As Kulani puts it, "I don't work these long hours not to enjoy life." So we've adapted our spend-thrift ways to our foodie lifestyle. Perhaps you'd be interested in how to still be foodies while cutting down on the grocery budget. Here is our one-week plan that we hope leads to a lifestyle habit.
It started with a return check from Costco in the amount of $90. What should we do with $90 to stretch our food budget? Answer: Buy a 13 pound vacuum-packed top sirloin at $2.59/pound, bringing the total to $34.00. Excellent start. Then we bought some other sundries such as pineapple, milk, chocolate chips, bread, stuff for kids' lunches, and a splurge on some discounted hand soap that smelled really good, but now I'm wishing I would have spent it on canned veggies. I'm a sucker for nice-smelling hand soap that's on sale.
About two years ago we bought the Cabela's meat slicer that comes on sale during the day-after Thanksgiving sales for $50. It has been a great investment. Tonight Kulani and I sliced up the 13 pound top sirloin to make the following six meals:
- Two nights of chili (all total--4 pounds of the sinewy stew meat). One night is for the ward chili cook-off and the other batch we cooked tonight to try out our new chili recipe we're going to enter in the chili cook-off. We adjusted an Alton Brown recipe, and you can read more about it on our cooking blog.
- Two nights of tasty steaks. Again, you can eat cheaper than this, and you could stretch it out too, by throwing in an egg-sandwich dinner night or grilled-cheese sandwich night. But for less than $3.00 a pound, you can also still eat very well.
- One night of Argentine milanesa. Recipe is also on our cooking blog.
- One night of Kalbi. Like milanesa, you slice the meat very thin and marinate it in a Korean kalbi sauce (found at Asian specialty stores). We had a leftover bottle of kalbi sauce from the luau.
Other uses for the meat could be:
- sliced thin for philly steak sandwiches
- ground into hamburger for sloppy joes or meatloaf.
All total, with prep and clean-up, it probably took us an hour to get the meat sliced, diced, and bagged. The nice thing is that now everything is pre-prepped for dinner this weak. So not only are we saving money, but we're saving time and calories thanks to portion-controlled meals. For sides we usually keep it simple by either having a potato or rice with cooked vegetables.
The following picture is of the five dinners: Steaks, milanesa, steaks, chili meat, and kalbi.
Kulani slicing the meat.