Social distancing measures have turned many Americans into at-home chefs. With families eating more homemade meals, many are making an effort to stretch their resources. You can cook a variety of creative, delicious meals at home without breaking the bank. Here are six ideas to help you stay within your grocery budget.
- Plan meals based on weekly sales. Look online for your preferred grocery store’s weekly ad. Make note of which foods are on sale and choose recipes that incorporate those items. Assign each meal to a specific day, prioritizing ingredients that spoil quickly earlier in the week.
- Repurpose leftovers. If you have a little bit of several dishes left over, try adding them to a rice bowl, soup or homemade pizza. Alternatively, freeze extra servings for future meals.
- Experiment with substitutes. Instead of making an extra grocery run for just a few missing ingredients, try making simple swaps with what you have. For example, you can reinvent a recipe by using beans instead of meat or veggies in place of pasta or rice.
- Shop your pantry first. While making your meal plan, first look to see what you have on hand in your pantry, fridge and freezer. Choose meals that use up items you’ve already purchased.
- Choose “go-to” recipes. What are your family’s favorite meals that are simple to prepare? Keep those ingredients stocked so you always have an option to get dinner on the table quickly instead of eating out.
- Make several batches. When you have extra time (or if a favorite protein or vegetable is on sale), consider making several batches of the same meal. Cook one immediately and freeze the rest for later. Dishes like lasagna, soups, casseroles, and slow cooker meals are all easy to freeze and reheat.