This week I have discussed meal delivery kits and using cookbooks to create quick and easy dinners. Today, I’m going to share how I cook dinner on a daily basis in my house. Bulk Shopping for Two People is what works the best for us. Here’s how I do it!
This past winter I made the decision to join Costco, I was trying to eat healthier and needed to reorganize myself. Across the board everyone was confused as to why I’d want to shop at Costco. There’s only two people in my house, so why do we need to buy in bulk? Not only does it save time, it saves us so much money. I’ve got the protein on our average dinner down to under $2.00 per person! People say the membership frees to these shopping clubs aren’t worth it, but to me the absolutely are!
I am definitely a meal planner, I always need to know what my next meal is. I don’t understand people who don’t, if I don’t know what’s for dinner what am I supposed to look forward to all day?! Food is my life! I like to buy my meat in bulk and then freeze them in smaller portions, with this system I only have to buy meat about every 2-3 months! And I don’t even have a chest freezer, just the one in my fridge. It’s definitely a Jenga game after every Costco trip, but it’s worth it.
First, lets discuss the one thing everyone loves about Costco, free samples! Shopping is more fun when I can be snacking on treats. I’ve definitely discovered some awesome snacks this way, like their mango quinoa salad; it comes in individual cups so it’s perfect for grab and go lunches! I have to staples in my house that I must by at Costco. The Kirkland bacon is amazing, it’s nice and thick and not too salty, definitely my favorite brand. Also the frozen gluten free pizza at Costco is out of the world! It’s even good cold, straight from the fridge which is extremely rare for a gluten free pizza. Plus it’s only $11 dollars for two large pizzas, definitely cheaper than $9.99 for a small gluten free pizza to be delivered!
Now lets get to why I really got to Costco, to stock up on proteins. My boyfriend has a seafood allergy so I’ve only ever bought their meat, but the seafood also looks great. If you remember my round up from a few months back, ground beef is a staple protein in my house. I buy the biggest packet of ground beef I can find in the case. When I get home I divide it into smaller bags. Some I leave plain for Taco Tuesdays, but a lot of the meat I use to make meatballs, Salisbury steak, meat loaf, and burger patties. Having them already made in the freezer makes dinner to much faster. I spend one day every few months prepping and then when I’m craving meatballs all I have to do is thaw them!
Another inexpensive protein, that is a must in my house, is chicken thighs. I buy the bone in skin on thighs, they have the most flavor and still cook fairly quickly. If you don’t like dark meat you can buy the chicken breasts instead. The chicken breasts at Costco are so large we always split one for dinner. To add some variety to our dinners I always buy a pork product as well, in the this trip I bought tenderloins. Now this next step is what makes my meal planning so easy. I make a bunch of marinades on my Costo day and divide everything until zip lock bags with different marinades and spices. Since there’s only two of us I cut the tenderloins in half and use four chicken thighs to a bag. Since everything’s marinading in the freezer I just pull out what I want to eat a night or two beforehand to thaw and then I’ve got a flavorful dinner I just need to add veggies and a starch too!
My Favorite Marinades:
- Italian marinade
- Whole30 BBQ Sauce
- Ranch Powder
- David’s Unforgettable Sauces
- Ginger Soy Sauce
- Saucy Lips Dressings
- Mexican Spices
- Garlic Thyme
I always buy the whole chickens at Costco as well. These I don’t do anything to, just throw in the freezer to roast later in the month. I love whole chickens because we get two meals out of them. We’ll eat the breast one night, and then pick the dark meat for the next. In addition to the proteins, I buy the whole peeled tomatoes to make bulk tomato sauce. I just just freeze it in zip lock bags so I’ve always got sauce on hand for pastas or pizzas.
Now to the part you are all waiting for, didn’t I say my meals costs less than $2.00 a person, yes! I don’t calculate out the price of every exact meal, just the protein. My last cost trip I spend about $55.00 on proteins. $9.19 on 2 whole chickens, $17.99 on pork tenderloin, $10.36 on chicken thighs, and $16.33 on ground beef. From this I got 30 meals once everything was divided in the freezer. That’s $1.80 for the protein of a meal! Divide that by the two people eating 90 cents a person! Of course you’ve not eating only protein, but generally the veggies and starches are the cheaper parts of your meal.
Now if you’re really paying attention I’m sure you’ve noticed that I said I do this once every 2-3 months and then told you this shopping trip made thirty meals. Well, firstly, I never let the freezer completely empty so there if always leftover protein from the previous trip. Also remember that gluten free pizza? Those are definitely eaten some nights for dinner! We’re also be fans of brinner, so we often do bacon and eggs. And then of course some meals are meat free, pastas and stir fry rice are our favorites. Then there’s the nights we go out for dinner. So generally 30 meat meals will last us at least 6 weeks. There’s no right or wrong way to shop and organize your life, but this is what works for my family and, more importantly, my wallet. If you want to learn more about my meal planning be sure to subscribe to newsletter for a free seven day meal plan complete with recipes and shopping lists!