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Friday, March 23

30 (maybe) days of no shopping dinners

Usually around 4:30 I open the cabinets, freezer, and pantry and think, "What in the heck am I going to make for dinner tonight?" Ironically the cabinets, freezer and pantry are all FULL of how can this be a tough decison? How do I decide that there is NOTHING I can make and order pizza instead?

I have tried meal planning, and it works. It's a good way to eliminate the "what am I making" question. But I found myself spending a lot of time and money at the grocery store.

Last night I became inspired when watching the Food Network show Chopped. In an effort to save money and not be so wasteful, I have challenged myself to 30 days of dinners using WHAT I HAVE. I am expecting lots of pasta dishes and some total flops, but I think it will help me become aware that just because I can go get anything I want anytime I want it, doesn't mean I should. Hopefully this will make me a little less selfish and a little more frugal.

Let me make a note that I am cooking for myself & my fiancee. There are no kids in the house, so I might have it a little easier than some.

Here are my rules:
  1. The majority of dinner must be made with foods I already have at home.
  2. Fresh produce and dairy can still be bought throughout the month. However, I must chose to use  the frozen veggies over fresh if I have them.
  3. I can grocery shop to fill in small items if I need to, but the grocery bill cannot excede $20 a week.
Follow me on this adventure of creative cooking and see what I can come up with!


This was actually last night and before I decided on the challenge, so unfortunately no picture. But here is what I made.

I thawed and cooked lean turkey smoked sausage. Boiled some carrot/pea/beet pasta I bought at the local farmers market 2 weeks ago. Tossed it in a mixture of (no measuring here!) parmasan cheese, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and about 1/2 tbsp of butter. Then just because I felt crazy I threw in a wedge of Laughing Cow light swiss cheese.

My Rating: B-      wish I had some cream to thin it out, and make it...creamier.
Fiancee Rating: B+    too much garlic


Tonight I pulled out a half gone bag of Egg noodles and decided they were on the chopping block for tonight. I browned some lean ground tukey, added some water....oh and what is that hiding in the back of my spices? Beef bouillon cubes! Sure, why not. I tossed in 2 of those. Added egg noodles & cooked till tender. Added 1 of the gazillion cans of Cream of Mushroom soup I have. How does one person aquire so much CoM soup? Anways, in to the pan that goes. Then I added the left over of a block of Velveta I had from when I made Polish mistakes 2 months ago. I never buy Velveta so this ingredient is a tough one for me. I added salt and pepper and a little bit of milk to help thin it out. Velveta gets thick!

My Rating: C-        I'm not a huge fan of Velveta
Fiancee Rating: A-

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