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Showing posts from September, 2014

Recipe Fail!

I had plans of posting a picture tonight of my bierock casserole recipe, but when each of the three gentlemen I live with declined to eat it, I decided it was a bust. My husband tried a little and ate the meat and cabbage filling but said the bread topping was doughy and picked around it. My five year old refused to try any more than one bite and made himself ramen noodles instead. The one year old rubbed the plate on his head and then threw the rest to the dog.

My goal was to come up with a bierock recipe that avoided the canned crescent roll dough and cream of mushroom soup, so I subbed quick homemade drop biscuits instead on top and made a roux for the sauce. Any ideas for a better quick "clean" substitute for the crescent rolls?

ALDI Only Challenge Week 6: $69.78

This has been my most expensive week yet, but still under my $100 goal. Of course I had to get the new quinoa and organic tomato paste and sauce!


Organic Quinoa $3.99Cottage Cheese $2.29NFC Orange Juice $2.29No HFCS Ketchup $1.29Whole Milk (2) $6.00Organic Apples $4.99Tortilla Chips (3) $3.57Whole Wheat Bread $1.29Organic Tomato Paste (2) $1.10Organic Tomato Sauce $.79Monterrey Jack Cheese Block (2) $3.98Colby Jack Cheese Block $1.99Organic Bananas $1.28Cream Cheese (4) $5.16Diapers $4.99Large Eggs $1.49Parmesan Cheese Shreds $1.99Goat Cheese Log $1.99Baby Bella Mushrooms $1.49Baby Wipes (2) $1.70Russet Potatoes $3.49Toilet Paper $6.99Tax $5.64 Total $69.78
Menu Plan 
Saturday: Steak, Baked Potatoes, and Veggies Kabobs Sunday: Neighborhood BBQ - taking Amy's Awesome Spinach Dip Monday: Black Bean and Quinoa Chili (Slow Cooker) Tuesday: Potato Soup (Leftover) Wednesday: Bierock Casserole (Freezer) Thursday: Take Out - Soccer Practice Night Friday: Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche
Lunch Options…

Amy's Awesome Spinach Dip

This is my go-to recipe for an appetizer when hosting an event. It can be made the day before and baked just before the event. This is an adaptation of our friend Amy's recipe. Always a hit! Ingredients Season's Choice Frozen Spinach, thawed and pressed to drain thoroughly 1 c. Priano Parmesan Cheese, shredded 8 oz. Happy Farms Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded 1 c. Friendly Farms Whole Milk 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 small tomato, finely chopped 16 oz. Happy Farms Cream Cheese (2 blocks) softened Benita Tortilla Chips, Pretzel Crisps, or baguette-style bread
Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350*

2. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients with a fork.

3. Transfer to 9x13 glass pan, large quiche pan, or similar. Bake at 350* for 45 min.

4. Serve with chips, crisps, or bread

*Can be made the night before and refrigerated before baking. Make sure you allow the pan to come to room temp. before placing in a hot oven as not to crack the pan.

10 (I mean 7) "Real Foods" I Wished ALDI Carried

Since every time I think about how I wish ALDI has one thing or another, it shows up the next month in the store, I figured I would post my top 10 list and see if ALDI can take care of any of it for me? What do you think ALDI?1. Whole Wheat Flour - organic would be nice, but I'll take it either way  (Thank you ALDI!)
2. Coconut Oil (and other unrefined oils) - I love it for baking, organic preferred (Thank you ALDI!)
3. Whole Wheat Bread with less ingredients/less processed (throw in some bagels and tortillas too:)
4. Cage-Free Eggs (Free Range preferred)
5. Organic Whole Milk
6. Garbanzo Beans  Thanks ALDI! Love having them in store!
7. Cayenne Pepper
8. Organic Cheeses (Bring back the Organic Sharp Cheddar!)
9. Quinoa Thanks again ALDI!
10. Organic Unsalted Butter

If you need shelf space, you can get rid of the "Fruity Pebble" type cereal my kid asks for every time:)

ALDI Only Challenge: Week 5: $47.35

Yet another affordable week at ALDI! I scored some Chinese food freezer markdowns and I am giving the "Red Hot" deal of the week a try - review soon on the Huntington Home 24x36 rug for $4.99. Here is what I purchased this week followed by the meal plan for the week:

Mini Egg Rolls $.99Pot Stickers $.99Crab Rangoon (2) $1.98Frozen Single Serv Meals (3) $2.97Tuscan Chicken Pizza $1.99Canola OilWhole Milk $3.00Cream Cheese (2) $2.58Baby Wipes $.85Diapers $4.99NFC Orange Juice $2.29Ham $.49Croissants $2.49Cabbage $.69Swiss Cheese Block $1.99Egg Spaetzle $1.99Organic Salsa $1.99Organic Bananas $1.28Navel Oranges $2.49Woven Rug $4.99Tax $3.83 Total: $47.35
Dinner Plan for the Week:
Saturday: Out Sunday: Kaese Spaetzle and Red Cabbage with Apples Monday: Bierock Casserole Tuesday: Potato Soup and Side Salad Wednesday: Quinoa and Black Beans Thursday: Take Out Friday: Cream Cheese Enchiladas 

I think ALDI is reading my mind!

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I am super excited for next week's items (starting 9/24) because they are going to offer...drum roll please...QUINOA! (Pronounced Keen-Wah)

And to top that, it's organic and $3.99/lb which beats the bulk bin price I have paid in the past! I will be revising the Black Beans and Rice recipe for a Black Beans and Quinoa one later this week.  They also are going to offer "natural ketchup" without HFCS- reserving my enthusiasm to see if regular corn syrup is still an ingredient? ALDI - care to comment? FOLLOW UP 9/24 - The ketchup has sugar as a sweetener - no corn syrup (yeah) but would still love to see an organic one.

Oktoberfest Items are here!

The Deutsche Kuche line is featured in the ALDI ad this week. I am excited for Cheese Spaetzle and Red Cabbage with Apples being on our menu next week:) We may also have to pick up the Spinach and Ricotta Strudel and the Bavarian Soft Pretzels. So many delicious choices! What German dishes to you prepare at your house?

On a side note- don't take all of the Red Hot Item this week. I need new kitchen rugs and those patterns look awesome!

Under $100/week: Shopping List for the Meatless Menu

On the Meal Planning Page, there is a 1 week collection of some of one week of our meatless meals. Below is the shopping list you would use at ALDI to make all of the  seven dinners, four lunches, and two weekend breakfasts. Prices listed are to the best of my knowledge as of the date of this post based on our NE KS store. The pantry list items, I am going to assume, are in your fridge or pantry. If not, you will need to add those items to your list, but they are all available at ALDI. If you were to purchase everything on the shopping list, your pre-tax total would be $70.18, leaving some room for fresh fruit, household items, or whatever else your family needs and still being under $100 for the week.
PantryDried BasilDried OreganoCuminDried ParsleyBlack Pepper SaltChili PowderGarlic SaltMayonnaiseOlive OilBaking PowderCanola or Vegetable OilWhite Wine or Distilled VinegarSugarFlour The ALDI Shopping List Priano Pesto $1.29Diced Tomatoes (2 regular or 1 large can) $1.18Flour Tortillas…

Seasonal Baking Items are Back!

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I was nearly jumping up and down in the aisle when I saw that the seasonal baking items are back at ALDI! I am sure the other Saturday morning shoppers thought I was nuts as I nearly took a selfie with the yeast. Below are a few of the other iems I spotted:
Yeast Strips $.79Baking Powder $.99Marshmallow CremeBaking ChipsAlmond Extract and...Cloves, Cream of Tartar, and a few other spice additions for the holidays *Thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and cookie and candy baking at Christmas, I went ahead and bought a couple of yeast strips and some baking powder. My ALDI-only challenge will end before Thanksgiving, but I am thinking of seeing if I can pull off an ALDI-only Thanksgiving this year. Thoughts?

ALDI Only Challenge Week 4: $43.31

Yet again, another cheap week as I continue to use up garden produce, freezer, and pantry items. I actually bought ahead this week on a few pantry items as well. Here is what I purchased followed by the meal plan for the week:


Paper towels $.69Whole Milk $3.00Plain Bagels $1.69 (wish they offered whole wheat - hint hint ALDI)Organic Bananas $1.28Yellow Onions $1.28Large Eggs $1.59Yeast Packets (2) $1.58 - YEAH! Seasonal baking items are back!Ibuprofen $1.99Premium Coffee $4.99Frozen Fettuccine Meal $.99 (DH requests frozen meals because he is a lazy lunch packer!)Corndogs $2.19 (DH again)Organic Stevia Packets $1.79Diapers $4.99Gala Apples $2.99Flour Tortillas $1.19Baking Powder $.99 (Seasonal Baking)Buffalo Chicken Boneless Wings $4.88 (DH again - can you tell who likes the processed food in our house?)Chopped Spinach $.99Tax $3.50 Total: $43.31
Meal Plan for the Week
Saturday: School Carnival/Out Sunday: Lasagna with Summer Squash (didn't get made last week) Monday: Mac and Cheese an…

How I Keep My Grocery Bill Under $100 Per Week (Family of 4)

As you can see from my last three weeks of my ALDI challenge, I rarely spend over $100 on groceries for my family for the week. *Revised *10/16/2014
I shop at ALDI (Duh!)I shop alone. Most of the time I shop first thing Saturday morning so that my kiddos can stay home with my husband. That way only one person can be affected by impulse buys (and I'm pretty disciplined).I eat breakfast and bring my coffee along from home when I shop. Aldi is not as tempting as other grocery stores in that way, but it still helps to have a contented stomach when you shop so that it is about getting what you need and not what sounds good at the moment.I meal plan for the week so I buy exactly what I will be needing and not a random assortment of things that will end up going to waste. I build my list based on items in my fridge, freezer, and pantry that need used up first.I make a list and stick to it! I use tally marks on my grocery list to estimate how much am I spending as I go and if it looks like…

Chili in the Slow Cooker

Serves 4, Cost per serving $2.29 (using organic options) $1.39 if not Ingredients 1 lb. ground beef (I prefer the SimplyNature organic) 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid - organic available 1 can red kidney beans (rinsed and drained) 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained) organic available 1 medium onion, chopped 2 cloves of garlic chopped or minced 1 cup water 1 T. Cumin 1 T. Chili Powder 1 tsp. Dried Oregano Hot Sauce to Taste
*We like to top with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.
Directions 1. Brown beef in a skillet. 2. Combine cooked beef, tomatoes, beans, onion, garlic, and water in slow cooker. (I do this the night before and place in fridge.) 3. Cook on low all day. 4. 20 minutes prior to serving, add spices and reduce heat to warm or turn off. You may add salt if you choose, but I don't since the canned beans have quite a bit of sodium.
*Budget Tip- This recipe has double the beans and tomatoes than many recipes do stretching the volume without breaking the bank.

Aldi-Only Challenge Week 3: $47.52

I keep waiting for a week with a huge bill, but apparently we are still eating out quite a bit since I went back to work full time. I also have been trying to use up some freezer items. Here's what I purchased this week:
Whole wheat bread $1.29Grapes $1.58Tortilla chips $1.19Frozen Broccoli $.99Frozen Peas $.99Wheat Thin - type crackers $1.25Fit and Active frozen meals (2) $1.98Cottage cheese $2.29Bananas $1.09Orange juice $2.39Diapers $4.99Lasagna Noodles $1.49Retractable Dog Leash $5.99 (awesome find! Half the price of a comparable one at Walmart)Rising Crust Pizza $3.29Premium Coffee (2) $9.98Whole milk $3.00Tax $3.84 Total $47.52
Dinner Plan for the Week:
Saturday: Turkey Burgers and Baked Potatoes Sunday: Out to Eat (with Carolyn!) Monday: Chili in the Crockpot (made ahead) Tuesday: Vegetarian Lasagna and Broccoli Wednesday: Mac and Cheese and Peas Please Thursday: Out with Grandma Friday: Frozen Pizza and side salad
Tip for keeping your bill down: Set an amount you want to stick to a…

Backyard Turkey Burgers

These are super juicy if you don't over cook them and have a nice southwest flavor to jazz up ground turkey or chicken.  Serves 4, Cost per Serving $.75 Ingredients  1 lb. Ground Turkey or chicken  1 tsp. garlic salt  1 T. Chopped fresh or frozen cilantro 1T. Minced onion 1 tsp. cumin 1 tsp. paprika  1/2 tsp. black pepper 4 slices of cheese (your choice) 4 hamburger buns - I use the whole wheat ones Optional toppings: avocado slices, cilantro, onion, Southwest dressing
Directions 1. Combine meat, herbs, and spices until well blended.
2. Divide and form into 4 patties.
3. Grill approximately 4 minutes per side on medium high heat with grill lid closed. Top with cheese slices for the last minute of cooking. Check to make sure they cooked through. 
4. Serve on buns with desired toppings.



Aldi-Only Challenge Week 2: $56.47 (with Road Trip Food!)

This is my second week of grocery shopping exclusively at ALDI and I was expecting to spend a lot more than I did. I was shocked to come out so far under budget. We took a Labor Day Weekend Trip to Tulsa and I packed lunches, snacks, and drinks for all three days of the trip. We ate hotel breakfast and had dinner out both nights. This also included what I needed for the week for meals at home.
Bottled Water $1.99Seedless Watermelon $2.99Lunch Buddies (ALDI Lunchable) $1.993 Oscar Meyer Lunchables $7.47Whole Cashews $4.29Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips $1.19Unsalted Butter $2.99Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns $1.29Feta Crumbles $1.99Baking Potatoes $2.692 Nuby Cups $3.78Kettle Chips $1.79Whole Milk $3.00Diapers $4.99Sliced Turkey 1 lb. $3.99Whole Wheat Bread $1.29Deli Sliced Colby Jack $2.19Red Pepper Hummus $1.99Tax $4.57 Total: $56.47
Dinner Plan for the Week Saturday: Out to Eat Sunday: Out to Eat Monday: Frozen Pizza and Caprese Salad Tuesday: Chicken Burgers and Fries Wednesday: Fish Tacos and C…