The Big Su­per­mar­ket Shop can pay off all week in the kitchen

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LIVING - By Katie Work­man The As­so­ci­ated Press

Fall is in the air, and with it an urge to get or­ga­nized, clean up sloppy sum­mer habits and knock our sched­ules into shape. One way to feel like you’ve got some sem­blance of or­der at home is to mas­ter The Big Su­per­mar­ket Shop.

Many peo­ple are in­tim­i­dated by the idea of a big weekly food shop. Too much to grapple with at once. But the pay­off can be sig­nif­i­cant. A few point­ers: — Make a mas­ter list of sta­ples you al­ways want to have at home, and or­ga­nize it by area of the su­per­mar­ket (dairy, bak­ing in­gre­di­ents, pro­duce and so on). A well-or­ga­nized list saves you trips to the mar­ket, and also time spent zigzag­ging through the mar­ket, re­trac­ing your foot­steps. This list is es­pe­cially use­ful to have on your com­puter, so you can eas­ily edit it ev­ery week.

— Be­fore you hit the mar­ket, check the mas­ter list against the con­tents of your fridge, freezer and pantry. Stocked up on chicken broth? Take it off the list. Run­ning low on quinoa? Onto the list it goes. You’ll also save money and ag­gra­va­tion by not buy­ing an­other car­ton of milk be­cause you couldn’t re­mem­ber if yours was full or al­most empty.

— Meal plan be­fore you shop. This habit saves time, money and stress all week long. Pick out the recipes you want to make through­out the week, and then add the in­gre­di­ents you need to your mas­ter list, in the ap­pro­pri­ate cat­e­gories.

— Take a bit of time to get your pantry into shape so you can see what you need. Group like items to­gether — all of the pas­tas,tomato

prod­ucts, grains, condi­ments, etc. — to make them eas­ier to find.

-- Shop the sales — be­fore you leave the house. Most mar­kets post their weekly spe­cials on their web­sites, and this is a very help­ful thing. Make note of what non-per­ish­ables are on sale, and see what you want to re­ally stock up on. Or you may want to buy some usu­ally pricy per­ish­ables to freeze, like a beef ten­der­loin

or some frozen jumbo shrimp. And if you see that pork loin, for in­stance, is on sale, that might in­form your meal plan­ning for the week (and give you a bit of in­spi­ra­tion to try a new recipe!).

The Big Shop is not a per­fect sci­ence. But pur­chas­ing more in one fell swoop is just an eas­ier way to get through the week. Yes, you will have to go to the mar­ket again, be­cause you will in­evitably run low on orange juice, or have an un­ex­pected in­flux of teenagers wipe out your snacks, or need to pick up a piece of fish to cook later in the week. But there will be fewer of th­ese su­per­mar­ket pit stops, which is a lovely thing.

Fi­nally, give your­self some time to get into the rhythm of it. Start with your list of ba­sics, add on from there.

And by all means, get some help un­pack­ing the car.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2009, file photo, Naseer Jamot and daugh­ter Fa­tima, 12, shop for gro­ceries at a Tar­get store in Philadel­phia. Don’t be in­tim­i­dated by the idea of a weekly big su­per­mar­ket shop. Buy­ing a lot in one fell swoop helps keep your kitchen or­ga­nized and well-stocked all week.

(AP Photo/Tony Gu­tier­rez, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2010, file photo, Ali­cia Or­tiz shops through the ce­real aisle as her daugh­ter Aaliyah Gar­cia catches a short nap in the shop­ping cart at a Fam­ily Dol­lar store in Waco, Texas. Don’t be in­tim­i­dated by the idea of a weekly big su­per­mar­ket shop. Buy­ing a lot in one fell swoop helps keep your kitchen or­ga­nized and well-stocked all week.

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