Monthly Archives: July 2015

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Despite the name of this blog, the star of last night’s dinner actually didn’t come from Costco. You can use ground beef or ground pork for this recipe, and instead of using Kirkland Signature organic ground beef (my easy meal go to), I defrosted some ground pork from the freezer. I have no less than four sisters-in-law, and not a dud in the bunch. They got together and purchased half a pig for my husband’s birthday and we are STILL working our way through this fabulous gift. Since there are only two adult appetites in our family, I call this recipe a double batch, but for a full sized family of four it would probably be perfect. I love it because I can freeze half and heat it up for an instant meal on a busy night. 

Easy Peasy Meatballs

  1. 1 1/2 lbs ground meat
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 2 eggs
  4. Half a cup breadcrumbs
  5. 2-3 garlic cloves or a generous shake of garlic powder
  6. Bunch of parsley, Italian seasoning, or other delicious herbs
  7. 1/2 tsp Salt

  
I’m not a gourmet cook, I’m a do what you have to do to get a home cooked meal on the table kind of cook. So that being said, I’m more than okay replacing fresh herbs with dried and chopped garlic with garlic powder depending on what I have on hand and how much time I have. 

Dice and sauté the onions in some olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft. If you’re using fresh garlic, chop and toss in with the onions for the last 30 seconds until aromatic. Finely chop fresh herbs if you’re using. 

Then throw all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl! Didn’t I say easy peasy?  

 
I like to use my KitchenAid stand mixer for absolutely everything. It makes my life so much easier. I also like that I don’t have to wait for the onions to cool off when making this recipe, because if you don’t use a mixer you will burn your hands if you don’t wait a minute before getting up close and personal with your ingredients. With the mixer I can cruise through this task in a minute flat. 

  
Once everything is good and mixed, get in there (or back in there) with your hands to form balls and equally space in a baking pan. Then throw them in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes. I made 20 meatballs with this recipe. 

  
I use Hunts tomato sauce for all my pasta meals. I like to stock up when it’s on sale for $1 or less at Safeway. I usually use half the can and freeze half, but for this double batch I used the full can heated and poured over spaghetti for four. I also tossed in a few handfuls of chopped kale into the sauce. This is my favorite way to get nutritious greens into my kids without them complaining. I put it in every red sauce. Then I put half the spaghetti in a glass Pyrex for freezing topped with ten meatballs for a future dinner. Future me will be thinking me for this soon!

It’s only fitting that I kick off this blog with a post about BUDGETS! What is the food budget of a Costco Cook? Actually, I hope to figure that out for myself while writing for you. The last time I followed a strict budget I was aiming at $300 a month for two adults. That was a long time – and two children – ago. I’m now aiming at $400 a month for two adults and two little monkeys, ages almost-one and almost-three.

Shhh, don't tell mom how much food we're going to eat one day.

Shhh, don’t tell mom how much food we’re going to eat one day.

How do I intend to do it? Well, I must confess that when it comes to grocery stores I’m polyamorous. Although Costco is featured in the title of this burgeoning blog, my other love is Safeway. These stores put together are a dynamite duo! The bulk savings of Costco and the Just for U app at Safeway are a budgeting mom’s dream come true.* I also like to keep Cash & Carry ready and waiting in the wings. They’re closer to me than Costco if I somehow run out of a staple before the month’s end, and they even have a few things that I can’t get at Costco (ahem…Timm’s Cascade Jalapeno Chips…) And then of course there’s my good friend Trader Joe’s. Gotta love that guy for delicious brie and fresh produce.

BUT! By running to too many places I definitely allow myself to get off track. My goal is to venture yonder to the northlands just once a month for one giant Costco run keeping the total at $200 or less. This then leaves $50 a week for purchasing things fresh. I do much better if I keep this to one store because sadly $50 spread out over two or three places goes REAL fast. This requires a lot of meal planning.

So, with regards to groceries I’ll be using this blog to…

  • Look at my total expenses so far this year (sure to be ugly)
  • Plan a master grocery list to keep staples stocked and meal plan
  • Keep track of all grocery purchases going forward
  • Share all my favorite go to recipes!

I hope you’ll share some of your recipes, tips and tricks too.

I’d also like this blog to be a place I can talk about parenting, both my wins and my massive failures, record memories of my incredible children, and talk about personal finance from the perspective of a young(ish) family. I hope you’ll read along, and welcome to the world of the Costco Cook!

*Okay, let’s be honest. If I’m dreaming, it’s Whole Foods. But I didn’t get to marry Will Arnett either, and life has still turned out pretty okay.

NEW YORK CITY, NY - JUNE 28:  Will Arnett leaves Whole Foods on June 28, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)

NEW YORK CITY, NY – JUNE 28: Will Arnett leaves Whole Foods on June 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)