Cooking for the Week & a Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway

Spanish Omelet | Big Girls Small Kitchen

Here is your perfect weekly meal plan for $125.

Well, not exactly. I have a hard time believing that I can advise you what you want to eat for 14 dinners and lunches straight. There are cravings! And spontaneous weeknight plans! And people in your life with preferences and restrictions. Often, I think, a meal plan just can’t keep up with daily life. (That’s why this post is going to be a little long! If you’re interested in entering to win a $125 Whole Foods Market gift card, you should definitely make it to the end though.)

There’s a bright side.

That’s because the best cooking happens spontaneously. Exercising your imaginative ability to translate a request, craving, dietary restriction, or budget constraint into a good meal is one of the most admirable kitchen skills a person could possibly acquire. In his book Culinary Intelligencethe food writer Peter Kaminsky makes an incredible claim that understanding what you love to eat is the most productive way to eat well and healthfully. His description of the way you can then plan for dinner is perfect:

Every chef I have known spends a lot of time dreaming up recipes. Every good home cook has the same kind of culinary reveries. Just as a composer hears melodies in his mind before committing them to paper, cooks taste recipes before they put pan to fire.

And then they go to the market.

Next, almost without fail, serendipity strikes, leading in different, surprising, and wonderful directions.

And so begins a four-page account of a “waking food dream” in which Kaminsky takes us to Kentucky, Wisconsin, and his favorite old Italian sausage-maker in Brooklyn. It’s a reverie that ends in a delicious home-cooked meal that perfectly suits the rhythm of Kaminsky’s day, the current season, and his cravings.

To have a moment of serendipity, though, you have to start somewhere. That’s where planning comes in. And so last Wednesday night I headed to the Brooklyn Whole Foods Market to shop, more or less, for the week ahead.

How to Shop on a Budget at Whole Foods Market

Though you won’t find an exact prescription, I’m excited to share how I cooked for a full week of lunches and dinners following my $125 spree. I’ve given loads of details (too many?)  about what I had in the house already, what I bought, what we like to eat, what you might substitute in for things you don’t like, etc. If you’d like to mimic my plan, there’s a shopping list and links to recipes. Or,  use what follows as inspiration for a more freeform sort of weekly planning, one that leaves your fridge and pantry stocked but also opens up enough space for you to listen to your culinary imagination and find some serendipity. In other words, ditch the plan if that’s what life needs.

As for the budget: these days, Whole Foods Market carries the most astounding range of ingredients. I can get pasta and beans and cheese and produce for cheaper than at my local supermarket. But given that I’ve also been known to prefer expensive olive oil, the best meat in town, and hormone-free dairy, I’m happy to know I can find the high-quality (even fancy-schmancy) stuff I want. When I shopped last week, I kept an eye out for sales, a thrifty move that brought me the on-sale Organic Valley sour cream, a product I now want to gulp down in huge dollops at every meal. Butchers, bakers, and cheesemongers will cut meat, breads, and cheeses in smaller pieces if you don’t need whole portions.

Other tips: the bulk bin is your friend–for amounts large (all the rice you’ll need for the rest of the year) and small (the handful of walnuts for today’s pesto). Flexibility is crucial: if one veggie is on your shopping list but its neighbor is half off, consider making a tweak right then and there.

By keeping my eye trained on both deals and necessary splurges–and bulking up my list with vegetables, particularly bang-for-the-buck seasonal ones–I was easily able to get out of the store for less than $125. The “less than” is important here, because as you’ll see in the meal plan below, I made use of some ingredients I already owned, like tomatoes from my CSA and tortillas from a trip to Queens. You can add those to your list and still come in at $125. Or, if your Whole Foods carries beer, you can round out the budget that way.

My Shopping List

Produce
1 red cabbage
3 eggplant
4 zucchini
2 limes
2 lemons
2 sweet potatoes
2 broccoli crowns
1 avocado
1 carrot
1 small bunch bok choy (storage tip)
1 bunch basil (storage tip)
1 bunch parsley (storage tip)
1 hot pepper
handful mixed baby greens (storage tip)
4-inch piece ginger
1 head garlic

Meat, poultry, dairy, eggs
1 package bacon
3 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

Meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, (cont.)
1/2 pound inexpensive steak like hanger, flank, top round, or Denver (ask the butcher)
16 ounces sour cream
1 dozen eggs
1 small hunk parmesan cheese

Pantry, grocery, bulk
olive oil
canola oil
mayonnaise
1 loaf bakery bread
whole wheat shells (1 pound)
2 cups jasmine rice (bulk)
1 cup quinoa (bulk)
1/3 cup walnuts (bulk)
1/2 cup peanuts (bulk)
curry powder
one 5.46-ounce can coconut milk
2 dark chocolate bars (our dessert)
paper towels (we were running low)

Total=$104.55

Other ingredients you’ll need that I already had at home (there should be plenty of room in the remaining budget!)

    • 5-6 fabulously tasty local tomatoes (from our CSA)
    • 4 onions (from our CSA)
    • 4 red-skinned potatoes (from our CSA)
    • salsa (if you’ve got a few extra tomatoes, some garlic, and a hot pepper, make your own by roasting them in oil at 425°F for 20 minutes, then whizzing them in the blender with salt  as per this recipe)
    • 1 cup dried chickpeas (I order them online from Rancho Gordo, so there are always some around)
    • 6 corn tortillas
    • soy sauce
    • sugar
    • white wine
    • salted butter, for eating on toast (optional)
    • flour
    • salt
    • sriracha

A Week of Meals

As you’ll see, we didn’t eat our 14 meals straight–in fact the planned-out meals lasted til yesterday, eight days after the shopping trip. And we still had some extra ingredients. Most recipes are cooked for two adult appetites with leftovers. So that you can see which meals are part of the “plan,” as opposed to those we ate at restaurants or friends’ houses, I’ve numbered the key ones up to 14. I’ve also listed when I prepped and cooked (no cooking on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, apparently!), and which ingredients from the list got used on which day. Here goes!

Wednesday

Cook/Prep/Plan/Shop: Shopped for the week at Whole Foods in Gowanus.
Ingredients used: steak, tortillas, sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, 1 lime, tiny bit of red cabbage
Dinner (meal #1): I had been at a work shoot at the amazing Tortilleria Nixtamal earlier in the day, so I had fresh corn tortillas already. That meant steak tacos for dinner. I seasoned 1/2 pound of steak with salt and pepper and seared for about 5 minutes per side. While the steak cooked and rested, I sliced an avocado and some red cabbage and grabbed the salsa I’d made a few weeks ago using this insanely easy recipe. I sliced the steak, then warmed the tortillas over the burner. Each taco got: steak, red cabbage, salsa, avocado, and a squeeze of lime. My tacos got sour cream. We had some cilantro in the fridge, but it’s not really necessary. We both went back for one more taco.


Thursday

Cook/Prep/Plan/Shop: Cooked 2 cups of white rice in the morning, then put in the fridge before work so that I could easily make fried rice after I got home.
Ingredients used: rice, 1 onion, garlic, ginger, bok choy, 3 eggs
Lunch: Alex ate the leftover patafla that I had made while recipe testing. I had a team lunch at work.
Dinner (meal #2): Fried rice. I stir-fried onions, garlic, and ginger, then added in the bok choy. I had the dregs of a jar of kimchi, so I added that as well, but it’s obviously optional. I scrambled in three eggs and seasoned the whole thing with a little soy sauce and sugar. This recipe’s not too different from what we had.

Friday

Lunch (meal #3): Leftover fried rice for us both.
Dinner: Our friends invited us to shabbat dinner, so we happily picked up red wine and indulged in Kate’s delicious chicken with tomatoes & olives, inspired by a Paula Wolfert recipe, roasted cauliflower, salad, and challah. We got sent home with the leftover baklava (yum).


Saturday

Cook/Prep/Plan/Shop: Made Spanish omelet, baked the chicken and blended together the sauce for Pasta with Chicken, Lemon & White Wine in the morning, cooked the dish in the evening. (I followed the recipe pretty closely, using water instead of chicken broth and making the sauce in the food processor.)
Ingredients used: potatoes, 1 zucchini, 1 onion, 4 eggs, chicken, parsley, garlic, 1 lemon, 1/2 of the whole wheat shells
Brunch (meal #4): Spanish Omelet with zucchini (recipe at bottom), bread and butter. We ate about half the omelet at mealtime, then snacked on little wedges later in the day.
Dinner (meal #5): Pasta with Chicken, Lemon & White Wine with friends. We’d been playing frisbee in the park and gotten drenched when the rain came down, so we headed back to our place. I wasn’t sure the recipe, with just a half pound of pasta and a pound and a half of chicken, would be enough food for six, but there turned out to be plenty. I boiled the pasta, mixed chicken, sauce, and pasta together, and baked the dish while we were all playing cards. There were still so many tomatoes, so I chopped one up and added it. After eating, we used extra bread to mop up the sauce in the bottom of the pan.


Sunday

Cook/Prep/Plan/Shop: Cooked bacon at 400°F until crisp, boiled the dried chickpeas from scratch early, made chickpea curry later, made pesto pasta with zucchini for Monday night (see instructions on Monday entry).
Ingredients used: Bacon, bread, mayo, lettuce, tomato, ginger, garlic, onion, 1/2 the hot pepper, sweet potatoes, 1 white potato, carrot, all the broccoli, coconut milk, curry powder, chickpeas, basil, parsley, walnuts, 2 zucchini, pasta
Brunch (meal #6): BLTs. After the bacon was done, this was just assembly: I toasted bread, spread it with mayo, added the bacon, sliced one from the never-ending bowl tomatoes, and piled on lettuce. As you can see on the left, I really like my BLTs open-faced…I just think the balance is better. By the end of the meal, somehow all the bacon was gone. Oops.
Dinner (meal #7): Chickpea curry with all the vegetables–this turned out so, so well! I put an onion, half a hot pepper, and lots of garlic and ginger in the mini food processor. Then I fried that in oil until super fragrant before adding 3 tablespoons of curry powder and salt. Then, in went the veggies: one diced potato, the two sweet potatoes, the carrot, the broccoli, and the cooked chickpeas. I added the little can of coconut milk, plus the same amount of water, and a chopped tomato. Then the whole thing simmered for 30 minutes. We ate the curry with some bread, but I’m not sure why–we really it was perfect as a true one pot meal.

Monday

Lunch (meal #8): Chickpea curry leftovers with a dollop of sour cream for me.
Dinner (meal #9): Pesto Pasta with Onion & Zucchini. I followed this recipe, but with some changes. Instead of pine nuts, I used the walnuts I got in the Whole Foods bulk bin. I skipped the spinach and added the extra parsley from Saturday night’s dinner. Instead of rabe, I put 2  julienned zucchini in the pan with the onion. And I used up the rest of the box of whole wheat shells instead of spaghetti (since I wasn’t sure it’d be enough food, I also threw in the bottom of a box of penne from the pantry). I had made the pesto on Sunday, since I had an 8pm pilates class Monday. We heated up the pasta in the microwave before collapsing in front of 30 Rock.

Tuesday

Lunch: Lunch at work (they ordered us pizza).
Dinner (meal #10): Alex got to eat the leftover pesto pasta while I went out for Essie’s birthday–tacos at Tacombi and the candle-lit tequila shot pictured above (photo by Sam). The tacos were incredible, but then again so is pesto.

Wednesday

Cook/Prep/Plan/Shop: Made a big batch of Spicy Quinoa Slaw (I omitted the second vegetable and used a bit of my remaining hot pepper instead of the birdseye in the recipe).
Ingredients used: quinoa, about a quarter of the red cabbage, garlic, ginger, peanuts
Lunch (meal #12): Spicy Quinoa Slaw
Dinner: I was planning to make okonomiyaki, but I was so happy about meeting a deadline a couple hours early that I convinced Alex to go to Franny’s instead. No more cooking for me today! At Franny’s, we shared the house wine, roasted pole beans, a baked zucchini-tomato dish, and two pastas. I had panna cotta with roasted strawberries. Totally worth forgetting about the meal plan for!

Thursday

Cook/Prep/Plan/Shop: Made the okonomiyaki when I got home from work–they’re so quick!
Ingredients used: Red cabbage, remaining zucchini, half an onion, 5 eggs, mayo
Lunch (meal #13): Spicy Quinoa Slaw: the salad that never ends.
Dinner (meal #14): Vegetarian Okonomiyaki with Spicy Mayo

 

Gift Card Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats, Noreen! Thank you for entering!–Cara, 9/22/14

I’m giving away one $125 gift card to Whole Foods Market, so you can go on your own weeklong home-cooking fest. Here’s how to enter:

  • {one} Leave a comment below telling us your best foodie hack at Whole Foods Market. What do you look for when you shop, in order to make your money go further?
  • {two} Be a subscriber to the Big Girls, Small Kitchen newsletter and leave a second comment letting me know you’ve subscribed.
  • {three} Tell your facebook friends and/or twitter fans about the contest – post the link and tag @Big Girls Small Kitchen (facebook) or @BGSK (twitter). Leave a third comment letting me know you’ve done so.
I’ll announce the winner on Monday, September 22.


**Recipe**

Spanish Omelet with Zucchini
Serves 2-4

This is good warm, room temperature, or cold. Make the omelet in advance if you like, or pack extra wedges in your brown bag lunch. I beg you: don’t cut back on the oil. It’s what makes the omelet tasty and easy to make.

Ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil oil
4 red-skinned potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small onion, sliced
4 eggs
Salt

Set a large frying pan over medium heat and let it get hot for about 3 minutes. Add the oil, then add the potatoes, zucchini, and onion. The pan will seem pretty crowded, but don’t worry. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft but not brown. Lightly sprinkle with salt, and scoop out the vegetables into a big mixing bowl. Drain off the oil into a small prep bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the eggs to the vegetable mixture, and fold together gently so you don’t smash the potatoes.

Wash out the pan or grab a new heavy skillet, 8 to 10 inches. Set it over medium-high heat. Return enough oil to the pan to generously coat the bottom and sides–you probably won’t need it all. Pour the vegetable-egg mixture into the pan. Lower the heat to medium low, and cook until the bottom is golden, about 5 minutes.

Here’s the hardest part of the whole recipe: Use a spatula to slide the omelet onto a heat-proof plate. Now carefully turn the pan onto the plate and use both hands (in oven mitts) to flip the omelet back into the pan. Cook another 5 minutes, until the second side is golden. Slide onto a clean plate, let rest 5 minutes, then serve in big wedges.

This post was sponsored by Whole Foods Market. Get recipes, coupons and inspiration delivered right to your inbox with Whole Foods Market newsletters. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep Big Girls, Small Kitchen delicious!

  • Kaoru Yamamoto

    I love going to Whole Foods during meat sales, then I wrap them into individual portions and freeze. The quality is great, and I can pull out exactly the amount I want later on.

    • Claire

      There’s a one day sale on grass fed ground beef today at Whole Foods!

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  • Ellen

    I buy meat and poultry in more than 3 lb portions – I believe it’s 25% off if you buy more than 3 lb! I definitely don’t need that much right away, so I freeze them in portions. I also make hummus and dips and peanut butter in my nifty food processor :)

  • Kristen

    Definitely the bulk bins are your friends. They also have inexpensive and good apple cider vinegar and we love getting our pastas there! You just have to pick and choose! When meat or fish is on sale it can be at a decent price too

  • lisa

    My whole foods hack is buying grains and nuts from the bulk bins! The prices are good and I get quantities that I will actually use up!

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      p.s. – Just subscribed to the blog! :)

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  • Kaitlin

    I love Whole Foods 365 products and using the bulk bins at the stores that have them!

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  • Mariah Pulver

    First of all, don’t go hungry because I ALWAYS want food from the hot food bar. And two, the bulk bins are awesome. I love that I can buy small amounts of stuff if need be, because I live alone and cook small portions.

  • neiddy

    I like to check their website for deals and coupons
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    I shop sales and use coupons to save!
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    I always ask the WF team to cut down blocks of cheese so I am only taking home as much as I need to make a recipe.

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  • Sarah

    I always go for the on sale items, especially Talenti ice cream! Also I love their store brand, great quality

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  • H Simpson

    For generic items I stick to the 365 brand, and for items that carry lower amounts of pesticides, I go for the non-organic version of the product.

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  • Claire

    My favorite thing at Whole Foods is grinding my own almond butter. It’s so delicious! I love their bulk department.

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    I buy in bulk as much as I can! :)

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  • Nicole

    I like going to the hot bar/salad bar, and getting inspiration from the dishes they make in-store. The Whole Foods employees are always helpful as well

  • Marti Canipe

    Buying stuff on sale and portioning it and freezing it is my best plan.

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  • christophersorel

    bulk section for PB and spices

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  • HS

    I look for store brand when I shop, it is the best saving tip to make money go further. Whole Foods store brand has great quality from my experience.

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  • Joanna Lamb

    My best whole foods hack is to buy all the frozen stuff when it’s on sale!

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  • Saffron + Kumquats

    I always buy bulk and Whole Foods own label when I can. It definitely saves me money!

  • Kimmer

    I buy in bulk, repackage and freeze, go with a list, and my friends and I will message each other when something great is on sale!

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  • Rosie

    I like going to the store often, and also keeping an eye on their facebook page, because they often have flash sales that aren’t in the flyer. Also, by going often, I discover new things all the time, I like to copy cat some expensive blends, or ask them how they make things (for instance, their buffalo tofu), or the dairy-free ice creams. I’ve both saved money and become much more informed, and have a blast doing it!

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  • http://www.laviejaime.com/ Jaime @ laviejaime

    I love their salad bar and try to buy things to use for the week in my salads that aren’t as “easy” to make myself. Then buy lettuce, tomatoes, etc. myself cheap.

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  • Sandra Stephenson

    I love getting their Swiss Cheeses. They seem more reasonable than other stores.

  • Kelly

    I like to buy a container of parmesan rinds for $3-$4 dollars to make a parmesan broth. I then split the broth into small baggies and freeze, slipping them in soups and such to add a small bit of extra richness to my normal chicken stock!

  • Cassidy

    Bulk bin purchases – on grains and cookies :)

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  • ellen

    i always buy their 365 organic items- the store brand saves money!

  • tsrobin

    the hamburger meat in bulk is about the same price as buying it in bulk at any other grocery store

  • Stephanie Lai

    Bulk bin, definitely! Also: wheatberries instead of farro.

  • Elena Istomina

    I use coupons when I buy organic brand foods at Whole Foods

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  • Shoshana

    I always buy staples like canned beans and frozen vegetables when they go on sale. Saves money in the long run!

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  • Anu

    I love the bulk bins at my local Whole Foods. I can get exactly as much as I need without worrying about wasting food and money!

  • Kristi

    Every week after I grab my produce and lean meats, I get a container of their tzatziki from their salad bar and use to dip veggies, on top of chicken, as a salad dressing or even on my sandwiches. It’s delicious and goes a long way!

  • Erika

    My only hack is I know which items to buy at Whole Foods and which to put off to buy somewhere else! I obviously need to read all the comments to learn tips.

  • Tracy

    I look out for their weekly Friday sales. Today they had grass fed beef $3.50/lb off.

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  • nicole dziedzic

    When shopping i look for markdowns and i print coupons offered online at Whole Foods in order to make my money go further.

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  • Fallon Boyle

    I love checking out the bulk bins. It’s a great way to try out a small quantity of a new ingredient, too!

  • Becky B

    I am a huge fan of trying out new and different kinds of cheese, and they always have small (rejected) cuts of unique cheeses (usually right by the cheese counter) for $2-$5.

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  • Martha R Neely

    don’t go to Whole foods very much, but after reading this, I’ll be there more often!

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  • Laura

    I double up on their coupons and sales…especially for produce that I can freeze.

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  • Kellie

    I wait for sales..they actually have surprisingly good sales on some of my fave foods! Thanks for the generous giveaway! :) kelliescamera at gmail dot com

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  • Alison Marcus

    Burgers!!

  • Jen M

    I use their coupons and bulk bins!

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  • meredith

    I like to use whole foods coupons and bring in ones I find online too – which gives me pretty good deals – and I really like the odds/ends cheese section :)

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  • Lindsey DiLoreto

    The produce that is in season is lower priced. It helps to get the best flavor and value.

  • Desiree H

    I always try to bring coupons and find sale items. I love whole Foods! I also buy their Wednesday Special of $2 off the salad bar!

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  • Lily Sheng

    I try to combine manufacture coupon with weekly sales to save even more money! Thanks for your weekly planning tips

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  • Jenna

    bulk bins!

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  • Noreen

    I buy in the bulk section, buy the Friday deal and buy extra when on sale

  • http://addalittle.wordpress.com Millie l Add A Little

    Looks fabulous!! I love using whole foods for bulk bins – I think people don’t understand how useful they are! I also love checking out when sales are on :)

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  • cezovski

    I buy store brands, watch for sales, and always get stuff from the bulk bins

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  • Jordan Dunne

    When I shop at Whole Foods, I always shop the sales and try to match coupons to get the most for my money. I also buy their store brand, which offers good quality products at (usually) reasonable prices.

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  • Ilene

    I buy their store brand a lot and always look for sales.

  • Natalie

    I’m a big fan of rotisserie chickens for a week of tacos, salads, and soups!

  • tina m

    i use coupons and combine with store sales.

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  • AnnaZed

    I’m at those bulk bins at Whole Foods with my list first thing. The dried fruit is a big line item since I slightly reconstitute it and make whole grain muffins with it twice a week. We have these instead of energy bars in our house.
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  • Calli

    I stick to the outside perimeter mostly and avoid the prepackaged and precut veggies.

  • Sheila K.

    I never go to Whole Foods without coupons and I always make a list before I go )and really try to stick to it)!

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    I just subscribed to the newsletter and am excited to get cooking!

  • Katherine B

    My tips for going to Whole Foods is looking out for sales and buying things that I can freeze, so my money will go the extra mile!

  • Chrissy

    I love going to Whole Foods Saturday afternoon – there are so many samples that you can basically get a free lunch while shopping!

  • nataliehere

    I always look for produce sales. My best Whole Foods foodie hack is this – they will cut up their produce for you so you only have to buy what you need. If you just need 1/4 a head of red cabbage, they’ll cut that exact amount for you.

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    I subscribed!

  • nataliehere

    And I just tweeted about the giveaway! :)

  • Jaclyn Reynolds

    I stick to the sales and stock up when it’s a nice deal!

  • Jaclyn Reynolds

    New subscriber firstrosegrrlATyahooDOTcom

  • Monica

    Whole Foods coupons, sales and bulk items.

  • Monica

    Subscribe to your newsletter.

  • DeeG131

    I look for sales, coupons, and bogo deals! Sometimes I get rain checks as well. :)

  • DeeG131
  • DeeG131

    I am a subscriber. Thanks for the chance!

  • Marian Boll

    Love Whole Foods because of the freshness!!!

  • Jackie

    I subscribe to the Whole Foods newsletter and I purchase the 365 Whole Foods organic brand.

  • Jackie

    I subscribe to your newsletter – jaclyn.pack@gmail.com

  • Jackie

    Tagged Big Girls Small Kitchen on Facebook to tell my friends about the contest!

  • dlhaley

    I use coupons whenever look for sales and possible.

  • dlhaley

    I use coupons whenever look for sales and possible.

  • dlhaley

    Subscriber

  • Linda K

    I like the prepared salads.

  • http://facebook.com/trabajardd shaunie

    I use the same type of meat but for different meals (same meat, a different recipe). I look for how many meals I could make with it.

  • http://facebook.com/trabajardd shaunie

    subscribed.

  • http://facebook.com/trabajardd shaunie
  • hewella1

    I try yo shop the bulk section.

  • Chris Martinez

    I try to buy in bulk whenever I can!

  • Chris Martinez

    I am a newsletter subscriber.

  • Samantha

    I subscribe to the BGSK newsletter!!

  • Samantha

    My hack at whole foods is to recycle my bottles and cans there. I use the credit for money off on my groceries.

  • Samantha

    I tweeted!

  • sandover

    This is kind of obvious, but instead of buying the pre-cut containers of melon I buy the whole fruit and chop it myself. It’s cheaper and also probably more nutritious. Thanks for the meal inspiration. Looks good!

  • sandover

    I subscribed to your newsletter. Thank you!

  • sandover

    …And I tweeted! @sandov3r

  • Dee

    Definitely taking advantage of the bulk bins is my favorite part about Whole Foods!

  • Beth

    I buy 365 brand products and shop as much as I can with the bulk bins. I use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen list to know which produce I can buy conventionally grown and which should be organic. I also use the coupons on the whole foods website. But perhaps the best way to save money at whole foods is to take time the day before you shop to meal plan for the week according to the sales and coupons and then stick to your shopping list! It is way to easy to pick up lots of extra things at Whole Foods because everything is so yummy!

  • Stefanie gladden

    I always check out the sales and deals online before I go to Whole Foods, that way I don’t go over budget and only get what I know is on sale!

  • Stefanie gladden

    I am a subscriber!

  • Stefanie gladden
  • Ping Teresa Yeh

    I love using the bulk bins at Whole Foods!

  • Ping Teresa Yeh

    Subscribed! =)

  • Tierney

    You can do A LOT with their delicious rotisserie chickens–not too expensive and if you stretch it, it can last all week.

  • Tierney

    I subscribe to your newsletter

  • Tierney
  • Chris g

    i always go for the bulk bins!

  • Chris g

    i subscribe to the newsletter cgul689 at gmail dot com

  • Chris g
  • Natalie

    I buy produce when it is in season and buy in bulk if an item goes on sale. I will also freeze meat and seafood.

  • Natalie

    I subscribe to the BGSK newsletter yarbr012 at gmail dot com

  • Natalie
  • Alexis B

    I am still new to shopping at WF because it’s over an hour away, but I like buying grass fed/pastured meats and maple syrup!

  • Alexis B

    I subscribed to your newsletter!

  • Alexis B

    I tweeted about the giveaway!

  • caitlin

    I shop the bulk section at whole foods and just buy what i need. Less than a dollar for rice and Im set for the weel

  • http://www.lynnchen.com/ Lynn Chen

    Whenever I get a salad from the bar at Whole Foods, I fill up on the prepped goodies and buy my own lettuce separately so it doesn’t bulk up the box/weight!

  • http://www.lynnchen.com/ Lynn Chen

    I shared this on Facebook!
    https://www.facebook.com/theactorsdiet

  • http://www.lynnchen.com/ Lynn Chen

    Just tweeted @actorsdiet!

  • Priscilla S.

    To make my money go further I always check the in store specials on the Whole Foods website and print any coupons that I could use. Planning our meals around sales and deals really helps save money!

  • Priscilla S.

    I subscribe – psws7 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net

  • Priscilla S.
  • amy

    I signed up for BGSK’s newsletter adowney@ktenterprises.com

  • Ana Rocha

    I love shopping in the bulk bin (my Whole Foods also has a pasta/dried beans bulk bin and a frozen chopped veggies bulk bin!) And I always look at comparable foods if I think something is a little expensive–for example I often sub dried cranberries for dried cherries because they’re at least $3 less

  • Ana Rocha

    I subscribed!

  • Elizabeth

    I love the sales and the 365 brand! I also go for the bulk bin items. I keeps lots of mason jars and airtight containers at home for bulk stuff and make labels out of washi tape.

  • Elizabeth

    I have subscribed to the Big Girls Small Kitchen List!!

  • Elizabeth

    I posted on Facebook about the contest :)

  • Ellie

    I have been loving their 365 brand frozen burritos on the days I forget my lunch at home. For less than $2 I have a lunch replacement so I dont feel so bad about leaving mine in the fridge.

  • Ellie

    I subscribed to the newsletter. Ellieatwood@gmail.com

  • Meaghan

    Coordinate with your other single friends in advance and buy things you can share! I won’t use a whole bottle of sesame oil before it goes rancid, so I buy one and split it with my neighbor! Thank you!

  • Heather Jacobs

    I love the Quorn chicken alternative, which I can’t seem to find anywhere. Those little mycoprotein bites are both delicious and produced with an environmental sustainability mission. Plus, for much less than the cost of meat, I can make them last through at least three meals!

  • Heather Jacobs

    Just subscribed to your blog (thanks to Elizabeth Randon) and am sharing on Facebook. Thanks for this contest!

  • Heather Jacobs

    Posted on Facebook. Thanks!

  • Jen Cabral

    Unnecessary splurges are out of my list. I am adopting your awesome list as a reference. Less the bacon! I am vegetarian! :)

  • Lauren

    I buy my meat at whole foods and make a meal based on what is on sale. A lot of time Whole Foods has fish on sale that is easy to grill or bake!

  • http://www.notstarvingyet.com/ shortsorceress

    I shop the 1 day sales to save money, then buy in bulk and freeze what I can for later

  • Kailin

    I love Whole Foods’ seafood section. It’s so fresh and the people at the counter know the best ways to cook whatever you are looking for.

    My “hack” is that if you ask them, they’ll peel your shrimp for you for free so you don’t have to buy the pricy pre-peeled option. I usually stop there first and do the rest of my shopping while they peel them for me. Saves me time and money – so nice!

    • Kailin

      Joined your newsletter!

    • Kailin

      Tweeted about your giveaway and tagged you! Thanks!

  • Christina

    i love buying bulk grains and whatever vegetables are on sale at whole foods!

  • JulieK

    I did the #WFMHacks challenge as well and it was so exciting to see how much you can make on the $125 budget – a HUGE variety of delicious Real Food meals! Love your menu ideas and shopping list! Julie @ http://happystronghome.com

  • natalie

    Great giveaway! I’m all about shopping in the bulk foods section and portioning out exactly what I need to save $$!

  • Sarah O.

    Really enjoyed this post and pinned the meal ideas to mix up our menus! I look for the unique simmer sauces or jarred pesto, tapenade, etc. They transform plain ingredients like chickpeas or pasta into fresh versions. We save money ffom eating out when we don’t think, “same old same old for dinner…”

  • Sarah O.

    I just subscribed and cannot wait to get more recipe inspiration coming my way! (sarah.d.ottey@gmail.com)

  • Sarah O.
  • Jamie Rosenblum Lichtenstein

    We buy 18 packs of free range eggs which is inexpensive protein.

  • Jamie Rosenblum Lichtenstein

    I subscribed

  • Jamie Rosenblum Lichtenstein

    I retweeted

  • julie murphy

    I use coupons with sales.

  • julie murphy

    I follow on twitter

  • julie murphy

    I am a subscriber.

  • Tiffany Hickman

    I find that grains are always cheaper at Whole Foods than at my local grocery store, especially if found in the bulk bins.

  • Tiffany Hickman

    I subscribed to the newsletter!

  • Edamommy

    I shop the sales and try to combine manufacturer’s coupons with in-store coupons as much as possible (they let you stack multiple coupons for the same product!). Also, did you know WF will let you use their in-store coupons multiple times? Manufacturer coupons are only good once but the checkers hand the WF coupons back to me after swiping them so I can use them again before the expiration date. Saves paper and money!

  • Carla S

    I buy vegetables on sale and prep them , then freeze them.

  • Carla S

    I’m an email subscriber.

  • serenefairy2

    i make sure i have coupons when i go, plus sometimes you can find a coupon booklet in their newsletter

  • Koko @ Koko Likes

    The produce always go far for me!!

  • Heather Hicks

    I look for whole foods brand foods- cereal, frozen veggies, cheese, etc.

  • Trisha

    Their is something about the egg salad rolled in a spinach tostadas with black olives, tomato and lettuce

  • rachel

    I look for sales and pair them with a coupon (if possible).

  • Liz Hood

    I like the meat sales at Whole Foods, but also their bulk spices! You can get huge amounts or teeny servings, depending on what you need.

  • Liz Lamontagne

    I subscribe to your newsletter ealamont@stetson.edu

  • Liz Lamontagne

    I shop the Whole Deals and use coupons when applicable! Also, I keep in mind what items are a better bargain at Whole Foods vs other stores or what items I can only find at Whole Foods (Epic Bars for example).

  • Noreen

    I buy what I can in bulk that I use alot of. The 365 Corn Tortillas that are GMO free are a good freezer item to get and stock up on.

  • Noreen

    I subscribed to your newsletter as reenie2347@gmail.com and I re-posted your contest info on face book and liked it, but I love it!

  • richelle bowers

    I look for sales to stretch my dollar

  • Allie

    I make sure to go online and clip coupons before I head to the store. Then, once there, I grab a glass of wine and settle in to take my time looking at all the in store sales, especially the Whole Foods 365 products.

  • Allie

    Subscribed via email!

  • Allie

    Contest tweeted!

  • Elizabeth Wollenberg

    One of my tricks at Whole Foods is purchasing items from the bars, for example if I only need a certain amount of sun dried tomatoes I purchase them from the olive bar. It is cheaper to buy them there by the pound rather than buying a jar.

  • Elizabeth Wollenberg

    I subscribe to the BGSK newsletter

  • Elizabeth Wollenberg

    I also just tagged BGSK in a post on Facebook!

  • Lol

    That Okonomiyaki is hilariously bad. Have you ever actually seen an Okonomiyaki?

  • Krista

    i have 5 kids so there are 7 of us so i have no choice but make food stretch. I buy a lot of rice, grains and potatoes that i can add to most meals to make the budget stretch on meats. For example: For Tacos i add potatoes to the meat or for meat loaf i add quinoa and cut up carrots or peas. I make sure to make it for the meat sales and buy quite a bit and separate and freeze this usually lasts a while.

  • Jennifer Dale

    I watch sales on the Whole Foods Facebook page.

  • Nadia

    watch the sales in email

  • Nadia

    I subscribed to your newsletter!

  • Nadia

    posted on my FB but not sure I tagged it right – don’t use tags :)

  • Jessica Volz

    I love going for the case discounts…every savings counts!

  • Jessica Volz

    I just tweeted about your giveaway! :)

  • Shannon G

    I work front end at WFM Pearl so I may be cheating but shop the sales and use coupons.

  • Shannon G

    I subscribed.

  • Shannon G

    I FB ed about your give away.

  • kirsten

    Whole Deal coupon book! It is amazing! :)

  • Karen Hiebert

    I grab the meat items when they are on sale and do a little stockpile to use for multiple meals/reciepes

  • Kate in NY

    I love the combination of the amazing ethnic spices and pastes and sauces at WF along with the 365 Brands – good quality and value all around.

  • Chely f

    I eat seasonal produce because it’s in abundance and usually lower prices

  • Nicole

    I just came across this post and I love it! Thanks for sharing, I know a lot of work went into this post. I kinda cringe when people call Whole Foods “Whole Paycheck” because I know you can get great deals and stick to a budget! I like to shop in the corner of the produce aisle that carries the hyper seasonal stuff because it’s usually on sale or a great price. Shopping seasonally really helps with deals in the produce dept. The dried aromatics near the bulk bins like cardamom, cinnamon stick and star anise usually ring up free because they are so light in weight. The 365 brand is always a great deal. I basically look for the sales in each department and like you mentioned, tweak recipes I already had in mind to accommodate the sale produce/meat/grains. I try to only use meat a couple times a week because vegetarian meals are usually more cost effective, too.

  • Kelsey

    I always have coupons before I walk in the store to save money!

  • Nicole

    I’m a subscriber

  • Nicole

    Tweeted the contest :)

  • Dana

    LOVE the Gowanus Whole Foods! They have such great sales that can really cut down your bill. I also find that their own brand is actually cheaper than any competitors in the neighborhood.

    • Dana

      I also signed up for the newsletter!

  • Beth

    I keep my menu flexible and fill it in with sale items or discounted close to sell-by date items.

  • Margaret

    365 frozen organic veggies, cheapest frozen organic veggies around!

  • Amanda Carter

    I look for produce and meat sales. I build my menu around the sales and also stock pile some things in the freezer.

  • Amanda Carter

    I subscribe to the newsletter

  • Jennifer Reichert

    I like to buy the store brand, especially for canned goods.

  • Jennifer Reichert

    Subscribed!

  • superreader

    My best “hack” is buying most produce in season, & pre-shopping with sales & coupons on the Whole Foods website.

  • superreader

    I subscribed to the newsletter. Looking forward to the next issue!

  • Marcella

    To make money go a little further at Whole Foods, I like looking for WF’s own 365 Everyday Value items. I can get peanut butter, oil, rice, and cereal for a lot cheaper than some major organic brands. I can save money on other fancy things like coconut water or a slice of really good cheese!

  • Thabal

    Bulk bins are the best for grains and lentils. Also, I buy produce for a week and use it up to avoid anything going waste.

  • Denise L

    I love their one day sales! On all the other days I am a big fan of their bulk section for staples. Also I like to double up on WF coupons and manufacturer coupons to make my own sales.

  • Denise L

    I follow you on Bloglovin’ as Denise LeBegue.

  • Denise L
  • Annette

    The best ways I save money at Whole Foods are by buying by the case (you get an additional percent off the price) and stocking up on things that are on sale (meats I can freeze, canned/shelf stable goods). I also like to combine mfr. and store coupons on sale products for even better savings.

  • Annette
  • Annette

    I subscribed to your newsletter.

  • Thomas Murphy

    I look for things on sale to make my money go further.

    rounder9834 @yahoo.com

  • Thomas Murphy

    I subscribed to your email as rounder9834 @yahoo.com

  • Thomas Murphy
  • Alexis

    Seasonal produce is the best way to save $$$ at WF. And as a treat, choosing the fancy cheese with the best sale price.

  • Jen Cantin

    365 brand extra virgin olive oil in the big tin is the best olive oil for the best price hands down forever and ever! I eat a pool of it with a slice of bread.

  • Jen Cantin

    I also subscribe to the newsletter of course!

  • taylor

    i really loved this post, but where is meal #11?

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