Sometimes when I go to the grocery store I don't have anything in particular in mind, but I am hungry. Often, especially on payday, this is bad idea, because I can end up buying a bunch of random stuff that looks delicious in the grocery store and then get home and realize I don't really have anything to make a real meal, but a bunch of snacks and appetizer type items, i.e. chips and salsa, etc.
Other times, I go to the grocery store and I just kind of walk around and look for inspiration. Sometimes when I go to Fred Meyer I'll peruse through a cooking magazine for an idea. Other times, like when I go to Food Front, I'll just find something delicious and make a meal out of it, like some handmade pasta, a can of olives, and artichoke pesto. And yet other times still, like today when I went to Albertsons (as you can see I enjoy a plethora of grocery stores), I'll look for something with a recipe on the back and then roll with that.
Today I was in the mood for a hearty soup, as I often am, and I settled on some lentils. The recipe on the back was pretty standard; celery, onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaf, ham, lentils, water. I, as I'm often wont to do, I adjusted the proportions to my own tastes, I added twice as much water/broth to make it more brothy, and doubled the amount of veggies as well, just because I love veggies. All in all, I spent under $9 and I have enough food for dinner tonight and leftovers for a few days. I really lucked out when I found a smoked pork shank on sale for $2.81. I don't really care for the meat, but it adds great flavor to the soup. And yay for thrifty shopping!
P.S. My camera is still at the shop, so you'll have to suffer through the pics from Eli's baby-camera. My XTi should be back in my hot little hands either tomorrow or Monday, depending on how long it takes for shipping. I can't wait to get her back!