Weekly Recap 2/19-2/25

by Beth - Budget Bytes
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It’s that time again. Oh how the week flies! It was a super busy week this week, and I mean SUPER busy. The kind of busy where you don’t even stop to think, “What should I eat?” Luckily, that part is kind of my job. ;)

Weekly Recap 1-25

I had four recipes planned for this week, Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks, Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sesame Tofu with Broccoli, and some sort of pesto pasta… but I never got around to making the pasta. It was just that kind of week! But now I have a jar of pesto in my pantry that I can play around with in the future, so that’s not so bad. But anyway, let’s jump right in!

What I Bought

I used a lot of ingredients that I already had on hand this week, so my grocery list was surprisingly short:

Grocery List 2-19

Because I had bought a family pack of chicken drumsticks the week before, all I needed for the chicken recipe was the cilantro and limes. I bought honey because I wasn’t sure if I was going to add it to the marinade or not, but I didn’t end up using it.

Crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and parsley were all for the pasta dish that I didn’t get to, but luckily the canned tomato goods will last until I get another chance to use them. While I was at the store I decided not to buy angel hair pasta and just use the leftover fettuccini that I had in the pantry instead.

I put celery on the list because I have a few chicken carcasses in the freezer that I need to make stock out of. I already have some carrots from the week before, so I figured this would be a good time to make the stock. I also used some of the carrots and celery to snack on with hummus this week. (I thought of that while I was at the store, so I picked up some chickpeas, even though they weren’t on the list.)

Green onions and tofu were for the Sesame Tofu recipe, and I already had frozen broccoli, rice, and everything needed to make the sauce on hand. #win

Somehow I didn’t need any pantry staples this week. Oh, no, I lied. I needed tortillas, but forgot to put them on my list and therefor forgot to buy them. Me without tortillas is a scary thing, but I decided to challenge myself to go a week without them. Having no tortillas meant that I had nothing to eat my eggs with, so that ended up unintentionally slowing my egg consumption. Not a bad deal, since if I eat eggs unchecked, I’ll eat a whole dozen in a week. It’s a dangerous situation.

WFM receipt 2-19 Rouse's Receipt 2-19

Weekly Total: $31.17

When I walked into Whole Foods I saw these adorable tangelos on sale for $0.98/lb and had to get some. They’re pretty good, but fairly tart, so I still have a few left over. I also got bananas to go in my oatmeal, and a pineapple because I LOVE pineapple and they were only $1.97!! Lots of fruit this week.

When I went to get the Parmesan that was on my list, I saw a sale sign for DeLallo that said $2.99, so I grabbed that… Not realizing until I got home that it was actually Romano rather than Parmesan. Oops. Either way, it will still be great on pasta, so I’m not mad. :P

This weeks grocery run was again closer to $30 than my $40 goal, but I probably ate 90% of the food this week. Boyfriend was working really long hours and ate most of his meals away from home. So, the $31 is probably right on target.

WFM Groceries 2-19 Rouse's Groceries 2-19

That’s so little food! But, like I said, I used a lot of ingredients that I had on hand this week. My freezer is finally starting to look a little less full. :)

What I Ate

Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks - BudgetBytes.com
These Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks were my first project this week. Oh my were they good! I love that tangy garlicky-lime flavor. And you know how I love my cilantro. ;) I had a pack of 16 drumsticks, but I only used half for this recipe because I don’t like to freeze leftovers of cooked bone-in meat. I find it difficult to reheat without drying it out.

Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes - BudgetBytes.com
Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes made the PERFECT side dish to the Cilantro Lime Chicken. They both cooked in the oven at the same time and the flavors and colors were beautifully complimentary. I served everything over a bed of rice.

Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Broccoli - BudgetBytes.com
Next, I decided to experiment with some tofu. I’m so glad this Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Broccoli was such a success. I was really worried that I’d have another tofu failure, but this stuff was SO GOOD. I’m making more tofu this week because I liked it so much (a different flavor, though). Plus, most of these ingredients I keep on hand, so it’s a great last minute meal.

Overhead view of a bowl of pasta with meatballs and marinara
On one of those super-duper busy nights, I reached into my freezer and pulled out the bag of frozen Skillet Meatballs that I had waiting for just such an emergency. I had also kept a jar of pasta sauce in my pantry because I knew I’d need it when I finally decided to cook up those meatballs. Fast, easy, and very satisfying. :)

Hummus and Vegetables
To make sure I had some snacky-snacks in the fridge, I whipped up a batch of hummus and cut up some carrots and celery. I ended up winging the hummus, but I used this basic hummus recipe as my guide. I also tried a couple tips that people have mentioned over the years: boiling the canned chickpeas for about 10 minutes to make them extra soft, and removing the skins. The hummus was ultra smooth, but taking the skins off seemed to reduce the volume quite a bit and I felt like I was probably just removing a lot of the fiber. It was good to try, but I probably won’t use either technique regularly.

Breakfast was oatmeal just about every morning, except that one day when I ate the leftover pasta and meatballs. LOL

We were actually so busy this week that we didn’t eat out one single time. Crazy! Time flew so fast that I didn’t notice, though. :)


There were a lot of things I didn’t get to this week, including the pasta dish and making my chicken stock. But as my days filled up, I made sure that the non-time-sensitive tasks got pushed to the back. The pasta dish used ingredients that were almost all shelf stable, which means I could make it at any point in the future. The chicken carcasses are safely frozen, so the stock could be postponed as well. The celery and carrots used to make the stock are obviously perishable, but they’ll stay good a week or maybe a little more, so I knew I could wait until this week if I had to. I had already started to thaw the chicken for the Cilantro Lime Chicken, so I absolutely HAD to make that.

It’s funny how often the thought of ingredients going bad motivates me to get off my bum and into the kitchen. I have a tendency to say, “Oh, I can do that tomorrow, I’ll just eat a spoon of peanut butter for dinner…” but if I see that the cilantro is starting to get a little wilted or I’m afraid my fresh meat will go bad, I’ll feel all guilty and finally get up and go. :P Funny how different things motivate different people, huh?

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  1. A really good way to keep celery fresh is to wrap it in aluminum foil before you put it in the fridge – it lasts ages longer and doesn’t get wilty

  2. I’m the same way about feeling guilty when food starts to go bad. Like, I have enough leftovers of X dish that I don’t NEED to cook anything new tonight, but my portobello mushroom caps have been waiting and I have to do something with them! And then I end up with delicious fresh new food.

  3. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a while, but am bad about commenting. This week’s eats are one of my favorite so far! I’ll definitely be making tofu and chicken this way! I made your 5 spice chicken over the weekend and it got rave reviews.

  4. LOL! I’m exactly the sme with cilantro. I mean, it’s CILANTRO, right? Over here in Germany (aka food desert) I’ve had so many difficulties finding it in the shops, that now when I’ve got some, I just cannot let it go to waste. So I often end up making an unplanned curry or your wonderful one-pan-southwest-skillet-meals …. as long as no cilantro is wasted, my world is complete ;)

  5. Adding baking soda to your chickpeas makes them extremely smooth, without having to remove he skins. Add a teaspoon while soaking dried chickpeas. I’ve also see recipes that add it while they cook, and that might be one way to make canned chickpeas smoother, but I haven’t tried that. I’d never heard of doing this until I started reading some Israeli cookbooks.

  6. a suggestion for the cooked drumsticks. Remove the chicken from the bones and reuse as taco filling or in rice bowls. It’s easier to reheat and uses less space in the freezer

  7. You can make stock in your Instant Pot! I’ve had one about a year now and it’s my fave method for stock now. I do 10 minutes at high pressure and my secret ingredient is a small handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, which are super cheap at the Asian market. I also use a Parmesan rind if I have one.

  8. Yes, I totally agree! I feel guilty as well when stuff goes bad and I have to throw it away. I do my best to use up all perishables. Awesome job on the grocery list! I really need to challenge myself to spend less at the grocery store. I can’t seem to walk out of there without spending less than $50. However I do buy for me and my boyfriend, so that’ll increase the bill.

  9. I find that just rinsing the chickpeas under hot water, or putting the unopened can in a bowl of hot water for 10-15, makes my hummus really smooth. I would never have the patience to remove the skins. (Know your limits! ;))

  10. I’m the same way!! I love menu planning, and I get such great satisfaction from finishing the week where my fridge is nearly empty because all the perishables have been consumed. I can’t stand to be wasteful.

    I also just have to say I LOVE your website. I think I could honestly only make recipes from your site and live a perfectly happy , delicious, budget friendly life. I have probably made 20 recipes so far, and all fabulous – not a clunker in the bunch! And my husband and two teenage sons love the food as well. THANK YOU!!!!

  11. Hello! I agree with you. The thought of vegetables going bad in the fridge also motivates me to make something even if it’s really simple. :)

    Also, the kids prefer home cooked food. :)

  12. I am a meat eater, but am strangely inspired to try your Tofu recipe. You made it sound so delicious, and the photos are amazing. I am also marveling that sometimes you eat a spoonful of peanut butter for dinner. That’s it??? Wish my hungry self could do that once in awhile!! LOL!

    1. LOL that was a little bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes I am so tired that I do just graze on whatever is just right there and takes no prep, you know?

  13. I’m planning to make enchiladas this weekend with some ground turkey I picked up on sale and noticed I had your enchilada sauce bookmarked in my recipe file. Anyway, I am looking at your blog (which I should have been following ages ago) and see you are a hummus lover. I was wondering if you have ever tried making it with the dried garbanzos? It is more time consuming as you need to soak them overnight and boil and simmer them for an hour or so but it is worth the time and trouble as the taste is orders of magnitude better than the canned variety. I usually prepare 2 cups dried, soaked in eight cups of water which after boiling gives about seven cups. What I don’t use for hummus I toss with some olive oil and garlic powder and bake in the oven for a crispy snack or use in a basic stew with onions, tomatoes, garlic and fresh parsley. Cheap, filling, healthy and delicious!