Groceries and Dining In

To help keep your food budget on track, try and buy food that is in season. Local farmers markets are a great way to support your community and to experience good fresh food. Some areas of the country are luck enough to have farmers markets running year around. Other areas have only the summer months to enjoy the local bounty. I will often head out to the market and buy what looks the best that day… succulent berries, lush tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and so on. The fresh picks of the day will often dictate what I make for dinner. With tomatoes and lettuce, I might make BLT’s, a bunch of basil might become pesto with pasta, and a vegetable medley might become a stir fry. Berries could top vanilla ice cream or be added to muffins or scones. I try to keep my cupboards stocked with the basics that I use regularly. I stock up when I see “basics” on sale at the grocery. I have also gathered a collection of recipes for quick and easy to make meals. This helps avoid the “lets order out because we have nothing to eat or it takes to long to make” issues that are costly and often not very healthy choices (i.e. fast food). If you keep your cupboards stocked with the basics you will be able to create delicious nutritious meals in less time than it would take to order out.

If you are really busy or hate going to the store, you might consider ordering groceries on line at,, or These on-line options make it very easy to shop at your convenience.

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Some of the basics or staples that I keep in my cupboards are:

  • Pasta
  • Jars of Pasta Sauce
  • Canned Tuna
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Jars of Olives
  • Jars of Artichoke Hearts
  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Beans
  • Rice - several types
  • Vegetable broth
  • Couscous
  • A variety of spices
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Capers
  • Crackers
  • Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

Then I always have the following on hand:

  • Fresh parmesan cheese (I never buy the stuff in the can)
  • Butter
  • Assorted cheeses
  • Salad Dressings
  • Juice
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Misc fruit & vegetables
  • Bread
  • Wine
  • Milk
  • Coffee
  • Cereal
  • Eggs

To this I can add fish or poultry or meat and create a multitude of dishes. You may have other ingredients that you prefer. What I am getting at it that it really doesn’t take much to create delicious meals. Plus cooking from scratch tastes better and is less expensive that prepackaged food. Don’t believe me? Think about how much better a fresh home baked chocolate chip cookie tastes compared to a mass produced chocolate chip cookie from a package you purchase at the grocery store. How about spaghetti from a can or frozen container compared to freshly prepared? If you don’t know how to cook, get a cook book and try it on your own or take a class. There are also many great resources on the internet. For example, Rachael Ray has developed a collection of meals in 30 minutes or less. Cooking can be enjoyable so, relax and enjoy it.

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Other Food and Libations Posts:

  1. Coffee
  2. Dining Deals
  3. Dining Out
  4. Groceries and Dining In
  5. Libations: Wine, Beer and Spirits
  6. Tasting Guide to Enjoying the Best Chocolate
  7. Travel and Dining