Helping to Make One Grocery Trip Last Two Weeks – Frugal Confessions

Helping to Make One Grocery Trip Last Two Weeks

More and more people seem to be joining the twice-a-month grocery shopping bandwagon. We’ve been doing this for over a year now. Grocery shopping every other week is wonderful for our household: one less errand to run twice a month, we’re spending less money at the store, and we are planning our meals out much better. But I must admit that the first week of a new two-week grocery cycle is easier than the second. The first week you get the pick of the refrigerator and the pantry, which usually entails eating the most convenient foods: granola bars, chips, strawberries, ice-cream, lunch meat. By the middle of the second week you’ve run out of these more convenient foods and have to start putting in some elbow grease and a dash of creativity to keep the food varied and to have convenient foods ready for the workweek.

Based on our experience I thought I could offer some insight on how we stretch the food in our household to include a wholesome, nutritional, satiating diet for the full two weeks. My biggest tip is to cook on Sundays, which is something I love to do. There is something so warm and comforting about this to me and it is a very inviting way to start off the coming week. By cooking for several hours on the Sunday of the second week of groceries, we are able to make plenty of food to keep us from prematurely stepping foot into a grocery store. Below are some of the foods I cook and prepare.

  • To Satisfy the Sweet Tooth and Keep Fruit in the Diet: By week two the ice-cream we eat for dessert is gone (to be honest, I’m sure we obliterate it in 4 nights). Instead, I take the ripe bananas I have frozen from previous weeks when I did not get around to eating them, the frozen berries I always stock up on, and I make Frozen Banana Bites and Smoothies. My favorite smoothie includes bananas, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and about half a cup of rice milk (or whatever milk we have on hand). It comes out velvety and the color is amazing!
  • Cook with Squash: We love butternut squash, which happens to stay good for a long period of time. I make butternut squash risotto and butternut squash mac ‘n’ cheese. But one butternut squash is enough for several of these recipes, so I freeze what I don’t need in increments for these particular recipes. When I want to cook something delicious in the middle of the week in the future I just need to take the pre-roasted butternut squash out of the freezer and throw it in the pan. We also keep canned pumpkin puree in our home, and love to cook creamy pumpkin soup.
  • Roast a Chicken: Another staple we keep in our freezer (or 5) are whole chickens. Roasting a whole chicken brings delicious smells to your kitchen and home. This is the centerpiece to a beautiful Sunday meal, and since there are only two of us, we can use the meat over several days for chicken enchiladas, chicken salads, etc.
  • Make Pesto: We always keep fish in our freezer as well. It is easy to whip up a batch of pesto from our own basil in the garden (by garden I mean one pot of growing vegetation in our backyard). Pesto tastes amazing on white fish (tilapia); you can also use it in an array of other dishes. It also adds a nice punch of green on your plate! Unfortunately this one is not available all year round (unless you grow basil indoors).
  • Rosemary Potatoes: We keep dried rosemary from Paul’s mother (thank you!) hanging in our kitchen. Paul pairs this with olive oil, salt, pepper, and quartered potatoes (red potatoes are best, but we even just cut up regular potatoes into small pieces if that’s what we’ve got).
  • Brownies: Somehow I always have brownie ingredients on hand (this from a chocoholic?).

How often do you shop for groceries? I’d love for you to share some of your favorite recipes below!

12 comments… add one

  • We shop weekly. I find some items just won’t keep 2 weeks, for example, sandwich meat. Some fruits/produce spoil before 2 weeks as well – especially when it has travelled 2000 miles to arrive at our grocer, to sit on a counter until we finally buy it. It is far from fresh.

    Staples are also required weekly – bread, milk etc.

    That being said we do like to stock up on things and freeze them. However, we find there are new deals each week at the grocer so we like to pick up things that have been priced down.
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  • I shop weekly because there are some things like milk, juice, fruit and vegetables that we go through too fast and have to replensih. I do stock up on items like pasta, rice, canned tomatoes and frozen veggies when there is a good sale.

    to keep costs down, I always shop with a list. I’m not too good with creating my own recipes but I rely heavily on certain websites and cookbooks for meal ideas.
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  • The smoothies are a great idea! If I buy too much fruit, it goes bad before I eat it. Freezing it is great. Thanks for sharing these tips.
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  • My wife goes once a week. I think we will be set on many items as we’ve been stocking up. We’ll need the perishables, lunch meat, milk, eggs, etc. but we have a lot of meat, pasta, sauces, soups, and other staples so hopefully our bills will be low for awhile.
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  • My wife shops once a week for only groceries based on menu planning. Once a month we shop for household items and certain things from Costco.
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  • Crystal @ Industrial Special Risk Insurance

    We shop for the basics once a month, but I go on supplemental fruit and milk runs about 4 times a month.
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  • Hunter

    Pesto! This takes me back to college and my early twenties.

    We have a MASSIVE fridge and our family of 5 cleans it out weekly, even faster for some things like juice and milk. I can see the merits of your great ideas but for now we need to stick to our just-in-time grocery system.
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  • Olivia

    We have two young males who plow through milk and a smallish fridge. So right now the once a week shopping is the way to go. Gratefully stores are nearby.

    Did you know you can freeze pesto? We had an amazing crop of basil this summer and have small jars tucked in all over. It should last us well into winter. We’ll baby the plants as long as we can into fall and use the fresh as long as we can, but it will be nice to have the stash during dreary days. Have you ever tried it on homemade pizza? Oh man.

  • Neo

    I am SO guilty of eating out way too much. However, I can also make a box of pasta last for a few weeks by eating a little each day. I guess that makes me a man of extremes… This is why I save first, so my saving is already done and my spending automatically stays in-check.
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  • We shop whenever we need too, our diet is fairly stable and similar. No ice cream at home although.
    The reason for it is many berries and fruits have very limited storage time, once you unpack them.
    The same with fish and meat, it is better when it is fresh, bread will go along.

    But it depends what you are aiming for. Every little helps.

    I collected and published information about our family budget over 4 years and groceries is only fraction of it.
    If you try to save on it, not going to be a lot.

  • Been doing two weeks for a couple years now and wouldn’t switch. It took a while to figure out what lasts and how long.

    Usually stick to one big pasta meal every two weeks. Great for an extra meal or two, I can’t do small portion Italian food.
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  • Roasted potatoes with rosemary, boiled potatoes with olive oil and fresh parsley. Excellent way to use up long-lasting pantry items.
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