Second article in a series featuring many ways to save money in every room of the house. From the basement to the attic: today’s article provides some tips for saving money in the kitchen.
Countless articles here and other blogs cover ways to save using coupons and knowledge of the game of grocery shopping. So for this article, we want to provide a few non-coupon tips:
Create a meal plan – this alone will save you lots of time, money, and when you are exhausted, trips for convenience food (pizza, Mickey D’s etc.) This helps you plan for variety in your diet and also helps you prepare your grocery list more easily. It also prevents last minute trips to the grocery store and the added expense of things that ‘fly’ into your cart on each extra trip.
- enlist your family to help make a list of their favorite foods/meals.
- write out a weekly meal plan and put it on your fridge for reference.
- make a ‘MASTER’ grocery list. Include items you buy each week so you don’t have to ‘re-create the wheel’ every week. Keep a printed or copied list that you can add on to in the kitchen.
Breakfasts: Make homemade versions (or buy in bulk) pancakes, waffles. I used to make homemade ‘Mickey Mouse’ waffles and keep them in the freezer. One minute in the microwave and you have breakfast. Most grocery stores have an inexpensive large bag of frozen pancakes. Again one minute in the microwave is all it takes to heat and eat. Make healthy muffins ahead of time and freeze them. See other ideas on the enclosed recipe cards.
Cook more than one meal at a time: If you buy a chicken plan two or three meals out of it. Eat the thighs and wings for dinner on night #1. Make chicken salad for night #2. And soup for night #3. This Thanksgiving stock up on inexpensive turkey and stretch it until it snaps. You can try casseroles, turkey salad, sandwiches (hot or cold), etc.
- You may also try a meal exchange with friends. Each person makes a frozen meal then you all trade.
- We buy ground beef and cook it with Mexican Flavoring, then freeze in a Ziploc labeled ‘Mexican cooked ground beef’. We have a Mexican Fiesta at least twice a week heating the frozen cooked Mexican ground beef on a tortilla with grated cheese, then we add lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa. It is faster to make, eat and clean up than it would be to get in the car and drive to Wendy’s and back.
- We also cook chicken tenders (either on the George Forman Grill or in a skillet) and then we freeze them in labeled Ziplocs. Any dish that calls for chicken can be made in a hurry or we can just heat and serve with a vegetable or salad. When heated and sliced in to bite sized pieces it is fast and easy served on a salad.
Slow cookers are a huge time and money saver: If you hate staring in to the freezer to try to figure out which lump of frozen meat would be the least time consuming to magically turn in to something edible, it’s time to get your slow cooker out of storage. Get the frozen meat lump out in the morning and put it in the crock pot. See attached Crock Pot recipes.