I speak on this so much because it saves me so much money. My family and I are getting bored with the same old recipes so I opened some of my cookbooks to get some ideas on new stuff. I was amazed at the information in one of my thriftstore treasure books “Good Housekeeping Cooking for the Family.” It gave some really good guidelines on how to plan a meal and be nutritious at the same time. This book is easily an antique but helpful none the less. As I read through the recipes it amazed me how well meals were planned out and I think of how much time had to be spent in the kitchen. Now I have every gadget known to man in the kitchen and sometimes big meals are still an evolution. I can’t imagine cooking up some of the more complex meals without the help of my kitchen gadgets yet that was the norm. It also boggles my brain that with all the tools of the trade available, home cooked meals seem to be endangered. Stay tuned for more of my meal planning tips, I can’t wait to share.
When you are making a dish consider if it can be frozen. If so make a double dish and freeze it for a quick dish night. This also works on stuff like pizza dough, tomato sauce (made from scratch), alfredo sauce, pretty much any sauces, and just get creative. Don’t freeze cabbage (trust me).
When you are cooking a dish with the cover on it, flip the top and you can cook two dishes at once. Example: wrap veggies in foil, dinner rolls on foil (already cooked dinner rolls), and basically anything without a sauce wrapped in/or laid on foil.
Make your life easier by shopping on a different day then you do preparation and cooking.
Every year we always start with the same goals (well most of us do). Save money, eat right, lose weight, blah blah blah. Now these are awesome goals but without a plan you will start 2018 with the same goals. This is to help with the money saving. Step one get a budget!!!! But this post is not about budgeting (but its coming soon). Meal planning saves money (trust me). It costs me $40 to feed my family of 6 McDonalds (if I let everyone eat what they like off the menu). Start your meal planning with meals/recipes your are familiar with and are easy for you to prepare. Examples of easy is spaghetti, casseroles, chili, and a plethora of pasta. Write it down or get it on your to do list (I am sure there is an app for this as well but I use my tablets memo section and alexa). I suggest posting the menu on your fridge or in a notes section for the family to see. Everyone needs to be onboard (they can pull a meat out of the freezer to). Make your shopping list to. If your plan is for a week of meals you can coupon and grocery shop in one stop. If you plan on meal planning for 2 weeks or longer you should evaluate what will go bad and should wait for the day of or week of for purchase. You can also plan meals around what is on sale at the grocery store. You could move stuff around on your menu if you are menu planning for monthly periods. The more you can make from one ingredientt the better!!! Example is spaghetti, lasagna, and baked ziti (all use sauce and you could use the same meat for it to). Some dishes could even be frozen for later the baked ziti and lasagna could be made the same night and frozen for later. Just pop the dish in the oven and dinner is served. Save your menus and make sure you note recipes that didn’t do well or recipes that your family loved. Remember that meal planning is not only budget friendly, it helps you eat healthy, and you can explore new recipes.
2 pounds ground meat (I used 1 lb ground turkey and 1 lb of sausage) [Cooked and seasoned]
1 family sized box of cajun rice (I used Zatarans)
1 pkg onion soup (I love this as a seasoning but this could easily be substituted with a broth of your choice. However, you would need to add chopped onions or onion salt/powder)
8 peppers (cut open at the top and deseeded) [freeze the trash part of your pepper for your veggie broth]
Now I browned my meat and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and soy sauce. I drained the meat (peppers will create a juice and if you don’t drain them it gets messy).
Then I added 1 package of onion soup and the amount of liquid necessary to cook the cajun rice. I added the cajun rice and cooked as directed on box. (You can add any veggies you decide to if you choose to. I added spinach)
Stuff your peppers and bake covered for 20-30 minutes.
Now for the whopping totals on cost $6 for meat ($4 for turkey $2 for sausage) onion soup $1, cajun rice $2.50, peppers $8, and spinach (optional) $1. Total $20.50 for 8 servings.
I finally gave in and purchased a great set of knives. It has saved me many hours deboning meat and cutting harder veggies like squash and yams. I got mine at our local buy in bulk store (one of those stands they set up for a limited time). It was a great deal and it was worth it. The concern was proper care for my new knives (it was an imvestment). So I did some research (I just love learning). Well I learned that its important to store knives properly (not in a drawer because it can dull and knick knives). A magnetic rack or choppimg block is best. I also found a sharpener at my local thriftstore that allows me to sharpen my knives as necessary (but that is a future blog post).