I have had a few people ask how successful our January grocery haul from Costco & HyVee went and I would call the first month a success! I made two additional very minor grocery visits, once for milk, eggs, and hair gel (necessities) and once for spaghetti squash that I forgot to get round 1. Here were my biggest lessons:
- Pick the veggies/fruits with staying power. The brussel sprouts and broccoli stayed fresh for a long time. As did apples and tangerines. Costco fresh food tends to be on the under-ripe side when purchased so they lasted longer. We also froze some veggies to use later in the month.
- Frozen veggies are awesome. I used frozen veggies in a few of our meals and they were the easiest option when some of our fresh veggies were running low.
- We eat a lot of eggs. Even with Adam out of town one weekend, we still ran out so this time we bought the big box!
I also received questions about variety. This is trickier. Adam and I are trying to get through our canned foods in preparation for the next round of crops from our garden. So I was alternating between salsa recipes and tomato sauce. Not a ton of variety but I mixed up the veggies and alternated between chicken and ground turkey so we never were bored!
Planning for February I was more deliberate. I knew what Costco had available and I had a better idea of the kinds of foods we tended to eat more of versus those that we thought were a good idea but haven’t touched (looking at you quinoa/rice packets!). So I put together the following meal list which then influenced our shopping list:
- Oatmeal (already in pantry)
- Protein Bars
- Yogurt (enough left from January)
- Dinner/Lunch (we essentially only bring leftovers for lunches so I intentionally cook large meals):
- Baked Shrimp in Tomato Feta Sauce (I bought frozen shrimp in January and have not used them! The linked recipe is my inspiration for what I plan to make! More details to come.)
- Chicken Parmesan with whole grain pasta
- Turkey Chili (made a big pot for our super bowl party and will bring it for lunches all week)
- Crock Pot BBQ Chicken Quinoa (I bought quinoa in January and never used it so I found a delicious sounding recipe to try it out!)
- Salsa Chicken (with homemade salsa) Bowls/Tacos
- Spaghetti Squash with Turkey
- Cheese Sticks (enough left from January)
- Snack Bars
- Dried Mango
- White Wine
- Sweet Potatoes
Our Costco run ran much more smoothly this month despite going on the Saturday afternoon before the Super Boal (oops! We did enjoy all of the food tastings!). We strayed off list to buy a 6 quart crock-pot but I have been wanting a larger one for a while and I know we will get a lot of use out of it! Plus, $28 seemed a worthwhile investment.
After the success of January, I managed to win Adam over in continuing this month-long planning effort. We hit up both Costco and Hyvee (for meat, Franks hot sauce, and smaller quantity items) in the same afternoon and now our home is bursting with foods and supplies. I have already started our March list (hope 2 paper towel rolls can last through the shortest month of the year!) and am looking forward to focusing more not just on maximizing our time and energy but also learning where we can cut to save costs. February was less expensive than January but we still had a couple “bigger ticket purchases” (dog vitamins are not cheap, even at Costco prices!) that made it a high cost grocery month. We need to find ways to conserve every month but are up for the challenge!
Now I want to hear from you!
- Do you meal and grocery plan?
- How many grocery trips do you make in a month?