We’re on vacation this week and trying something a little different. Rather than preparing grilled chicken and burgers almost every night for dinner I’ve picked out a bunch of favorite recipes. By the end of the night we all want to hang out, drink beer and relax, so rather than standing around grilling we’ve decided to take a casserole based approach. We’ll try to make a few meals in advance and throw them in the oven just before dinner time.
The goal is to to enjoy our time together as a family and to keep our toddler happy. Standing around while daddy’s grilling isn’t usually high on the list of activities our son enjoys. We tried something similar back in July and enjoyed a bunch of delicious meals.
I expected our grocery bill to be higher than normal. It’s inevitable to pay more when you’re feeding eight people rather than two and a toddler. Our bills at the beach are always the highest of the year, but as we filled the cart with fruits, vegetables and lots of staples we didn’t already have on hand like chicken stock, butter and cheese I knew we would top the scales.
When we literally ran out of room in the cart I knew we were in for a big bill. At home I stock up on staples like poultry, ground beef, butter, sour cream, chicken stock and spices when they go on sale, so a typical trip to the grocery store consists primarily of picking up dairy and vegetables.
Of course since we don’t have any of those staples on hand we needed to buy each and every ingredient needed for our recipes. And of course that meant that most of the ingredients on our list were not on sale.
If I had a little more foresight I could have foraged our pantry for a bunch of these ingredients before I ever left home. There are so many tricks for saving money on food while on vacation and somehow or another I ignored all of my own best advice.
We purchase more expensive ingredients these days as I tend to buy organic whenever possible. In the standard grocery store these products can cost double to triple the price of the non-organic version. The issue of buying organic used to be a big question for me, but it’s now my standard operating procedure to buy it. Especially if it’s food my son will consume.
As I listened to the register beep and the food move down the line I didn’t look at the monitor. My husband guessed that a $400 bill was in our future. We had almost no coupons for the food we purchased and almost nothing we bought was on sale.
By the time all was said and done we filled two carts and paid over $430. I shouted ‘holy mackral’ when the total flashed on the monitor. The kind cashier pointed out that $400 would typically pay for only one or two dinners at a restaurant for the same number of people, which did make me feel slightly better.
We bought enough food to prepare about a week’s worth of meals and to feed eight people and a toddler. Here’s to hoping this is some tasty grub!