Grocery Geek: Shopping for the Freezer

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Last weekend I spent some time in the kitchen filling the freezer for the coming month. Freezer cooking helps me stay a little ahead of the game.

While there are many ways to easily fill the freezer or make freezer cooking work for your particular situation, I’ve found that doing a big cooking session at the beginning of the month helps us throughout the coming weeks. This does change depending on what each month actually looks like. The cooking results are over here.

Big cooking means big shopping.

Here’s how that went down:


Sorry, no pretty picture here. I took two kids shopping at Costco on a Saturday morning. ‘Nuf said. I was lucky to get it all in the car and home. And then I cooked.

I’m glad I survived.

I bought lots of things, including the TEN POUND roast that I thought was really several roasts in a cryovac bag. That was a crazy, but yummy cooking experiment!

Total spent $331


I arrived at Walmart at 6:45 am on Sunday. I left at 7:01. How’s that for going early, alone, and with a list?!

Total spent $51


My teenager is one of the healthiest eaters I know. He does a ton of research to improve his eating — and I never have to ask him to eat his vegetables. The whey protein is for him. It’s pricey. But, this particular brand is soy and hormone free which makes this mama very happy.

Stocked up on some basics at Sprouts, including the killer deal on sour cream ($1.25). I bought a month’s worth.

Total spent $72

Abundant Harvest Organics

The produce box from Abundant Harvest was a little sparse this week. I’m hoping that changes soon. It’s been a weird weather year. So, we’ll see. I gave the Chinese okra, figs, and sorrel to my neighbor because I just didn’t have the time to be creative with them. We got tomatoes, melon, squash, eggplant, basil, radishes, potatoes, grapes, tomatoes, and peppers.

Total spent $41

JR Organics

I also bought 10 pounds of pickling cukes from a local farmer. I made pickles!

Total spent $20

So, the grand total for the month so far is $551. I have an extremely full freezer and lots of leftover baking items in the pantry as well as lots of oats and rice. I’m hoping to stay under the thrifty plan for the month, considering our busy schedule, vacation, and rising food costs.

Are you a grocery geek?


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  1. Margery H. says:

    It amazes me how well you cook for such a large family on your budget. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve been doing the Costco thing for about 2 years, and I am starting to scrutinize the cost-per-unit price more. Some Costo items are great values and some are not so great, better had elsewhere.

    Jessica, could you share a short “off-the-top-of-my-head” list of Costco items that you think are killer values? (I’m eyeing that big bag of baking soda, since I do lots of baking, too.) Thank you so much, and God bless!

    • Thanks for your kind words. It’s definitely a work in progress.

      The things we always buy at Costco: milk, cream, pasta, some breads, some meats, Tillamook cheese, baking soda and vinegar (for cleaning), some crackers and snacks.

  2. Can you freeze sour cream and cottage cheese? Didn’t know if they would be watery when unfrozen.

    • @Brenda, I don’t know about cottage cheese, but I’ve personally never had good luck with freezing sour cream. Milk and regular cream, no problem, but sour cream has changed consistency.

    • @Brenda,
      If the sour cream is incorporated into a recipe it will freeze fine. I use it in casseroles for the freezer all of the time. It does not freeze well on its own, however.

    • @Brenda, I have only used sour cream in recipes that I then froze. I’ve never frozen it on its own. My research all advised against it. I would imagine cottage cheese would go funky, too.

  3. Do you set a cap on your monthly grocery budget? And if so, how close do you come? We’re feeding a family of 5 on $400/month, but even with monthly freezer cooking it’s challenging.

    I find that flour is also a great buy at Costco, at least here; I pay $10.99 for a 20 kg bag of flour (white or whole wheat). Two bags last us approximately three months of baking near-daily and we keep them in airtight Rubbermaid totes.

    • I am striving to average $800/month (for 8 people) over the entire year. I don’t sweat it if we go over a little one month, because I’m working for the average.

      As for Costco, I’ve learned that they aren’t all the same. Mine does not have good quality flour or good prices.

  4. If you get figs again, we love this recipe:
    Super easy and really delicious as an appetizer or over a bed of mixed greens.

  5. Holly Dolan says:

    Do you have a recipe for the roast? I’m looking for a good one to make a good French Dip sandwich; I’ve been searching for one since I had the best one ever at Claim Jumper! Thanks for any help!

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