I’m a Former Chef and a Mom of 2 — Here’s What I Got from Aldi to Feed My Family

published Dec 28, 2021
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Name: Stephanie Ganz
Location: Richmond, VA
Number of people in household: 4 (myself, my husband Seth, and two daughters Lily and Hazel)
Age: 38, 46, 10, and 3
Occupation: Writer 
Grocery shopping for how long? 1 week
Where did you shop? Aldi and the farm stand
Did you get your groceries delivered or did you go to the store? Went to the store.
How much did you spend? $80 ($66.99 from Aldi)

Where did you shop?

We’ve got a ton of grocery options in Richmond, VA, including Kroger, Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Publix, Wegman’s, Lidl, Aldi, Food Lion, and several farmers markets. I had never shopped at Aldi before, so I wanted to see how it compared to my regular grocery store, which is Kroger, with a few add-ons from Fresh Market; Tan A, my local Asian grocery store; and the farmers market. I stopped by the farmstand on Saturday and picked up some produce before hitting Aldi on Monday and grabbing the rest of what I needed for the week.

What’s your grocery strategy?

I’m a faithful meal planner. It’s part of my weekly process, and I find it both necessary and enjoyable. It takes me back to the days of working in restaurants when I had to  write a daily prep list. I’m a list person, so that kind of planning works well for me. I always start with seasonal produce and let it inspire me. After that, I look at my Saved tab on Instagram for dishes that have piqued my interest lately. And often, I’ll be in the midst of developing or testing recipes for various publications or brands, so I usually have a few nights that I reserve for more work-related meals.

How do you meal plan?

Once I’ve done the bulk of my shopping for the week, I get out a fresh piece of paper (I’m old school, no apps for me!) and, along the right side of the page, I’ll list all the fresh produce and any meat that needs to be used first. On the left side of the page, I create a heading for each day, leaving space for three meals per day. 

Sometimes, I’m very specific, noting an exact recipe I plan to make. Other times, I might just write “fish” for dinner because I know that’s going to be the jumping off point, and I can wing it from there. Breakfast and lunch are always pretty consistent. For breakfast, the girls like toast or cereal, Seth makes an egg white omelette, and I usually add a fried egg to whatever leftovers I find in the fridge. The girls pack their own lunches, so I try to make sure they have the stuff they like (cheese, salami, chickpeas, pickles, yogurt tubes) for stocking their little bento boxes. I often use lunch as another opportunity for meal testing, but if I don’t have a recipe I’m working on, I’ll usually just eat some kind of soup or soft tofu with rice and soy sauce. 

What did you buy? 

I keep a running tab at the farm stand, so I’m not sure of my exact total. It was somewhere around $20 for cabbage, salad greens, garlic, potatoes, and eggs.

From Aldi


  • Onions, $0.50
  • Raspberries, $1.49
  • Blueberries, $1.99
  • Cauliflower, $2.35
  • Mushrooms, $2.19
  • Cilantro, $0.75


  • Chicken thighs, $5.51
  • Salmon, $6.93
  • Apple chicken sausage, $4.99
  • Sliced ham, $2.99


  • Garlic cheese curds $4.29
  • Sliced Swiss cheese $1.35
  • Sliced cheddar cheese $1.39
  • Sliced American cheese $1.35
  • Butter, $1.98
  • Sour cream, $0.85


  • Potato & onion pierogies, $2.65
  • Pie crust, $1.35


  • Kalamata Olives, $2.99
  • Dill Pickles, $1.29
  • Mushroom Egg Spaetzle, $1.99
  • Ravioli, $3.25
  • Tortellini, $2.85
  • Multi-grain tortilla chips, $1.99
  • Chocolate truffles, $2.99
  • English muffins, $0.99
  • Hawaiian rolls, $1.35
  • French onion dip, $0.97

Total $66.99

What did you make?


We took full advantage of those English muffins, making ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches most mornings. I also supplemented my daughter Hazel’s cereal with some fresh raspberries and blueberries.


The girls loved having cheese curds, pickles, olives, and berries to pack in their Yumboxes. Seth, my husband, either ate out or made a grilled cheese sandwich. I diligently worked over the leftovers lurking in the fridge on the days when I was working from home. But one day, I made myself a pan of those ham and cheese sliders on the Hawaiian rolls, and that was an excellent choice that I plan to repeat. (I didn’t eat them all in one sitting, though I probably could have, and they made perfect after-school snacks for Lily and Hazel.)

Snacks and treats

The French onion dip with chips was a beloved snack throughout the week, and the chocolate truffles were a big hit for dessert. I also loved having the multigrain tortilla chips on-hand for afternoon salty-crunchy cravings.


I really let my Aldi haul inform my dinners this week, and it made everything feel very easy and doable, which was great because the week before was Hanukkah, in which I presented fried feasts for friends and family every night, plus Lily’s epic birthday party sleepover that weekend, so by Monday of my Aldi week, I was pretty burnt out and ready for easy.

The daily breakdown


This sheet pan mustard maple salmon, but with cabbage instead of asparagus.


Ravioli with Rao’s (I stock up on Rao’s and have several jars on hand at any given time, plus a salad.


Chipotle mustard chicken thighs with cauliflower and salad.


Pierogies and onions with sour cream and (leftover) braised cabbage.


Apple chicken sausage, mushroom spaetzle, and garlicky mushrooms.


Ham and cheese quiche and salad.