Couponing Trip: Target

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a couponing trip. Every once in a while, I see a good enough deal that I want to try it out. Last week, I went to Target to try my hand at scoring some free products.

couponing trip

Ignore the dirty floor…

1 gallon milk – on sale for $4.99 each (Normally $5.64 each)
Used $0.35/1 printable

6 Dial for Men Bodywash – $2.99 each (Buy 3, Get 1 Dial Hand Soap refill FREE)
Used 3 $2/2 printable

2 Dial Antibacterial Hand Soap Refill – $3.99 each (Free since I bought 6 Dial bodywash)
Used $1/2 printable

2 Suave shampoo – $0.94 each (FREE after coupons. My Target doesn’t give overages.)
Used $1/2 Target mobile coupon
Used 2 $0.50/1 printable

Used $5/$15 Target mobile coupon

Total before coupons and sales: $44.09

Total with tax after coupons, sales, and bag discount: $10.80 (savings of 67.6%)

I can also submit my receipt for the milk and Dial for a $1.25 credit with Ibotta.

Freezer Cooking Day

Last week, I used my first day off for my new schedule to execute a freezer cooking day! A freezer cooking day is basically meal prep on steroids (the prepping, not the meals). In the past, I’ve done one hour or an entire afternoon of freezer cooking sessions, but never have I undertaken so much in a single day.

Why do freezer cooking? Here are my top 3 reasons:

  1. It saves time. Oh no! It’s 4:00 and you haven’t started dinner? No problem. Just pull something out of the freezer, throw it in the oven, make a salad, and you’ve got dinner ready. You can also double or triple batches of certain recipes in the same amount of time it would take to make one!
  2. It saves money. How many times do we order take-out or go through the drive-thru because it’s easy? Think of how expensive it is for a family of 4 to eat out. Homemade meals can be time consuming to make, but eating at home is a proven way to save hundreds of dollars a month. Many times we’ve had weeks where we’ll “eat from the pantry” in order to stretch our grocery budget. Since I’d been stocking up on pantry essentials for a few weeks now, I was able to plan my freezer cooking menu around what I had on hand. I spent less than $40 on my groceries that day.
  3. It saves your health. Convenience foods are expensive and terrible for your health. Yes, you can take a frozen pizza and have it ready to eat in 20 minutes. You can microwave Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, frozen burritos, etc. and have a hot meal in minutes. Those foods are packed full of preservatives and chemicals that wreak havoc on your body, not to mention how a serving size just isn’t quite enough to fill you up. By preparing homemade meals, you can avoid a large portion of those chemicals and have delicious, filling, and healthy foods available to eat at any moment.

How did I plan my freezer cooking day? I started by scouring Pinterest, cookbooks, and websites for freezer-friendly recipes. Most tutorials on freezer cooking involves making dinner recipes. Since I usually don’t have a problem planning dinners, my main focus was to find recipes that my husband would like to eat for breakfast, lunches, and snacks.

The day before my cooking day. I printed out this freezer cooking planner pack from Money Saving Mom for planning my day (hint – print enough copies of page 2 so you have enough recipe cards for your plan OR just print out each recipe so you have it on hand). I came up with about 30 recipes to try, which is far too many to attempt in one day. After I wrote down all my ideas, I ran them past my husband to see what he actually wanted to eat. This helped me bring my list down to 15 recipes (still a lofty list for one day of cooking by myself). When I settled on my final list, I printed out each recipe individually so I wouldn’t forget any ingredients. I decided to do my cooking day at my mom’s house, mostly because of her larger kitchen (along with the many dishes I would need), but also because she has a dishwasher!

My final recipe selection was (in no particular order):

 

The morning of, I started loading up my car at about 7am and headed to her house by 7:30. I had a rough idea of what ingredients I needed, but I hadn’t made a final list. I made a list on the computer, added up like ingredients (i.e. 6 cups of shredded cheddar cheese for the day instead of 3 recipes with 2 cups each), compared that list to what I had on hand, and came up with a final list of what I needed to buy. List in hand, I headed out to Winco to buy my groceries. In case you missed it before, I spent less than $40 because of stocking up ahead of time (I even have extra sugar, flour, and yeast leftover for next time)! I was able to return within an hour to start cooking.

After processing the dishes, I started on my cooking. Now, I didn’t keep an accurate record of what time I started each recipe, but I basically cooked from 10:15am till 9:30pm. I took an hour lunch break around 2pm, ran the dishwasher 4 times, and finally got home at 10:30pm after cleaning everything up. I had a 15-hour day!

Look what I came out with after my long day!

freezer cooking day

  • 22 breakfast burritos
  • 22 pasta lunches (each 1 serving of pasta + 1 serving of broccoli alfredo sauce)
  • 11 cups homemade pumpkin puree
  • 2 lbs shredded chicken taco meat
  • 1 lb plain shredded chicken
  • 1 Tex Mex lasagna
  • 1 Easy Baked Ziti
  • 1 Chicken Alfredo lasagna
  • 8 homemade bacon & cheese “hot pockets”
  • 8 garlic parmesan twist breadsticks
  • 6 balls of pizza dough
  • 3 1/4 dozen homemade energy bites (2 bites per serving)
  • 6 pints strawberry freezer jam
  • 3 banana bread loaves (9 servings per loaf)
  • 1 iced banana cake
  • 2 pumpkin cream cheese swirl bread loaves (9 servings per loaf)
  • 18 pumpkin cream cheese muffins (2 muffins per serving)

That’s enough for:

  • 22 breakfasts
  • 30 lunches
  • 17 dinners
  • 1 side dish
  • 65 snacks
  • 1 dessert

That’s 136 meals/sides PLUS:

  • 6 cans of pumpkin puree
  • 6 jars of jam

If you consider the $38 I spent on groceries, it breaks down to $0.28 per meal NOT including the pumpkin puree and jam. If you count the puree and jam as one “meal” each (making the total 148 meals), it breaks down to $0.27 per meal. Either way, it’s a huge savings!

Phew! This was a long post. Thanks for sticking with me! Have you ever tried freezer cooking? What’s your method?

Basic Bread: An Elizabethan Cookbook

What’s better than fresh, homemade bread?

Maybe fresh, homemade bread with melty butter smooshed all over it.

 

Definitely.

This bread is the base for two Elizabethan recipes. I mixed my dough up the night before, let it rise in a warm place overnight, and then split it into two loaves the next day. I’ll be posting those separately. You could also just use this recipe for basic whole wheat bread.

 

Basic Bread

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Yields 2 loaves

2 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup sugar

1 packet active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast

5-6 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 Tbsp salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, yeast, and 2 cups whole wheat flour. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, and let it stand 10 minutes, until bubbly.

Stir in the salt and vegetable oil.

Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. When the dough holds together and most of the flour is mixed in, transfer it onto a clean, floured work surface.

Knead the dough. Sprinkle your hands and/or the work surface with just enough flour to prevent sticking. After 5 minutes, take a break and let the dough rest.

Knead the dough for a few more minutes. When you lightly press it with your fingertips, the dough should bounce right back. Put it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide it in half, and form each half into whatever shape you like.

If you’ve made braids, rounds, baguette shapes, or other freeform loaves, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again for 30 to 60 minutes, until they look nicely puffy.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 375°F.

Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the loaves. If you’ve made rounds or baguettes, slash the tops several times with a sharp knife.

Bake the loaves for about 30 to 40 minutes, until their crust is golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Cool completely before slicing. Store any leftovers, wrapped in plastic, for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Menu Plan Monday {9}

Image

Sorry I didn’t post last week. We were extremely busy all week. Last week, I was able to stick to my $40/week grocery budget. We’ll see how I do this week. I’m going grocery shopping today!

Here’s the plan for this week:

Breakfasts:

Slow-cooked apple cinnamon steel cut oats w/almond milk
Eggs & turkey bacon
Homemade sausage & cheese biscuit sandwiches

Lunches:

PB&J sandwiches
Turkey sandwiches
Leftovers

Dinners:

Frito Chili Pie
Chili Stuffed Peppers
Easy Garlic Chicken, rice, salad
Chicken with pasta, homemade slow-cooked tomato sauce
Chicken pizza on homemade crust with homemade sauce

Snacks:

Protein shakes
Greek yogurt
Apples & bananas
Nuts
Fritos

What are you planning for this week?

Menu Plan Monday {8}

menu plan monday

As you may have read in my last post, we made our move to our new home on Thursday night. We haven’t really stopped moving since. Moving is a rough business. We still have stuff left in our old house that we need to move over. We’re hoping to be completely out of the other house by Wednesday.

Since I’m still getting into the habit of meal planning again, I’ve only planned out dinners for the week. I also finally got to go grocery shopping after eating from the pantry for two weeks! With all that, I still wanted to keep to a budget of only $40 for groceries for the week. I just made it and came in at $39.51!

Monday

Basil chicken with tomatoes

Garlic Parmesan peas

Tuesday (school day)

Leftovers/Fend for yourself

Wednesday

Crunchy oven-baked chicken tenders

Brown sugar carrots

Green salad

Thursday

Grilled salmon

Broccoli

Wild rice

Friday

Slow-cooked balsamic pot roast

Baked potatoes

Garlic green beans

Saturday

Cheese Enchiladas with sliced avocados

Corn on the cob

Sunday

Leftovers