Eating On A Budget: Not Quite Bare challenge Update

As I was reading through my possible list of leftovers I noted a couple of errors I thought I'd corrected.  I'd listed yogurt twice, with two different amounts and forgotten to count in my yeast packets.   I also have updated my broth amount. 

To Carry Over:  Tomato paste (about 3 ounces), 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups chicken, probably about 1 1/2 quart of broth, and I think about half the noodles I make which should be enough for another meal. At least 6 cups of yogurt will be leftover.  Of the five pounds of flour and four pounds of sugar I should have 2.5 pounds of flour left, and about 7 cups of sugar.  I think we'll have about 1/4 jar of peanut butter left, more if none is used to stuff celery,  but jelly should be nearing the end of the jar.  There may be a potato or two and certainly I will have some celery, carrots and onions left.   I'll continue to have salt/garlic powder and I still have 1/2 pound black beans, too. 2 packets of yeast. Life isn't looking nearly so bleak when you can cook a meal and have foods left in the cupboard and fridge and even put a few things away in the freezer.  If this keeps up I'll have to do a pantry/freezer  challenge!

Meals listed are based upon what I said I'd have in my scenario.  Yes, they are slightly different.  I used what I had on hand and that's more a money saver for me than using foods I might have to go out to purchase.  The point of my scenario is to teach/remind us that we can eat well on a lower budget.  I'll be honest with you, much as I'd liked to have added to my challenge list, I was still mighty impressed with how far I could make things go were it needed.

Meal one:
Roasted Chicken
Roasted Potato Chunks
Green Beans

In reality I had fresh green beans but I saved back a few to toss into the chicken noodle soup later and the cake was John's birthday cake with chocolate frosting. And I did serve a salad with this meal to extend it.

Meal Two: 
Chicken Pot Pie with pourable crust
Brussels Sprouts (found these in the fridge drawer...I'd forgotten I bought them so wanted to use them)
Cranberry Sauce (pulled from freezer.  One of my use it up items)

I had plenty of pot pie left for a second meal and enough cranberry sauce as well.  As you can see, I'm not following my scenario budget meals exactly.  For one thing, I am still trying to use up items that have been on hand and it would be a shame to waste foods on hand (like those Brussels Sprouts).  And by the way, one of those containers of cranberry sauce was labeled sometime in 2015 and it was just fine.  So if you ever have leftover cranberry sauce and wonder what to do with it:  FREEZE IT!  It keeps well.

I was very mindful of the mention of one of you readers who followed last challenge on your own and noted there wasn't enough chicken in the pot pie made.  Well I made sure to put in enough we'd notice it thanks to that observation.  I  set aside the two legs for a future dinner.  I discovered at this point that one of the wings had been pretty much laid bare last weekend when I served company.  I decided the two legs were plenty large enough on this big roaster to suffice as a meat serving for us. 

I picked over the bones and got a large cottage cheese container full of meat.  Not quite the three cups I'd thought I'd get but pretty close.  I also had more broth than I'd thought I might.  I got 2 quarts and one pint and half sized jar. 

I must add here as well that there was fat atop the broth which might well be used to season vegetables or used in frying potatoes rather than using the margarine.  I have noted in the past that the fat will taste of celery and onion (I tossed in ends and tops from both) so this fat is best used for savory cooking.  So if you'd prefer to have a plain chicken fat then skip adding that to your initial broth making, and be aware that any seasoning used on the chicken is going to add some flavor to the fat.  While we were out shopping today at The Fresh Market I found little 1/2 cup containers of Duck fat in the dairy case for $5.99 each...Just so you can feel you've added luxury in life by saving that poultry fat!

Several of you mention the bulk purchases.  I don't have access to those.  If I did, I surely would utilize them if they fit the budget but I don't.  There is a bulk spice section of sorts at The Fresh Market which we visited today but they are pre-measured portions for $3.99.  The least expensive spices available to me are either Aldi or Dollar General at present and neither of those sell pepper for less than $2.29. I know because I've checked.  I've noted that not all Aldi stores have the same prices by the way, so by all means if you can buy it less expensively, DO.    


Rose (UK) said...

Another interesting and inspiring post, thank you.
This is a good 'stretch a chicken post'
I can hardly believe how much you both can do with one chicken! It's an inspiration to me and much needed as my coffers are soon to be empty. I've just sold my house to get rid of my mortgage and am buying a tiny cottage 300 miles away with cash. I'll be eating a lot of rubber chicken in the coming months but at least I'll have a forever roof over my head and will sleep easy. What an adventure at 58 and on my own!

Rhonda said...

Hi Terri,
I'm really enjoying reading all your figuring and planning. It reminds of how I used to plan things out. Our grocery budget has gotten too big and I am trying to get back to this planning method.
About bulk stores, I didn't used to have access to them but once Sprouts opened a few months ago, another store expanded and added a bulk section too. Sprouts is much cheaper than the second one. Sprouts has a bulk spice section and you can buy whatever you measure. I think that would be the thriftiest way to try out a new spice.

Delorise said...

Congrats to you, Rose. I am so happy for you to be mortgage free. Hope you are blissfully happy in your cottage. In regard to pepper, that is an item that I have rarely seen on sale. Occasionally Harveys will have BOGO but not very often. My hubby loves a squash dressing that I fix as long as there is cranberry sauce to go with it. Since he rarely eats the whole can of sauce- I freeze the remainder. You are so right-- it freezes very well.

Terri Cheney said...

Rose, I am excited for you on your move! My goodness that will be quite a life change won't it? But yes, it's well worth it to know the roof over your head is yours and come what may shall be yours right on. My own home has been paid for now for 8 years and we've never regretted paying this place off.

Rhonda, this challenge meal planning is to keep me on my toes and not allow me to get to complacent. I am forever bemoaning that I'm over budget but I've learned a bit from my own self in planning these challenges! I've remembered things I've forgotten and gotten more creative in my approach. I NEEDED this to keep me thinking hard about what I could do and it's very encouraging on many levels to see that I can make changes.

Lana said...

It is a whole chicken week here as well. I cooked a 5 pound fryer yesterday and it will make five meals. Our house smelled good all day with broth simmerin 9n the crockpot.

beckyathome said...

That's a bummer that you cannot get bulk spices! That is the way I buy them now, as I can only buy 1 tiny spoonful if that's all I want, or enough to fill my old bottles if it is a common spice. It never adds up to very much, usually pennies. Sometimes, these bulk spice areas are in the natural foods section of pricy stores--go figure!

Loving all your ideas!

Kay said...

Too bad there is not a natural food coop near you or bulk food store to find spices in bulk. I wonder if the picnic set of S&P shakers would be cheaper than a tin of pepper at the Dollar Store? Also, I've really enjoyed this series. Very inspiring for me since I lost my job the last week of Dec. and we implemented a strict $35 bi-monthly food budget. Granted we do have our own meat in the freezer (Thank you Father God for the prompting to create that deep pantry & freezer!) But other perishables have to be purchased & only on sale if possible. To note on your saving the chicken schmaltz, I've been saving beef tallow & bacon grease also. I recently did the Whole30 (yes while on this strict budget) and butter was out, but ghee was ok as well as natural fats. NO margarine. We don't eat that anyway. If I was doing this challenge from start (no pantry) I would have kept every scrap of fat/grease to avoid the margarine. But that's just me. :) Note to Rose: Blessings on your new adventure. I dream of a small little cottage just for me. Just because it would be so cozy.

Lynn said...

I LOVE your blog so I hate to say anything that sounds critical, but I would find your blog so much easier to read if it didn't have the pictures behind it. They're cute but just plain white as the background would be a lot easier to see. Maybe I'm the only blind one in the bunch��

Terri Cheney said...

Lynn, I'll have to study on this one a bit. I like a back ground but I certainly don't want it to interfere with reading. I have been using some of my own vintage copy lately so I might have to return to a Blogger background. I'll see. I'm ready to change it up again anyway, lol.

Kay, NOTE TO SELF: Check picnic salt and pepper...I"ve had that in my head but it's going on my list, now.

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying this series very much. Thank you for all the time you put into it.

Re: pepper: Do you have a Walgreens? Walgreens seems to regularly have sales of their basic spices (cinnamon, pepper, others) on sale 2/$1. You must by 2, but at least would get 2 full size bottles for your $1. And my urban location prices seem more expensive at the same stores that you mention, like Aldi, so maybe your Walgreens would have them even cheaper.

Re: the pictures in the background: on my screen the background behind the writing of the posts themselves is solid white, the pictures are only on the sides.

Lana said...

I was confused by the pictures in the backgrounds comment until I pulled up your blog on my phone. That is where the picture problem makes reading difficult.

Anonymous said...

Terri, while making lunch today I thought of you. On the menu was slow cooker scalloped potatoes and ham (using your recipe from some time ago and potatoes that needed to be used), kale and cannellini bean saute and apple crisp (using wrinkled apples that no one would eat and only 1/3 of the sugar called for in the recipe). As I was standing in front of my stove, I thought to myself, Terri would be so proud of me! So I decided to let you know. Thanks for all you share with us. MeginKS

Terri Cheney said...

MeginKS I AM proud of you! You used every bit of the foods you had rather than let them go to waste. And you brought sweet happy tears to my eyes as well as a smile. Thank you for letting me know that I was a part of your day!

Rose said...

Thank you for all your good wishes regarding my new cottage adventure. I'm much more excited than worried about the move. It will be wonderful to have a 'paid for' home. Terri, I just want to agree with Lana about the phone. I recently read your blog on my phone while on the train going up to London and the background did make reading difficult. I rarely use the internet on my 'phone as it's expensive but couldn't resist a new post from The Blue House! On my laptop, the background is just fine. All of the images that you use are delightful.
Best wishes, Rose (UK)

Kathy said...

Thanks for another challenge. I found this one easier than the first since I had some things that would carry over to the new menu. I think that I could feed my family(2 adults & 2 teens) on $30.26/week. Now my son would not be pleased as there are more beans than he is used to eating in a week. :D
Carryover foods: tea, sugar, pb, jelly, salt, chili powder, onions, carrots,ranch dressing

breakfasts: oatmeal, $1.59 milk gallon, $2.59, 18 eggs, $1.59, butter, $2.50, blackberries .99, baking powder, $1.59, flour, $1.89
So I could make pancakes and baking powder biscuits too. Love having more variety with buying baking powder.

lunch: Rhonda's bread recipe: eggs, pb&j, baked potatoes 5lb, $2.99

pinto beans and cornbread
$1 dry beans, $1.59 cornmeal
bean and cheese burritos, salsa and tostitos
tortillas 1.39, roma tomatoes $1, jalapenos .20 cheese $1.88, lettuce .99
taco soup x2
canned tomatoes 2x.59, corn .59, dry black beans $1 generic tostitos $1
black bean burgers
from black beans cooked earlier, make buns, oven fries
nathan hot dogs $1.99 make buns, baked potato, salad
chili and cornbread
from leftover pinto and black beans, cornbread, cheese
tomatoes 2x.59

snacks: can make sugar cookies, nachos,

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