out more of the guess work. After I decide my menu choices, I look at the upcoming week and put it down on the calendar. This lets me know when I might need to thaw out something and lets others know what's for dinner. The only kicker is fresh fruits & veggies. However, if you want to go every week. There should be no reason that your salad stuff, etc will go bad in a week.

You can also prep meals and put them in your freezer. For example, you want to make chilli or a soup, it calls for chopped onions, carrots, peppers, and meat. You can cook your meat, let it cool, chop or whatever then place in a gallon size zip bag. Dice up veggies and place in smaller bags then put in the gallon bag. Label and you have a dinner that you just have to throw together in the skillet or crockpot.

These are just some of the ideas. I hope I have been helpful. Text me if you need more instructions. :)

humblelearning said...

We spend $400 a month on groceries, and I buy about 40% organic. If you start making food from scratch and stop going out to eat/buying processed foods you'll quickly realize you can save a lot of money and you're eating much better. I'm proud of you wanting to do this Jess!

humblelearning said...

I just read Carman and Christina's posts, WHOA! I'm so impressed. You two are meal making experts!

And Jessica, you're becoming quite the blogger. Good blogging engages people and you do it well.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

This post is a questionnaire for all of you who know how to cook (that's you, Christina Larsen)

I am new to this. I have been down this road many times and I always end up frustrated.
I find recipes, I buys groceries, and they always go bad before I ever use them, wasting tons and tons of money.

I am no longer in a place to waste money (who is?) so I have got to get better at this.

My questions are:
1) How do you know what to keep in your house at all times? (I mean, beyond chicken...)

2) How do you keep those food from going bad so quickly? (i.e. when you buy tomatoes, avacadoes, lettuce, you have to use it soon or it gets bad fast)

3) How do you keep things in your house to cook, have ALL the ingredients you need for an average recipe, and not end up going to the store 4 times a week?!

4) Is it possible to cook a meal 6 days of the week, and do it all for $100 a week in groceries? Or am I kidding myself?

5) So let's say I can put together a recipe and I did well...NOW what do I do for side dishes?! (easy ones)


Please help. I want to be good at cooking, I want to provide great nutrients for my family, and I want to save money while doing it. I KNOW it's possible!!

10 comments:

Chrissy Galloway said...

I'm sending my mother-in-law to look at your blog. If ever there were a woman to answer your questions it's her. This woman fed a family of 6 on dimes practically. She will have good advice for you.

jessica kiehn said...

thank you!

Carman said...

I'm not a professional by any means, but I never go to the store more than once a week. I plan my menu for the whole week before I go to the store, and make a list of only the things I need for that week. This saves me from going every other day, and it also saves me from spending money on impulse things I don't really need.

And I can usually keep it under $100, as long as I don't need something expensive like a print cartridge, laundry detergent, or dog food.

I also have a master grocery list (of things I usually buy) saved on my computer that I have organized by aisle, one for the Pleasant Grove Wal-Mart and one for the Harps by our house. I just highlight what I need on the list, and I save myself from going down many of the aisles and just browsing. This helps tremendously with getting me in and out very quickly. I would be happy to email them to you if you want them.

jessica kiehn said...

yes Carman! email it to me if you get the chance!
jessicaikiehn@yahoo.com

Molly Carman said...

Brady and I always keep stuff for our favorite meals on hand: pasta, rice, beans (a few different kinds), tortillas, mac & cheese, potatoes, whatever. And then we get 5-6 different vegetables and a couple of fruits and it's a race to see if we can eat them all in time. With a bunch of different vegetables, we have lots of options, like salad, stir-fry, steamed vegetables, veggies & dip, fried rice, curried vegetables...
And then we also keep the basic seasonings and sauces on hand so we can always make chinese or indian or mexican food out of our rice & veggies.
And then we usually get something different, too, just to keep it fun.

Leslie McDaniel said...

You REALLY REALLY need to check out e-mealz.com

Have I never told you about it? I've been doing it for about 6 months now. Every week these women put together 7 dinner recipes. They put together your grocery list and give you the recipies. They have everything on the grocery list categorized (like what you need out of produce, frozen, etc). The best part is you choose what meal plan you want based on how many in your family and where you shop. We are on the family of 4 Wal-Mart plan since I only buy groceries there. I'm thinking you and Kevin would be on the Wal-Mart for 2 plan.

It costs $15 every 3 months (like $1.50 a week, but you save so much money because food never goes bad because you know exactly what you are having for dinner every night). Every week, I just print out my grocery list and go!

Of course there are some weeks when I won't like something they have one night or something, so I will just mark that off and change it to something I like to cook.

Jolie Enfant said...

I second what Leslie said. My husband and I are on our 4th week of e-mealz, Wal-Mart plan for 2 and it is soo great for several reasons-
1. I don't come home from work & stress about what I'm going to cook
2. The recipes are very simple
3. Your grocery list is planned out for you
4. Food doesn't go bad! (this was always my problem)
5. We usually have leftovers which usually become lunch the next day
6. You save money, eat healthy, and don't stress in the kitchen :)

Jordan

Larsen Family said...

OK, since this post was directed at me (sort of). I guess I should respond.

First things first, I only go to the grocery store every 2 weeks. I usually have a mega list on my fridge that I write down things when I use them; this makes the list easier. When it was just Tim and I eating, I probably spent $100 or less per week; but that was 12 years ago, so who knows.

Anyway, you always want to keep staples on hand for "quick" meals; rice, pasta, beans (dry or canned), pasta sauce (or ingredients to make pasta sauce), canned tomatoes (all types; crushed, diced, paste, sauce) You can make your own spaghetti sauce or add it to pasta or meat and you have chili. Canned tomatoes are very versatile.

When making out your list for the week, two weeks, or month. You need to have a menu in mind. What I do is try to get like items at the store for menu planning. For example, if I want to make chicken & noodles, I will get extra chicken so I can use it in BBQ chicken or baked chicken or a casserole. This takes away some of the guess work. I have a friend who tries to have a soup, fun-meal, nice dinner, sandwich meal, and pasta meal each and every week. If you plan out what night of the week you want each one, it can take out more of the guess work. After I decide my menu choices, I look at the upcoming week and put it down on the calendar. This lets me know when I might need to thaw out something and lets others know what's for dinner. The only kicker is fresh fruits & veggies. However, if you want to go every week. There should be no reason that your salad stuff, etc will go bad in a week.

You can also prep meals and put them in your freezer. For example, you want to make chilli or a soup, it calls for chopped onions, carrots, peppers, and meat. You can cook your meat, let it cool, chop or whatever then place in a gallon size zip bag. Dice up veggies and place in smaller bags then put in the gallon bag. Label and you have a dinner that you just have to throw together in the skillet or crockpot.

These are just some of the ideas. I hope I have been helpful. Text me if you need more instructions. :)

humblelearning said...

We spend $400 a month on groceries, and I buy about 40% organic. If you start making food from scratch and stop going out to eat/buying processed foods you'll quickly realize you can save a lot of money and you're eating much better. I'm proud of you wanting to do this Jess!

humblelearning said...

I just read Carman and Christina's posts, WHOA! I'm so impressed. You two are meal making experts!

And Jessica, you're becoming quite the blogger. Good blogging engages people and you do it well.