Tip #3: Watch for seasonal grocery sales! Stock up on what you can and enjoy the fresh produce while it's priced lower!
I found this information at dummies.com: "Many food items go on sale at regular times from year to year. Throughout the year, various food items are seasonally offered at discounts. For example, March is National Frozen Food Month in the United States, and to celebrate this prestigious event, most grocery stores offer significant discounts on frozen foods during the month."
The following list includes food items you can find on sale or at the lowest prices each month of the year. (I added several things to this list, but there are probably more things that could be added, too!)
January: Turkey, apples, grapefruit, oranges, pears, snack foods (Superbowl sales!)
February: Post–Valentine’s Day candy, chocolates, pastas
March: Frozen vegetables, meats, breakfast items, TV dinners, corned beef, potatoes
April: Ham, Eggs, broccoli, and cauliflower
May: Soda, hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, asparagus, pineapple, Mexican food (Cinco de Mayo!)
June: Dairy products (ice cream!) and tomatoes
July: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, corn, cherries, squash, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, plums, peaches, and nectarines
August: Squash, green peppers, sweet corn, salad fixings, berries, apples, melons, peaches, apricots, and fresh fish
September: Apples, broccoli, cauliflower, canned goods, cereals, granola bars
October: Pumpkins, squash, cranberries, grapes, oranges, sweet potatoes, yams, and cake mixes
November: Turkey, sweet potatoes, squash, yams, cranberries, many baking supplies, Chex cereals (have to make Chex mix!), and post-Halloween bags of candy
December: Oranges, apples, and grapefruit
*Obviously this is not an extensive or concrete list.
It also is helpful to learn prices of items so you know a good deal when it pops up. This is really like a life skill! No, not one of those important skills that you can't live without, but one that will probably take you a whole lifetime to perfect. I am constantly calling my mom and running prices by her. I'm starting to get it down. For instance, butter is normally over $2, but this week many places have it on sale for $1.38. Stock up! Cheese can also be a pricey item at over $2 a package, but many places are having it on sale for $1 to $1.50 a bag. Stock up! These things both freeze well and can be used later in the winter.
Here's a "seasonal" meal the boys and I enjoyed the other day. Let me rephrase that, I enjoyed it and the boys endured ten bites in order to "win" a pack of m&m's. Hey, I'm not above bribery and the halloween candy was cheap! cheap! cheap!
Roasted Acorn Squash with Squash Risotto2 acorn squash, cut in half and cleaned out
salt to taste
3 c. chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 generous cup peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/2 c. uncooked risotto
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush insides of acorn squash with olive oil and season with salt. Place acorn squash, cut side down, in a baking pan and roast until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, start the risotto by bringing the broth just to a simmer in a small pot over medium high heat. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add butternut squash and cook for 3 minutes. Add risotto and cook until grains are fragrant. Add 1/2 c. of hot broth to risotto and cook, stirring ocassionally until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 c. at a time, making sure that most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more.
Continue until rice is almost tender (20 minutes). Stir in sage and thyme and season with salt.When acorn squash is cooked, remove from oven. Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Carefully turn squash over and fill each with 1/4 of risotto mixture. Return to oven and bake until tops begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.