Last month I deep cleaned my fridge and discovered a bag of organic spinach that was starting to get slimy. Trashed it. Next, a couple of bell peppers that I totally forgot about and now had black spots. Trashed it. And then oh snap, when did I buy this onion that’s now sprouting?! Yikes!! In the trash it went.
Can you relate?
Sadly, I was starting to see a pattern in my family of wasting fresh foods. Somewhere between homeschooling and new business projects, I’d fallen off of my tried & true menu planning routine. I was grocery shopping on random days, getting duplicates of things because I hadn’t checked my kitchen inventory first and was just totally unorganized. We were wasting food (money) left and right. It HAD to stop!
I immediately whipped my menu planning back in shape by planning my menus based solely on what’s already in my fridge. I gave priority to fresh ingredients and what was on sale at the grocery store. My local Food Lion made this process much easier.
Keeping my menu streamlined like this has saved me time, money, and even less grocery bags!
Not only am I going to show you exactly how I do this but we’re also going to make five dinners from one bag! The total cost ended up being less than what my family of 4 normally spent on just one meal when we ate out!
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited!
Today we’re hitting up Food Lion to bring fresh, affordable dinners to the table! Have you ever shopped at Food Lion? My husband introduced me to Food Lion when we first got married. It was the only grocery store he’d shop at. His reasoning behind it was that they had the best prices and “honored everything!”.
Food Lion has a policy that if your produce, meat, deli/bakery items aren’t fresh, you get your money back…DOUBLED.. .hassle-free! Say what!!!
They’ve also proudly announced to have “raised their standards without raising their prices”. Hmmm…pretty bold statements.
Post moving, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Food Lion, but when I was asked to create a post I was ready to put their “fresh food at affordable prices” motto to the test!
First we need to plan our menu!! Grab the weekly FoodLion sales flyer online at Food Lion.com and let’s begin!
Menu Planning to Limit Waste and Save Money!
Quick note: Now this menu is based on my personal kitchen inventory and what I have on hand. Of course, your grocery list will be different if you decide to follow this menu. I’ll include the recipes below just in case you need some ideas or want to try them out! You’re welcome! : )
Ok let’s go!
Step 1: Take inventory of your kitchen.
Make a list of what you already have, especially the fresh foods that will be going bad soon. If there are items already in your pantry that you can incorporate into your dinners, like rice, pastas, etc. write those down too!
You might be amazed at how many potential meals you already have which will save you money.
This week I need to use up bacon, homemade broth, flour tortillas, fresh basil and some almost expired heavy whipping cream. I already have the basic spices, etc.
Of course I have more I could use but for the sake of this article I’ll keep it to these five items to show you just how much money you really can save at Food Lion!
Step 2: Check Food Lions weekly sales page.
Look through the sales paper and circle items that you could use in your dinners. You won’t get all of these but it will help you come up with ideas in the next step.
Step 3: Plan Your Meals
Now it’s time to marry the items already in your kitchen to the items on sale to create an affordable, fresh meal! Keep it simple here!
The goal is to take advantage of the fresh ingredients FIRST since that seems to be what is often wasted in most households.
The meal planning step requires the most time and creativity but it pays off big time. Baby steps are the key to not getting overwhelmed if you are new at this. Even if you only come up with a few meals that use up your leftovers you are already saving money and wasting less!
Call me crazy but I actually enjoy the challenge of this step! It’s like putting together a puzzle.
I always start with the fresh produce and meats that are on sale first and then I go from there.
Here’s something important to keep in mind when planning out your meals, take advantage of the ingredients that will be left over from the previous meal when planning for the next meal.
My Meal Planning Process
*Quick tip* If you aren’t as creative at thinking of dinner options no worries!! Online recipe sites and cooking blogs are the way to go for ideas and tried and true dinner recipes and inspriration!
MONDAY: Stuffed Bacon Cheddar Turkey Burgers
Meal #1 : After browsing through the sales paper, I’ve decided that since the value pack ground beef is on sale, as well as sliced cheese, onions, lettuce and my favorite Hawaiian buns that I’d do stuffed cheeseburgers for Monday. I’ll also grab a couple of tomatoes as well.
*Note* I decided to do ground turkey once I got to the store. The price was cheaper for 2 lbs of ground turkey.
TUESDAY: Taco Lettuce Wraps
Meal #2 : I know that after this meal, I’ll have plenty of ingredients left over. Since I’ll have lots of lettuce left, tomatoes, ground meat, cheese and onions, I decided to do taco lettuce wraps for Tuesday! Oh and I see that avocados are on sale too! Winning!
WEDNESDAY: Easy Bacon Fettuccine Alfredo w/ Broccoli and Tomatoes
Meal #3 : Fettuccini noodles and one of my favorite Alfredo sauces are on sale. As well as frozen broccoli. I still have a tomato left over, as well as the extra bacon that I need to use up in the fridge. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yep, bacon fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli and tomatoes for Wednesday! That one was easy! Plus I’ll have half a box of fettucinni noodles left over to use for another time.
THURSDAY:Pan-Grilled Bruschetta Turkey Quesadillas
Meal # 4 : Let’s move along! Ok so I really need to use up those flour tortillas and fresh basil I have at home. Since fresh shaved turkey is on sale in the deli I decided to do grilled bruschetta turkey quesadillas for Thursday. We love these things and they are super easy!
FRIDAY: Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Meal # 5 : Now it’s time to make sure I use up the rest of the ingredients I already have at home as well as the other fresh ingredients I’ll purchase.
Since I’ll have 2 cups of broccoli left over from Wednesdays dinner, along with onions, cheese and the heavy whipping cream and homemade broth I need to use up, it’s only right that I make broccoli cheddar soup for Friday!
I’ll use up the last few slices of bacon as a topping!
That’s it! Using ingredients up to the last drop like this has pretty much eliminated food waste in my house. It forces us to eat up the fresh foods first and keeps us from eating out since everything is already planned.
Remember, keep it simple!
OK so once you’ve planned your meals and made a list of the ingredients you need, it’s time go shopping!!
Food Lion here I come!
Step 5: Go Shopping!!
Shopping at Food Lion was waaaaaaaay different than the last time I went many years ago. In my area they have really updated the stores to a whole new level!
Talk about FRESH! I hadn’t planned on taking photos of the inside of the store for this blog post but after seeing this gorgeous, well stocked produce section I had to show you guys!!
Y’all I was seriously thinking, “Am I being punked?” because everything just looked so….perfect. There were even friendly workers passing out samples of fresh fruits.
Turns out, Food Lion has an expanding line of natural and organic products as well. There are also products catering to special diets like gluten-free.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience shopping at Food Lion. It was so refreshing and I will definitely be back! I mean seriously, look at this receipt, you can’t beat 5 fresh dinners for $32.39!!
Thank you Food Lion for such an easy shopping trip and for making fresh foods available at such awesome prices! This weeks menu was DELICIOUS!!
You can learn more about Food Lion and their fresh and affordable approach to food at foodlion.com, as well as on their social media networks below!
Leave a comment telling me what your first recipe would be and you will be entered to win a $100 Food Lion Gift Card!
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Want to try out a few of the fresh dinner recipes used in my Food Lion Menu?
You can also read my recipe and others on the Food Lion Recipe Hub!
Easy Cheddar Stuffed Turkey Burgers
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 slices Cheddar cheese
- 4 hamburger buns
- Condiments & Toppings: mayo, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon, pickle, etc.
- In a large bowl mix together ground turkey and egg.
- Stir in heavy cream and oil.
- Mix seasoning together and sprinkle over meat.
- Use your hands to mix the seasonings into the meat.
- Fry up a tiny test patty to make sure the seasonings are to your liking.
- Chill mixture to make handling easier (about 30 minutes).
- Divide mixture into 4 equal parts.
- Divide each part into two pieces.
- Flatten out one of the two pieces.
- Fold a slice of cheese into 4ths and place in the middle of the patty.
- Flatten out the other piece and place on top of the cheese and press down to seal.
- Repeat with remaining patties.
- Heat a few tablespoons of cooking oil in a large grill pan.
- Place the patties into the pan and cook until done. Be careful not to overcook.
- Assemble the burgers and top with your favorite ingredients. (I used mayo, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon and pickles.)
Taco Lettuce Wraps
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup onions, diced
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup taco sauce
- salt and pepper
- 8 lettuce leaves
- Toppings: cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocados, red onions, sour cream, etc.
- Heat oil in a large skillet.
- Add onions and cook until tender.
- Add ground turkey.
- Mix together seasonings and sprinkle over turkey.
- Stir to combine and continue cooking until done.
- Add broth and taco sauce.
- Simmer until liquid is absorbed.
- To prepare, double up the lettuce.
- Top with a generous portion of the meat mixture.
- Add toppings.
Bacon Fettuccine Alfredo w/ broccoli and tomatoes
- ½ lb. fettuccine noodles, prepared al dente according to package and drained.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup onions, diced
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 cup broccoli, steamed
- 15 oz Alfredo sauce
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- parmesan or mozzarella cheese, shredded (optional)
- Heat oil in a large, deep skillet.
- Add onions and bacon and cook until bacon is crisp.
- Mix in broccoli, prepared noodles, and Alfredo sauce.
- Heat until sauce is warm.
- When ready to serve top with diced tomatoes and parmesan or mozzarella cheese.
Pan-Grilled Turkey Bruschetta Quesadillas
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- 8 basil leaves, finely shredded
- ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
- splash of balsamic vinegar.
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 flour quesadillas
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese, cut in half lengthwise
- 8 slices shaved deli turkey lunchmeat
- Prepare the bruschetta by combining the tomatoes, basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
- Brush one side of the tortilla with butter and place buttered side down in grill pan.
- Line one side of tortilla with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese.
- Place two slices of folded turkey on top of the cheese.
- Place ¼ cup of bruschetta mixture on top of the turkey and then place two more slices of cheese on top of the bruschetta.
- Allow the cheese to start melting and then fold the tortilla in half.
- Serve hot.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup onions, diced
- ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup warm whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream, warmed
- 5 slices cheddar cheese
- 2 cups steamed broccoli, finely chopped
- Garnish: chopped bacon and shredded smoked cheese (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large pot.
- Saute onions and garlic.
- Add in chicken broth and simmer.
- While broth is simmering, melt butter in a saucepan.
- Whisk in flour and cook until golden.
- Slowly pour in whole milk and heavy cream, while continuing to whisk.
- When mixture is smooth add in cheese and stir until melted.
- Add cheese mixture to the broth mixture and stir until smooth.
- Add in broccoli.
- Serve warm, garnished with bacon and smoked cheese.