Make this and wings for the Super Bowl! Naked Chicken Fries (Tenders) in 2 Sauces

In my next cookbook I want to focus on foods that will be quick, easy, budget & kid friendly (Lil Diva approved)! This recipe is all of those things! And it’s Keto Friendly to boot!  I would make these along with wings for your next Super Bowl party, you can just double the recipe for the sauces and use it to dip your wings and the chicken fries. Let’s cook!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Chicken breasts cut into thin strips
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable and canola oil
  • Seasoning of choice – I used dry ranch dressing mix, Tony’s creole seasoning and garlic and onion powder
  • 2 sticks of salted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon, as well as zest
  • 2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Pre-heat oven and 350 degrees and heat oil in skillet. I use an electric skillet that was under $20 bucks from Walmart and I only use it for frying. I love it because you can set the temperature so you know what you’re cooking at. Season the chicken. Don’t go heavy on the seasoning, if you just use salt and pepper that’s fine because you will be coating the chicken in sauce. Drop chicken in oil. Watch closely, the chicken is thin and cooks up quickly.

While cooking melt butter in microwave for about a minute. Separate butter in two bowls big enough for the chicken to sit in. Add minced garlic and garlic salt to one bowl and the lemon juice, zest, 1 tsp of black pepper and the lemon pepper seasoning to the other. Once chicken is done drain on paper towel for 1-2 minutes and then add to sauces. Mix chicken in sauces and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

Then add to a cookie sheet. Repeat til all chicken is coated in the sauce. Sprinkle garlic parmesan chicken with grated parmesan and the lemon pepper chicken with the other teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Bake in oven for 3-5 minutes, we just want to bake the sauce in the chicken really well.

Enjoy with ranch or blue cheese dressing and carrots & celery sticks.

You can have a simple Super Bowl or any type of party at home by making these and the Easy Cheesesteak Slider and you are set! Well I would add a little adult beverage and then I’m set lol! Let me know if you try this and make sure to tag me on IG @severalpeoplesmama or share in the Cook Yo Meals Facebook Group!

Love Ricki

 

Easy Cheesesteak Sliders

I have received so many DMs and messages on IG and Facebook about this recipe so I knew I had to get this blog post up STAT! It’s funny because this was really a spare of the moment thing that I decided to try. My Hunny took me and the kids to Dave and Buster’s a few weekends ago and Middle Diva ordered a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. She kept saying how good it was and ate it all before I could get a bite *side eye*. So when I was in the grocery store this past weekend I saw beef shaved steak on sale and decided to make my own version as sliders using our fav Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. It was a hit! I’m sure this is on Pinterest already a hundred thousand times but that’s why I love cooking because you can always put your own spin on things! Here’s my version of Cheesesteak Sliders:

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Beef Shaved Steak (the one I used was 14 oz and more than enough for 4 people)
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper sliced (feel free to use more if you like)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (you will use 1 to cook the veggies and the other 2 to melt over your rolls)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 package of Provolone cheese
  • To season my meat I used approximately 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of Seasoning salt (Tony’s), onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, & about 1-2 tsp of Steak sauce (use sparingly because it could get salty real quick!)
  • 1 package of Hawaiian rolls (12 count)

Directions:

I first started by preheating my oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized sauce pan I added the olive oil and a tablespoons butter and let it melt on medium low. I turned it up to medium high and then added the onions and peppers and sautéed them for about 2-3 minutes then I put the heat on low and let them simmer while I seasoned my beef.

I cooked the beef on my electric griddle but you can certainly turn up the heat to medium high on the same pan you cooked the veggies (I would remove the veggies and then add back in when closer to the beef being done.) I added the beef to a hot griddle and then added my steak sauce and then once the beef was almost cooked added the veggies. This goes fast because the beef is thin so be mindful of that. Turn the heat down if need be you don’t want to burn your meat!

I cut my package of Hawaiian rolls in half by slicing the lengthwise similar to if you were leveling a cake. I then added a light layer of mayonnaise (optional) and then my cooked meat and veggies, and topped off with the cheese and then the top half of the rolls. I melted the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and added a dash of garlic and onion powder. I then poured that over the top of the buns and put in the oven about 10-15 minutes so the cheese would melt. I removed from the oven and sliced the rolls and served with tater tots. This would be good with chips or fries and a side of fruit for dinner or serve this as part of your spread for Super Bowl Sunday!

If you make this recipe please share by tagging me on IG @severalpeoplesmama! I love to see y’all cook!

Also don’t forget to join our Cook Yo Meals community on Facebook! We are sharing meal plans, dinner inspiration and just learning new ways to get a meal on the table. If you’re interested click here.

Love Ricki

Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Hi y’all and Happy New Year!!! Today I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe that my family absolutely loved. It took no time to throw together so it’s perfect for weekends when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. You could also prep it ahead a time and cook it in the slow cooker for 3-4 hours on low while you’re at work during the week. Serve the fajita meat over nachos in a burrito or chimichanga or if you’re keto like me put it over a salad. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2-3 tabs of olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 red, green, yellow or orange peppers sliced (I used a combo of all three)
  • 1 whole onion sliced
  • Ranchaco seasoning (Coming soon!) but you can use a combination or taco and ranch seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic and onion powder
  • Juice of on lime (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean chicken and slice in uniform pieces. Make sure you keep everything similar size so it cooks evenly.

Add chicken to sliced veggies. Pour oil and mix. Season chicken and veggies and mix thoroughly so seasoning is well coated on food. Spray sheet pan with oil or cover with foil. Spread chicken and veggies on sheet pan. Make sure it is one layer so don’t overcrowd your pan, use two if necessary.

Cook in oven for about 15-20 minutes then take out and turn meat over. Let cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove from over and squeeze lime and cilantro over chicken and serve.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I have started a new Facebook group which is all about food inspiration, meal planning and fun! If you’d like to join click the link here.

Love Ricki

Money Saving White Queso

Hi y’all! I wanted to share a quick and easy alternative to the Velveeta and Rotel combo we always use when we want nachos! If you haven’t noticed a block of Velveeta is almost $8!!! I actually stopped buying the brand awhile ago and usual get the store generic brand but even that can get pricey. Enter White Queso which comes together easy and fast using only a few ingredients. You can also add whatever else you want to it to suit your tastes but I have included the basic recipe below. If you try this tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and let me know what you think!

White Queso

Ingredients:

  • One package of American white cheese (you can find this in the cheese section, but I wouldn’t suggest you get the individually wrapped slices)
  • One small can of green chiles
  • 1/2. Cup of Half and Half or Milk
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of diced tomatoes with green chilies (rotel) or diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning (or add more to taste) You can also use salt to taste.

Directions:

Shred cheese or chop into little cubes. Spray pot and spoon you will be using to make the Queso, this will make for easier clean up. Add half and half or milk and warm. Add cheese a little at a time stirring in until melted. Add can of green chilies. Add diced tomatoes or rotel if using. I wouldn’t use too much as you want to keep this the milky white color. Add seasoning to taste.

And you’re done! Of course I’m extra so prior to adding the half and half I sauté a few chopped onions and a clove of minced garlic. I also add fresh chopped cilantro at the end. Feel free to add whatever flavors you want. The cheese used is not strong so it takes flavor really well!

Also a lot of you asked how I prepare my taco meat. It’s super easy and makes for a thicker consistency (similar to Taco Bell). I brown my ground beef then drain any grease. I think add a packet of taco seasoning (I use Aldi version) and half a pack of dry ranch dressing mix. I will add a tablespoon of so of water but I never add as much water as the package says. I will also add more taco seasoning/ranch seasoning to taste. It’s important you taste your food! You know #itsbetterwhenitsseasoned around here!!!

I hope you enjoy the recipe! And in the comments let me know what else quick and easy recipes you’d like me to make. I’ll also be adding the IGTV video as well (IG is making me trim it so I’m still editing ugh) My Cook Yo Meals FB group is coming soon and I look forward to all the fun we’re going to have over there!

Love Ricki

5 Slow Cooker recipes using only 5 ingredients or less – and none of them are soups!

I recently wrote a blog post on the my love for the crockpot. It is my sous chef of sorts and helps me get dinner done a few times a week. Sadly I know everyone doesn’t utilize this wonderful appliance as they should. So I began to think of ways to help you see the wonderful benefits the slow cooker has and of course recipes came for mind. Here are 5 easy but delicious slow cooker recipes that you can add to your meal plan. I made sure to use simple easy to find ingredients and give you meal ideas to use along with them. For the purposes of this post we are not counting seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc) as one of the ingredients because those are things you should have on hand already. Feel free to season according to you and your family’s taste. Also I would suggest oiling or spraying your slow cooker with oil prior to use or pop in a liner. Now let’s see what we can get cooking!

Chicken Taco Meat

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts or tenders (about 2 lbs)
  • Ranch dressing mix
  • Taco Seasoning mix
  • Salsa

Add chicken breasts to slow cooker and add both packets of seasoning. Pour salsa over (you can also add a 1/2 cup of water but that’s optional) and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken.

You can add this to tortillas or hard shell tacos and serve with rice or beans. This can also be used over nachos or a filling for enchiladas or a chicken version of Mexican stuffed shells.

Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • Pork loin or roast
  • Can of dark soda (Dr. Pepper, root beer or cola)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Chopped or sliced onions (optional)

Add onions to slow cooker if using. Season pork to liking and add over onions. Pour over BBQ sauce and add can of soda. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred meat.

You can serve this in hamburger buns or sliders with French fries or chips on the side. Also the leftovers make great carnitas, just fry them in a sprayed pan til crispy.

Mississippi Roast

Ingredients:

  • Beef roast (about 2-3 lbs)
  • Ranch dressing mix
  • Au Jus gravy mix
  • Stick of butter
  • Pepperonis (optional)

Add roast to slow cooker. Season with both packets of seasoning. I wouldn’t suggest adding additional salt because the seasoning used is already salty enough. Add pepperoni if using. Place stick of butter on top. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

This can be served with rice or mashed potatoes and whatever veggies you like. Also can use it to make Upside Down Mississippi Roast. Recipe here.

Angel Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts or tenders (about 2 lbs)
  • Cream of mushroom or chicken or both (whichever you prefer)
  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • Italian dressing mix
  • Mushrooms, fresh or canned (optional)

Season chicken to taste and add to slow cooker. Add Italian dressing mix, cream cheese, soup and mushrooms if using. You can add water if you want more sauce but this is optional as the chicken will make liquid while cooking. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

This is great over any pasta with a salad or steamed veggies on the side. Also makes a great filling for a chicken lasagna.

Meatballs – 2 ways

Ingredients:

  • Package of frozen meatballs (usually found in the freezer section)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup Grape jelly
  • 1/4 cup water (optional)

Or

  • Package of frozen meatballs
  • Italian dressing mix
  • Jar of marinara sauce

Add meatballs to slow cooker. Warm BBQ sauce in microwave and then mix in grape jelly. Add over meatballs and pour in water if using. Cook on low for 2-3 hours

Serve as an appetizer night – I like to do this on Sundays with nachos or wings. Or add veggies and Mac and cheese.

Add meatballs to slow cooker. Add Italian dressing mix and marina sauce. Cook on low for 2-3 hours.

Serve over pasta with a salad and garlic bread for dinner. Or add to hoagie rolls and top with cheese and put under the broiler for a minute or two for meatballs subs. Also cut them up and add a pizza topping to tortilla pizzas.

I hope these recipes I shared make you reach for and use your slow cooker more. It works while you are busy with life and and produces yummy recipes that can be used in various meals with a little imagination. Tell me in the comments which one you plan on trying! Also make sure you’re following me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and tag me if you try any!

Love Ricki

Looking for more recipes? Purchase my cookbook here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

I’m in love…with the Crock Pot

I really should be saying slow cooker but just like we call tissues-Kleenex, we call slow cookers-crockpots so that’s what I’m going to refer to it as here. He treats me well and even feeds me, what’s not to love about a crockpot??? I know in the world of instant everything a crockpot seems outdated and old fashioned. Especially since the Instant Pot or pressure cooker hit the scene. I do have a little thing going on with my Instant Pot (post soon come) but it can NEVER REPLACE THE LOVE I HAVE FOR MY CROCKPOT!!! So let me count the ways…

  • It takes cheaper cuts of meats and tenderizes them – That meat you can purchase because you’re on a budget is sometimes a little tougher but it will be broken down by the slow and low cooking of your crockpot. Also great for beans.
  • It cooks a meal WHILE YOU’RE GONE!!! – this in itself should be one of the number one reasons that you should own a crockpot! Who doesn’t want a meal waiting for them when they get off from work, errands, & chauffeuring kids around? I’ll wait…
  • This is a great appliance for beginners – There is nothing complicated about using a crockpot and there are so many great easy recipes for new cooks!
  • They use less electricity – Crockpots actually can reduce electricity costs especially if you have a newer version and they actually use less energy than a pressure cooker.
  • There are soooo many recipes – from simple to complex a lot of things can be made in the slow cooker.
  • Flavor – because of the slow and low cooking the food has better taste in every bite.

So since I’m all about this slow cooker life let me give you a few tips as well:

  • Get a slow cooker with a timer. A lot of us leave our home for the day and we are not always back to turn the crockpot to warm when the 4-6 hours are up. Do yourself a favor and get a crockpot with a timer so it will automatically switch to warm when the time is up and you won’t have burnt food (contrary to popular belief you can burn food in the crockpot- ask me how I know). I have linked one <a href=”http://&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>here.
  • Prepare your food the night before or meal prep on the weekend but you are more apt to use your crockpot if you have your ingredients ready to go ahead of time.
  • Stop lifting the lid on your crockpot!!! One of the ways it cooks is it keeps a certain temperature for a certain time period, sometimes your recipes don’t come out as tender or flavorful because you’re lifting the lid before time. That increases cooking time so if you need to check on it just peep thru the lid- that’s why they make glass lids!
  • Use crockpot liners- they are life savers! You can get them from any local grocery store and they make clean up a dream! Or check them out with this <a href=”http://&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>link.
  • Be creative! There are sooooo many recipes you can cook in the crockpot beyond taco soup (even tho that’s a great one). Get on Pinterest, check Amazon for books (I’ve linked them on my storefront) or check out my blog and Instagram for recipes, ideas and inspiration.

So those are some of the many reasons I fell in love and still am to this day with my crockpot. I have linked my most recent grocery haul and mini meal prep below that helped me prepare for some delicious crockpot meals I made this past week. So do you own a crockpot? What’s your favorite recipe to make in it? Comment below!

Love Ricki

If you decide to make a purchase through my links, I will earn a small commission  for it. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to offset expenses to run this blog and other platforms so thank you!”

My favorite kitchen books

Hi y’all! In this post I want to share my favorite kitchen books and why I think it’s worth reading them. Notice I said kitchen books because not all of them are actual cookbooks even though they may contain recipes. Back in 2009 and 2010 when I became pregnant and had Lil Diva I began to learn about how to manage a household efficiently. I also became addicted to reading blogs. They were relatively new then but I was grateful for the people who wrote them and shared so much information! That’s probably why I always wanted to blog lol. I wasn’t a SAHM but a lot of the things I learned from mommy bloggers helped me be able to work and feed my family well. And helped me to stay on a budget. So today I’m passing this information on to you!

First we’ll start with my absolute favorite cookbook ever even tho apparently I have lost it in my move last year BUT I have it on kindle lol so…

This was one of the very first books I bought when I really got interested in making cooking and meal planning work for me. I was OBSESSED with my slow cooker and I wanted to try every recipe possible. Well it’s probably in this book! One of the reasons I love this cookbook so much is that it has sooo many recipes using simple ingredients you probably already have. When cooking for different people who seem to have different taste buds it’s always best to cook simply. I’m more adventurous when it comes to cooking because I love trying new things but my family isn’t. If you want to get started cooking for your family start with this book and inexpensive slow cooker and plan 2-3 nights a week. You will discover it’s not hard to put together a meal at all. .

Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy was one of the first books I read on learning how to be frugal. Not cheap but frugal which to me means being able to meet the lifestyle goals I want by managing my money well. I’m not quite there yet lol but I’m trying. In this book I learned and still live by several principles she shared in her Eleven Miserly Guidelines. She taught me not to shop at the same store and making a menu plan based on grocery ads. This book was written for women who wanted to make the switch and stay at home with their children vs working outside the home but they’re are so many gems here that can be applied to anyone who wants to save money. I highly recommend this book. I also have her second one Miserly Meals on Kindle where she shared more recipes.

Cut your Grocery Bill in Half by Steve and Annette Economides (America’s Cheapest Family which is their other book and also very good) is another book that isn’t a cookbook that contains a few recipes (but not many) BUT it really gives good information about reducing your grocery costs. Some things I learned from this book: more tips on menu planning, knowing food prices for your area and stretching meals and how to store and organize your refrigerator and pantry. They also talked about once a month grocery shopping and cooking and even though I don’t practice this there some good tips to glean from it.

Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn is still a book I reach for often. She is one of the original several people’s mama and has TEN kids! Some biologically and some thru adoption from other countries which is really cool because she shares recipes from her kids origins in this book as well. Why I love this book: In addition to the many recipes I have tried and love she also gives helpful tips on how to grocery shop, meal preparation and has a section on the homemade pantry which gives recipes for dressings, seasoning mixes and more you can make yourself. I recommend this book especially if you are feeding a larger family like myself.

Who doesn’t love Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman? I have been following her blog and making her recipes for YEARS and she has not disappointed me yet. She has about 5 cookbooks currently but her first two The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Food from My Frontier are my absolute favs! The reason I love these books: She cooks real food with a little fancy stuff thrown in here or there. This where I learned how to add cream cheese to my mashed potatoes (best idea ever and no you don’t taste it) and how I learned to cook the beat pot roast ever. She also has a bomb lasagne recipe! Get these books if you want to hearty and filling down home food! Also she still has tons of recipes on her blog which I love!

Miss Kay is the beloved matriarch from the Duck Dynasty Family and she can cook! In Duck Commander Kitchen she shares May recipes she has made to feed her family through the years. I enjoyed this book real southern food using regular ingredients. Again sometimes I think I’m fancy and my cooking will reflect that but there is nothing like a good bowl of pinto beans and cornbread which she shares in this book. If you’d like to try your hand at southern and some creole/Cajun recipes check this book out!

If you know me you know I enjoy baking. And one of the recipes I use to be famous in my family for was Red Velvet Cake! Well The Cake Mix Doctor by Ann Byrn is where I got this easy but delicious recipe from and it’s absolutely worth the cost of the whole book. Cake mixes are cheap but you can make truly delicious recipes from them and she shows you how in this book. She also shares some frosting/icing recipes and shares history & tips on how you can use cake mixes to make delicious cakes (some with some alcohol!) brownies and bars. This is one of my top favorites, if you love to bake or even if you don’t but would like to contribute a delicious desserts for family gatherings and holidays- get this book!

Yeah so I think this book is going to be my favorite favorite!!! It’s my dinner inspiration ebook!!! I’m writing a book lol. I won’t call it a cookbook per se because it’s more like me sharing recipes I’ve tried and loved and passing on to you to make your own. I’d like to think on my platforms I don’t show you how to cook but I inspire you to want to make something (mostly dinner lol) good to eat! Hopefully this ebook will make you want to cook and actually like it, that’s my only goal. Look for this ebook to be available for purchase next month!

Editors note: My cookbook is finished! Looking for delicious but easy recipes that don’t use complicated ingredients? I got you! Check out my cookbook which is available to purchase here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

So those are my picks and link to all the books are discussed is here. Listen I heard if you want to hide something from someone, put it in a book. Don’t let that be you. I understand knowledge about any and everything can be found online but there is NOTHING about having your own library that can never be taken away from you! Let me know in the comments if you already have these books or which ones you’re looking forward to purchase!

Love Ricki

If you decide to make a purchase through my link, I will earn a small commission for it. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to offset expenses to run this blog and other platforms so thank you!”

Meal Planning for People who don’t like to Meal Plan

I don’t understand why people have to be rebels and not get with the program. Meal planning is where it’s at!!! *Insert clapping hands* It saves time, money and it’s waayyyyy less stressful than standing in front of the refrigerator and squinting and frowning because you don’t know what the hell you’re going to make for dinner! Plus you’ll have less wrinkles. BUT I know it isn’t for everyone so that’s why I am writing this post. Some people just like to live on the edge and they can afford botox so meal planning is not a top priority. However, I want to show you how you can meal plan even if you don’t like it and I also included some meal ideas for when you are stumped on what to make. So here are my tips:

  1. Keep a stocked pantry/fridge/freezer. To be able to cook meals on the fly you have to have inventory. Make sure you have the basics you need to make simple recipes and your favorite recipes. This way you are always able to make the process of choosing what to have for dinner easy.
  2. Make your own recipe book. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can get a notebook from the dollar tree and write down every recipe you ever made or want to make. Or you can just keep a master list in your phone. Or dedicate a board on Pinterest. The key is to have a list that you can refer to when trying to come up with an idea of what to make for dinner. And even if you DO like to meal plan you should have a list of recipes to refer to when planning out your meals for the weeks anyway.
  3. Assign a theme to every night. Sunday – Soul food Sunday, Monday – meatless Monday, Tuesday – Taco Tuesday, Wednesday – Italian Night, and on and on. You assign it based on what your family usually likes. That way at least you have an idea to start with on what to make. For example for Taco Tuesdays you can make tacos, nachos, enchiladas, chimichangas etc.
  4. Have a Fend for Yourself (FFY) night or nights – I actually include this in my meal plan but it’s an easy idea that everyone should follow. This actually doesn’t involve eating out. It means you get the night off from cooking and everyone figures it out. I have older children and no husband so this is pretty easy for me but this can be done with smaller kids by buying their favorite lunchables and snacks & fruit and letting them eat it for dinner. I promise YOU WON’T GO TO JAIL FOR FEEDING YOUR KIDS SNACKS FOR DINNER! I mean just don’t do it everyday, Or do. I won’t tell anyone. Little kids are usually snack lovers anyway so in my opinion it’s a win/win for everyone. And as far as the husbands, since I no longer have one I probably am not the best person to follow advice from but I’m pretty sure they can figure it out too. I’m just saying! *shrugs shoulders*
  5. My final tip is utilize the internets. Google is your friend. So is Pinterest. And blogs like this one. If you have some ingredients on hand and you are not sure what to make, put it in a search and see what recipes you can come up with. I will warn you though this is truly living on the edge because you may not like what you try but then again you just might. That kind of living raises my blood pressure because I HATE wasting food and my money but if you got it like that…heeyyyyyy.

So those were my tips for meal planning for people that are so against the awesome idea of planning what to eat in advance so they are not stressed and hungry. No judgement from me lol. Below I have listed a few meal ideas for when you THINK there’s nothing to eat in the house. And of course they are all budget friendly. Let me know what you thought of this post and if you meal plan or if you’re a rebel and choose to live life dangerously hungry!

Simple Meal Ideas:

Soup & Sandwich – Can of soup and your favorite sandwich with deli meat or a bowl of Top Ramen with the deli meat or leftover chicken in it.

Quesadillas – Anything can go between two tortillas and some cheese. Beans, meat, veggies, the options are endless.

Baked potato bar – Baked potatoes are super filling and can be plain or topped with whatever you can think of.

Pasta night – You can use any shape pasta you want, any sauce and add any topping and you are even better than Chef Boyardee.

Pizza & Salad – Frozen pizzas (even those cheap ones for a dollar!) and a simple salad can satisfy hunger. Or you can make your own by buying the pre made crusts or using tortillas, bagels, garlic toast or even a slice of bread. Pretend you’re at Mod’s and pile on the toppings, it’s free (kinda).

Love Ricki

How to “make” groceries! 10 Tips for grocery shopping on a budget

Now you may be saying Ricki, how do you “make” groceries? Simply put that’s what the old folks say in the south when referring to going grocery shopping. Last week we talked about meal planning but now its time to take that plan, make a list and get the food in the house that you need.

Since I usually grocery shop on Saturday morning, I do my prepping on Friday so I am prepared and stay on budget. So I’m sharing 10 tips with ya’ll. Here we go:

  1. ASSESS YOUR INVENTORY -Before you go to any store, you need to assess your refrigerator, pantry and freezer first. Look at your meal plan, do you have things already that you can use? What staples are you running low on? WRITE ALL THIS DOWN!
  2. WRITE A QUICK LIST-Next take the list you just jotted down and your meal plan and write out your grocery list. Having a grocery list is necessary to shop on a budget. If you have a list you will not buy unnecessary items and you won’t forget the things you actually need. Now this is a rough draft. Because the next step is to…
  3. SET A BUDGET- UGH! I know right but this is usually where we mess up at. If you don’t set an amount I am telling you now, you WILL OVERSPEND! In order to stay on budget set an amount. I usually like to set a few, let me explain. I have a amount I will spend on groceries like $60 for the week, then I may add an additional $10 for stock up items – we have a store here that will discount great things to very low prices so I use this extra amount to take advantage of a great deal. And then I may have an extra $5-$10 for fun items, like a treat for the kids or to try a new product. So my budget for the week would be $75-$80. Look at your rough draft list and maybe remove some things that may cause you to go over budget like do ya’ll really need steak this week? Is there a veggie or fruit in season that you may like that will be cheaper to replace one on your list? When you buy in season you are getting better quality at a better price. Once you’ve set your budget you can make your final list.
  4. KEEP UP WITH YOUR LIST- I won’t tell you how many times I forgot my list at home which defeats the whole purpose so TAKE A SCREENSHOT of your list and your meal plan or write it in the notes section of your phone. I bet you won’t leave that phone! Seriously, when trying to save money you have to make things easy and convenient or you won’t stick to it!
  5. TIME TO SHOP- But before you head to the store you need to make sure you’ve eaten a full meal. When they say don’t shop on an empty stomach no lies were told. Listen, EVERYTHING looks good when you’re hungry! Don’t play yourself! Also, if you can, grocery shop in the morning before you run the rest of your errands etc. Shopping with a clear mind leads to better decisions and if you can leave the kids at home (unless they’re older kids that can help) DO IT!!! And if you know you have a tendency to spend at the store, take out cash and leave your cards at home. Hunny, you will stick to the budget in order not to be embarrassed in that checkout line. Ask me how I know lol.
  6. SET A TIME LIMIT- The more time you spend in the store the more money will part from your wallet. Why do you think they have all those free samples at stores on Saturdays? The main objective is to keep you in the store longer so you will be more likely to spend.  The grocery stores specialize in using psychology to help you part with your money at their establishments. They spend millions of dollars on learning our behaviors. You have to outsmart them and stop letting them win. Set a time period for each store you visit and stick to it. I actually started doing this so my older kids would come help me because they said I took too long but I noticed it actually helped our budget!
  7. DOWNLOAD THE STORE APP AND ANY DIGITAL COUPONS- Now you actually should have checked the store ad when you were making you meal/menu plan however sometimes you may get in the store and find something you really may need. Check to see if the store has a digital coupon. Also you may want to check another store’s app to see if maybe they have the same thing on sale. There also apps that get into cash back. I don’t know too much about them but you can always do a google search. Anyway the technology is available, use it!
  8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STORE BRANDS- Honestly the time of being brand loyal is over. Many but not all store brands are made by the same manufacturer. You have to understand there is not a manufacturer for every single product, that’s just not feasible. When you buy a store brand, like butter if you take it out the box you’ll notice it will have the same wrapper as another brand lol. It was made at the same dairy it’s just cheaper because there is no brand label. Now is this true of every store brand, no but it doesn’t hurt to try them out.
  9. USE YOUR CALCULATOR-Again back to that budget thing, if you want to prevent overspending take out your phone and use that calculator function! I usually round up when calculating but it helps to stay on track and you can also use your calculator to determine if buying in a certain quantity is a good deal. Also, every thing that’s on sale isn’t a good deal if you’re not going to use it. Exactly how many time have we thrown away a food item because we couldn’t or didn’t use it prior to expiring. Please remember that when you throw wasted food away you are actually just making a donation to the grocery store. I need all my coins, what about you?
  10. SHOP ONCE A WEEK- Ideally if you shop according to your list for the week you SHOULDN’T need to come back to the store again. I personally don’t like having to go to the grocery store several times a week, that’s my time I can’t get back and my gas! But things happen and sometimes we forget because we are human. If you do need to pick something up quickly try to just bring the cash for that item so you won’t be tempted to spend more.

Those were my 10 tips to have a successful grocery shopping trip on a budget. Let me be real with ya’ll it takes a few times to get this down so please don’t beat yourself up if you mess up. I do all the time lol. But eventually you will find a system or routine that works for you and. your family. Take all the tips and apply them or a few. Depending on where you are in life every tip might not apply. The number one thing is to have a plan and that will set you on the right path! Make sure you follow me on IG (@severalpeoplesmama) because on Saturday I will be headed to the grocery store on my stories so you can see exactly how I shop. What grocery shopping tips can you share? Comment below!

Love Ricki