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  • The Best Way to Your Father’s Heart – His Stomach

    Father’s Day is a time to show your dad how much he means to you and how thankful you are for him as a dad. What is the best way to show him how much you care? Feed him! Select one of the dad-approved recipes and make him a delicious meal this Father’s Day. We highly recommend:

     

     Pulled Pork Sandwich

    Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwich

     

     Sausage and Pepper Mac 'n Cheese

    Sausage and Pepper Mac 'n Cheese


    Make sure to pick up your top ingredients at Grocery Outlet when you are getting ready to prepare the lip-smacking meal. When you shop at Grocery Outlet, you know you will get big savings and high-quality taste! Find a store near you!

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  • Fresh Vegetarian Meals for Summer


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

    One of my best tips for getting out of a dinner rut? Plan your menu around vegetables, not meat! Not only is this a creative way to menu plan, it's good for your body and your budget


    On the vine tomatoes

    This month, I decided to shop at Grocery Outlet for inspiration for a couple vegetarian meals. I wanted to come up with meals that would be light and refreshing as the weather has started to heat up!

    Of course, I didn't leave my store disappointed! Check out some of the deals I spotted...

     

     Deals from Grocery Outlet

    I snagged a 1-lb package of tomatoes on the vine for $1.99, 2 containers of cherry tomatoes for $1.50, grated Parmesan cheese for just $1.99, and a full pound of mozzarella cheese for $2.99! After taking the tomatoes home, I knew I wanted to make dinners that played on the flavor combination of one of my all-time favorite appetizers, bruschetta. (And yes, they both turned out AMAZING!)

     

     Wine

    I even managed to find a bottle of Chardonnay for just $2.99, which went perfect with my menu.

    To this, I also picked up a loaf of bread, some garlic, and a red onion! All told, I spent only $17.04 at Grocery Outlet on these simple dinners (including the wine) - the rest of the ingredients needed I already had on hand (and you likely do right now, too).

     

    Night One: Broiled Tomato & Herb Sandwiches

     

    Open Faced Sandwiches

     

    I knew I wanted one of my recipes to be a sandwich of some sort. But what to do? That's when I came upon this Broiled Tomato Sandwich recipe. I loved the idea of an open-faced sandwich! I took the idea and made some modifications to the recipe to suit my taste. The result? Pure heaven!

    Here's what you'll need:

    • 1 lb tomatoes-on-the-vine, sliced
    • Loaf of bread (choose something that is a little "sturdier")
    • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (plus more for top)
    • ¼ cup butter, softened
    • ½ tsp dried parsley
    • ½ tsp dried basil
    • ¼ tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • Salt & pepper, to taste

    Cut Tomatoes
    Start by preheating your broiler, then get to work on marinating your tomatoes. Whisk the olive oil and vinegar in a bowl, and add some salt and pepper. Gently place your sliced tomatoes in, stirring to cover. Here's a tip: when you're ready to use the tomatoes, don't throw out that marinade. It makes a delicious dressing!

     

    Cheese Spread

     Next, make an herb butter. Combine the softened butter with the dried herbs, 2 tbsp Parmesan, and garlic salt.

     

    The Essential Baking Company Bread

     

     I picked up this beautiful loaf of bread at my Grocery Outlet for $2.49. Because you will be topping the bread with tomatoes and butter, you want a bit of a heavier bread like this. Too soft, and the whole thing could go mushy on you.

     

    Tomato Sandwiches

     
    Lightly toast your bread. I did this by placing in my broiler for a minute. I didn't let it turn brown at all; just enough to firm it up a little. Then, spread the herb butter on your bread and top with your tomatoes. Add a bit more Parmesan cheese and throw under the broiler for a few minutes. Watch it closely; you don't want it to burn! Mine was done in about 5 minutes.

     

     Open Faced Sandwich

     
    You can enjoy this sandwich open-faced, or, combine two for a full sandwich. To keep it light, serve with a salad using the reserved marinade. This sandwich was so good, I found myself returning to the fridge later than night for a second helping!


    Night Two: Bruschetta Pasta

     

    Bruschetta Pasta
     
    For night two, we're keeping with bruschetta theme, but doing something a little different. Your costs will still stay down because many of the ingredients you used last night can be used in tonight's dinner! I took this recipe for Bruschetta Pasta and paired down the ingredients to keep it simple and frugal. This pasta is so delicious, you'll find yourself going back for seconds (my husband and I sure did!).

     

    Vegetables

     

    Here's what you'll need:
    • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved (one container at Grocery Outlet = 2 cups)
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 2 tbsp minced red onion
    • Salt & pepper, to taste
    • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
    • 1 lb pasta of your choice, plus 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid
    • 8-10 torn basil leaves

     

     More Marinade!

     
    Very similar to last night's dinner, you're going to start by creating your marinade! Mix the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and minced garlic clove in a large bowl.

    Tomatoes and Mozzarella

     

    To the bowl, add your halved cherry tomatoes, red onion, cubed mozzarella, and basil. Stir to coat.

     

     Bowl of Bruschetta Pasta

    To complete the dish, toss in the cooked and drained pasta along with the 1/4 cup of reserved cooking liquid. Serve hot, or refrigerate a bit and serve cold. Either way, it's absolutely delicious!

    The next time you're planning your family's menu, think about how you could save money by using similar ingredients or going vegetarian for a dinner or two. Then, make sure to shop Grocery Outlet first to save even more.

    Join me next month for another menu plan and shopping list!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In the rare event she finds spare time, she loves gardening, hanging out with her girlfriends, and watching old cheesy monster movies.


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  • One Bag of Frozen Tilapia: Two Dinners!


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project



    I know it can be tough to stick with a budget and come up with interesting dinners at the same time! For each month of 2014, I've challenged myself to shop at Grocery Outlet for inspiration. The goal is to come up with a couple nights' worth of dinners that use similar ingredients in different ways. The result? Non-boring dinners that please your family and your wallet.

    After the last couple month's worth of heavier (but delicious!) meals involving sausage and pork, I decided it was time to lighten things up a bit. As the spring months start to warm up, I find myself naturally craving lighter fare. So this month? It's all about FISH!

     

    Tilapia Ingredients

     

    I purchased everything pictured above at my Grocery Outlet store for just $20.80! (To be fair, a bag of frozen sweet potatoes are also included in that amount and didn't make it into the picture.) I actually ended up saving more than I spent on this trip and check it out - I have a bunch of produce, fish fillets, and organic beans. Not bad for good-for-you food!

    Here's what I ended up buying at Grocery Outlet. Please note prices & availability may vary from store to store.
    - 1 bag of frozen Tilapia fillets, 2 lbs ($5.99)
    - 1 package broccoli slaw ($1.99)
    - 1 red onion ($0.50)
    - garlic (3 for $0.99)
    - 2 mangoes ($0.50 each!)
    - 1 lemon ($0.50)
    - 1 bag jalapenos ($1.99)
    - 1 bottle lime juice ($0.99)
    - 1 red pepper ($0.99)
    - 1 bunch cilantro ($0.50)
    - 1 can organic black beans ($0.99)
    - 1 bag Rold Gold Pretzels ($2.69)
    - 1 bag frozen sweet potatoes ($1.29)
    - 1 bag corn tortillas $1.13

    From the pantry:
    - ½ cup flour
    - 2 eggs
    - sea salt & pepper
    - 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    - ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    - 1-2 tbsp olive oil
    - vegetable oil, to fry


    Night One: Pretzel-Coated Tilapia Fillets

    I noticed that this recipe for Pretzel-Coated Fish got great reviews from AllRecipes.com. I also loved the simplicity of the ingredients! I decided to make a couple alterations based on my preferences and what I found at Grocery Outlet. Note that I sprang for tilapia, but my Grocery Outlet had several other varieties of lean white fish in stock that would work just fine for today's recipe (think cod, swai, halibut). Feel free to swap out as you wish!

    Start by taking ½ cup flour, about 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of pepper and placing in a gallon-sized bag. Add 1 lb of thawed fish fillets, and toss gently to coat. Now, create your stations (as pictured above). In one pie plate or shallow bowl, whisk two eggs. In a second pie plate or bowl, add about 1 cup crushed pretzels. You can crush the pretzels using a knife or coffee grinder, but my trick is to place them in a plastic bag and mash them with the blunt end of a meat tenderizer. (It's fun; try it!)

    Next, heat up some vegetable oil in a large skillet and pan fry your coated fish for about 10 minutes, until cooked through. (Turning over at about the half way mark.)

     

    Pretzel-Coated Tilapia

     

    I served mine with a bit of the broccoli slaw and some of the sweet potato fries - both of which I snagged at Grocery Outlet. Not only is this a beautiful dish - it's delicious!

     

    Plated Tilapia with Broccoli Slaw

     

     

    Night Two: Tilapia Tacos with Mango Salsa

    For night two, we're taking a totally different direction with that fish! Thaw out the remaining 1 lb of fillets from your bag. Whisk together a tablespoon or two of olive oil, the cumin, 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro, a dash of lime juice, and a bit of salt and pepper. Drizzle over the fish and allow to marinate in your fridge for at least one hour.

     

    Marinating Tilapia

     

    Next, make your mango salsa! Mix together 2 small chopped mangoes (or one large), 2 tablespoons of minced red onion, ½ minced seeded jalapeno, ½ minced red bell pepper, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon lime juice. While this may seem like a lot of work - trust me, it's worth it! It's also the most labor intensive component of both recipes. I should also add this ends up being enough to add on as a relish to your fish tacos, but if you'd like more to serve with chips or have on hand for later - you might want to double the recipe!

    Add it to the fridge to marinate a good hour or better before throwing the meal together.

     

    Mango Salsa

     

    When it's time for dinner, pan fry your fish in a skillet with a little oil. If you prefer, you could also bake it.

    When the fish is done, you can cube it or slice it into pieces and fill it in warmed corn tortillas. Top with the mango salsa. I served mine with more of the broccoli slaw and some of the organic black beans I'd picked up at Grocery Outlet. Season these with some of the leftover cilantro and lime. Be creative!

     

    Finished tacos

    The next time you're planning your family's menu, think about how you could save money by using similar ingredients or leftovers for a second meal. Then, make sure to shop Grocery Outlet first to save even more.

    Join me next month for another menu plan and shopping list!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In the rare event she finds spare time, she loves gardening, hanging out with her girlfriends, and watching old cheesy monster movies.


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  • Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, Two Ways!


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

    Every month in 2014, I'm sharing a plan for a couple meals you can easily put together for your family by shopping Grocery Outlet. My goal is to keep the menu to $2 or less per serving, based on a family of six. To capitalize on the savings I'll get by shopping at Grocery Outlet, I'll be creating meals that use similar ingredients, or as in the recipes featured this month, using one main ingredient two different ways.

    This month, I wanted to create a couple recipes that minimized your prep time. And what's more convenient than whipping out the slow cooker? So the first day, we're going to throw a pork roast in the slow cooker and then shred it and make pulled sandwiches. We'll use a bit of the leftover meat to create a deliciously different pizza!
     
    Haul from Grocery Outlet


    Here's what I ended up buying at Grocery Outlet:
    - 3.5 lb pork roast
    - 1 package bacon
    - bag of onions
    - garlic
    - 1 clamshell organic salad greens
    - 1 2-cup package pizza cheese
    - 1 pizza crust mix (on sale for just $0.33!)
    - 1 bottle barbecue sauce
    - 1 bottle pickles
    - hamburger buns

    From the pantry:
    - 1 tbsp brown sugar
    - 1 tbsp chili powder
    - 1 tbsp kosher salt
    - 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    - 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

    All together, I paid just under $25 out of pocket at Grocery Outlet for the items from my grocery list above! That works out to $11.64 per meal, or $2.08 per serving (based on 6 servings). That works out to just a tick over $2 per serving, but I should point out that I suspect this menu plan serves more than 6. The pork roast yielded SO MUCH shredded meat that I gave a bunch to a friend to enjoy for dinner!

    Night One: Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwiches

    I found this highly-rated slow cooker pulled pork over at Chow.com and made some modifications for today's recipe.

     

    Pork Roast

     

    Place one thinly sliced onion and two cloves of minced garlic in the bottom of your slow cooker and pour 1 cup of broth on top. Next, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, and cumin in a small bowl. Pat your 3-4 lb pork roast dry with paper towels, trim as desired, and then rub the spice mixture into the meat. Place the pork roast on top of the onions and garlic in your slow cooker and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 6-8 hours.

     

    Cooked Pork

    When I went to remove the roast from my slow cooker later in the day, my 5-year old daughter wandered into the kitchen and asked, "Mama, what is that wonderful smell?" So warning: be prepared to come home to a delicious aroma!

     

    Pulled Pork

    Remove the roast from the slow cooker and shred using two forks. My roast just fell apart, it was that moist! Don't forget about the broth and onions still in your slow cooker! Run them through a strainer and return the onions back to the slow cooker. You can return the shredded pork to the slow cooker as well. After the remaining broth has sat for a few minutes, the fat will float to the surface so you can easily skim it.

    Add 1 ½ - 2 cups of the barbecue sauce to the pork and combine. Pour in the reserved broth ¼cup at a time, until the meat is moist.

     

    Pulled Pork Sandwich


    The first night, serve the pulled pork on hamburger buns!



    Pickles

     

    I served mine alongside these hot & spicy pickles I found at Grocery Outlet for just $1.49! This is comfort food at its best and quick to serve up!

    Night Two: Leftover Pulled Pork Pizza

     

    Pulled Pork Pizza

    Now of course, you could go on and enjoy pulled pork sandwiches for the second night, but I want to encourage you to be creative with your leftovers!

    Pizza Crust

    Use any pizza crust recipe you like, but I opted for these Betty Crocker pizza crust mixes at Grocery Outlet for just $0.33! One of these makes a 12" pizza. I'd recommend you use 2 or even 3 of these crusts for feeding a larger family. All you need to do is combine with water and let sit for five minutes!

    I topped my pizza with 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce (leftover from yesterday's recipe), one cup of pizza cheese, one cup of the pulled pork, and 2 slices of cooked bacon, chopped up.

     

    Pulled Pork Pizza Slices

     

    I topped with a tablespoon of chopped cilantro after cooking. Of course, there are so many variations you could take on this pizza. Try adding sliced red onion, green peppers, or crushed red pepper. You could also nix the cheese or add fresh sliced tomato. This pizza was oh so good - and it took only minutes to throw together thanks to reusing the previous night's leftovers!

    The next time you're planning your family's menu, think about how you could save money by using similar ingredients or leftovers for a second meal. Then, make sure to shop Grocery Outlet first to save even more.

    To download this recipe in a PDF, click here: March Recipe

    Join me next month for another menu plan and shopping list!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In the rare event she finds spare time, she loves gardening, hanging out with her girlfriends, and watching old cheesy monster movies.


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  • Italian Wedding Soup and Spaghetti and Meatballs


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project



    Every month in 2014, I'll be working to give a plan for a couple meals you can easily put together for your family by shopping Grocery Outlet. My goal is to keep the menu to $2 or less per serving, based on a family of six. In addition to finding terrific bargains at Grocery Outlet, I'm going to work to save money by using similar ingredients across both meals. For instance, in January I shared an awesome hearty slow cooker chili recipe and then we took the leftovers and turned them into burritos for the next day!

    For February, it's all about meatballs! Meatballs are delicious and quick to make, plus they can be used in a variety of dishes. We'll start by making up a big batch of meatballs the first night we'll make an amazing Italian Wedding Soup. The next night, we'll simmer the remaining meatballs in a simple spaghetti sauce.

     

    Ingredients

    Chances are you may already have many of the ingredients needed for either or both of these recipes like I did!


    Here's what I ended up buying at Grocery Outlet:
    - 1 lb lean ground beef
    - 1 lb ground bulk sausage (OR for leaner recipes, opt for a 2nd lb of lean ground beef)
    - bag of onions
    - bag of carrots
    - 1 clamshell organic baby spinach
    - Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I found this for just $1.99!)
    - Loaf of sourdough bread
    - 2 (28 oz) cans of whole tomatoes (I found these for just $0.99!)
    - 4 cans chicken broth

     
    From the pantry:
    - 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
    - 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
    - 1/2 cup dry pasta (for soup) - any kind you have will do!
    - dry spaghetti noodles
    - minced garlic
    - 6 oz can tomato paste
    - 2 eggs
    - 1 tsp sugar
    - 1 bay leaf
    - 1/4 cup olive oil
    - salt and fresh ground pepper

     
    All together, I paid $23.27 out of pocket at Grocery Outlet for the items from my grocery list above! That works out to $11.64 per meal, or $1.94 per serving (based on 6 servings) - just under my $2 menu plan goal!

    Not only that, both of the following recipes are absolutely delicious. Even my picky eating children adored them!

    Step One: Meatball Prep!

     

     Meatball Prep

    The first step is going to be the most time consuming, but lucky for you, it's not that time consuming! I recommend you make all the meatballs for both recipes on the same night, to reduce mess and prep time.

    In a large glass bowl, mix the lean ground beef, sausage (if using), breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, 2 tsp minced garlic, and tbsp Italian seasoning.

     

     Meatballs!

     

     I find the easiest way to mix is simply by hand! If you can't get over the "ew" factor, you could process in a mixer. Once mixed, roll into small meatballs. I worked to make mine as consistent in size as possible, for even cooking times. You're now ready to make the next two recipes!

    I should mention that the Italian sausage made these meatballs quite tasty, but definitely upped the fat content. If you're looking to reduce that, I recommend you swap out the sausage for another pound of lean ground beef. Another idea would be to pre-cook the meatballs for the recipes below, to cook off some of the fat.

    Night One: Italian Wedding Soup


    Italian Wedding Soup

    I drew inspiration from this recipe at AllRecipes.com for today's easy and delicious soup! Start by bringing your 4 cans of chicken broth (8 cups total) to a boil. Then, add 1 cup diced carrots, 1/2 cup pasta (I used corkscrew), 1 cup spinach and 1/2 of your batch of meatballs. Cook for 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked. That's it! I served mine with the loaf of sourdough bread.

     

    Night Two: Italian Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs

     

    Spaghetti & Meatballs

     

    Once you've tried this delicious spaghetti sauce, I dare you to go back to the jarred stuff! I took inspiration from this recipe at Allrecipes.com.

     

    Spaghetti Sauce


    This recipe is incredibly simple to prepare, but it does require some time - so make sure to plan ahead! Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Stir in the 2 cans of whole tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bay leaf. Cover, reduce to a simmer for 90 minutes. Next, add your meatballs, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and pepper to taste. Cook another 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked. Serve with the pasta of your choice. I also love mine topped with a little Parmesan.

    The next time you're planning your family's menu, think about how you could save money by using similar ingredients or leftovers for a second meal. Then, make sure to shop Grocery Outlet first to save even more.

    Join me next month for another menu plan and shopping list!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In the rare event she finds spare time, she loves gardening, hanging out with her girlfriends, and watching old cheesy monster movies.


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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project


    The weather's cold, your schedule's packed, and you have no idea what's for dinner. If this sounds like you, here's a thought: whip up a pot of hot soup! Making soup is pretty easy and usually only requires a few ingredients, making it easy on the budget too.

     

    DSCN3461 (600x800)

     

    The other day, I stopped in at my local Grocery Outlet store and found these canned Hunt's tomatoes for just $0.79 each. I decided to roll with it and make tomato bisque! I drew inspiration from this recipe from AllRecipes.com for today's post, eliminating several ingredients and adding roasted red peppers and cheese toast floats for a twist. Ingredients:
    • 4 cans 14.9 oz diced tomatoes
    • 1 red pepper
    • 2 cups half & half
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1 cup diced onion
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • plenty of salt & pepper, to taste
    • French bread, toasted and buttered, 1 or 2 cubes per bowl (optional)
    • Shredded cheese, about 2 or 3 tbsp per bowl (optional - I used sharp cheddar)

    DSCN3470 (800x600)

     

    Set your oven to 450°. Cut your red pepper into slices, put on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and top with salt. Roast until they are fork tender and the skins are just starting to char - about 10-15 minutes.

     

    DSCN3476 (800x600)

    Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large stockpot and add in the onions. Sautee until softened. Then add all four cans of tomatoes (undrained), salt, and pepper.

     

    DSCN3479 (800x673)

    About this time, I found my red peppers were roasted, so I added them into the soup mixture. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Next, add in your 2 cups of half and half and stir until heated through.

    DSCN3482 (800x600)

     

    At this point, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup. I don't have an immersion blender, so I just pureed it in batches using my Vitamix. Works just as well!

     

    DSCN3484 (800x600)

     

    Now you could eat your soup up at this point and it would be delicious. But I felt it needed something extra... So I took a couple small pieces of French bread, toasted them in the oven with butter, then placed them on top of a bowl of soup. To that, I added a bit of shredded sharp cheddar that I found at Grocery Outlet and finished it all under the broiler for about a minute.

    If you go this route, make sure to use a broiler-safe bowl and set it on a baking sheet to easily move it in and out of the oven.

     

    DSCN3490 (800x600)

     

    This soup was very good, and I do think the toast on top made it perfect comfort food! Best of all, this recipe will yield you lots of soup - easily enough to feed 6 or 8 people or leave leftovers for a smaller family.

    Like this post? You might want to read the others in this series:

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Greek-Style Turkey Burgers


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

     

    When you get in a dinner rut of making the same meals over and over, one easy way to change things up is to simply reinvent one of those meals! For today's recipe, I thought I'd take a classic go-to dinner, hamburgers, and do a little something different with it drawing inspiration from the aisles of my local Grocery Outlet.

     

    DSCN2452 (800x600)

     

    I found this 3-lb chub of Jennie-O Fresh Ground Turkey Meat priced at $5.99 at my Grocery Outlet - that works out to just $1.99 per pound!

     

    DSCN2490 (800x600)

     

    Grocery Outlet always has amazing cheeses at ridiculously low prices, including Feta. That's when I got the idea to make Greek-style turkey burgers! I picked up some additional ingredients I thought would work well with this plan including Kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh cucumbers. Here's what you'll need:
    • 1 lb Ground Turkey
    • ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
    • ¼ cup crumbled Feta cheese
    • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
    • 1 tsp minced garlic (about one clove)
    • ¼ tsp dried oregano
    • Salt & pepper, to taste
    • Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, Greek-style dressing - to top your burger
    • Hamburger buns

    DSCN2497 (800x600)

     

    Start by mixing the olives, sun dried tomatoes, Feta, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano in a deep bowl.

     

    DSCN2499 (600x800)

     

    Next, work in the turkey meat and press into patties using wax paper. Fry them up in a little olive oil in a skillet.

     

    DSCN2502 (800x631)

     

    Once your turkey meat is cooked thoroughly, it's time to build your burger! There are so many ideas here, but I opted for lots of fresh veggies like spinach, tomatoes, and cucumbers - all from my Grocery Outlet! I also happened to have a Greek style dressing on hand so I used that in place of mayonnaise. Delicious! I hope today's recipe has given you some inspiration to break the dinner rut by making some simple tweaks to a meal you regularly make.

     

    Download a PDF of this recipe here: Greek-Style Turkey Burgers

     

    Like this post? You might want to read the others in this series:

    Make sure to come back next month for another fun installment!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Apple, Bacon & Cheddar Grilled Cheese


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

     

    When the chilly fall weather hits, many of us like to think about comforting foods like chili, stews, or that old standby - grilled cheese and tomato soup! Today I wanted to share a very simple way you could change up that plain ol' grilled cheese into something deliciously different. Here's what you'll need:
    • Bread
    • A few slices of cooked bacon
    • Sliced apples, such as Granny Smith
    • Good quality cheese - I am using cheddar
    • Butter, softened

    DSCN1995 (800x479)

     

    I couldn't help but notice this Hickory Smoked Thick Cut Bacon at my Grocery Outlet store last week... it was only $4.99 and elsewhere you'd pay over $12! I thought it'd be the perfect ingredient to add to my new and improved grilled cheese!

     

    DSCN2015 (800x600)

     

    The second fun ingredient for today's recipe: apples! My Grocery Outlet store was selling a bag of Fujis and Galas for just $1.50, but I opted for the tart Granny Smiths for a couple bucks more. These apples are on the small side, perfect for kids' lunches or recipes like today's, where you just need a few small slices.

     

    DSCN2020 (609x800)

     

    There's no reason to go with a plain old cheese slices when you're shopping at Grocery Outlet! They have so many delicious cheeses at low prices to choose from. I opted for a sharp yellow cheddar, but I also think a Swiss cheese would work excellent with today's recipe.

     

    DSCN2023 (800x600)

     

    I opted for a classic, old fashioned white bread and spread plenty of softened butter on.

     

    DSCN2024 (800x606)

     

    Now, if you like a good mustard or maybe a flavored mayo, you could also consider adding that at this point. I'm not a huge condiment gal, so I kept this pretty straight-forward and skipped adding mayo or mustard and went straight for the apples.

     

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    Next, I layered on the cheese and crisped bacon. Yum!

     

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    From here, just cook up your sandwich in a skillet. I think the key to making a perfect grilled cheese is lots of butter, and lots of time. Keep it at a medium heat and let the bread brown slowly, giving the cheese time to melt. 

    The next time you're in a rut with your dinner, one idea would be to try changing up the ingredients or preparation a bit. And make sure to check out your local Grocery Outlet store for great ingredient ideas, too!

    To download this recipe in a PDF, click here: Download PDF

     Like this post? You might want to read the others in this series:

    Make sure to come back next month for another fun installment!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Sausage & Pepper Mac 'n Cheese


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

     

    At a freezer meal swap I participated in recently, my good friend Haley brought this delicious homemade macaroni and cheese casserole to share. (You might remember Haley from this video we were in for the Grocery Outlet YouTube channel a few months ago!) Unlike just plain old cheese and noodles, hers had chicken sausage, vegetables, and a breadcrumb topping. It was perfect comfort food!

    I loved the idea of elevating an old standby dinner - macaroni and cheese - into something a bit heartier. Talk about a perfect way to get out of a dinner rut! Taking inspiration from Haley's dish, I headed to my local Grocery Outlet to see what I could find to make something similar.

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    I found these packages of Beeman Gourmet Sausages priced at just $2.99! Elsewhere, you could expect to pay up to $5.99 for the same product. I decided to select the Apple and Gouda Cheese variety. We've had it before and it's delicious!

     

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    I couldn't help but notice these beautiful peppers for just $0.50 each! This is a great deal on colored peppers - they can often be as much as $1.50 at other grocery stores (and sometimes more.).

     

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    Finally, the pasta. I found this package of rotini for just $0.89. Feel free to use whatever pasta you want for this recipe; it certainly does not have to be elbow macaroni.

    Start by preparing your bag of 1-lb pasta according to package directions. Veer towards cooking it "al dente" as you'll be baking it up in the oven a bit. While the pasta is cooking, you can begin to cook up the other components of this casserole.

     

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    I sliced up all four chicken sausages (12 oz) and browned them lightly in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil.

     

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    Next, I added in a diced red pepper and continued cooking for another minute or so, just until soft. Turn off heat and set aside.

     

    cheesesauce

    Now it's time to make your cheese sauce. Gather 1 cup of warm milk and 2 cups of shredded cheese (I chose 1 cup of sharp cheddar and 1 cup of Colby Jack, but you could vary this based on your preferences). Start by melting ¼ cup of butter (that's ½ a stick) over medium heat. Once it's melted, whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour. The mixture will thicken and bubble pretty quickly, so make sure to keep whisking - don't let it burn! Once you see the bubbles form, begin to drop in cheese shreds by handful and alternate with adding the milk, whisking constantly, until it's all incorporated. Finally, add a pinch of salt. At the end you should have a delicious, silky smooth cheese sauce!

    Turn off the heat, and set aside. If you've timed everything right, your pasta should be just about done now. Go ahead and drain it.

     

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    As you might have guessed, you're going to mix the pasta, cheese sauce, and sausage all together. Pour into a lightly-greased casserole dish. Sprinkle ½ cup breadcrumbs and drizzle with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake in a 350º oven for 15-20 minutes until set.

     

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    Well, how was it? I have to tell you that of all the dinners I've featured here on the Bargainista Blog, this is hands down my favorite! It's hearty fall comfort food at it's finest, but it's still quick and easy to make. I spent a total of $8.39 preparing this dish thanks to Grocery Outlet, so it's also friendly on the budget.

    A special thank you also to my friend Haley for the idea!  Download the PDF of this recipe here: Recipe Card.

    Like this post? You might want to read the others in this series:

    Make sure to come back next month for another fun installment!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Bacon & Egg Casserole with Citrus Smoothies


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

     

    Have you ever had cereal for dinner? I'm not going to lie - I've done it before. I think we can all relate to those crazy days where the thought of digging through recipes and cooking is too much to think about. Today I'd like to share with you an easy recipe that's inspired by breakfast, but more substantial than a bowl of Toasted O's or Fruity Rings. While you can definitely enjoy it for breakfast, it's a go-to dinner recipe in my house because of how quick it can be prepared and requires only a few ingredients.

     

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    For this recipe, you'll need a pound of ground breakfast sausage or bacon. I found this Aberdeen Farms Hardwood Smoked Sliced Bacon on sale for $2.99 at my Grocery Outlet. The beauty of shopping at Grocery Outlet is that you never know exactly what you'll find! Feel free to tweak today's recipe with whatever yummy looking sausage or bacon you find at your store.

     

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    Start by preheating your oven to 350º. Cook your bacon or sausage and drain. While it's cooking, tear up four pieces of bread and sprinkle them on the bottom of a casserole dish. I used wheat, but white works great too. I prefer using a "fluffier" type bread in this recipe - nothing too dense or heavy.

     

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    Crumble your bacon or sausage and put it on top of the bread pieces.

     

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    Next, top with 2 cups of grated cheese. I like using a medium cheddar.

     

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    Whisk six eggs with 2 cups of milk together and season with fresh ground pepper. I omit salt because there is plenty in the bacon!

     

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    Pour the egg mixture on top of the casserole and bake in the oven between 20-30 minutes, when eggs are set.

     

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    This is such a delicious, hearty casserole!

     

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    I like to serve this dish with some sort of fruit or fruit dish. While at Grocery Outlet, I noticed they had pineapple Chobani Greek Yogurt at my store for just $1.99. I decided to pick some up along with a bag of frozen mango for $3.99 to make a tropical smoothie.

     

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    For the smoothie, I simply combined 1/2 cup of the Greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen mango and 1 cup orange juice. To kick it up a bit, you could add a nice handful of organic spinach (which yes, they also carry at Grocery Outlet!).

     

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    So there you have it: breakfast for dinner that's NOT a bowl of cereal!

     

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    The next time you're at your local Grocery Outlet store, see what fun and frugal ingredients you can find to spice up your dinner table!  Download the recipe here.

     

    Like this post? You might want to read the others in this series:
    Make sure to come back next month for another fun installment! Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Crispy Oven Fried Chicken


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

     

    I always find a good selection of cereal at my Grocery Outlet... and I've recently noticed them carrying nicer brands, too! I recently found this Bear River Valley Honey Nut Rounders bagged cereal at my South Tacoma Grocery Outlet store for just $1.99.

     

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    I decided it would be the perfect, simple ingredient to put a fun spin on a dinner classic: fried chicken! I mean, talk about a quintessential summer picnic food right? I wondered if I could come up with a non-deep fried version that would still be moist and packed with flavor. I'm excited to tell you that I did! The other great thing about tonight's recipe is that you should likely have most of the ingredients on hand already - so it's a good one for the budget.

     

    Crispy Oven Fried Chicken


    For a PDF of this recipe, click here.

    Ingredients
    • 1 package of fryer chicken pieces (~ 1-2 lbs; skin on or skinless)
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
    • 1 cup crushed honey-flavored cereal (or other cereal of your choice)
    • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
    • 2 eggs, whisked with a splash of milk

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    I started with a good quality package of chicken. Check it out - my Grocery Outlet store carried these organic, local drumsticks for just $3.27! Now you could go skinless, but I prefer skin once in awhile, so I left mine on. (I justified it by reminding myself I wouldn't be deep frying!)

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    Preheat your oven to 400°. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow cake pan or pie plate. Dip each chicken piece in the mixture, dust off any excess flour and set aside.

     

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    Now it's time to prepare the coating. You're going to start by taking your cereal and processing it down. Before we go on, I want to mention that you could really use any number of cereals you find at your Grocery Outlet store - feel free to experiment around! I like using a honey-based cereal for the sweetness, but you could also opt for something like corn flakes or a crispy rice cereal.

    Don't worry if you don't have a food processor for this next part, either. I don't and I don't let it stop me! Ready to see my secret?

     

    cereal

     

    I just put it in a plastic bag and smash it with a rolling pin! A meat tenderizer also works well (just use the flat end). As you can see, I didn't entirely pulverize the cereal, but left some bigger pieces for texture. Do what you like.

     

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    Once your cereal is processed as you like, mix in 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and 1 tsp of poultry seasoning. Here too is some room for spicing things up. Feel free to add garlic powder, cayenne, or grill seasoning depending on your taste preferences. When you're done, put the mixture in a shallow plate or pie pan. In a separate pan, whisk a couple eggs with a splash of milk.

    As you can see from the picture above, I like to create a clear assembly line for my chicken! It's going to go in the egg wash, then to the breading and finally onto a cookie sheet topped with a lightly sprayed rack for the oven.

     

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    I like my pieces really covered, so I make sure to take extra time to pat down the breading on any bare spots.

     

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    The secret to keeping the breading on the chicken? Use a rack! I also sprayed my chicken with cooking oil as well as spraying some on the rack. As you'll soon see from my final photos, I lost very little breading this way. (Plus, it makes for easy clean up.)

     

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    Give the chicken a turn at 20 minutes. Cook an additional 20 minutes or until no longer pink.

     

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    The result? Delicious! My chicken was very moist inside and full of flavor. The honey cereal added a subtle sweetness to the dish. This chicken was quick to assemble, easy on the budget, and most important, family-friendly.

     

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    You could serve it hot, as I did; or serve it chilled. As for the leftover cereal? Well, I'd say you got breakfast covered too!

    Like this post? You might want to read the others in this series: Make sure to come back next month for another fun installment!

     

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Asian Mung Bean Salad


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

     

    I recently happened upon a different item at my local Grocery Outlet store and I knew instantly that I had to bring it home for a fun dinner creation.....

     

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    Organic Sprouted Mung Beans for $2.99. Now I'm definitely familiar with bean sprouts, but not sprouted mung beans. I flipped over the package and it read:

    These tiny fresh-tasting beans have a rich creamy texture and nutty-sweet taste.

    Suggested uses included salads, pilafs, soups, purees, and sandwiches. Turns out, these are quite nutritious too! One serving (1/4 cup dry) contains 7 grams of dietary fiber and a whopping 10 grams of protein. It's also high in iron and vitamin C and low in fat. I'm thinking this would be a wonderful superfood for vegetarians to explore!

     

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    I decided to try these sprouted mung beans for the first time in an Asian-inspired salad. Today's recipe is quick, easy, and delicious! It's enough for 2 large servings, or 4 sides.

    Ingredients:

    Salad
    1 cup dry mung beans
    2 cups mixed salad greens
    couple sprigs cilantro, chopped
    1/4 cup chopped sweet peppers

    Dressing (from Once Upon a Chef's Asian Slaw recipe)
    2 tbsp honey
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
    1 tsp soy sauce
    1 tsp sesame oil
    small piece of ginger, minced
    1 clove garlic, minced
    dash sea salt

    Start by prepping your mung beans. Add 1 cup of dry beans to 3 cups of boiling water. Let boil for 5 minutes before removing from heat, covering, and allow to set 4-8 minutes.

     

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    While my mung beans were rehydrating, I got to work on the rest of the salad. I found some lovely salad ingredients at my Grocery Outlet store yesterday - organic baby kale, organic mixed Romaine, a big bag of sweet mini baby peppers for just $3.99, and a bunch of fresh cilantro.

     

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    Have you ever tried these peppers? If not, I recommend them! They are perfect for dipping in hummus, slicing on sandwiches, or great when your recipe just calls for a little bit of pepper.

     

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    Prepare your dressing by mixing all the ingredients listed above and stirring. This is one of my very favorite Asian dressings I've come across on the web, and I make it often. Incidentally, I found a 1 lb bag of ginger at my Grocery Outlet for $1.99 and the garlic for $0.33 each. If you can't use up all the ginger before it goes bad? Consider chopping and freezing leftover portions or making ginger tea!

     

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    By now, your mung beans should be cooked and your salad ready to assemble! Toss the greens in the dressing, top with the peppers, scoop on some mung beans and sprinkle on the cilantro. I did have a decent amount of the prepped mung beans leftover, so I will refrigerate them to use in another recipe in the next day or so.

     

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    The warm mung beans added a nice touch to this salad - and they had such a mild, pleasing flavor! I could see how well they'd work on any number of recipes. While researching their use for this post, I also learned that some people even enjoy turning them into a cake! Now how would that be for a nutritious alternative for your kids?

    If you're looking for new, fun ingredients to make cooking fun again without breaking the bank? You need to visit Grocery Outlet!

    For more ideas, check out my other posts for this series:

    Make sure to come back next month for another fun installment!

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Cactus Tacos


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

     

    I always find unusual and inspiring ingredients at my Grocery Outlet. This helps me avoid the much-dreaded "dinner rut" and keeps my meals fresh and fun. Recently, I found this item on my Grocery Outlet store shelf:

     

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    Hmmmm. Jarred tender cactus.

    I can't say that has ever graced my dinner table and I think it was just the ticket to keeping my menu creative this week. At $1.79 for a large jar, it would hardly break the bank to give it a go! That's another thing I adore about Grocery Outlet - I get to try new ingredients, but without having to spend a small fortune!

    I did a little research, and it turns out this can be a pretty versatile ingredient. You can serve it as is, use it on salads, incorporate it into Tex-Mex dishes, or toss it with beans and rice for a side dish. I decided to try it a couple different ways. But first, I was super curious about the smell and taste...

     

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    Time to pop the lid!

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    The smell was totally pleasant. It reminded me of a cross between jarred chilis and green beans. I was excited to give it a try! I decided to do a spin on tacos with the cactus. You could use chicken or pork, but I opted for a pound of thinly cut ribeye steak that I picked up at Grocery Outlet for $7.

     

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    Here are the ingredients you'll need to complete this recipe:
    • 1 lb thin steak, such as ribeye or flank steak
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • ground pepper
    • 1 cup prepared salsa (your choice)
    • 1 cup jarred cactus
    • cilantro, to taste
    • corn tortillas
    Start by rubbing the steak with the cumin and ground pepper. Then top with the salsa. I had a verde salsa on hand, so that's what I used. Cover and allow to marinate in your refrigerator for an hour (or more!).

     

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    Preheat your broiler when you're ready to assemble the tacos.


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    How long you will cook the steak depends on two things: 1) the thickness, and 2) your preferred "done-ness" level. I personally have come to enjoy mine just slightly pink, so the meat remains tender. This steak was pretty thin, so I found broiling for 4 minutes on each side (8 minutes total) was perfect. I would encourage you to start with less time on the timer versus more. You can always cook a steak more (but not the other way around).


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    While your steak is cooking, drain and rinse your cactus.


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    I then warmed my cactus in a skillet. I didn't add any extra oil or seasoning, but I suppose you could do that if you wanted to. I wanted to enjoy the flavor on its own this time. If you are feeling creative, you might add garlic, peppers, beans, onion, or jalapenos at this point, too.


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    Here is my steak resting after being broiled. I let it sit on this cutting board for about 5 minutes before cutting it in thin strips across the grain. These two things will help keep your steak nice and tender. (Just like the sliced tender cactus, right?)


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    Assembling the taco is pretty easy: add some steak strips to the middle of a warmed corn tortilla and layer on the cactus. I topped with plenty of cilantro.


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    This recipe was delicious! (Yes, I did manage to down BOTH of the tacos pictured above for dinner.) Except for the time spent marinating your steak, it takes relatively short time to cook and put together too.


    If you feel you always make the same tacos with plain old ground beef, sour cream, and flour tortillas, try this cactus version instead! And here's a bonus idea for you:


    quesadillabanner


    Quesadillas!


    The next time you find yourself in a dinner rut, explore the shelves of your local Grocery Outlet store. You might just find some unusual, fun, or inspiring ingredient to get you excited about creating meals again. In case you missed them, you might want to check out the meals I've previously shared for this series:


    Make sure to come back next month for another fun installment!

     

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • Breaking Out of the Dinner Rut: Sundried Tomato Pesto Chicken Stuffed Manicotti


     Guest Post from The Coupon Project

     


    It can be so easy to grab for the same ingredients to make the same recipes over and over, can't it? That's why I love hunting for interesting foods at Grocery Outlet. They can help keep me from getting in those dinner ruts! Last month, you might recall how I discovered these pasilla peppers at my local Grocery Outlet store and used them to put a spin on traditional stuffed peppers. This month, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful new Maple Valley store in Washington and did I ever find some delicious treats!


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    They had beautiful organic pasta for just $1.50. I rarely venture beyond plain old spaghetti (and maybe penne when I'm in a mood!), largely due to the cost. Sure, it would be fun to try some new pasta - but who wants to spend $4 or $5 a bag? Not this gal! But $1.50? Now I'm game to change things up at the dinner table a bit! I decided to poke around and see what else I could find to put together a fun new pasta creation.

     

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    Check out these beautiful pesto varieties: garlic galore; basil, garlic & sundried tomatoes; and bail & garlic. I decided to pick up the basil, garlic & dried tomatoes. After that, I decided to see what I could find in the cheese section to complete my meal.

     

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    If you like cheese of any kind, you really need to make Grocery Outlet your stop. Check out these tubs of shredded Asiago, Romano and Parmesan cheese - all for just $1.99 each. I've seen similar tubs for $4 or more at other stores! It's all good quality stuff, too.

    Taking my Grocery Outlet ingredients, I decided to do a spin on this beautiful Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells recipe I discovered a couple weeks ago. Here's what I came up with:

    Ingredients: 1 package manicotti
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (optional: plus more for garnish)
    1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed and cooked
    1 package cream cheese (I opted for fat free)
    1/2 cup sundried tomato pesto (OR other pesto of your choosing)
    Fresh ground pepper & salt, to taste
    2 tsp minced garlic
    1-tsp fresh chopped Italian parsley (optional: plus more for garnish)
    One batch Bechamel Sauce


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    Start by making your filling. Place the cream cheese in a bottom of a mixing bowl and add the garlic.

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    Next: the pesto! I was really excited to give this a whirl. You can mix it to your taste, and I wanted a really pesto-y taste, so I ended up adding about 1/2 of this container.

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    Add the cooked, cubed chicken. Make sure the pieces are not too large, because you are going to be stuffing your pasta. If you would prefer, you could omit the chicken for a vegetarian take on this recipe. OR, you could swap Italian sausage for the chicken for a different flavor combination.

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    Mix in 1/4 cup Parmesan, freshly ground pepper, salt, and a good measure of fresh chopped parsley. If you wish, you could add some other Grocery Outlet cheeses into the mix! I think a little mozzarella would be rather tasty.

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    Mix it all together. This might not look pretty, but trust me - take one whiff and you'll be wanting to just spoon it right out of the bowl like this! Heavenly!

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    At this point, I set aside my filling mix to chill while I worked on cooking my pasta and prepping the Bechamel Sauce. Here's one more look at the beautiful organic pasta I ended up with:

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    I cooked the entire package until al dente in salted water. While the pasta cooked, I made the sauce. Now, I'd never made a Bechamel sauce, but I figured - why not? The whole idea is to get out of a rut, try something new!

    To make the sauce, I followed this recipe at Epicurious. Turns out, I had everything I needed in my fridge already and it took mere minutes. Easy peasy!

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    You can get the full details at Epicurious, but it basically involves melting butter, adding a little flour and watching it bubble, adding hot milk, waiting for it to thicken and seasoning with salt and pepper. Really, really easy.

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    At this point, you should have the filling, the pasta, and the sauce done. It's time to assemble! I started by adding a small portion of Bechamel to the bottom of a baking pan, to prevent sticking. My manicotti was a "mini" version, so I found roughly 2 tablespoons of the filling did the trick. I worked to get two pieces of chicken into every noodle.

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    Here are all my manicotti noodles nearly ready for the oven!

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    I topped with the Bechamel, making sure to cover each noodle evenly and topped with a little more Parmesan for good measure. Then I popped this dish into a 350° oven for about 20 minutes.

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    The finished product! Yes, this dinner took a little more time, but I promise, it's worth the effort! Delicious!

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    Serve with plenty of fresh green salad and maybe a loaf of crusty Italian bread or garlic breadsticks. This recipe should serve 4-6, depending on appetites.

    If you've been in a dinner rut, can I recommend paying a stop to your local Grocery Outlet? I guarantee you'll find some new ingredients to jazz up your meal plan this week without breaking the bank. Make sure to come back next month and see what new creation I've come up with. If you missed it, check out my Stuffed Pasilla Peppers recipe from last month, too.

    With thanks to What's Cookin, Chicago? and Epicurious for today's recipe inspiration.

    Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.

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  • $4-A-Day Challenge: Mark

    Hi, I’m Mark, the Marketing Director for Grocery Outlet at our home office in Berkeley, CA.   I’m going to share with you my experience this week in eating on only $4 a day, which is going to be interesting since I can occasionally blow $20 on just one lunch!  My wife told me I was on my own this week, so I’m having a “bachelor” menu. Mark and Lois

    Eating in Berkeley isn’t cheap, unless you shop at Grocery Outlet.  I’ll be doing all my shopping there, so I’ll be paying about half price for my food which will put me at a big advantage versus people who shop at regular grocery stores.

    So here’s my story, hope you enjoy it, I’m sure I’m going to learn a few things!

    Monday
    I had planned it all out, I would do my shopping on Sunday and have everything ready to fix during the week. Then family came in from out of town and we had to travel on Sunday and all of a sudden it was Monday morning and I hadn’t shopped. Now what do I do? I looked at my “rough” meal plan and went downstairs to our store to strategize. I had planned eggs ($1.49/dz) and hash browns (only $2.49 for ten Lindens hash brown patties!) for a couple of breakfasts, then I saw some Jimmy Dean Maple Sausage sandwiches for only $5.99 for a 20ct box (only 30 cents a serving!). Sounds good! However, as I picked up the box and looked at the ingredients, it struck me that I was making some less than healthy choices. Hmmmm….

    Nimble Bar
    So I started my Monday with oatmeal and frozen blueberries mixed together which was very tasty. Lunch was two yogurts (3 for $1 at GO) and a “Nimble” peanut butter nutrition bar. Ok, Nimble is supposed to be for women, but the price was right ($ .33/bar) and it has 5g of fiber, 10g of protein plus Calcium, Iron, Vitamins C, D, E & B6, Lutein and Beta-Carotene! Dinner was my one vice with a salad with two pieces of Red Baron 4 meat pizza (only $ .50 a slice!). I normally drink water for most meals and the savings will help me save up for some wine with dinner later in the week!
    Final tally for Monday; $3.35
    $16.65 left for the week


    Tuesday
    I scrambled three eggs and added some fresh fruit for a nice breakfast that only penciled out to $.62. I started to adjust my plan for the week and observed that healthier choices (salad, fruit, etc,) were actually bringing my costs down! Lunch was a nice green salad with a Nimble bar. You can get a lot of salads out of a head of lettuce! Newman's Own In fact I got a little “heady” and decided I could have a glass of wine for dinner the last four nights with a $3.99 bottle of Newman’s Own Merlot, a great wine that sells for up to $9 elsewhere. With Newman’s Own, I’m also benefiting the charities that they donate their proceeds to so it’s a “win-win”. A 750ml bottle is 25.4oz which translates to four 6oz glasses. Cheers!
    I’ve got this figured out!
    Final tally for Tuesday ; $3.45
    $13.20 left for the week


    Wednesday
    Felt a little hungry this morning so I grabbed for breakfast one of my yogurts I was originally going to have for lunch. Breakfast
    When I got to lunch, I found to my dismay that my lettuce was going bad! Rats! I had pre-washed it and put it in an airtight ziplock, but I hadn’t dried it properly and didn’t put it in the “crisper” drawer in the fridge (yes honey, I know!). So, I had some slightly rusty salad for lunch along with a Nimble bar and some “humble pie” (cost: “priceless”). Then for dinner, with my 2 slices of pizza I had to substitute fruit for the salad (in addition to the grapes from the wine of course!
    Ew!  Lettuce gone bad! With my lettuce gone, I need to start re-strategizing the rest of the week now.
    Final tally for Wednesday; $4.11
    $9.09 left for the week


    Thursday
    Take a look at a very nutritious breakfast bowl! This is oatmeal ($ .28), with frozen blueberries ($.83) , plus a light showering of an anti-oxidant trail mix ($ .25). I usually get off to a good start with breakfast, then it’s all downhill the rest of the day! Lunch was yogurt ($ .66) and a Nimble bar ($ .33).
    Oatmeal
    My wife and I have our bocce ball league tonight and I’m meeting her there, so I’ll have to grab something before I leave. A two pack of mini burritos ($ .79, $1.49 elsewhere) looked good (remember what I said above about going downhill the rest of the day?) so I had those along with a banana ($ .20) for some extra potassium.
    Mojo bar
    While looking through our NOSH (Natural-Organic Specialty-Healthy) section I noticed Clif Mojo bars for only $ .50! With all the “Nimble” bars I’ve had this week I figured I could use a little extra “Mojo”!
    Final tally for Thursday: $3.84
    $5.25 left for Friday!

     


    CHEATER ALERT!!!
    When I ventured into Melissa Porter’s (VP of Marketing and my boss!) office I caught her eating a full size salad bowl! We sell these pre-packaged salad bowls (complete with proteins, cheese, veggies, etc., even a fork!) for only $2.99, but that still would bust a $4-A-Day budget. I think there’s something fishy going on here!

    Melissa eating salad!


    Friday
    I’m in the home stretch and have a whopping $5.25 left for today! My only question left was, “what would Lois Prices do?”. I went to my old standby, 3 scrambled eggs with fruit for breakfast ($ .62). Lunch was yogurt, a Nimble bar and a banana ($1.20). So, $3.43 left for dinner… let’s see, what would I like?Glass of Wine
    Friday is always pizza night at our house, so I went for 2 slices of pizza ($1), some salad (ok, I had to borrow it!) for $.25 which left me with $2.18 for...hm, I guess that means I can have an extra glass of wine! Cheers!

    Total tally: $19.82
    $3.96/day
    Not bad!


    Looking back on the week, I was surprised at how cheaply you can eat with careful planning, preparing and of course, shopping at Grocery Outlet for the best prices! I do have a new found respect for those who face a tight food budget every day as it does require considerable thought up front as well as planning and preparation for a family. I look forward to using the things I’ve learned this week to eat for less money as well as eat healthier (and store my lettuce properly!).

    What about you? What have you learned on your $4-A-Day Challenge? Leave us a comment on Facebook and let us know!

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  • Thanksgiving Bounty

    Grocery Outlet loves Thanksgiving because it's a holiday focused on family and food.  All year long, we are helping families save money so they can prepare bountiful meals for their families.  And we can't think of a more bountiful meal than Thanksgiving. Here are some ideas to help you save time and money as you prepare.


    Thanksgiving dinner

    Tips to Simplify Your Thanksgiving and Save Your Sanity:

    • Share a slice of the pie! Ask your guests to bring the dessert. Sometimes the cost of the desserts winds up being more expensive than the main event!
    • Ask visiting relatives to prepare breakfast that morning, so you can focus on the turkey.
    • Plan your menu and stick to your list. You’ll save money.
    • Quality over quantity. You don’t need seven vegetable sides and six pies. Really, you don't. Keep it simple.
    • Dice your fruits, vegetables and herbs for cooking the day before and place them in plastic bags or storage containers. Refrigerate until ready to use.
    • Fake it. Not everything needs to be made from scratch. Delicious cookies, desserts and candy can be bought pre-made.
    • Organize your grocery list by department to save time at the store. Shop your own cup- boards first to see what you already have.

    Then sit down and enjoy the American tradition of gathering your favorite people and sharing your gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Grocery Outlet!

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  • Season of Sanity Thanksgiving Menu

    We've got less than a week to Thanksgiving and we're here to help you Simplify the Season with our $3 Thanksgiving Menu. Check out the latest Bargain TV to help you save your money and your sanity!

     



    You can download the Thanksgiving menu that Christopher mentions in the video by clicking here: Download Thanksgiving Menu.

    What's your favorite holiday movie? Leave a comment below.

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  • Easy Meals for Busy Families

    Whether we like it or not, we live in a fast-paced society. It's especially tough for those of us with families, but we're doing our best to keep up. At Grocery Outlet, we can provide fast, easy and nutritious meals for families on the go. Check out this week's Bargain TV and let Chris show you just some of the quick and easy meals that you can save big money on at Grocery Outlet Bargain Market.




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  • Fall Family Meals

    Fall is full of bold, intense flavorful foods!  No matter whom you are cooking for or what type of dinner party you happen to throw, you should always be prepared to amaze your food critics.  We have a recipe for a rustic home dinner, a game day side dish, and an adorable fall dessert.  Enjoy!

    Sausage Ratatouille

    The classic French ratatouille is made by simmering eggplant with other vegetables and herbs. It's often served as a side or appetizer with bread, but our addition of Italian sausage turns it into a hearty meal for cooler months.

    Sausage Ratatouille

    Ingredients
    3 to 4 links (about 3/4 pound) Italian sausage
    4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into a 3/4-inch dice
    2 small zucchini, halved and sliced
    1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
    1 medium-size green bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced
    2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 cups canned diced tomatoes
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tomato paste
    Salt and pepper
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

    Instructions
    1. Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Puncture the sausage links in several places, then cook them at a low boil until they're no longer pink in the center, about 14 minutes. Transfer the links to a plate to cool, then slice them into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
    2. Over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the eggplant and zucchini and sauté them, stirring often, until they are lightly browned but not soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.
    In the same skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté them for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sliced sausage and sauté, stirring often, for 3 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini.
    Partially cover the skillet and gently simmer the ratatouille for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, along with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer 5 minutes more. Stir in the parsley and half of the basil. Serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining basil. Serves 6.

    Mini Football Subs
    You can expect a high number of interceptions when you pass these individual-size meatball sandwiches during halftime festivities.

    Mini Football Subs
    Ingredients
    Meatballs
    Spaghetti sauce
    Shredded Cheese
    Individual-size rolls

    Instructions
    1. To make a batch, first prepare your favorite meatball recipe, shaping each meatball into a mini football before cooking. Once they're cooked, add the meatballs to a skillet of spaghetti sauce and warm them through.
    2. For each sub, cut a V-shaped notch from the top of an individual-size roll, place a meatball in the roll, and top with cheese shred laces. Finally, get the sandwiches in a huddle on a cookie sheet and place them in a warm oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

    The Apple of Our Eye
    A cute cupcake dessert to bring to fall birthdays or grace the table at autumn parties.
    Apple of our Eye Cupcakes
    Ingredients
    Cupcake batter
    Red frosting
    Red sugar sprinkles
    Tootsie Roll Midges
    Green Tootsie Fruit Roll
    White frosting

    Instructions
    1. Mix your favorite cupcake batter and divide it evenly among cupcake wells lined with red paper or silicone cups, filling each one about three-quarters full. Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe directions and let them cool.
    2. Carve a shallow, dime-size well in the top of each cupcake, then cover the tops with red frosting and coat them with red sugar sprinkles. Mold a small piece of a Tootsie Roll Midge into a stem shape. Form a leaf from a small piece of green Tootsie Fruit Roll, pinch it against the stem, then insert the stem into the cupcake.
    3. To make a bitten apple, spoon a small well from the side of the cupcake and line it with white frosting. Press tiny bits of Tootsie Roll Midge in place for seeds.

     

    All recipes courtesy of Disney's Family Fun website.

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  • Grilling Tips

    Check out our latest vlog on grilling at Grocery Outlet!  We're just in time for Father's Day.

     


    Got any great grilling ideas? Share them with us in the comments.

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