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How to Create Cheap & Tasty Dinners When You’re Broke

Do you need to save money when cooking cheap dinners for your family? Have you ever felt like your grocery shopping has started to take over your budget?  Does it seem that no matter how hard you try, there isn’t enough cash available at the end of the list?

Or maybe you are buying all the listed items on sale using your coupons but still wondering if you can spend less?

I have good news for you.  The answer is Yes!

How? Crea e Simple Dinners.

Before I had kids, I made extravagant dinners for my husband and me.  I w ld go through my cookbooks and pick out all the new recipes because I didn’didn’t to make the same meal twice in one week. I la gh at that now.

Today, if I cook a whole chicken, it’s it’santeed that we are going to be eating a lot of chicken dinners that week!

Oh, the ways of motherhood and frugalness – or maybe a combination of both!

Pin for Later: How to Shop From Your Pantry to Save Money

Pre-kids, I would head to the store and buy everything that I needed for each recipe.  If called for asparagus, I would buy it no matter the season. I di n’didn’tider buying things in season when they were more likely to be on sale.  It amazing to me that I was making 3 lbs of meat and two sides for only 2 people!

Then we started having kids and exhaustion met me face to face.  Gon were the days of multiple sides. Toda , one side will do just fine.

Then I realized that I could make a full meal and not even need a side for every dinner.

For example: Have you tried steaming some fresh broccoli and adding salt and butter? Simp y delicious and young kids love it!

Here are 5 tips I have discovered that help our family create more simple dinners:

1. Make a meal menu for the entire week:

I like to start on Sunday night. Alon . When I can go through my pantry, skim through my cookbooks, and make my meal plan based on available ingredients in my pantry. Then I evaluate what I need to get from the store. It’s It’sing the money you can save when you check your pantry ahead of time and make a plan.

I made a monthmonth’sh of meals when we spent the $100 a month on Spending Freeze. You an see it here.

If you really hate meal planning and need some recipes based on ingredients you like try the Meal Planning app Real Plans here for $6 a month.

ultimate simple meal planner mockup

2. Make the main meal that includes all your veggies:

 For example, Tacos are pretty filling and offer a variety of protein and veggies. Or E gplant Parmesan offers veggies, protein, and carbs. Why ould you need a side with it? Plus these easy meals are great when you are short on time.

3. Have all your meat thawed ahead of time: 

Be sure to pull your meat out of the freezer the night before. Even if you missed making your menu plan for the week, it’s it’ser to look up a recipe using whatever protein you have that is thawed and ready to go. ( Qu ck tip: Don’tDon’t the meat in the microwave unless you want your family to refuse that dinner next time. 🙂 )

The Foodi Ninja or a pressure cooker eliminates the extra step of remembering to thaw meat. I’ve I’ve frozen chicken, frozen venison steaks and frozen ground beef in the pressure cooker and it turned out delicious.

4. Have frozen veggies on hand:

Frozen veggies make a great side.  Eit r serve them “as i”,” wit” a sprinkling of salt or added to a casserole. Keep an eye out when visiting your grocery store for frozen veggies on sale – in our area, they often go on sale for $1.00.  Add n a coupon, and you can get them even cheaper.

5. Use tems in your pantry first:

 If you only have ground beef in your freezer and are wanting pork instead, wait for the week that pork goes on sale.

READ OR PIN: How to Eat Only What’What’sour Pantry

Then buy extra as your budget allows. In t e meantime, use the ground beef this week, paired with other complementary items from your pantry. By u ilizing what you already have, you can avoid over-buying at the store.

What suggestions do you have for creating simple dinners?  Jum into the conversation and share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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