Shopping - Quick and Easy Foods!

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Learning Objectives:

  • You will be able to identify the advantages of planning grocery shopping trips.
  • You will name one task you will work on to simplify grocery shopping.

Hate Grocery Shopping?  You're not alone.  What are some of the problems that make grocery shopping difficult?

shopping cart
  • Children are whiny and difficult to control
  • I always forget something
  • Food is expensive
  • Label-reading is too complicated
  • Food stamps do not cover all my needs
  • Cashiers always hassle me about WIC checks or food stamps
  • I don't know how to chose fresh produce
  • How do I know a piece of meat will be tender?

Making Shopping Easier

Go with a grocery list - start with a grocery list (print out handout).  Individualize the one attached for your family, check what you have on hand against your list, write down what you will need.  Take the list to the store.  Recheck the list before leaving the store.

Before you finalize your list:

  • Ask the family what they want to eat:  Has it been awhile since you had meat loaf?  Are you ready for a main dish soup or salad?  Does an older child or significant other have a meal they could prepare?  Put a few of these ideas on your grocery list! 
  • Check the grocery store flyer for sale-priced items.  Purchase ahead on non-perishable food items like canned meats, vegetables, fruits and soups if you have storage space.


  • Go shopping after you have eaten.
  • Shop at a time when children are in school.
  • Trade baby-sitting with a neighbor, relative or friend so you can shop alone.
  • Shop at the same store most of the time.
  • Coupon clipping can save dollars, but only if you need the item.  
  • kitchen
  • Routinely serving vegetarian meals saves money and is healthy for your family.  Try a vegetarian meal every other week to start with: work up to once a week, then more often.  When you serve meat, keep portions about 3-4 ounces (4 hamburger patties per pound) at the most, fill up on bread, starches and vegetables.  
  • Offer water with meals, and offer milk in-between meals.

Nonfood items tend to be more expensive at grocery stores. Buy cleaning supplies, hair care items, etc. at discount stores.


activity 1

What kitchen equipment and appliances do you have to work with?  (mark all that apply)

Many quick and easy recipes can be done on the stove top burners or oven.



Mexican Lasagna
Canned Green Beans
Crusty Bread

Mexican Lasagna
15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
14 oz. diced and crushed tomatoes
4 oz. can chopped green chilies
2 cups frozen or canned corn, thawed, drained
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
8 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups grated low-fat Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.  In a large mixing bowl combine beans, tomatoes, chilies, corn, green onion, cumin and oregano.  Spray 2 qt. baking dish with oil.  Line dish with 4 tortillas, overlapping as necessary.  Spread 1/2 of bean mixture in a layer over tortillas.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of cheese.  Repeat.  Bake 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly.  Let stand 2 minutes, then cut into squares and serve. Serves 6.


Crock Pots are handy.  Assemble ingredients the night before, refrigerate overnight, then turn on unit and leave for work.  The food will be ready when you get home.  Just add a vegetable, bread and beverage


Split Pea Soup
Tomato Juice

Split Pea Soup
1 cup lean ham (optional)
1 lb. split peas
3 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 qt. water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 TBSP. dried parsley flakes

Combine all ingredients in crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours!  Serves 8.

When the grill is outside it keeps the kitchen cooler. Grilling can be fast and easy.


Ranch Steaks
Potato Salad from Deli
Canned Peas

Ranch Steak
6 cubed steaks
2 TBSP. oil
1/2 c. catsup
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed

Prepare marinade by combining oil, catsup and seasonings.  Pour over steaks in shallow pan.  Cover and set in refrigerator for several hours.  Place steaks on grill or broiler, turning and brushing with leftover marinade, about 2 minutes per side. Serves 6.

The wok was developed to use very little fuel, so its heat is intense, but fast.  Try our easy recipe; finish with the rest of the menu.  (A regular fry pan can be used as well as the electric version of this appliance.)


Crispy Fish, lemon, tartar sauce
Baked Crispy Potatoes
Cole Slaw

Crispy Fish
1 lb. 1/2" thick cod
1/3 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup low cornmeal
1/2 tsp.salt
3-4 TBSP. olive oil

Cut fillets in 1inch wide strips.  Place in shallow pan with milk.  Soak 20 minutes.  Combine cornmeal and salt on waxed paper.  Dredge drained fish in mixture.  Heat regular or electric fry pan; add oil.  Over medium heat, add fish strips and cook on each side 2-3 minutes.  Fish should flake and be opaque when done.  Serve with lemon wedges.  Serves 4

Crispy Baked Potatoes
4 large baking potatoes
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Vegetable oil

Turn oven on to 400°.  Lightly coat shallow container with oil.  Wash potatoes.  Cut in half lengthwise.  Score surface of potato in crosswise fashion.  Spray or drizzle oil over cut surface.  Sprinkle with onion, garlic powder and paprika.  Bake 20 minutes.  Serves 4.

Keep these hints in mind.  If you are already using some - that's great! – Try another of the above ideas!

activity 2

1. Will you try any of these recipes?


activity 3

Choose the best answer.

1. Coupons always save money when shopping.

2. Using a list for grocery shopping will save money, shorten the time spent shopping, and means you are less likely to forget an item.

3. Picking up a few groceries on the way home from work saves time and money.

4. You will spend less money when you shop without children.

5. Produce is usually less expensive when it is purchased “in season”.

6. Buying a side or quarter of beef saves money.

7. Cutting back on meat is a healthy cost-saving measure.

 8. One new idea I will try to make shopping easier is:

Click here to print recipes!

Sample of Grocery List

deli foods
salad dressing
fresh carrots
salad greens
canned fruit
bread, sandwich
English Muffins

sugar substitute
baking soda, powder
crackers, saltines, graham
tea, coffee
olive oil
sugar, brown
soups: tomato, vegetable
WIC cereal, hot, cold
peanut butter
cheese: mozzarella, cheddar, etc.
sour cream
orange juice, frozen
vegetables, frozen
spaghetti, pasta, rice
noodles, macaroni
tuna, canned meat
spagetti sauce
salad oil

Click Here to print out the Grocery List!

Quick and Easy Meals for Disaster Time

Have you ever been so busy that you completely forgot about preparing a meal?  Of course.  Raising a family means the people are your first priority.

A helpful hint – KEEP THESE FOODS ON HAND and you will never be caught unprepared:

  • tomato soup, vegetable soup, cream of mushroom or celery soup
  • canned ham, chicken, tuna fish, both large and small cans
  • canned applesauce, other favorite fruits
  • canned juice
  • canned green beans, peas, corn, mixed vegetables
  • hot cereal (packets will be more expensive)
  • complete biscuit/pancake mix (has eggs in it)
  • powdered milk
  • canned beans (kidney, garbanzo, red beans, pintos)
  • brown rice
  • pasta
  • spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, tomato juice
  • dried onions, green peppers
  • potatoes, dried
  • oil
  • peanut butter
  • evaporated milk
  • saltines, graham crackers
  • pretzels

Here are some sample MENUS


hot cereal
canned juice
reconstituted powdered milk (chilled overnight)

peanut butter on crackers
vegetable soup
sliced peaches

tuna fish and noodle casserole
canned green beans

pretzels and juice


cook hot cereal in juice rather than water; top with yogurt
canned fruit

ham salad on crackers
tomato juice
canned fruit

spaghetti with sauce/ grated cheese
canned peas
bisquick cobbler

graham crackers and milk

activity 4

1. Can you name 2 foods you can keep on hand?





 * Where are you taking today's lesson?

You have just completed the "Shopping - Quick and Easy Foods” lesson.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact your LWP nutritionist who will be glad to answer any of your questions. 

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