Grocery Geek: Shopping for the Freezer

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Going into November I decided that I wanted to have a BIG load of meals to get us into the holiday season. I wanted to be able to have a writing night or a date night and not worry about what folks back at the ranch were going to be eating.

I created what I’m calling a Busy Holiday Nights Cooking Plan that focuses on one-dish dinners and casseroles. I can supplement these meals with a few side dishes, but they are “free standing”. They don’t need a lot of prep work or extra components added at the time of serving.

I spent most of Monday in the kitchen, but now we’re good for quite some time. I’m hoping this will keep my grocery spending under control as well as save me time from shopping. We’ll need dairy and produce and some grains, but we have a lot on hand now.

Here’s the shopping that went into this big cooking session:


As I mentioned a few days ago, Costco is a great place for bulk buying. With a family our size it’s not too difficult to make it work for us. It’s also a great fit for freezer cooking.

At Costco I bought all this:

  • 2 gallons of milk
  • bread
  • 2 pounds of chips
  • dozens of tostada shells
  • 11 pounds ground beef
  • 4 pounds of ground pork
  • 12 pounds of cheese
  • 2 pounds of turkey breast
  • 4 dozen fruit leathers
  • multitudes of canned tomato products
  • lots of refried beans
  • 7 pounds of pasta
  • 6 cans olives
  • a big bag of potstickers
  • 2 dozen Cliff bars
  • craisins
  • animal crackers
  • 6 containers orange juice
  • 4 pounds bacon
  • chili powder
  • 4 bottles apple cider
  • 2 large cans cooking spray
  • 2 dozen tortillas
  • and a partridge in a pear tree

I ended up spending $300.

Trader Joe’s

TJ’s is a my go-to place for dairy, breads, breakfasts, and snack stuff. My purchases this week included bread, eggs, crackers, rice cake, ricotta cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, sunbutter, sunflower oil, and cereal.

Total spent = $51

Sprouts and Walmart

There were a few things on the cooking plan that couldn’t be found at Trader Joe’s and Costco, so I made two more stops, Sprouts and Walmart.

I bought tortillas, potatoes, paprika, chicken, cilantro, pineapple, onions, avocados, parsley, cilantro, mushrooms, bananas, bread, and split peas.

Total spent = $58

Abundant Harvest Organics

And of course, we can’t forget the produce box. This week’s bounty included pomegranates, spinach, pumpkins, celery, sorrel, collards, carrots, lettuce, daikon radish, potatoes, and persimmons. The persimmons and collard greens have already found a new home with friends. (Relieves my guilt and pressure to use them). And we’re slowly working our way through this supply.

Total spent = $36

MTD Expenses = $445

I know, seems like a lot. But, the month’s meals, aside from Thanksgiving Dinner and upcoming birthdays, are mostly present and accounted for. I’ve also warned hubs that if the freezer dies, he will drop whatever he is doing and go get me a new one. Pronto. It would otherwise be a medical emergency because I would have a heart attack

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Reading your Costco Shopping list, it sounded like the 12 days of Christmas. I was just waiting for 5 golden rings to pop up in there!

  2. Just curious how you handle cooking with your daughter’s egg allergy. Do you make meals she can eat too, or when you make meals with eggs, do you just make her something else?

    • @Melissa, she can have eggs in baked goods. So, I when I make egg dishes (very infrequently), I make her something else. Greek yogurt is a good sub for when the rest of us are having eggs.

      Almost everything I make is safe for her. It’s just easier that way. It’s hard in some ways because we love nuts and she can’t have those. So, very few nuts here. (I buy almonds because that’s one of the few she’s allowed, but we don’t let her eat them just in case an almond allergy develops when we’re not looking.)

  3. I love/hate Costco.. I can spend $300 in there without blinking if Im not careful. No other store temps me like Costco does. I have a BJ’s Warehouse membership too but it just doesnt have the same pull.. Costco does it good. 😉

    Im with you.. another freezer would be immediately forthcoming if mine died., No mistake about it.

  4. So, how did you fix your partridge? With pear sauce , no doubt.

  5. Funny, funny, funny costco summary. Thanks for the laugh. 🙂

  6. Ah! How I miss Abundant Harvest! My family just moved from CA to Minnesota, and replacing the fresh, affordable Abundant Harvest has been my biggest challenge. Inexpensive, and even sometimes expensive, produce just doesn’t taste good in comparison. Any northerners with any advice in the produce area (other than growing a garden and canning like a crazy-person; I’m too late for that this year!)?

Share Your Thoughts