Weekly Recap 10/28-11/3

by Beth - Budget Bytes
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Hey, it’s that time again! And boy was this a fun week. I was pretty much like a kid in a candy store while doing my grocery shopping for this week. Why? Because for some magical reason, after I picked up everything on my list, I still had TEN DOLLARS left to spend. I’ve never been so excited about spending ten dollars in my life. LOL

I could barely decide on where I was going to go buck wild with that ten bucks…

Weekly Recap 10-28 BudgetBytes.com

I never really know how close I’ll be to my $30 weekly limit as I’m picking out my recipes and making my grocery list, I just know that it’s going to be “cheap”. This week I was surprised at just how cheap it was! I had three recipes planned, two of which used beans that I already had on hand. The rest of the ingredients, plus the few staples I needed for the week was just over $20 bucks. That made me feel like the champion of the world!

What Did I Buy?

Are you ready for this? I had to take THREE photos this week…

Groceries group 1 10-28 Groceries group 2 10-28 Groceries group 3 10-28

The only two staples I needed this week were milk and eggs, although maybe I should consider tomato paste a staple since it’s used in a lot of different things and I generally have some 1 Tbsp portions on hand in the freezer.

After I had collected everything I needed for the recipes, my “splurge” items were three bags of shredded cheese (because there was an INSANELY good sale, $1.25 each!), a sweet potato (to make more cornbread),  peanut butter, and a pomegranate (also on sale, $1.50 each). I was so happy that I had some wiggle room in the budget this week and could take advantage of the cheese sale. I used one bag in a recipe this week and the other two went straight into the freezer.

I also used one can of white beans from my pantry, and about 1 can worth of black beans that I had frozen.

Here’s what the grocery list and receipt looked like:

Grocery List 10-28Grocery Receipt 10-28

So, I ended up going over $30 a bit. I must have made a calculation error as I was putting items into my grocery basket, but I wasn’t too far off and I figured I could make up for it in the coming weeks. If I HAD to stick strictly to $30, though, I could have put back either a bag of cheese, a can of tuna, or a can of green chiles because I had extras of each.

The stars by the items on my grocery list were things that I wanted to double check to see if I already had in my pantry or freezer, and of course the peanut butter has a question mark because that was only if I had extra room in my budget (which I did!).

What I Ate

Vegetable Enchilada Casserole - BudgetBytes.com

Vegetable Enchilada Casserole was my main entrée this week. It was warm, comforting, and had TONS of flavor. I ended up cutting mine into 9 slightly smaller portions, which gave me three leftovers to freeze. I’ll be VERY happy about that later. ;)

Tuna & White Bean Salad - BudgetBytes.com

While making my menu plan, I noticed I had a couple cans of white beans in my pantry (that had been there for-ev-er), and I remembered this Tuna & White Bean Salad. I had forgotten all about this one and was super excited to make it again once I remembered. It’s really delicious, light, and healthy. I had two cans of beans, so I bought two cans of tuna, but only ended up making one batch. That means I already have the goods to make another batch, practically for free, in the future!

These Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips are fast, easy, super crunchy, a great way to use up leftover tortillas, and a great alternative to store bought chips. Budgetbytes.com

Crackers cost WAY too much, IMHO, so I had to figure out how I was going to eat that Tuna & White Bean Salad. Sure, sometimes I just eat it with a fork, but I prefer some type of crunch-tastic carb vehicle. Then I remembered my leftover tortillas from the Enchilada Casserole and the lightbulb went off! I made these super tasty (and easy) Baked Tortilla Chips. #win

Overhead view of creamy pasta twirled around the tongs in the skillet.

And lastly, I made this awesomely dreamy One Pot Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta. At this point I almost felt like I had too much food, so I think in the future I’ll space my recipes out a bit more. Instead of making them all near the beginning of the week, I’ll wait until the second half of the week when my portions are dwindling, to make my second option.

Sweet Potato Cornbread - BudgetBytes.com

I kept day dreaming about that Sweet Potato Cornbread, so I made a second batch, but this time in muffin form (oops, already deleted the photo off my phone). Surprisingly, it took the same amount of time to bake (for me) as it did in the cast iron skillet. I suspect that’s because I had let the skillet heat up in the oven, while the muffin tin was room temperature. Anyway, I ate a few of those and the rest went into the freezer. I’ve been taking one out at a time and reheating in the microwave for 30 seconds–perfect!

Pomegranate Halves

One of my splurges this week was this pomegranate. I LOVE pomegranates, so when they’re on sale for $1.50, you bet I’m going to snatch that up! They’re so insanely beautiful (and delicious).

Pomegranate Seeds

I removed the seeds, kept them in this bowl in the fridge (covered), and then just a few spoonfuls every day. I love the burst of cold juice and crunchy center. Seriously the best thing ever. I love that I’m still getting a lot of variety in my food intake week to week, even if there’s not a lot of variety within the week. I suspect that variety from week to week is just as valuable, nutritionally speaking.

I also bought some satsumas because they were really cheap. They are bigger than the free satsumas I got a week ago, but not nearly as sweet. Still good, though!

For a little variety, I dove into the freezer and ate a bowl of Bacon, Bean, and Potato Soup this week. It was just as delicious as I remember!

Oh, and I ate out once this week… A slightly disappointing bowl of ramen. But ramen, in any form, is hard to resist! :)


Here’s what went into the freezer this week: 3 portions of the Vegetable Enchilada Casserole, about 8 Sweet Potato Corn Muffins, and leftover tomato paste.

I had one leftover can of tuna, one leftover can of green chiles, and 1/2 lb. fettuccine, all of which is shelf stable and will wait in my pantry until I call upon them some day in the future. ;)

The only thing that went into the garbage was a couple small scoopfuls of Tuna & White Bean Salad that I didn’t finish. Not bad!


I think I almost had too much food this week. I didn’t finish all my satsumas (they’ll be good till next week) and I was just really full a couple of days. If I had spread out when I prepared my recipes, I think I would have been a bit better and finishing them off and having a fresh supply of food, rather than having a TON of stuff in the beginning of the week and a bare fridge by the end. New lessons learned every week! :)

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  1. Just found your blog and I love it!! I love this weekly recap…I tend to buy too much and have things go bad (though I try to freeze it or something if I realize I cant use it in time!). I want to work harder on cutting my grocery bill down, but most budget friendly recipe ideas are so…boring or out-dated. I really love your approach. Thank you!!! Will be following from now on with BlogLovin’ :)

  2. I love it! What technique do you use to deseed your pomegranate? I struggle with getting the seeds out without getting juice all over me!

    1. I just used a paring knife to score the skin all the way around, then pried it open. I turned the open halves upside down and kind of turned them inside out, then used my finger tips to gently brush out the seeds. There was a little juice, but it’s a lot easier than that water bowl method, which I find terribly messy and cumbersome. :)

    2. You can cut it in four pieces and fill a mixing bowl about 1/2 of the way with water. Dump the pieces in there and pull them apart under the water. The seeds will sink, and the membranes and skin will float. Your hands won’t get stained!

  3. I love reading your blog and have made several of your dishes. I am an accountant so the cost breakdown of each recipe put me in nerd-vana. :)

    I do have one question. Have you thought about making your own peanut butter? I have been buying roasted shelled peanuts in bulk from Costco and then blending up a cup at a time. Fresh peanut butter tastes so great!

    1. If I had a resource for bulk peanuts like that, I probably would! I do love fresh peanut butter. :)

      1. If you have an Aldi, they sell shelled roasted peanuts (no salt or any other ingredients) for less than $2. I think there are about 3 cups of peanuts which makes a lot of peanut butter. Sorry I don’t have the container in front of me so I don’t know sizes and costs, just going off the top of my head.

        1. Oh I SO wish I had an Aldi! Everyone always comments about the awesome deals they get there! :P

  4. Quick question on the cornbread. What’s your method on freezing the cornbread muffins? Have you frozen the skillet version before? I have some milk I want to use to make your original skillet cornbread, and if it freezes well I’d love to make a few batches and freeze some for future meals. Maybe that way I can keep myself from eating a full skillet of cornbread in 2-3 days.

    1. I think the best practice would be to wrap each individual piece in plastic wrap, then place them all in a freezer grade storage bag. I was a bit lazy so I just popped all the muffins into a freezer bag without pre-wrapping. That will hold up, but not for very long (I knew I’d eat them fairly soon anyway). Oh, and always make sure they’re completely chilled before wrapping and transferring to the freezer.