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Budget Friendly Easy Dinner Ideas: The Grocery Game Challenge #4 Oct 20-26,2014

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Life in the kitchen was great until our son came into this world and now we are counting on easy dinner ideas just so we eat decent food.

Over the course of the past 7 weeks our diet has went from eating homemade foods with fresh vegetables and fruits to canned soup, sandwiches and cereal.

Lately I’ve been on the hunt for fast meals that pack a nutritious punch in a short amount of time. Sure we could have planned freezer meals ahead of time but we prefer to cook hot meals rather than turning on the oven to re-heat frozen food if we don’t have to.

We do enjoy frozen foods such as perogies, ravioli, tortellini, fish and some vegetables but we’ve never ventured into batch cooking.


Cheap meals


I know that many parents and working couples rely on 15 minute meals just to make sure they get something hot into their stomachs and to avoid the dreaded TV dinner or even costlier….eating out. Another reason that homemade quick meals are important is because most are budget friendly depending on the type of ingredients you purchase.

I know many of my colleagues lean more towards the ready-made meals because they are not only cheap meals but no effort is required. Yes, I work with lots of men who don’t know how to cook and easy dinner ideas are something we’ve talked about since they all know how much I love to cook.

Personally I’m not a huge fan of hanging out in the kitchen all day so if I can simplify a recipe, I’ll do it. If I can substitute expensive ingredients for comparable ingredients I will do that as well but I’ll never compromise quality in taste for cost.


Easy dinner ideas


When I had a look at all the recipes either Nicola or I have posted here I realized that a few of my meals are indeed easy dinner ideas that you can make when time is not on your side. I know when I get home from working a long shift the last thing I want to do is cook a meal that will take me ages to prepare.

We have more than one easy dinner in our recipe index and some of our favourites we make more than once a month. Below are some of the simple recipes that won’t break the bank especially if you are looking for easy weeknight dinners or desserts that won’t keep you away from your family for hours.

I’ve talked to Nicola about working on creating new recipes that can be done in a flash. Hopefully we will see more easy dinner recipes in the future coming out of the Don and CBB Kitchen.

They might not all be 15 minute meals below but they certainly are better than eating out and won’t break the bank. You can read the entire Recipe Index on the home page of the blog for all of our recipes.

I’m a huge fan of the crock-pot and find we tend to crave hearty crock-pot meals when the Fall season begins right through the winter. Some of my famous one pot meals below might take some prep work but once the ingredients are in the pot you pretty much set it and forget it.

In the winter some of our one pot meals might consist of making soups. We love soups and to be honest soup is not hard to make and it really is an easy dinner that you can prepare as long as you have the ingredients on hand.

Our son is still a baby so he’s still enjoying his breast milk at least for the next few months  or so until we start learning about how to make homemade baby food. For now we still have to come up with easy dinners for two which takes some planning especially if we don’t want to eat the same foods over and over again. That gets boing.

If you haven’t joined us om Facebook yet come by and join our nightly What’s For Dinner post where CBB fans share their favourite recipes and sometimes photos of what they’ve made for dinner. I learn about so many new recipes just from my fans who like good food and know how to save money to make these meals.

What are some of your favourite easy dinner ideas?


October grocery game challenge posts


If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you. Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!


Grocery Saving Tips


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.

NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!


Ultimate grocery shopping guide


Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly. If you are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.

If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email.


Food food and more food



If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB foodie Nicola and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out! Try a recipe and leave a review for other fans!

grocery game challenge 4 October

Grocery shop results


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 3 x 2% Nielson Milk $3.97 each
  • 1 x Bag of Peanuts $2.79

Total out-of-pocket $14.70

Food Basics

  • 2 x cans of pineapple $0.99 each
  • 3lbs carrots $1.47
  • Celery $0.88
  • Red Mini Potatoes $0.88
  • 2 x Redpath Brown Sugar $1.99 each
  • 1x Ricossa Pasta $0.99
  • 2 x Smoked Bacon $1.97
  • Reduced produce $1.99 (limes)
  • 5 x Black Diamond Cheese bars $3.97
  • 4 x Bavarian Sandwich bread $2.49 each
  • Cauliflower $2.27
  • Multigrain flatbread $2.99-$1.50 coupons $1.50 each
  • Perogies $2.29
  • 4 x Quaker Harvest Crunch $2.49 each
  • Ferma Frozen Peas and Corn $1.99 and $2.19
  • 2 x Selection Eggs $1.97 each

Total out-of-pocket $71.54

Yearly grocery budget for two: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $20 per month.)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with potentially one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget for October $235.00-$49.30 (overspend in September)=$185.70
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $3.00
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $64.19
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $51.71
  • Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used to date: $20.00
  • Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $ 19.92 (6 x Bavarian bread and 2 x Ta Ta Tea)
  • Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 + $20.00 (June)+ $22.44 (July) + (August) $8.00+ (September) $0 + October $
  • Snap Groupon to date: $19.25
  • Zweet to date: $4.00
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $12.75
  • Total Spent This Week: $86.24-$66.79= $-19.45 over
  • Total Spent So Far October:$40.92+$77.99+$118.91+$0
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $n/a
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: over $19.45
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $19.45
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $242.66+ Feb $191.74+ March $255.82+April $235.07+May $223.62+June $275.37+ July $203.36+ August $228.26+ Sept $272.80+ Oct $
  • Weekly Overview: It looks as if this will be a 5 week month for us but we have run out of money and are over budget for the month. We may have to use PC points or Shoppers Optimum points if we need anything next week. Likely we will only need milk as we have more than enough to get us by here.


 Coupon Sleuth


Did you find any coupons? If so share the details in the comment section of this post where you found it and what the coupon is for with expiry.

Canada coupons Oct 2014 minute maid, astro yogurt

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month. You can post your shops all month-long.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that. You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.

This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track. If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2014 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.

Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general. You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge Canada 2014!


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