1. Plan your meals for the week! I know this is said over and over, and I apologize for saying it again, but its true! To the best of your ability think out what you might like to eat each night - what dish or ingredient might work more than once. You do not need to stick to this plan, feel free to swap nights or even rework the menu with what you have on hand. Think of everything you need to make these meals and make a list of the ingredients. Take this list with you to the store and STICK TO IT! The more you do this the less often you will forget to buy ingredients needed throughout the week's meals.
2. Stick to your grocery shopping schedule. If you forget to buy something on grocery day, you know (and I know) you are not going to run into the store and buy ONLY that ingredient. You will see something delicious on sale and buy it, or think that good looking bunch of flowers would look nice on the table. This is not going to keep you on budget, try and eat what you have at home. If you forget to pick something up, see if you can make it work without it.
|Grilling chicken for lunches, red sauce for the freezer, and soup for dinner!|
3. While cooking dinner think, "is there anything I can prepare quickly to eat tomorrow or the rest of the week?" I like to prep snacks to have on hand. There is nothing better than wanting something to nibble on and already having it ready! While you are cutting veggies for a dinner cut a few extra to have with dip and make more salad for lunch the next day. When waiting for dinner to finish cooking put together a quick fruit salad, no work the next morning!
4. I always plan out how many meals I can get out of cooking once. What leftovers will this give me and how can I reuse them? Can this be frozen and served with something else for a new twist next week? Meatloaf makes great sandwiches, I will make it on a Monday so my husband has something healthy and cheap to take to work for lunch. Same with chicken; if I am already grilling two breasts why not just add two more and have a nice salad or wrap the next day? Besides, packages of chicken come in 4 more often than 2! I find having a variety of different sized Tupperwares on hand is a great way to save different portion sizes. I like these from Rubbermaid! Best part is the lids snap together and stack to save room in the cupboard!
|Christmas Present from the Husband|
5. Even though you are only cooking for 1 or 2 doesn't mean cut all your recipes in half. Similar to the tip above, why cook multiple times when you can just make something once (and do the dishes once too)! I love to make family sized batches of soup and sauce and freeze them. My meatballs usually last us 2-3 months! Much better than those frozen meals in the freezer section!
6. Freeze! Buy or cook or bake in bulk whenever you can and freeze it! Most meats can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and foil, tuck into a Ziplock bag and it will stay good for 6 months. This is a great thing to take advantage of when chicken goes on sale buy one get one free! Also good for making large batches of beans in a crock pot or leftover from a can. Just toss into a Ziplock bag and freeze flat, easy to break off however many you need.
I hope these tips will help you save money and time! I sometimes screw up, or am just too tired to cook. When all else fails you can ALWAYS make breakfast for dinner!