I am an absolute sucker for a good deal on food, especially with rising food prices, and my goal of eating as much fresh and local produce as possible during the summer months. I purchased the Produce Grill Box for 4, each week for the last weeks from Grocery Gateway, at an introductory price of $25 ($30 regular); and planned my entire menu around the components.
Here is how I adapted some of our old standby recipes, and threw in at least one curve ball, to take advantage of discounted produce, and to introduce some items I wouldn’t otherwise buy – pineapple (rarely); eggplant (never, as I’m the only one who eats it); and, corn on the cob (what a pain to shuck it).
Each week I plan my menu as I select my groceries from the Grocery Gateway platform, I take into account, what’s on sale, what’s seasonal, and what I expect to have left over from the week before; this exercise takes about 40 minutes (including purchase) and saves me an estimated 1.5 hours a week. We plan to have Take Out for dinner every Saturday, so each week’s meal plan includes six dinners for two.
What’s in the box:
Although as it turned out the Mushrooms were included in error, huge shout out to Grocery Gateway for the credit for the missing items you didn’t mean to sell me, but I meant to purchase.
What’s for Dinner – Week 1
- Beef Chili, includes Zucchini and Sweet Onions from the box. Topped with Corn (also from the box) that I steamed during meal prep and cut off the cob immediately before serving. Other money saving ingredients: I purchased this organic beef (3pk), and the guac (3pk) from Costco, I also included a can of Organic Crushed Tomatoes – also from Costco (8pk) and dried Kidney beans from my Pantry. This recipe would also have included mushrooms. (Tuesday and Thursday)
- Moroccan Chickpeas, my own creation, includes Zucchini and Sweet Onions from the box. Topped with the Eggplant I roasted while BBQing some Burgers (below). Other money saving ingredients: I used the last of some dried chickpeas I had hanging around my pantry, and another can of Organic Crushed Tomatoes from Costco. This is one of our old standbys, so I keep the pantry stocked with other ingredients, like pearl couscous, olives, capers, and raisins. Topped with basic hummus also from Longos. (Monday and Friday)
- Burgers and Potato Salad, with Potatoes and Sweet Onions from the box. I like to make my potato salad with cauliflower to reduce the carbs and calories, but used actual potatoes as included in the box, I tossed out the little seasoning packs that came with the BBQ safe tray, and boiled the potatoes instead. I also saved on the Burgers by taking advantage of a Grocery Gateway Members Only discount ($2 off for a package of 8), and buying Longos special seasonal buns. (Sunday and Wednesday).
I also used some of the box items to replace items for other meals that I would usually purchase, including replacing at least one of our snack items (we purchase 2-3 types of fruit per week) with the Pineapple, and swapping out the mini-peppers for the normal bell peppers we usually purchase for lunch-time salads (we eat a lunch salad every week day except Wednesday when we support local business for #takeoutwednesday) – this week it was Sushi from Hug Sushi, with some seaweed salad I added to my Thursday Lunch.
What’s for Dinner – Week 2
This week included an extra “treat” meal on Tuesday, as we marked a day of both joy and sorrow for our family. You’ll also notice that the weekly vegan dish is served on Monday (for meatless Monday) and on Friday (because its less likely to spoil than an animal product based dish).
- Lentil Chili, includes Zucchini and Sweet Onions from the box, and was once again topped with Corn from the box as well – except I forgot to soak the beans. This chili was made with the same base of ingredients as the beef chili in week 1. Other money saving ingredients included, the same Costco Tomatoes and the Lentils – one bag of Lentils makes at least 5 batches of chili, of four servings each, at least 20 servings. This week I was out of Costco guac so I treated myself to a couple of tubs of Sabra guac available again through Grocery Gateway. (Monday and Friday).
- Burgers and Potato Salad, the same dish returns from Week 1, except that this week’s potato salad includes homemade pickles – I made some quick fridge pickles a few weeks back when I bought (and then couldn’t finish) a sale priced 2lb bag of mini cuccumbers. Pickling or freezing is a great way to deal with excess sale-priced produce to avoid spoilage and waste. I also freeze extra burger buns, tortillias, other bread products, and bulk purchased meats. (Sunday and Wednesday)
- Polynesian Inspired Fried Cauliflower Rice, I put a spin on cauliflower fried rice by incorporating some of the Pineapple from the basket, this recipe also used some Sweet Onions. I splurged on some Greenfield Ham – which is humanely raised, without Hormones or Antibiotics (I froze the left overs for next week); but, also used some cost saving ingredients including frozen peas, that I stocked up on during a sale a few months ago. (Thursday).
Again this week, I used the Pineapple for snacks, and the mini-peppers in my salads, as well as incorporating the grilled eggplant into some of my lunches.
We use a simple whiteboard from Dollarama to keep everyone up-to-date on what’s for dinner, what needs to go in next week’s shopping cart, and what added steps we need to take (in addition to weekly meal prep) in order to get each night’s meals on the table.
Sample Meal Pricing – Lentil Chili – Est. Price of $3.01/serving (Cooked in a Crockpot for 6 hours)
|Danielle’s Lentil Chili – 1 batch feeds 4|
|1 cup Dried Red Lentils||$ 0.60||$ 0.15|
|1 can Organic Diced Tomatoes||$ 2.50||$ 0.62|
|3 Zucchinis – diced||$ 3.17||$ 0.79|
|1 Sweet Onion – diced||$ 0.52||$ 0.13|
|(omitted) 1 pgk Mushrooms – diced||$ 2.74||$ 0.69|
|(omitted) 1 cup Kidney Beans – boiled||$ 0.70||$ 0.17|
|1-2 cups of Water||$ –||$ –|
|5-8 slices of Pickled Jalapenos||$ 0.27||$ 0.07|
|2-4 tbsp Chili Powder||$ 0.42||$ 0.11|
|1-2 tbsp Cumin Powder||$ 0.24||$ 0.06|
|1 tbsp Onion Powder||$ 0.20||$ 0.05|
|1 tsp Dried Cilantro||$ 0.34||$ 0.08|
|1 tsp Oregeno||$ 0.36||$ 0.09|
|Totals:||$ 12.06||$ 3.01|