$138 A Week For Groceries - Something About Good, Inexpensive Knives & Day 5 Meals (Wednesday)

Once upon a time, I went into posh peoples' homes and either catered their private dinner parties or taught them how to cook. And a lot of them had really beautifully outfitted, sprawling kitchens that were a joy to cook in. But no matter where I went, no matter how high end the equipment, no matter how extensive the gadgetry, I always packed these:

My Thai-made Kiwi brand kitchen knives. Lightweight, comfortable, durable, super sharp, and SUPER AFFORDABLE.

If you're a cooking enthusiast, you already know that there is no limit to what you can spend outfitting your kitchen. There are chef's knives out there that cost five hundred dollars a piece (and sometimes more) if you care to spend that much money on your knives. And if you're one of those people with enough money that 500 bucks is really just a drop in the bucket, or you happen to be a knife enthusiast, then I guess it makes sense to buy one of those.  

As you know by now, I'm not the kind to encourage anyone to spend money they don't have to. But if you've been working with dull, clunky knives, and you want to keep cooking, and you want to keep getting better at cooking, and you want to ENJOY cooking even more, there are few more worthwhile kitchen investments than a good knife. 

And considering that you can buy the biggest knife in that picture for $6.95 + S&H from places like The Wok Shop, or minus the S&H at your local Asian grocer if they've got 'em, I'm going to say that if you don't already have a good and sharp knife, your VERY NEXT kitchen purchase should be one of these.

And if you do, please come back and let me know how much easier and more enjoyable it is to cook because you did. :)

P.S. This is not to say you can't take your dull knives in for a sharpening if you can find a local sharpening service, or that you can't sharpen your knives yourself if you learn how to do that correctly, and that will also make a world of good difference, but some knives are just dull and clunky by design and couldn't hold an edge to slice butter. (Ok, well that's hyperbolic, which I tend to be from time to time, but you get the idea.)

Now for the meals...

As always, I've included a meal total and per serving total on the blog. The detailed ingredient cost breakdown HERE.


For me, an open faced ham and tomato sandwich and coffee.

For the boys, some yogurt - with some homemade strawberry jam for Dean, plain sugar for Joe - and coffee.

For Izz, yet more banana and milk.



For me, a leftovers makeover from the night before - a noodle salad made with the leftover Spaghetti Vegetable Chow Mein, fried chicken breast and Korean Style Chili Garlic Soy Sauce from Tuesday night along with a julienned half cucumber, some left over herbs from Monday's Vietnamese Summer Roll lunch, a little bit of toasted sesame oil, sriracha, and a squeeze of lime. 

Izz had some of the chicken and noodles before I dressed them.

For Joey, his usual ham sandwich, apple, and juice pouch. Dean had to buy lunch out because he was out of the office for work, and that comes out of our Entertainment budget.

As food is accounted on the day it's first made and leftovers are considered freebies as a result...



We had a couple of friends over for dinner, which is always lovely. I love midweek dinner and drinks with friends - the fantastic company aside, it's like a happy middle finger to the tyranny of the American work week and our silly puritanical national character. ;)

The menu? A cucumber stack with mayo, ham, sriracha and chopped green onion for our appetizer as well as a small bowl of Spanish green olives, then Ropa Vieja with some of those Hatch chilies we roasted earlier in the week, mashed potatoes, and a pico de gallo inspired tomato salad.

Ropa Vieja


Craft beer and Coconut Cream Pie care of our friends and the Entertainment budget, hence not pictured here. Oh, and Joey had a MexiCoke and a juice pouch with dinner. (We don't make a habit of soda with dinner, but sometimes we go on little beverage kicks.)

Izz had another banana and pecked at a little bit of what we were eating here and there, but she wasn't that hungry.

The Ropa Vieja and mashed potatoes ended up making about 7 servings each. I'm just going to tally everything into the per serving cost in order to simplify.

Oh, the appetizers were 15 cents a piece in case you were curious.

DINNER TOTAL: $19.87 for 7 servings. $2.84 per serving.


Another shopping day around the corner. This time, I'll be shopping at the MexiMart so you can see the difference. If I can swing it, I'll try to do a complete shopping trip at WalMart and another at Trader Joe's so we can all see how I'd fare at a variety of shopping options.

Time to contemplate dinner...


This post is part of my 30 Day Grocery Budget Diary. To see all the posts of this series in reverse chron order, click HERE.

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