Faced with the challenge of cooking like a foodie on a budget, I learned how to plan my meals so that no good food (or money) goes to waste.
Easy “make once, eat twice” meal ideas
Cooking a good meal is always the highlight of my day. But coming up with a budget to satisfy my curiosity of cooking like a foodie was tough. In a similar situation? Follow these money-saving tips from frugal grocery shoppers. Luckily, I had an “a-ha” moment that helped balance out my love of food without breaking the bank.
Here’s the trick: Repurpose leftover ingredients from each meal to remix into flavorful new recipes. You’ll find yourself able to stretch the ingredients you have on hand and resist spending the extra cash on expensive proteins or fixin’s.
Here’s how I do it:
Each week I plan a menu of five meals using some of these tips for fast, easy dinners. I start with Sunday, when I like to make a big dinner with a hearty meat choice and a lot of vegetables. From there, I figure out how I can use the leftover ingredients from each recipe. Then I piece together other big-batch recipes that will help me get to a total of ten meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
1. Big roast dinners
2. Rice-based recipes
Rice-based recipes are a staple that works beautifully with this meal-planning method, too. I like to cook up a whole lot of rice as a side dish to this Cashew Chicken and Ginger recipe and store about four cups in the refrigerator. Two days later, I’ll use the cold rice to make a fried rice dish.
3. Sensational sides
If you buy green beans, peppers, onion, mushrooms, broccoli, squash or spinach as side dishes to other meals, store the excess in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the frittata for a perfect Sunday morning breakfast.
Go with ingredients you love, and you won’t mind using them twice. This method also introduces more variety than doubling a recipe and freezing it would—which definitely keeps the fun in cooking. Next, learn some other great ways to save money at the supermarket.