Thursday, March 26, 2015


Creating healthy meals and making the food money last all month long, is what Food $ense  is all about. One way we feel you can save money is by using the grocery store ads to help with your family meal budget. Rachel from pricematchwithrachel has made it easy to see what's on sale each week. She sorts through the ads and creates a beautiful, categorized list of what is on sale. You can use her list to price match at both LOLO's and Walmart.

Meal planning is an important part of making the money last. Here are some things I recommend for creating a family meal plan.

  • Take inventory of what you have on hand. Use this handout as an inventory page instead of a shopping list.
  • Sit down with a calendar of your family schedule. Know what you have happening each day and decide how to  plan your meals. Should  you prep in the morning and leave dinner in a crock pot for later or if you will have time to prepare a meal in the late afternoon. What about lunch time, where will you be? 
  • Have Rachel's list in front of you or the grocery ads from your favorite store.
  • Plan meals that will help you use what you have already on hand and write down what grocery items you need to complete meals. 
  • Use a list when you shop to keep from spending money on food that will not go towards a specific meal. 

Use these items to decide what you have and what you need. Plan your meals to include all 5 food groups based upon the USDA MyPlate recommendation.  Don't forget to plan snacks as well to help you from grabbing quick, less healthy snacks when you become hungry.

This week on Rachel's list my favorite buy is the Barilla Pasta. Smiths has a "buy 10 and save $5" which makes the pasta $.49 per lb. Pasta keeps in the pantry for a long time. This is one item you should really stock up on. There are so many different ways to use pasta that you will always have a meal to fall back on for those busy night. Pasta cooks up quickly and can be topped with a variety of sauces like marinara, pesto, and alfredo. It can also be used in salads, soups, casseroles, skillets and sides. If you are doing pasta and a sauce make it a MyPlate meal by adding a green salad. Reams has DOLE Salads for $1.39 this week. Rancho Market has a variety of fresh vegetables on sale like, radishes, green onions, 1lb carrot bags all  4 for $1 on Wednesday and Thursday. 

As we are heading into spring start watching for Strawberries to drop in price. They will keep moving down as we get closer to summer peaking May-June. When they are below $1 per pound that's when you want to purchase a lot and make enough strawberry jam to last all year. 

With Easter less than 2 weeks away, Ham, frozen dough and other traditional Easter meal items will start going on sale. These are things you can keep in a freezer and prepare at another time. 

-Happy Planning

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Lettuce CHILE PEPPERS Strawberries  LEMONS Asparagus CELERY

PINEAPPLE   Red Peppers   Daikon-Radish   Apples  POTATOES


If you're wondering what that giant white root vegetable from your basket is, it's a Daikon radish.  We'll be using ours in salads and as a roasted vegetable, but here are ten ideas for using it.  


We've put together a healthy meal plan.  This meal plan uses produce from a Utah basket from Bountiful Baskets and is based on MyPlate recommendations.  We'll also use a few simple ingredients from a well stocked kitchen and minimal additional items from the market.  You can click on each recipe name for the recipe.  Everything shown here was included in the basket contribution - $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  Everything pictured came from my personal Bountiful Basket and all photos are of actual produce from the basket.

This week, with a lot of my basket ingredients, I'm going to prep food that fits my busy lifestyle.  I'll prepare things into single servings and then stock my fridge and be ready for the week!  This involves washing and drying the vegetables and then cutting them and putting into single serving containers, such as mason jars, plastic bags, and plastic containers.

The plan:
celery and red peppers cut to eat with hummus
mason jar salads from the lettuce, shredded daikon, some asparagus, some strawberries
smoothies from some strawberries and some pineapple (chop and freeze them in a single layer)
Gazpacho (a cold soup easily made in the blender or food processor):  red peppers, 1 chile pepper,
chopped pineapple to have with cottage cheese or yogurt
frozen lemon custard

I'm going to do a lot of roasting because it's simple, easy and delicious.  Vegetables/Fruit for roasting:  Potatoes, Asparagus, Daikon, Pineapple, and Red Peppers, Green Chiles.  Follow these steps for roasting any vegetable.  You can roast just a couple times over the entire week since roasted veggies will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, and can be reheated.  I'll also cook my grains and proteins just a couple times this week and portion them out so there are less days I need to cook.

One night I'll get a bit more adventurous with homemade CHILE RELLENO BAKE.  I LOVE chile rellenos and baking them instead of frying not only makes them healthier, but it creates a casserole that you can enjoy for days.

Lemons - just slice and add to warm water in the morning for a healthy start to the day
Apples - slice and have with peanut butter, eat whole, or with cheese

As you can see, I kept things really simple this week.  What are your favorite tricks for spending less time in the kitchen to get healthy, delicious food?