Cauliflower 3 Ways: How I Used a Sale Priced Staple to Keep My Food Costs Low for 1 Week

When I started The Lighter Life Blog, I always intended to bring recipes and food into the mix; last week I took advantage of a 2 for $5 sale on Cauliflower at my local grocer (Longos Markham) to make dinner for two people all week for $71.59 [$35.79/person or $5.11/avg meal].

Saturday Night: Pasta with Sausage $5.19/plate

Most Saturday nights are low-key in our household, I do my shopping on Saturday mornings, and my big meal prep cook on Sunday mornings, so Saturday evening is a bit of a no-man’s-land. Quick and easy plates, or meals out with friends are the hallmark of our mid-weekend meal.

What’s on the Plate (2 portions)?

  • ½ a jar of pre-made Pasta Sauce, I pick up a jar of sauce when one of my preferred brands is on sale, this jar on sale for $2.99 adds about 75cents to the cost of each meal.
  • ½ a bag of high quality Pasta, just like sauce, I pick up pasta when my preferred brand goes on sale – especially if I’m totally out, even if I don’t plan to use any that week – this bag of Del Verde Farfalle is on sale this week for $1.99 and adds 50cents to the cost of each plate.
  • ½ a bag of frozen Cookin’ Greens, even when they aren’t on sale, I love choosing Cookin’ Greens to stock my freezer because the company was started by Canadian Women. This bag of frozen Kale retails for $4.79 and adds $1.20 to the cost of each plate. *Easy Swap* fresh in-season greens and wilt them down in the sauce for a few extra minutes.
  • 1 pkg of Greenfield Smoked Sausage, I love that these sausages are from Hogs that are Humanely raised without Antibiotics; two of my biggest “beefs” with the meat industry are the treatment Animals and the use of Gut destroying antibiotics. On sale a package of 4 sausages was $5.49 which adds $2.75 to the cost of each plate.

Sunday and Wednesday Nights: BBQ Chicken Drumsticks and Cauliflower “potato” Salad $3.66/plate

The first of three meals (five nights) for the week that used a portion of the 2 heads of cauliflower I scored for $5, these three meals all also included 1/3 of a bag of the peas I also scored on sale for $2.99. I couldn’t resist taking advantage of some great BBQ weather (although I did come within a few minutes of being rained on).

What’s on the Plate (4 portions)?

  • 1 pkg (7 drumsticks) of Chicken from Yorkshire Valley Farms in Ontario, I love to be able to eat local while still eating non-GMO grain-fed chicken, that won’t mess with my healthy gut flora. This sale-priced tray was $7.53 and adds $1.84 to the cost of the plate.
  • Cauliflower “Potato Salad”: 2/3 of a head of Cauliflower; 1/3 bag of Peas; 4 tbsp of Avo Oil Mayo; 5-6 sweet pickles (chopped); 1/3 Onion (I used a regular cooking onion, so I sautéed it with the onions for the stew); paprika, garlic powder, mustard and dill.

The most expensive ingredient on the plate after the chicken was actually the mayo, a jar of Chosen Foods is $14.99! Which is a lot when you consider Hellmann’s is $5.99.

Meatless Monday Night: Cauliflower Fried “Rice” with Shrimp $8.48/plate

A couple of years ago I made the switch to organic and/or wild caught meats and fish; mostly to eliminate added antibiotics from my diet, but also because I wanted to work to move away from consuming foods that are factory farmed. At that point I made the decision to reduce the overall amount of meat I eat and the frequency, in an effort to balance against the increase in pricing; while sale-priced organic meats are now quite affordable, wild caught fish and seafood is still a bit of a treat.

The shrimp I used for this recipe was on on a flash sale a few weeks ago, I bought three bags, one of which I used for this recipe. Even on sale, wild caught Argentinian Shrimp adds up at the register, at $11.99/bag. I also put the cauliflower for this meal through the food processor, I pulsed a ¼ full bowl until everything was chopped into rice-sized pieces.

What’s on the Plate (2 portions)?

  • 2/3 head of Cauliflower (Riced) $1.65 which adds 83cents to each plate. *Easy Swap* any pre-“riced” veggies: last week there were also Harvest Fresh Riced Vegetables on sale for $3.99/pkg for a savings of $1.
  • 1/3 bag of peas which adds 50cents to each plate.
  • 1 bag of Wild Caught Shrimp which adds $6 to each plate and contributes to this being the most expensive meal of the week.
  • 3 Organic Eggs, which scrambled first, and then put them aside, they can also be added after everything else is cooked by creating a well in the rest of the ingredients and scrambling them in bottom centre of your pan or wok. We buy our eggs in trays of 24 for $11.39 at Costco.
  • All of this was fried in a few teaspoons of Peanut Oil with 1/3 Onion, 2 cloves of garlic, five spice, cilantro, and finished with some low sodium soy sauce.

Tuesday and Friday Nights: Beef Stew with Cauliflower “potato” Chunks $4.41/plate

When planning mid-week meals, I look for recipes that are easy to make-ahead, with all ingredients in one or two dishes for no-fuss heat-and-serve after work. While I am not a fan of beef, I will eat it FULLY cooked and in small amounts, a batch of slow-cooker stew fits the bill as the days have started to get chilly.

What’s on the Plate (4 portions)?

  •  1 package Grass Fed Stewing beef, I bought some Qu’Appelle Beef for $11.99 on sale, while it was the same price as a bag of shrimp the per meal cost is only $3 because I stretched it in a stew.
  • 1/3 Head of Cauliflower in the place of potatoes and other root veggies (did you know I hate carrots and celery?), and 1/3 of a bag of peas. This classic combo stretched into not just two “comfort foods” but transformed for an Asian-inspired one wok meal as well.
  • 1 can of Crushed Tomato. *Easy Swap* take advantage of in-season Foodland Ontario Tomatoes, peeled if preferred.
  • I dusted the beef in a combination of ¼ cup Flour and 2 tbsp pre-mixed Harissa seasoning from Farm Boy; and then browned it in a pan before adding to the slow cooker. I mixed the remaining flour and seasoning with a bit of oil and cooked it into a roux and then added it to the slow cooker to help thicken the stew as it cooked.

Lazy Thursday Night: Longos Meal Kit – Build Your Own $6.00/plate

When I see easy meals like meal kits or meal-size salads on sale, I like to pick a couple of them up to break up the week. Healthy, and reasonably priced alternatives to home-cooked allow you to add variety to your weekly menu, and to take a bit of a breather from our busy lives.

What’s on the Plate (2 portions)?

  • Pad Thai Sauce – I pouch
  • “Szechuan” Veggie Mix – 1 pkg
  • “Umami” seasoned Chicken – 1 pkg
  • Pre-Cooked Pad Thai Noodles – 1 pkg

Final Thoughts: I have done my best to estimate the cost of kitchen staples such as Oils, dried spices, and condiments. The pricing outlined only includes dinners for two adults for one week, it does not include, breakfasts, lunches, snacks or beverages (including alcohol).

I have done my best to estimate the cost of kitchen staples such as Oils, dried spices, and condiments. The pricing outlined only includes dinners for two adults for one week, it does not include, breakfasts, lunches, snacks or beverages (including alcohol).

**All pricing from Longos/Grocery Gateway unless otherwise stated.**

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