meal planning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8588/all en-US How to Feed a Large Family on a Small Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-feed-a-large-family-on-a-small-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-feed-a-large-family-on-a-small-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_family_having_roast_chicken_dinner_at_table.jpg" alt="Happy family having roast chicken dinner at table" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeding a large family is a challenge. You need plenty to eat for plenty of hungry people, and you'd like to accomplish that without draining all of your free time and money. As the mother of four hungry kids, I've learned a few strategies that work well for our family. I also called in an expert: my friend Jeff Page, father of eight and founder of Hectic Meals.</p> <h2>Plan your meals</h2> <p>You need to plan your meals in advance. Winging it on meals, especially with a large family, will cost you. You'll stress every day over that, &quot;What's for dinner?&quot; question, and end up depending on fast food, takeout, or multiple grocery store trips to feed hungry people. It's impractical and terrible for your budget. Jeff calls meal planning, &quot;a matter of self-preservation.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a>)</p> <p>Meal planning doesn't have to be complicated, though. It's usually easiest to plan a week's worth of meals at a time. Jeff recommends collecting your favorite recipes and using them on a regular rotation.</p> <h3>Get input from your family</h3> <p>You may be the meal planner, but you can get great ideas on favorite meals by polling the crowd. I've found that my kids are quite happy to eat the same basic thing for breakfast everyday, but they get tired of that kind of repetition for lunches.</p> <h3>Work with the seasons and the sales</h3> <p>If you pay attention to what's in season for produce, and what's on sale at your local grocery store, you can plan your menu around these items. You'll not only get fresher, better produce with this approach, but you'll also save money.</p> <h3>Combine new and old recipes</h3> <p>Depend on your tried-and-true favorites for the bulk of your meal planning, but add in some new and interesting recipes here and there. It's a good way to expand your family's eating repertoire without alienating your picky eaters. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</a>)</p> <h2>Buy and prepare food in bulk</h2> <p>If your family eats in high volume, buying and prepping your food in correspondingly high volume makes sense. Meal planning will help you determine what you need in advance, and buying in bulk will help you get it at the best price.</p> <h3>What to buy in bulk</h3> <p>Basic pantry items, such as baking ingredients and canned goods, are almost always a good idea for bulk purchases. The savings might not be huge, but since you can go through high quantities of these staples, you want to keep them on hand and buy them in large quantities when they go on sale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a>)</p> <p>Another smart bulk purchase is your main protein source: meat, eggs, beans, dairy, etc. For Jeff's family, their biggest value has been in purchasing meat in the largest quantities possible, then freezing it for use as needed.</p> <p>Fresh produce can be a great bulk purchase, as well, if you're able to process or preserve it. Otherwise, you might watch it go to waste, which is the opposite of budget-friendly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-food-items-to-always-buy-in-bulk?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Food Items to Always Buy in Bulk</a>)</p> <h3>How to prep your food in bulk</h3> <p>Whether you bring home 15 pounds of ground beef or a couple of overflowing boxes of ripe tomatoes, you need to do something with your bulk food to make it easily usable. Some bulk purchases are best treated with a partial prep. For example, if you bring home 10 pounds of fresh carrots, you can peel and slice them, divide into portions, freeze some for use in soups later and refrigerate the rest for easy snacking. You can buy chicken in bulk, chop and season it, then freeze.</p> <p>For the most efficient bulk food prep, Jeff recommends a high-quality <a href="http://amzn.to/2vm1htL" target="_blank">set of knives</a> and a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-vacuum-sealers" target="_blank">vacuum sealer</a>. That way you can work your way quickly through a big pile of whatever's in season and ensure that it won't be frostbitten and gross by the time you eat it. Another great tool for bulk prep and preservation is a <a href="http://amzn.to/2xHgnqx" target="_blank">food dehydrator</a>; couple it with that vacuum sealer for maximum prep and storage efficiency.</p> <h3>Go local</h3> <p>Check into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store" target="_blank">your local grocery options</a> for other bulk food purchases. You may find grocery co-ops, ethnic food stores, and local farmers markets can offer you great ingredients at a much better price than your regular grocery store.</p> <h3>Have a storage plan</h3> <p>Don't bring home the bacon (or any other food in bulk), unless you have a plan for how you will store it. You need to have adequate pantry or cabinet space for dry and canned goods, and adequate freezer space for other items.</p> <h2>Implement a meal schedule</h2> <p>You need a healthy amount of organization to keep a big-family kitchen from falling into chaos. When multiple people access the food and food spaces, basic rules can keep things clean, organized, and usable.</p> <p>The most important rule is to clean up after yourself. Even young children can learn to wash a dish after they use it. Yes, you will have to remind them of their ability to do so approximately 4,327 times before they will learn it, but stick with it. Eventually, they will remember. Or they'll move out. Either way, fewer dishes for you!</p> <h3>Get organized</h3> <p>For large families, it's very helpful to have a secondary refrigerator and/or freezer, perhaps in the garage or on the patio, for food storage. You can designate the kitchen refrigerator for this week's snacks and meal ingredients, and the other refrigerator can be used for less-often used items and ingredients you're storing for later use.</p> <p>A key part of food organization is finding a way to communicate it with the rest of your family. Use labels to mark where things should go, and bins or other storage items to keep things separated in the freezer or pantry. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big</a>)</p> <h3>How to schedule meals</h3> <p>A schedule and a list will help you get through the grocery shopping as quickly as possible. Jeff generates a list from his meal plan and, with that in hand, he's usually able to keep his weekly shopping trip under an hour.</p> <h3>Share the information</h3> <p>Print out your meal plan, so all the hungry members of your family can see at a glance what's for dinner. That might encourage them to quit asking you about it. In an alternate universe, it might encourage them to start making dinner. I have not found the entrance to this universe. If you do, let me know. Please.</p> <h3>Designate shelves</h3> <p>In the pantry, Jeff recommends labeling shelves so there's a designated area for particular items. This can make the putting away process faster for everyone after grocery shopping. We have a designated snack shelf, and when it's snack time, the kids know what they can have and help themselves.</p> <h2>Keep it simple</h2> <p>An endless variety of food costs money. My kids would like to have a pantry that looks like the snack aisle at Costco. I would rather pay the bills &mdash; all of them &mdash; because having that much variety would cost a small fortune. I keep three to five snack options on hand, along with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and that's enough for us.</p> <h3>Incorporate change every once in awhile</h3> <p>The same snacks or dishes over and over again can get boring for you and everyone in your family. You can rotate options, but you don't have to have all the options at one time. So, choose a few snack options this month, and different ones for next month.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-feed-a-large-family-on-a-small-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Feed%2520a%2520Large%2520Family%2520on%2520a%2520Small%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Feed%20a%20Large%20Family%20on%20a%20Small%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Feed%20a%20Large%20Family%20on%20a%20Small%20Budget.jpg" alt="How to Feed a Large Family on a Small Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-feed-a-large-family-on-a-small-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget">How to Keep Food Waste From Spoiling Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-smart-shoppers-will-save-at-amazons-whole-foods">How Smart Shoppers Will Save at Amazon&#039;s Whole Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money">12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Food and Drink dinner dinners feeding the family food shopping grocery budget grocery shopping meal planning Wed, 30 Aug 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2011824 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Delicious Ways to Go Meatless for the Newly Vegetarian http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/homemade_southwestern_mexican_quinoa_salad.jpg" alt="Homemade Southwestern Mexican Quinoa Salad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have the hang of Meatless Monday, and I'm even able to cruise through Tofu Tuesday. By the time I get to Tempeh Thursday, though, the Golden Arches start calling to me. Sound familiar? The science behind eating more plant-based foods is compelling, but if you aren't used to it, it's just harder to figure out what to put on the table.</p> <p>While I might be inclined to try making veggie burgers, will my family eat them? How in the heck can grilled tofu compete with a rib-eye? If you're just starting out with more meatless meals, here are 12 recipes for hearty, meatless dinners. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso" target="_blank">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>Jackfruit</h2> <p>Have you seen packages of jackfruit popping up in stores? Popular in Brazil and native to South India, it has made its way to the U.S. and there are some good reasons to try it as a meatless dish. Besides being full of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins, it contains no cholesterol.</p> <p>If you buy it prepared (which I recommend, as the fruits are large and a little daunting to cut), it looks a lot like pulled pork. It comes in prepared pouches or canned. If you buy canned, be aware it comes two ways: with syrup and without. You don't want the sweetened kind. Jackfruit tastes like mild pineapple and if you add a little barbecue sauce, you've got the perfect tangy treat.</p> <h3>1. Jackfruit Rice Bowl</h3> <p>This <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/spicy-jackfruit-rice-bowl" target="_blank">Spicy Jackfruit Rice Bowl</a> is a good jackfruit tester dish. See if you like the flavor in a very simple preparation. It's also nice with jasmine rice and some chopped avocado.</p> <h3>2. Jackfruit &quot;Pulled Pork&quot; Sandwiches</h3> <p>Try this vegetarian take on <a href="http://keepinitkind.com/the-veggie-lovers-sriracha-cookbook-review-giveaway/" target="_blank">&quot;Pulled Pork&quot;</a> sandwiches. Great with sweet-potato fries!</p> <h2>Tofu</h2> <p>Tofu is mainstream now, but preparing it can still be a mystery. It's worth learning to cook, because it's a good source of protein, iron, minerals, and vitamin B1<strong>. </strong>When is tofu at its best? In my opinion, when the outside is crispy, and it's well-seasoned.</p> <p>Many people make the mistake of selecting the wrong type of tofu for cooking. Look for firm tofu, and not the &quot;silken&quot; variety. Slice it into the shape as directed in your recipe and let it dry out on a clean towel.</p> <h3>3. Crispy Tofu Bowl</h3> <p>This <a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/easy/a45226/crispy-tofu-bowl-recipe/" target="_blank">Crispy Tofu Bowl</a> is a good beginner recipe. I liked their recommendation of letting the tofu sit for 30 minutes, not just 10, before cooking for extra crispiness.</p> <h3>4. Crispy Tofu Nuggets</h3> <p>Need a kid-friendly meal? These <a href="http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/crispy-tofu-nuggets/" target="_blank">Crispy Tofu Nuggets</a> will fit the bill. If you don't have corn flake cereal, panko crumbs are a great substitute.</p> <h2>Mushrooms</h2> <p>If you are wary about making the move to a vegetarian lifestyle, mushrooms are a great &quot;bridge&quot; food.</p> <h3>5. Mushroom Bourguignon</h3> <p>One of my favorite meals is Julia Child's <em>Boeuf Bourguignon. </em>This <a href="http://www.simple-veganista.com/2012/11/mushroom-bourguignon_10.html" target="_blank">Mushroom Bourguignon</a> amazed me, because the flavors are dead-on. If you like farro, it's a delicious, chewy grain to go under the stew. This is also good with crusty French bread.</p> <h3>6. Vegan Portobello Pizza</h3> <p>Pizza is another great &quot;transition&quot; food when you are trying out a vegetarian diet. These <a href="http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2017/01/easy-vegan-portobello-pizzas.html" target="_blank">Vegan Portobello Pizzas</a> will really wow you. Pro tip: Let the edges get crispy when you broil.</p> <h2>Black Beans</h2> <p>Black beans are an excellent source of protein, and I personally love their flavor, so I use them a lot in vegetarian recipes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-delicious-rice-and-bean-dishes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">35 Delicious Rice and Bean Dishes</a>)</p> <h3>7. Black Bean Burger</h3> <p>Leave it to a rancher's wife to come up with a seriously delicious meatless <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/black-bean-burger/" target="_blank">Black Bean Burger</a>. These are so yummy that you will, like me, start watching for black beans to go on sale.</p> <h3>8. Black Bean Chili</h3> <p>Next time you have a drizzly evening, cook up a batch of this <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vegetarian-black-bean-chili-230632" target="_blank">Vegetarian Black Bean Chili</a>. I think it's even better the next day, when the flavors have mellowed. Again, use soy cheese if you are avoiding dairy. The leftovers are great to pack in your lunchbox, too.</p> <h2>Chickpeas</h2> <p>I eat chickpeas right out of the can. I like them that much. My husband, however, will sprinkle them over a salad, but eating them out of the can? No. That's not a problem, because they are easy to prepare and contain protein, fiber, and manganese. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tasty-and-frugal-chickpea-recipes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Tasty and Frugal Chickpea Recipes</a>)</p> <h3>9. Chickpea, Barley, and Feta Salad</h3> <p>This <a href="http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/chickpea-recipes#10" target="_blank">Chickpea, Barley, and Feta Salad</a> has a Greek flavor palate. It is satisfyingly chewy, thanks to the barley, and the feta adds a tart touch. I like to make extra so that I can tote leftovers for lunch.</p> <h3>10. Indian Chickpea Stew</h3> <p>As suggested, head for an Indian grocery for the spices needed for this easy &quot;Chana Masala,&quot; or <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/15-minute-vegetarian-indian-chickpea-stew-chana-masala-50063808" target="_blank">Indian Chickpea Stew</a>. I like this with ready-made Garlic Naan, lightly toasted in the oven.</p> <h2>Eggplant</h2> <p>Eggplants are big, meaty vegetables, and when added as the main ingredient to a meal, they can be very filling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Tasty, Frugal Eggplant Recipes</a>)</p> <h3>11. Eggplant Bolognese</h3> <p>This <a href="https://greatist.com/eat/recipes/eggplant-bolognese" target="_blank">Eggplant Bolognese</a> takes less than an hour to prepare, and is still as hearty and delicious as the meat version. And if you have leftovers, it's a great freezable meal to save for later.</p> <h3>12. Eggplant Rollatini Quinoa Casserole</h3> <p>When you need a belly-filling meal that can be tossed into a baking dish and thrown into the oven, this <a href="https://cooknourishbliss.com/2014/06/18/eggplant-rollatini-quinoa-casserole/" target="_blank">Eggplant Rollatini Quinoa Casserole</a> is a great option. Also? There is a ridiculous amount of cheese on top.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F12%2520Delicious%2520Ways%2520to%2520Go%2520Meatless%2520for%2520the%2520Newly%2520Vegetarian.jpg&amp;description=12%20Delicious%20Ways%20to%20Go%20Meatless%20for%20the%20Newly%20Vegetarian"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/12%20Delicious%20Ways%20to%20Go%20Meatless%20for%20the%20Newly%20Vegetarian.jpg" alt="12 Delicious Ways to Go Meatless for the Newly Vegetarian" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-122-delicious-vegetarian-meals-that-are-surprisingly-filling">Flashback Friday: 122 Delicious Vegetarian Meals That Are Surprisingly Filling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-dinner-no-meal-planning-required">8 Ways to Save on Dinner — No Meal Planning Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-turn-leftover-sweet-potatoes-and-other-starchy-foods-into-something-special">11 Ways to Turn Leftover Sweet Potatoes and Other Starchy Foods Into Something Special</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-feed-a-large-family-on-a-small-budget">How to Feed a Large Family on a Small Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink dinner ideas grocery shopping meal planning meatless meatless mondays recipes saving money vegetarian Tue, 22 Aug 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 2007139 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways to Turn Leftover Sweet Potatoes and Other Starchy Foods Into Something Special http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-turn-leftover-sweet-potatoes-and-other-starchy-foods-into-something-special <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-to-turn-leftover-sweet-potatoes-and-other-starchy-foods-into-something-special" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/homemade_cooked_sweet_potato.jpg" alt="Homemade Cooked Sweet Potato" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may be feeling less than inspired about those leftover tortillas, mashed potatoes, or that garlic bread. I am also guilty of overbuying &quot;pick of the season&quot; corn. Those sweet potatoes, which seemed like good idea at the time, need to be used up. Here are 11 fun ways to use up leftover starchy foods. Your refrigerator will thank you for making the space, too.</p> <h2>1. Sweet potato haupia pie</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.ilovehawaiianfoodrecipes.com/recipes/sweet-potato-haupia-pie/" target="_blank">sweet potato pie</a> recipe uses Okinawan sweet potatoes, which are naturally sweet, so you can cut back a little on the sugar if you'd like. The Okinawan potatoes also make the bars a pretty purple color, so it's a showy, yet homey, dessert. When you chill the bars, the haupia &quot;sets&quot; into a firm layer so these pie slices can be easily cut.</p> <h2>2. Mashed potato cinnamon rolls</h2> <p>Adding mashed potatoes to rolled dough results in super soft, tender rolls with more body. While that's one great use, imagine what happens when you add leftover <a href="http://www.shelovesbiscotti.com/easy-mashed-potato-cinnamon-rolls/" target="_blank">mashed potatoes to cinnamon rolls</a>. They are completely irresistible.</p> <h2>3. Brown rice salad</h2> <p>Always on the lookout for work lunch ideas, this <a href="http://www.saveur.com/brown-rice-salad-avocado" target="_blank">brown rice salad</a> with avocado made me stop in my tracks. It's worth your time to cook extra rice just so you can make this. I like to drizzle the tiniest bit of sesame oil into it. As the recipe mentions, you can add in a leftover protein, too.</p> <h2>4. White rice balls</h2> <p>These <a href="https://www.justataste.com/arancini-rice-balls-with-marinara-sauce/" target="_blank">arancini (rice balls) with marinara</a> are totally delicious, and you probably won't be able to eat just one. They are very easy to make, which is probably a bad thing, because they are so good. Toss a side salad, and dinner will be ready.</p> <h2>5. Salted caramel bread pudding</h2> <p>Salted caramel anything is pretty good ... but have you tried it with leftover bread, to make <a href="https://food52.com/recipes/25653-salted-caramel-bread-pudding" target="_blank">bread pudding</a>? This recipe utilizes brioche, but as that wasn't available to me, I used French bread cubes and it was still mouthwatering.</p> <h2>6. Garlic bread croutons</h2> <p>Ever buy that garlic bread that's all ready to pop into the oven? If you have leftover pieces, just wrap them up. The next day, cut into small chunks and toast over low heat in a skillet. Toss into a salad for extra-flavorful croutons.</p> <h2>7. Mexican lasagna with tortillas</h2> <p>We all love comfort food, and here it is, in the form of a <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/favorite-mexican-lasagna" target="_blank">Mexican lasagna</a>. It matters not if your tortillas are slightly stale &mdash; they will work just fine. Substituting ground turkey or chicken is a great option, too.</p> <h2>8. Migas with tortilla chips</h2> <p>Tortilla chips are so cheap and delicious, until they go stale. Ugh. So what do we do with them now? Try making Migas, which are <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/how-to-make-tex-mex-migas-scrambled-eggs-tortilla-breakfast.html" target="_blank">scrambled eggs with tortilla chips</a>, onion, tomatoes, cheese, and other delicious goodies. I like to build mine like a power bowl, adding avocado and some plain Greek yogurt on the side.</p> <h2>9. Mexican street corn salad</h2> <p>A decision of overbuying fresh corn sent me to the internet. While I love Mexican street corn, I find it's a little messy to eat it straight off the cob. That problem is resolved with this <a href="http://www.katiescucina.com/2016/06/mexican-street-corn-salad/" target="_blank">Mexican street corn salad</a>. This is great with barbecued chicken or grilled shrimp.</p> <h2>10. Lentil salad</h2> <p>Any recipe that suggests combining bacon, shallots, goat cheese, and Dijon is bound to be delightful, am I right? This <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/warm-bacon-dijon-lentil-salad-goat-cheese-crostini" target="_blank">warm bacon-Dijon lentil salad</a> is absolutely great and I think it works well in any season. My husband is not a huge goat cheese fan, so I substitute a little feta.</p> <h2>11. Black bean dip</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/black-bean-dip-38564" target="_blank">black bean dip</a> has great flavor and goes together quickly. I like cilantro on top, but not everyone is a cilantro fan, feel free to skip it altogether. It's also vegan.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-ways-to-turn-leftover-sweet-potatoes-and-other-starchy-foods-into-something-special&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Ways%2520to%2520Turn%2520Leftover%2520Sweet%2520Potatoes%2520and%2520Other%2520Starchy%2520Foods%2520Into%2520Something%2520Special.jpg&amp;description=11%20Ways%20to%20Turn%20Leftover%20Sweet%20Potatoes%20and%20Other%20Starchy%20Foods%20Into%20Something%20Special"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Ways%20to%20Turn%20Leftover%20Sweet%20Potatoes%20and%20Other%20Starchy%20Foods%20Into%20Something%20Special.jpg" alt="11 Ways to Turn Leftover Sweet Potatoes and Other Starchy Foods Into Something Special" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-turn-leftover-sweet-potatoes-and-other-starchy-foods-into-something-special">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-recipes-thatll-clean-out-the-fridge">8 Recipes That&#039;ll Clean Out the Fridge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian">12 Delicious Ways to Go Meatless for the Newly Vegetarian</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-throw-that-out-19-great-meals-you-can-make-from-scraps">Don&#039;t Throw That Out! 19 Great Meals You Can Make From Scraps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink dinner ideas easy dinners leftovers meal planning recipes rice starchy foods sweet potatoes Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Marla Walters 1989547 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-537368113.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to save a ton by eating soup every day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In January I found a sale on Progresso Soup for 99 cents per can, down from it's normal $3.29 price at my local grocery store. It was a huge savings on something we usually buy as a last-minute lunch backup. And since I love soup, this sale was extra exciting to me. It's a veritable soup coup!</p> <p>So, naturally I had to call my husband, Mr. Spendypants, about my glorious, souper duper find.</p> <p>Yes, this is what passes as exciting in our marriage. Don't judge us.</p> <h2>Taking full advantage of our soup savings</h2> <p>We fell into this yummy life hack by accident. My husband and I are currently working opposite schedules, so it's hard to make a more complicated meal that is hot and on the table when both of us are home and hungry. January was so overbooked with work that we agreed to simplify suppertime. Instead of our typical, fancy multicourse dinner, we'd just split a can of soup and eat some homemade bread. To round out the meal, the person who got home first would make a vegetable side from whatever we already had in the fridge.</p> <p>At the end of the week, we were shocked to find that we'd only spent $20 on food for two people.</p> <p>We decided to make our bread and soup dinner a nightly habit for the rest of 2017 as a part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year" target="_blank">ongoing budget challenge</a>. You don't have to go to that extreme to realize advantages from a scaled-back version of our plan. And you can improve the nutritional profile by sticking with low-salt, vegetable-laden, and no-cream varieties of canned soup, or making homemade soup. Beyond the price, there are a lot of benefits to our limited menu.</p> <h2>1. It's flexible</h2> <p>My husband and I are committed to bread and soup dinners for a year, but I know our meal plan sounds a little hard-core and weird to anyone who isn't a big soup aficionado already. However, canned soup has a long shelf life, so it's great to have on hand for those particularly busy weeks when every minute counts. Consider stocking your pantry with two weeks' worth of these timesaving dinners to get you through rough patches in your schedule.</p> <p>Also, if automating seven meals a week is going to cause whining at the dinner table, you could always start by automating just one meal a week, to give the family cook a break.</p> <h2>2. It's not boring</h2> <p>One of the reasons why this meal hack works so well for us is that it doesn't get boring. There are approximately a bazillion canned soup varieties to choose from, and even more recipes for homemade soup, so we don't get tired of eating the same thing.</p> <p>To keep dinner costs at a minimum, we have also been careful only to buy produce that is both on sale and in season. This shopping limit has had a secondary effect of keeping our side veggie plate interesting because we can't rely on eating the same fruits and vegetables year-round.</p> <h2>3. It's simple to make</h2> <p>Because we are using canned soup, this is such an easy meal that a 10-year-old could make this with very little supervision. It requires no special tools or cooking skills. Dinner can be ready and on the table within 10 minutes.</p> <p>Want to try homemade? Even if you are a novice cook, it's hard to ruin soup. Ease yourself into cooking from scratch by practicing with some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-and-easy-soup-recipes" target="_blank">basic soup recipes</a>.</p> <h2>4. The numbers are easy to track</h2> <p>The automation aspect of this meal plan makes it easy to budget around. The soup costs about $7 a week. The bread ingredients cost less than 50 cents per loaf, or less than $2 per week. Since we have access to cheap or free produce in our area, we've managed to keep our side salad budget to around $5 per week. Our grocery spending is much more predictable now.</p> <p>Pro Tip: My mother eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an apple every single day for lunch. She knows not only the cost of her lunch, but also the nutritional value and the calorie count. If you want to be super calibrated with your calorie counting and grocery budgeting, you can automate one meal each day to this basic level. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-automate-your-everyday-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Automate Your Everyday Life</a>)</p> <h2>5. It works with almost any budget</h2> <p>We've managed to keep our dinner budget to about $2 per day for two people, but you can make the meal even less expensive if you are in a budget pinch by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-soups-you-can-make-from-leftovers">making your own soup</a>. I saved even more money on our grocery budget this week when a friend gave me a turkey carcass to turn into turkey broth. Also, this month we've been using the weeds out of our backyard as salad ingredients.</p> <h2>6. Homemade soup can be made in bulk in advance</h2> <p>We are currently dining on a lot of canned soup in part because our tiny freezer is packed with food. As we eat through our freezer stash, we are making room for homemade soups. Obviously it takes longer to make soup from scratch than it does to open a can, but it's still very easy to make a huge amount of soup in advance and then freeze it in individual portions. And, because we own a slow cooker, soup is one of those dishes that we can actually make while we sleep!</p> <h2>7. It's easy to scale</h2> <p>Do you have company coming over? Thaw more soup.&nbsp;Are you eating alone? Open a can and put half in the fridge for later.</p> <h2>8. It works with most diets</h2> <p>Because this meal is basically soup and salad, you can tailor it to your own dietary needs or available pantry supplies.&nbsp;If you don't like bread, substitute potatoes, rice, or another inexpensive grain dish for the bread.</p> <h2>9. It increases vegetable intake</h2> <p>Since my husband and I are borderline vegetarians, our new canned soup habit has actually increased our meat consumption. That said, the average American does not eat enough vegetables, and soup is an easy way to up your vegetable servings. Obviously, vegetarian soups like gazpacho or Turkish lentil soup will increase your vegetable intake the most, but even canned chicken noodle soups provide between 10 percent and 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin A.</p> <h2>10. It reduces stress</h2> <p>There's no decision fatigue with this meal. The only thing we have to think about is finding another sale on soup before we run out. Luckily, soup goes on sale pretty regularly, so we've already re-upped our supply twice.</p> <p>Also, because our menu planning is simple and clear, shopping requires no forethought. Our shopping list consists of: milk, coffee, soup, tea, bread-making ingredients, and the least expensive vegetables in the store that week.</p> <h2>11. It saves on food waste</h2> <p>One side effect of our extremely tight dinner budget is that we are not tempted to buy more food than we can eat in a week.</p> <p>Also, soup is the perfect vehicle to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-night-soup-delicious-soup-from-leftovers" target="_blank">transform leftovers</a> into a delicious second meal. Even unattractive food like wilted lettuce, broccoli stems, and stale bread can all be converted to soup or added to pre-made canned soup to stretch it further.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-122-no-fuss-dinner-ideas-thatll-save-you-money">Flashback Friday: 122 No-Fuss Dinner Ideas That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill">31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping budgeting dinner ideas Food groceries grocery shopping tricks meal planning saving money soup Fri, 19 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Max Wong 1950125 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Plan Your Meals? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-plan-your-meals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-plan-your-meals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cutting_veggies_621723374.jpg" alt="Woman planning her meals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to John, Mary, and Ernest for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Meal planning is a great practice for frugal families. When you plan your meals around ingredients that are on sale or that you already have, you end up wasting less food saving more money.</p> <p><strong>Do you plan your meals?</strong> What are some of the difficulties you've encountered in meal planning? If you don't meal plan, what other strategies do you use to save money on food?</p> <p>Tell us if you plan your meals and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win:</p> <ul> <li>Tweet about our giveaway for an entry.</li> <li>Visit our Facebook page for an entry.</li> </ul> <p>Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards:</p> <p><a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa290/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="79857dfa290" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_e6071wts">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, March 20th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after March 20th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook or Twitter.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and U.S. resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us if you plan your meals and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-plan-your-meals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-feed-a-large-family-on-a-small-budget">How to Feed a Large Family on a Small Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money">12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian">12 Delicious Ways to Go Meatless for the Newly Vegetarian</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Ask the Readers meal planning Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:30:10 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1906483 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Save on Dinner — No Meal Planning Required http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-dinner-no-meal-planning-required <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-save-on-dinner-no-meal-planning-required" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-500927193.jpg" alt="Man saving on dinner with no meal planning required" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you find yourself barraged with advice about the money-saving power of meal planning, but lack the ability to stick with it? You're not alone. By the time Wednesday rolls around, you may not be feeling energetic enough to whip up that recipe that is on the menu board. Instead, there is the temptation of takeout. But that's where we blow the food budget, folks. It's really hard to stay on track if you give up on cooking. Instead, try these eight cost-cutting meal ideas and tricks to give yourself an &quot;out&quot; if you need to veer off the meal-planning track.</p> <h2>1. Have Breakfast for Dinner</h2> <p>Rough day? Throw on your sweats and fry some eggs. Kids, just as much as adults, love the comfort factor of <em>brinner</em>. They'll be happy with pancakes and bacon, but if you need a little more adult fare, whip up an omelet to serve with crusty French bread. Pair with a glass of white wine. Enjoy!</p> <h2>2. Get Weekly Meals in a Box</h2> <p><a href="https://track.flexlinkspro.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.138151593&amp;foc=1&amp;fot=9999&amp;fos=1" target="_blank">Blue Apron</a>, <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11292017-1439826671000" target="_blank">Hello Fresh</a>, <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-12605037-1465591711000" target="_blank">Home Chef</a> and <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11891629-1439420197000" target="_blank">Plated</a> are a few of the new meal-prep services. If making it through the week on your own meal-planning power is proving to be too much, try the treat of having a few meals a week delivered. It will be a healthier option than fast food, cheaper than ordering in from a local restaurant, and there is an element of fun involved in unpacking those boxes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-meal-prep-subscription-boxes-worth-it?ref=seealso">Are Meal Subscription Boxes Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Join a Meal Planning Service</h2> <p>Some enjoy finding fun meals to try on Pinterest or in magazines, but for others, that isn't a fun pursuit. Solution? Try a meal-planning site. There are free ones, like <a href="http://mealplannerpro.com/recipe-search-engine" target="_blank">mealplannerpro.com</a> or <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/eatingwell_menu_planner" target="_blank">eatingwell.com</a>, as well a low-cost ones ($4.95 a month) like <a href="https://5dollarmealplan.com/join-today-v2/?ap_id=wisebread" target="_blank">5dollarmealplan.com</a>, which will even make your grocery list for you.</p> <h2>4. Check Your Grocer's Freezer</h2> <p>Last night, thanks to Safeway's excellent frozen food section, I whipped up a very passable Chinese dinner for four for just $14.88. That's hard to beat! The days of Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes are long gone, as today's frozen foods are very good and easy to reheat.</p> <h2>5. Cook Once, Eat Twice</h2> <p>Tonight I'm making a pot roast. The leftover meat will go into a stroganoff on Wednesday, and the rest of the meat and potatoes into a hash on Friday. Those second and third meals are much easier to make, too. Try picking up a rotisserie chicken for one night, and use the extra chicken to make chicken tacos, and maybe make chicken soup toward the end of the week.</p> <h2>6. Create Your Own &quot;Fast&quot; Food</h2> <p>Do your kids want hamburgers or pizza? Make some frozen turkey burgers. Pizza is fun for kids to make, and it's really easy now with ready-made crusts (Pillsbury has a whole-wheat artisan crust that is pretty good). Let the kids add their favorite toppings, toss a salad, and save the cost of going out.</p> <h2>7. Stock Your Pantry</h2> <p>Keep some good staples on hand in your pantry and freezer, and dinner will go together quickly. With spaghetti, bacon, peas, cheese, and cream, you can whip up a fast carbonara. Canned beans, veggies, and tomatoes can become an instant vegetarian chili.</p> <h2>8. Invest in Quality Appliances</h2> <p>Maybe it's time to try using a <a href="http://amzn.to/2l7dLMg" target="_blank">slow cooker</a> or a <a href="http://amzn.to/2kbvGnw" target="_blank">pressure cooker</a>. With a slow cooker, you can toss everything in before you go to work, and come home to a piping hot, delicious meal. I only recently purchased a pressure cooker, and now can make chili, spaghetti, or even ribs in less than 30 minutes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-dinner-no-meal-planning-required">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian">12 Delicious Ways to Go Meatless for the Newly Vegetarian</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-feed-a-large-family-on-a-small-budget">How to Feed a Large Family on a Small Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink affordable meals budget dinners cheap meals dinner ideas dinners family dinner meal planning saving money Thu, 09 Feb 2017 11:00:07 +0000 Marla Walters 1888424 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-518145080.jpg" alt="make these delicious recipes in your instant pot" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So many people purchased <a href="http://amzn.to/2hpIS7k" target="_blank">Instant Pot electric pressure cookers</a> on Black Friday that Amazon warehouse pickers are sick of the sight of them.</p> <p>The sale was an especially good deal when you realize the many ways this versatile tool can help you save money. The countertop device is advertised as a seven-in-one tool because, besides pressure cooking, it also serves as a slow cooker, a rice maker, a yogurt maker, a steamer, and a warmer.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m one of the folks who bought an Instant Pot on sale, and I&rsquo;m quickly learning how to make it pay for itself by helping me create frugal meals and avoid food waste. Many of these recipes could be made in any pressure cooker, but one thing I appreciate about the Instant Pot is that you can brown or saute items in it as well, making for fewer pans to wash after dinner.</p> <h2>1. Eat a Homemade Breakfast on the Way to Work</h2> <p>Cooking up portable breakfasts in advance is all well and good for the type of people who plan ahead, but what about the rest of us? With the Instant Pot, your breakfast can cook while you shower, and be ready by the time you head out the door.</p> <p>The first recipe many new Instant Pot owners try is <a href="http://www.hippressurecooking.com/cracked-soft-medium-and-hard-boiled-eggs-in-the-pressure-cooker/" target="_blank">hard boiled eggs</a>. This takes less than 15 minutes from fridge to cool, easily-peelable eggs, and you don&rsquo;t have to worry about disasters like forgotten egg explosions.</p> <h2>2. No Soup Line for You</h2> <p>At $3 to $5, a paper cylinder of hot soup from the deli can be an easy lunch solution. But an Instant Pot and a Thermos or microwave can set you up almost as easily, for a far lower cost per serving.</p> <p>Do you spend 30 minutes walking from your desk to the deli, standing in line, and then returning with your soup? Because that&rsquo;s all this <a href="http://dontmesswithmama.com/instant-pot-minestrone-soup-gluten-free-real-food/#" target="_blank">hearty minestrone</a> takes to make, including prep time. And during that time, you can make enough for the whole week&rsquo;s lunches.</p> <h2>3. Drive Past the Drive Through</h2> <p>You know the kind of night I&rsquo;m talking about: You got stopped on your way out the door by a coworker with a question and missed your train. Your kids have practices in three different places. This would have been a great night to eat something out of the freezer, if only you had thought to defrost anything. Dinner is likely to come in a paper bag with fries.</p> <p>But wait! The blog Once a Month Meals has a whole section on how to defrost and heat frozen meals in your IP, like this <a href="https://onceamonthmeals.com/recipes/instant-pot-honey-bourbon-chicken-traditional-version/" target="_blank">honey bourbon chicken</a> that you can put in the pot frozen solid, set for 25 minutes, leave to drop off your kids, then leave on the &ldquo;warm&rdquo; setting all evening as people come in and out to eat.</p> <h2>4. Break the Rotisserie Cycle</h2> <p>A rotisserie chicken can be a godsend to a busy family, but there is a less expensive way. You can throw a fresh or frozen whole chicken into your IP and sit down to a <a href="http://retrohousewifegoesgreen.com/2016/10/instant-pot-whole-frozen-chicken/" target="_blank">chicken dinner within an hour</a>. No basting, and no worries about leaving the oven on if you need to leave the house. (For safety, though, stick around during the period when <a href="http://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-pressure-cooker-safety-101/" target="_blank">the IP is getting up to pressure</a>.)</p> <h2>5. Use Dried Beans Instead of Canned</h2> <p>Dried beans are consistently one of the most frugal healthy foods in the grocery store, but canned beans are so much faster that many of us ignore the bags of dried. The IP can fix that. If you&rsquo;ve soaked the beans overnight, you can put the uncooked beans right into this <a href="http://www.melskitchencafe.com/pressure-cooker-chicken-and-black-bean-chili/" target="_blank">chicken and black bean chili recipe</a> and eat it within an hour. If you didn&rsquo;t soak, you can spend about half an hour prepping the beans in the IP before you start the chili recipe. Soaking isn&rsquo;t strictly necessary, but it makes the beans more tender.</p> <h2>6. Make Indian Fakeout</h2> <p>Kori Lusignan, who blogs at Misery Loves Cookery, created this <a href="http://miserylovescookery.com/2016/12/13/instant-pot-dal-indian-lentils/" target="_blank">dal recipe for her Instant Pot</a>, giving her family a quick and cheap way to satisfy their jonesing for Indian food. Pair it with this <a href="http://www.yummly.co/recipe/Pressure-Cooker-Chicken-Korma-978763?columns=5" target="_blank">chicken korma</a> and rice, both of which you can also make in the IP. How to make multiple dishes for one meal in one appliance? Some folks buy <a href="http://amzn.to/2hpER2J" target="_blank">extra inserts</a>, so they can take the first dish out when done and start the next without having to wash up.</p> <h2>7. Use Up Vegetables That Would Otherwise Go Bad</h2> <p>If you receive a regular farm share box of produce each week like I do, it can be daunting to use everything before it starts to wilt. One way my Instant Pot has helped me with this: After I cook a meal, before washing the pot, I&rsquo;ll throw together another meal with similar flavors, using whatever vegetables I have on hand, and let it cook while I clean the kitchen and put my kids to bed. By my bedtime, I have a pot of food for the refrigerator or that I can pull out to serve tomorrow night, or eat for lunch. I can even refrigerate and reheat it right in the Instant Pot&rsquo;s liner pan.</p> <p>Since I currently have some broccoli and carrots to use up, I&rsquo;m going to try making <a href="http://www.pressurecookerdiaries.com/pressure-cooker-recipes/how-to-make-risotto-pressure-cooker-broccoli-risotto/" target="_blank">pressure cooker broccoli risotto</a> after dinner tonight. If you get vegetables that seem daunting to cook conventionally, <a href="http://miserylovescookery.com/2016/11/06/artichokes-deliciously-under-pressure/" target="_blank">like artichokes</a>, the Instant Pot might be the ticket to avoiding procrastination that ends in the garbage bin.</p> <h2>8. Make Stock</h2> <p>A great way to keep old vegetables, meat, bones, and even vegetable peelings from going to waste is to throw them in a stock pot. But stovetop stocks require you to be home for hours, occasionally stirring the pot. With an Instant Pot, you can make <a href="http://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/03/make-instant-pot-chicken-stock/" target="_blank">delicious stock in one hour</a>. It's so easy, Instant Pot enthusiasts quickly run out of leftovers, which is probably why a member of the IP Facebook community recently posted a photo of a bag of chicken feet she was about to turn into broth.</p> <h2>9. Reduce the Chinese Takeout Bill</h2> <p>Some Chinese restaurants don&rsquo;t charge for rice, but others do. If you like brown rice like we do at my house, that can cost even more. But remember: Your Instant Pot is a rice cooker, too. Start your own <a href="http://instantpot.com/cooking-time/rice-and-grains/" target="_blank">white or brown rice in the cooker</a> when you order your takeout, and you should have perfect rice by the time the doorbell rings.</p> <h2>10. Give Leftovers New Life</h2> <p>Just straight-up <a href="http://gnowfglins.com/2016/10/19/reheat-food-instant-pot-aw047/" target="_blank">reheating a meal</a> in the Instant Pot can be easier than doing it in the microwave, where you often have to open the door to stir and sometimes have the whole thing overflow and make a mess. You can even put glass or ceramic dishes into the IP to heat up multiple items at once. You can use the steam, saute, or even slow cook functions to reheat, depending on the food.</p> <p>But maybe your family, like mine, balks at eating the same dish two days in a row. Or maybe you have only a few ounces of meat left from your pot roast and are wondering what to do with it. This Instant Pot <a href="http://omnivorescookbook.com/instant-pot-rice-pilaf" target="_blank">rice pilaf</a> is an example of how you can take yesterday&rsquo;s food, mix it with something new &mdash; in this case, rice &mdash; hit a button, and have a flavorful new meal in minutes. The pressure cooker&rsquo;s way of infusing flavors throughout the whole dish makes this more successful than other attempts to refresh leftovers.</p> <h2>11. Make Your Own Yogurt</h2> <p>Yogurt can be a healthy snack for kids and adults alike, but commercial yogurts can be both expensive and over-sugared. The Instant Pot can turn milk plus a little starter into <a href="http://www.teamyogurt.com/posts/2016/3/30/making-yogurt-in-an-instant-pot-is-it-worth-it" target="_blank">yogurt overnight</a>, and you can even make it in individual jars so it&rsquo;s somewhat portable. (As long as the person carrying it is old enough to responsibly handle glass.)</p> <p>As with many things, the amount of money you can save by making your own yogurt increases as you move up the quality chain. You might score portable cups of store-brand yogurt on sale for 30 cents each, which would be tough to beat in your own kitchen. But if you enjoy premium, organic Greek yogurts, or if you want to customize your yogurt, homemade can pay off. For instance, one gallon of milk can make the equivalent of four 32 oz. containers of yogurt. If you pay $6 for a gallon of organic milk, that&rsquo;s like paying $1.50 per container of yogurt, while the same amount of organic yogurt might run for $6 at the grocery store.</p> <h2>12. Make Special Diets More Affordable</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;ve gone paleo or vegan, and are also busy, you could spend a fortune on specially prepared foods. Or, you could use your Instant Pot to make the specialized foods at home.</p> <p>The paleo recipes for Instant Pot on the Internet are so bountiful that I have used some of them myself, even though there is not a paleo bone in my body. I loved this <a href="https://paleopot.com/recipe/super-fast-instant-pot-sweet-potato-mash/" target="_blank">sweet potato mash</a> from PaleoPot because you don&rsquo;t have to dice anything &mdash; you can throw in whole or sliced sweet potatoes and go. And hello, bone broth? The blog Stupid Easy Paleo recommends simmering bones on the stove top for up to 48 hours &mdash; or <a href="http://stupideasypaleo.com/2014/07/23/bone-broth-101-how-to-make-best-broth/" target="_blank">in the Instant Pot for two hours</a>. If you were making bone broth every week as the author does, which would you choose?</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F12%2520Instant%2520Pot%2520Recipes%2520That%2520Will%2520Save%2520You%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=12%20Instant%20Pot%20Recipes%20That%20Will%20Save%20You%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/12%20Instant%20Pot%20Recipes%20That%20Will%20Save%20You%20Money.jpg" alt="12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beer-donuts-and-11-other-recipes-you-can-make-with-beer">Beer Donuts and 11 Other Recipes You Can Make With Beer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cooking dinners instant pot meal planning pressure cooker recipes slow cooker Wed, 21 Dec 2016 10:31:36 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1858985 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 47 Brilliant Ways to Save Money on Dinner http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-47-brilliant-ways-to-save-money-on-dinner <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-47-brilliant-ways-to-save-money-on-dinner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_eating_dinner_96585443.jpg" alt="Family learning ways to save money on dinner" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You get home from work. You realize you still need to make dinner. But what should you cook? Naturally, you'll want something quick, easy, healthy, and most importantly, frugal. And why should you settle for anything else? That's exactly how preparing dinner every night should be.</p> <p>Here are 47 ways to save on dinner tonight.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_cooking_000029847332.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-one-pot-meals-that-will-transform-dinner?ref=fbf">10 One Pot Meals That Will Transform Dinner</a> &mdash; When all the ingredients can be tossed into the same pot, you end up saving time, effort, and also money, since you know one pot can only fit so many items. And if you're a small family, there will probably be plenty of leftovers.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eat-better-and-save-money-with-these-easy-two-night-meals?ref=fbf">Eat Better and Save Money With These Easy Two-Night Meals</a> &mdash; Speaking of leftovers, just because you have extra chili doesn't mean you need to eat it the same exact way the second night. Here are plenty of leftover meals that can be given a delicious twist on night two.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/quesadilla-179218531-small.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-freeze-ahead-dinners-for-busy-fall-weeknights?ref=fbf">10 Delicious Freeze-Ahead Dinners for Busy Fall Weeknights</a> &mdash; Meal prep is truly the key to happiness nowadays. It prevents unnecessary dinner stress, boring meals, and wasting money on takeout when you simply don't feel like cooking. These meals can be made ahead of time, and enjoyed on a crisp autumn night.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners?ref=fbf">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</a> &mdash; Take just a few minutes to plan out your eats for the coming week and you'll be so glad you did. Plus, if the meal planner is free, you really can't go wrong.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/pasta_dinner_000041265532_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-quick-dinners-for-lazy-cooks?ref=fbf">8 Quick Dinners for Lazy Cooks</a> &mdash; When we say &quot;lazy cook,&quot; we really mean &quot;busy, hard-working baller that doesn't have enough time in the day to also cook.&quot; But you don't even need that much time (or money) to make a decent meal. Here's your proof.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-weeks-worth-of-dinners-out-of-one-chicken?ref=fbf">Get a Week's Worth of Dinners Out of One Chicken</a> &mdash; One chicken can go a long way, apparently. Swing by the grocery store and grab a rotisserie chicken, or take a night to roast your own, and you'll be feasting on it for one half of a fortnight. Cheers to that!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-47-brilliant-ways-to-save-money-on-dinner">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-80-holiday-treats-that-wont-bust-your-budget">Flashback Friday: 80 Holiday Treats That Won&#039;t Bust Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-reasons-to-be-done-with-summer-and-get-excited-for-fall">Flashback Friday: 84 Reasons to Be Done With Summer and Get Excited for Fall</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-63-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-leftovers">Flashback Friday: 63 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-62-creative-uses-for-your-favorite-condiments">Flashback Friday: 62 Creative Uses for Your Favorite Condiments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-85-best-ways-to-save-on-halloween-this-year">Flashback Friday: 85 Best Ways to Save on Halloween This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink budgeting dinner family dinner fbf flashback friday food and drink frugal living meal planning meals Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:00:30 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1817177 at http://www.wisebread.com Take Control With These Easy 5-Minute Money Fixes http://www.wisebread.com/take-control-with-these-easy-5-minute-money-fixes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/take-control-with-these-easy-5-minute-money-fixes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_list_happy_61309776.jpg" alt="Woman making easy 5-minute money fixes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting your finances in order sounds like an uphill battle &mdash; one that'll take a lot of time. It's true, your financial situation typically won't turn around overnight, but there are things you can do everyday &mdash; in five minutes or so &mdash; that will put you on the right path. Take a look.</p> <h2>1. Plan Out Your Meals for the Week</h2> <p>One major time and money saver for me is planning out meals for the week. I usually sit down on Sunday afternoons and decide what I'd like to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that week. It doesn't take long since I have a fairly limited palette. When I'm done, I visit the supermarket to purchase the groceries I'll need for the meals. This helps me stay healthy, for sure, but it also virtually eliminates the urge to eat out, thereby saving me a significant amount of money on gas, restaurant food, tips, and taxes.</p> <h2>2. Get Your Morning Coffee Fix at Home</h2> <p>I'm sure you've heard from various budgeting experts that you should make your coffee at home instead of hitting up a Starbucks every morning. Many people lament that it's just not the same as the coffee prepared by a barista. Granted &mdash; but you can jazz up your java in your own kitchen, nonetheless.</p> <p>&quot;Investing in a cappuccino machine may cost a bit up front, but the savings add up quickly in terms of money and time spent waiting in line or in the drive-thru,&quot; suggests financial adviser Tammy Johnston.</p> <h2>3. Keep a Running Grocery List</h2> <p>Going to the supermarket without a list is certain disaster &mdash; especially if you're hungry. Cut down on impulse buys by keeping a running list (I keep mine in the Notes section of my phone) so you can add to it whenever you recognize you need something. You'll be amazed at how much you'll save on each shopping trip if you have direction as you navigate those colorful aisles of everything delicious.</p> <h2>4. Practice Meditation to Reduce Stress</h2> <p>&quot;Stressing about money hurts your ability to make good decisions, which can lead to more money issues,&quot; says Ellen Rogin, a CPA and personal financial adviser. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master?ref=seealso">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</a>)</p> <p>She's correct.</p> <p>Research shows that meditation can help you in <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-05-28/to-make-killing-on-wall-street-start-meditating">volatile financial situations</a>, like when your investments are at risk.</p> <p>&quot;Think about it: When you're freaked out about money, what kinds of decisions do you make? Good ones?&quot; she asks. &quot;No. Stress is why people sell low and buy high. Meditating just a few minutes a day can help you think more clearly and help you make better decisions.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Download a Financial App</h2> <p>If you find it difficult to keep your monthly budget from going off the rails, let alone minding your overall financial picture, you may find at least a little help from technology, like a financial app.</p> <p>&quot;People who downloaded financial apps checked their accounts an average of 12 times per month and saw their spending decrease by 15% after four months of using the app, with grocery spending and discretionary purchases seeing the biggest reductions,&quot; says money-saving expert Kendal Perez.</p> <p>As a general life rule, I check into my bank accounts when I wake up every morning &mdash; I'd like to know right away if I was robbed blind in the middle of the night &mdash; and it's a habit I suggest you adopt.</p> <p>In terms of the financial apps, I personally recommend Mint and Level Money as good places to start. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money?ref=seealso">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a>)</p> <h2>6. Review Your Finances Once a Week</h2> <p>Why should you review your finances once a week? Because spending can get out of hand quickly, throwing your entire budget into chaos. I've seen it happen too many times: People neglect their finances altogether because they've let them get so messed up that they don't want to deal with it anymore. It's one of the worst practices there is, but you can avoid it by giving just a few minutes' time to your finances each week.</p> <p>&quot;Balance your checkbook, review your credit card and bank statements, and pay your bills,&quot; Johnston advises. &quot;When it becomes a scheduled, weekly habit, it literally only takes a few minutes. You'll know where you stand so you catch any mistakes or red flags immediately, and you save on late fees because everything is looked after promptly.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Actively Look for Savings</h2> <p>If I'm buying anything, I'm looking for a deal. Aaaanything. I look for deals before I go out to eat, plan an activity, purchase clothing, fill up my tank, buy groceries &mdash; you get the picture. You also should be doing this without question, especially if you're finding it difficult to add to your savings consistently.</p> <p>&quot;Take a few minutes to look for savings on a purchase, whether it's tonight's takeout or an oil change for your car,&quot; Perez urges. &quot;Oftentimes you can find coupons or discounts on company websites or company social media pages, or you can download an app like <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/">Coupon Sherpa</a>. For example, you can currently save <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/jiffy-lube/">$5 on an oil change</a> from Jiffy Lube or <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/smashburger">buy one, get one free entrees</a> from Smashburger.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Increase Your Savings in Small Increments</h2> <p>Many people fail at saving because they're thinking too big. You convince yourself that you'd like to put XXX amount of dollars in the bank, and you don't put in a single penny until you've reached that milestone. The problem with this mentality is that you can very well get derailed along the way, prolonging your goal deposit, ultimately cheating yourself out of savings in smaller, more realistic increments.</p> <p>Rogin provides a few tips on how more focused savings can turn into something substantial.</p> <p>&quot;Set up an automatic savings system, so you have money come directly from your paycheck to your bank each paycheck,&quot; she suggests. &quot;And if you work at a company with a retirement plan, make sure you have money coming out of your paychecks going into this plan. An added bonus &mdash; you automatically spend less than you earn and that is one of the most important thing you can do to fix your finances.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Look Up a New Financial Word Every Day</h2> <p>I absolutely love this tip from Johnston, mostly because in all my years of writing on personal finance topics, this is the first time I'm hearing it. Ready?</p> <p>&quot;Get a financial dictionary and learn a new word every day,&quot; she says. &quot;Knowledge is power and when you understand the language of money you make much better decisions.&quot;</p> <p>Did your head just explode a little bit? Because mine did. We can all learn more about how to better serve ourselves financially if we have a better grasp of what &quot;finance&quot; actually means, and a good place to start is with vocabulary. Genius.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/take-control-with-these-easy-5-minute-money-fixes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-people-in-your-life-who-are-keeping-you-poor">The 9 People in Your Life Who Are Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance apps banking budgeting daily habits financial fix five minutes grocery lists lifestyle meal planning Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1808268 at http://www.wisebread.com Sous Vide Is the Fancy Cooking Technique That Saves You Money, Too http://www.wisebread.com/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sous_vide_cooking_29930096.jpg" alt="Learning about fancy sous vide cooking that saves money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sous vide</em> is a fancy French term that means &quot;under vacuum,&quot; but don't let this new word scare you. It's actually a lot simpler than it sounds. Sous vide is a method of cooking by sealing food in airtight plastic bags, and then placing it in a water bath or temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times. Not only does this make delicious food, but it can also save you a lot of money and time on groceries and meal prep.</p> <h2>How Sous Vide Can Save You Time and Money</h2> <p>Although sous vide equipment will cost some money upfront, this process can save you money and time in the long run. Here are just a few ways sous vide can save you money:</p> <h3>1. Reduced Waste From Cooking Mistakes</h3> <p>I don't know about you, but I am not a pro chef. Many dinners have gone to waste from the meat being too dry or overcooked. Cooking meats sous vide makes even the difficult cuts easy to prepare. As long as you know the temperature and cook time, your meat will never be over or undercooked. For example, for a medium-rare steak, you would simply set the device to 134&deg;F. This would give you a juicy piece of steak without any dry edges or undercooked centers.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking?ref=seealso">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</a></p> <h3>2. Reduced Energy Usage</h3> <p>Not only is a sous vide machine as easy to use as a microwave, it also takes less energy to cook your food. Once the device heats your water to the set degrees, very little energy is used to maintain the temperature.</p> <h3>3. Easy Bulk Cooking</h3> <p>You can sous vide multiple cuts of meat at a time and store them in the fridge or freezer for later use. This will allow you to cook for the entire week on the weekend, saving you money from impulse fast food buys.</p> <h3>4. Cheaper Cuts Taste Better</h3> <p>Since sous vide makes meats so much juicier, you can get away with buying the cheaper cuts. You can have an amazing steak dinner with a cheap flank steak.</p> <p>While I gave a lot of examples of saving on meat cooking, sous vide can be used for a lot of different recipes. In fact, the method can help you make many gourmet-type dishes, such as hard to make custards and butter sauces.</p> <h2>How to Get Started With Sous Vide on a Budget</h2> <p>Sous vide enthusiasts can spend a few hundred dollars on higher end sous vide gadgets. Some enthusiasts argue that you need special containers or machines that circulate the water, but you can keep the process and costs simple and still enjoy sous vide dishes.</p> <p>My husband found the <a href="http://amzn.to/2cYKgcP">ANOVA Culinary Bluetooth Precision Cooker</a> when it was discounted on Amazon. This device clamps on to any pot or container and will heat the water and cook the meat at an even temperature. What is neat about this device is that you can program it through your phone, so you don't even need to be at home when you are cooking.</p> <p>We started off with a stainless silver pot we already had, but were only able to cook two bags of meat at once. You can also use your Crock-Pot or other large container. Some people have even used ice coolers.</p> <p>A&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2cnYJxO">12-quart Rubbermaid container</a> was less than $20 on Amazon, and proved a better solution since we bought a lid with it. My husband cut a hole in the lid for the sous vide machine to keep the water temperature more accurate and prevent evaporation on longer cooking sessions.</p> <p>You can use regular gallon-sized zipper food storage bags, but we decided to go with something a little sturdier (and safer to use in heat). The <a href="http://amzn.to/2cnYXVJ">FoodSaver Gallon-Sized Vacuum Bags</a> can be reused if washed well. You don't have to buy the hand-held vacuum to seal the bags either. Simply zip the bag 98% and then dunk the bag in a pot of water. The pressure of the water will push the excess air out.</p> <p>In total, we invested about $175 for the above items, which is a deal compared to how much other chefs and home cooks spend on their sous vide systems. However, Instructables has directions to <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Sous-vide-cooker-for-less-than-40/">make your own sous vide machine</a> for under $40.</p> <p>The way to get the most benefit from the device is to plan to use it regularly. We currently shop for discounted or clearance meat on the weekend from our local Vons, and then sous vide them and either stick the meat in the fridge or freezer, depending on the meal plan for the week.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget">The Food Strainer: My New, Old-Fashioned Gadget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink batch cooking Cooking crock-pot kitchen tools meal planning meal prep sous vide Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1793094 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cooking_food_18186835.jpg" alt="Woman using meal planning sites to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Meal planning is a necessity to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-30-ways-to-save-money-on-groceries">save money on groceries</a>, and avoid the fast food drive-thru. However, if you are anything like me, the idea of sitting down each week to plan your meals does not sound exciting. These six meal planning sites take the time and guesswork out of making grocery lists and deciding what to make each week.</p> <h2>1. 5 Dinners 1 Hour</h2> <p>I am a big fan of <a href="http://5dinners1hour.com/">5 Dinners 1 Hour</a>. The site offers a variety of plans, including classic, clean eating, paleo, and gluten-free. With this site, the meals are already planned out for you, and the goal is to assemble five dinners in one hour at the start of your week. Each month is a new menu, and you can reuse past menus, as well.</p> <p>This meal plan is very organized. The printable shopping list is convenient, and each meal has a designated letter, so if you don't want a certain meal, you will easily know which items to cross off the shopping list. It takes me about two hours to shop and complete meal prep, but of course this is with two little ones nearby.</p> <p>Most of the meals have been delicious, while others were bland. However, it has been convenient to have all of the week's dinners in the fridge and ready to go at the start of the week. Some meals are marked as freezable, so I always double up on those so I can build up my freezer stash without much more effort on my part.</p> <h2>2. Plan to Eat</h2> <p><a href="https://www.plantoeat.com/">Plan to Eat</a> cuts the time it takes to establish a grocery list and meal plan. You integrate your favorite recipes either by hand, by file, or through your favorite online recipes. The site will take a meal your find via search or link and transform it into a shopping list and meal plan.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend?ref=seealso">Save Time and Money With Batch Cooking</a>)</p> <p>Plan to Eat also allows you to plan every meal &mdash; not just dinner. This is helpful for those who want to know what exactly they will need throughout the week for groceries. Another nifty thing about this site is that you can keep a freezer inventory on the side, and plan <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-awesome-easy-to-freeze-meals">meals from the freezer</a>.</p> <h2>3. Once a Month Meals</h2> <p>I love making a batch of freezer meals, because it means only cleaning up one big mess per month. <a href="https://onceamonthmeals.com/">Once a Month Meals</a> used to be free when I started using the site many years ago. They now charge a subscription fee, but they have also updated their site to include multiple menu plans and better technology to incorporate and change your monthly meal planning.</p> <p>The site does a great job of adding variety and organizing everything needed to assemble meals, but it is a huge undertaking. When I have done this site's plans in the past, it has taken me a whole day to shop and assemble meals.</p> <h2>4. Dinner Daily</h2> <p><a href="https://thedinnerdaily.com/">Dinner Daily</a> plans come with five select dinners each week, along with a shopping list and links to printable coupons to save money on that week's grocery haul. Most of the meals selected take 20-35 minutes to make, which is great when you are short on time. Dinner Daily has quite a few plans, but no specialty-diet plans, such as paleo, gluten-free, or dairy-free.</p> <h2>5. eMeals</h2> <p><a href="https://emeals.com/">eMeals</a> has the biggest variety of menu types and is recommended by finance guru, Dave Ramsey. The site offers plans from paleo, slow cooking, diabetic-friendly, low carb, vegetarian, and more. You are not stuck with one menu type, and you can change based on your preference. I appreciate that the plans come in two formats: family-size or servings for two. Even though we are a family of four, the two littles don't eat enough to count, so it's nice not to waste food.</p> <h2>6. The Fresh 20</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thefresh20.com/">The Fresh 20</a> is a unique meal planning site that creates plans based off 20 ingredients per week (plus pantry staples). The goal of this site is to help reduce food waste and help others eat healthier. However, this site does not allow you to change plans and does not have as much flexibility and customization as the other sites listed.</p> <p>All of the meal plans come with menu samples or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-psychology-of-free-and-its-power-over-you">free trials</a>, so be sure to try a few out to see what works best for you. The best meal planning site is one that you'll actually use.</p> <p><em>Which meal planning sites have you tried? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-nutrition-labels-are-about-to-get-better">How Nutrition Labels Are About to Get Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian">12 Delicious Ways to Go Meatless for the Newly Vegetarian</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-a-surprising-amount-by-quitting-these-4-bad-habits">Save a Surprising Amount by Quitting These 4 Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink eat better eat healthy Fast Food healthy eating meal planning meal planning sites saving money Tue, 13 Sep 2016 09:30:42 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1791532 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_making_pizza_63266135_0.jpg" alt="Couple who hate cooking learning money-saving hacks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cooking at home is one of the top ways to keep your budget in check. While cooking and eating at home is a wonderful idea, it is also a daunting one for those who hate to cook (and those who hate to clean up afterward). Worry no more. These hacks will save you money on eating out, while also saving you time and cleanup anxiety.</p> <h2>1. Befriend the Crock-Pot</h2> <p>Crock-Pots are popular with older generations of moms of multiple kids, but what about everyone else? Whether you are single, a family of two, or a family of many, a <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKkRSW">Crock-Pot</a> can be the perfect timesaving tool. Use <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKl4pr">Crock-Pot liners</a>, and you won't even have to scrub your cooking dish afterward.</p> <p>Crock-Pot cooking doesn't have to be complicated or bland. Pinterest is full of recipes (and so is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes?ref=internal">Wise Bread</a>). Look for Crock-Pot dump ideas that you can assemble and freeze ahead of time. I regularly do this after I find meat on sale, and I am able to assemble 10 Crock-Pot dump meals in only 30 minutes.</p> <p>One easy and tasty option to get you started is to combine boneless, skinless chicken thighs with one package of cream cheese and one jar (16 oz.) of your favorite salsa. Cook on low for three to four hours. Shred the chicken and stir, and you have creamy chicken ready to eat for tacos, pasta, or just on its own.</p> <h2>2. Cook Once, Eat Twice (or Thrice)</h2> <p>Making a lasagna is time consuming. It can take almost 30 minutes to make a pan. However, if you make two or three pans of lasagna, surprisingly the time effort is not multiplied. The extra lasagna can be frozen and used at a later date, for up to three to six months.</p> <p>You can use this method for enchiladas, many casserole recipes, and more. This method doesn't have to be used just for main dishes. It can also be used for side dishes, such as rice and beans.</p> <h2>3. Embrace Convenient Groceries</h2> <p>There is no shame in buying frozen vegetables, canned beans, and pre-marinated meat. In fact, they make your job a lot easier. Buying items such as pre-chopped onions, microwaveable steamed vegetables, frozen brown rice, pre-made dough, and ready-to-cook meat costs more at the grocery store. However, paying a little more for the convenience will save you a lot more at the drive-thru window.</p> <p>Make sure you are buying convenient groceries that are still healthy instead of processed, cheap food. For example, frozen brown rice where rice is the only ingredient is a better choice than purchasing Rice-a-Roni.</p> <h2>4. Simple Meals Are Best</h2> <p>Ditch the fancy recipes and cookbooks. Your meals don't need to take a lot of time or have a lot of ingredients. Think of your meal in terms of protein + carb + vegetable. With this simple recipe, you can have a healthy and filling dinner in five to 10 minutes.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-quick-dinners-for-lazy-cooks?ref=seealso">8 Quick Dinners for Lazy Cooks</a></p> <h2>5. Grill All Your Meat for the Week</h2> <p>My husband loves to grill, so I will take advantage of this by having him grill a week's worth of meat in one go. For him, this takes about 30&ndash;45 minutes. For me, it takes only a few minutes to season or pour a marinade over each meat. The meat can then be used in salads, soups, tacos, pizza, sandwiches, and more for the rest of the week.</p> <h2>6. Get Over the Leftover Mentality</h2> <p>I've heard so many people complain about eating leftovers, even to the point of avoiding them altogether. Eating leftovers doesn't mean you have to eat mushy casserole repeats each night. Instead, repurpose a meal into something new and simple. For example, if you eat chicken breasts one night for dinner, try taking the extra chicken and turn it into fajitas or barbecue chicken sandwiches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers?ref=seealso">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a>)</p> <p>Many times getting over the ick factor of eating leftovers is just a mental game you need to conquer. The food still tastes good the next day. Even better, eating leftovers will save you money and time.</p> <h2>7. Don't Forget Other Helpful Kitchen Tools</h2> <p>The Crock-Pot gets a lot of praise in the kitchen, but don't forget to utilize a rice cooker, pressure cooker, and bread maker. A <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKoDvE">rice cooker</a> that can cook rice and steam vegetables at the same time does all the work for you while you prepare the meat. <a href="http://amzn.to/2beBoxo">Pressure cookers</a> are a pricier investment, but they can make tender meat and meals in very little time. Finally, a <a href="http://amzn.to/2bfpe7k">bread maker</a>, which is easy to find inexpensively second-hand, can be used to mix dough quickly for homemade pizza and rolls/biscuits (and of course bread).</p> <h2>8. Make Meal Prep Time Enjoyable</h2> <p>Whether you are cooking one meal or tackling freezer meals for the month, start off with an empty dishwasher. This will allow you to quickly clean as you go.</p> <p>Make sure to have all of the items you need out and ready to use. Combine tasks to save time. For example, open all of the cans at once or chop all of your vegetables together.</p> <p>Finally, listen to something fun. I love to listen to audiobooks while meal prepping, but you can also watch your favorite show on a laptop, listen to upbeat music, or watch YouTube videos.</p> <p>In the end, cooking and eating at home will save you money over purchasing fast food frequently. Even if you hate cooking, you can still enjoy the cost-saving benefits of eating at home without spending too much time in front of the oven or washing dishes.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite quick recipes to make when you don't feel like cooking?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Money-Saving%2520Hacks%2520for%2520Those%2520Who%2520Hate%2520Cooking.jpg&amp;description=8%20Money-Saving%20Hacks%20for%20Those%20Who%20Hate%20Cooking"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Money-Saving%20Hacks%20for%20Those%20Who%20Hate%20Cooking.jpg" alt="8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sous-vide-is-the-fancy-cooking-technique-that-saves-you-money-too">Sous Vide Is the Fancy Cooking Technique That Saves You Money, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money">12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-ways-to-cook-outside">8 Alternative Ways to Cook Outside</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-feed-a-large-family-on-a-small-budget">How to Feed a Large Family on a Small Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Food and Drink batch cooking Cooking crock-pot dinners family meals food prep Grilling meal planning meal prep planning ahead Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1778734 at http://www.wisebread.com 16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cooking_000088771691.jpg" alt="Frugal woman mastering simple kitchen skills " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you rather eat out than cook? You aren't alone. In fact, owing greatly to the availability of fast food, frozen food, and convenience food, fewer people are preparing meals at home regularly. Another factor is the decline of home economics classes at the high school level, where many basics were taught to both sexes. All of that eating out takes a toll, though, on your budget and your health. Learning to cook can also be relaxing and enjoyable. Ready to give it a try? Here are 16 simple kitchen skills that every frugal person should, and easily can, learn.</p> <h2>1. Make Coffee</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0FRDQM19WfE" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>How much are you spending each week at Starbucks? Ouch, right? Why not <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-starbucks-drinks-you-can-easily-make-yourself" target="_blank">be your own barista</a>? If you own a <a href="http://amzn.to/1VRcFm0">French press</a> (I paid less than $20 for mine), you can make your coffee concoctions right at home. I love a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FRDQM19WfE">good latte</a>. Some people are intimidated by the frothy milk, but there is no need to be. It's just aerating the milk, and you don't need fancy equipment. Your &quot;froth&quot; goal is to just double its volume. That can be done in the French press, too, or by using a whisk. Add your favorite <a href="http://amzn.to/1VRd08s">Torani syrup</a>, if desired, and you're set.</p> <h2>2. Roast a Chicken</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MOtuBSOcVCs" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>One of the pleasures of being a home cook is the aroma of a roasting chicken on a Sunday afternoon &mdash; especially one that contains fresh lemon and herbs. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOtuBSOcVCs">Roast chicken</a> ensures you'll have delicious leftovers for several days (or you can freeze the leftovers). You don't even need a fancy roasting pan; a large, shallow <a href="http://amzn.to/1qG9zWF">casserole dish</a> will work.</p> <h2>3. Boil an Egg</h2> <p>Every time Easter rolls around, I am surprised by the number of articles online, or in the newspapers, explaining how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtt43zDzXSY">hard-boil eggs</a>. Egg hunts aside, hard-boiled eggs are a very handy thing to have around for a quick high-protein snack, an egg-salad sandwich, deviled eggs, etc.</p> <h2>4. Cook Rice</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-TaeYSiIbbw" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>I'm one of the few people I know who doesn't own a rice cooker. No need! It's really easy to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TaeYSiIbbw">make perfect rice</a> on your stovetop, and so long as you use your timer, it's pretty darn foolproof. I always make a big batch, because I think it's nice to have leftovers in the refrigerator for fried rice, a cold rice salad, or to toss into a tortilla with beans and cheese.</p> <h2>5. Cut Up an Avocado</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3HnqTz-0MvI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Avocados are so enormously popular right now (watch for Sharwil avocados, now being imported from the Big Island of Hawaii). Full of healthy fat and vitamins, B6, E and C, we just can't get enough of them. How do you <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HnqTz-0MvI">cut up avocados</a> without making a mess? If you're a beginner, the chef in this video has an excellent safety tip for cutting out the pit, using a towel.</p> <h2>6. Know Which Knife to Use for Which Job</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pKgGlpe45T0" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Ever use a paring knife to cut meat? How about a serrated edge for cheese? Doesn't work very well, does it? Choosing <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKgGlpe45T0&amp;nohtml5=False">the right knife</a> for the right kitchen job, as well as knowing how to use that knife, will not only keep you safe, but is also more efficient.</p> <h2>7. Use Sharp Knives</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SBn1i9YqN1k" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Most kitchen accidents occur from use of a dull knife. This is due to the fact that a dull knife requires more pressure to do the job, increasing the odds of slipping and cutting yourself. Is <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBn1i9YqN1k">sharpening knives</a> something that you can do, yourself? Sure! As you become more comfortable with cooking, you'll learn to appreciate working with sharp knives.</p> <h2>8. Bake a Potato</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XeDsOAW7JC4" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>I prefer a potato <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeDsOAW7JC4">baked in the oven</a>, but you can also do them in the microwave. However, they won't have that nice, crispy potato skin. Few foods are as economical as potatoes, and you can easily make a meal out of one. Try adding chili, sour cream, and onions, or how about steamed broccoli and cheese? Key point: Don't forget to prick the potato with a fork to allow steam to escape.</p> <h2>9. Use Separate Cutting Boards</h2> <p>To minimize risk of cross-contamination, and making yourself sick, use different <a href="http://amzn.to/1SLhCYz">cutting boards</a> for meats and vegetables. Wash thoroughly after use. If a board starts getting grooves in it from your knives, replace it.</p> <h2>10. Brown Meat</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MRRDRk23gRA" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Why do you need to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRRDRk23gRA">brown meat</a>? Browning meat, or chicken, adds color and flavor, as well as gives it a better texture. If your recipe calls for browned meat, don't skip that step. It's mildly messy, and you need to be careful you don't burn yourself. However, the results make this step well worth the effort.</p> <h2>11. Peel/Chop Garlic</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rdAbdY7fUcY" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>As you begin to do more cooking, you will want to learn how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdAbdY7fUcY">peel and chop up garlic</a>. This isn't difficult, and it will give your food so much flavor! One bulb of garlic will go a long way. Store in a cool, dark place (but not in your refrigerator). If you prefer, you can put it in a little jar, and cover with olive oil.</p> <h2>12. Grow Herbs</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RfJSIlL0PZI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Even if you have no outdoor space, you can still <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfJSIlL0PZI&amp;nohtml5=False">grow herbs</a> inside. Herbs greatly enhance your food &mdash; think of dill in potatoes, tarragon with chicken, or sage in stuffing. You can make a quick pesto if you have fresh basil around, or liven up a tomato sauce with some fresh oregano.</p> <h2>13. Make an Omelet</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OQyRuOEKfVk" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Not only inexpensive to make, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQyRuOEKfVk">homemade omelets</a> are really versatile. Think ham, cheese, and tomatoes at breakfast; herbs and a little shaved parmesan at lunch, or a &quot;filled&quot; omelet for dinner. They take a little practice, but even when they don't come out looking omelet-y, they're still delicious.</p> <h2>14. Make Chicken Broth</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X6jOzA2MTfI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>After making <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6jOzA2MTfI&amp;nohtml5=False">chicken broth</a>, I let it cool, and then pour into Ziploc quart bags, and freeze flat to stack (don't forget to label with the date). I use broth just about as fast as I can make it, using it in soups, sauces, or in place of water (try in rice). The bonus is the cooked chicken, which you can also use right away in meals, or freeze.</p> <h2>15. Frost a Cake</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fQKCitgCRuQ" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Not much of a baker, my cakes always had a humorous &quot;made this for you myself&quot; look. I finally sat and watched an amateur cake decorator <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQKCitgCRuQ&amp;nohtml5=False">frost a cake</a>, and what a difference that made. Getting rid of the crumbs was my favorite tip, followed by cutting the cake into the right shape.</p> <h2>16. Plan Your Menu</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EENpjugzBU8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>You'll save yourself a lot of time and money if you learn to plan menus. It doesn't need to be complicated &mdash; all you need is pencil and paper. Getting the hang of cooking once and eating twice is a real treat, particularly during a busy week. Learn to watch grocery ads for sales; plan around those and save more money.</p> <p>Lastly, if you have gone to the trouble of making your own meal, why not enjoy it in style? Here is how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EENpjugzBU8">set the table</a>.</p> <p><em>What frugal kitchen skills do you find essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money">12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-way-to-your-honeys-heart-is-through-the-kitchen">The Way to Your Honey&#039;s Heart Is Through the Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/edible-flowers-make-cheap-food-beautiful-again">Edible Flowers Make Cheap Food Beautiful Again</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink basics Cooking culinary kitchen skills meal planning recipes Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Marla Walters 1696225 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_pizza_000021985984.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to stop the takeout meal cycle and save" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're trying to lean your budget or your waistline this year, eating too many meals out is a common offender. In fact, CNN recently reported that the average dinner at a non-chain restaurant comes in at a staggering&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/20/health/non-chain-restaurants-calories-fast-food/">1,200 calories</a>. While prices can range wildly depending on the eatery, the solution for better physical and financial health may be as simple as cooking more meals at home.</p> <p>My family decided to embark on a challenge and stop dining out last month. We survived and have a stack of cash to show for it. Yes! We estimate we saved around $75 (conservatively) each week by skipping takeout and getting better with our meal planning. About $50 of this money, probably more, came from shunning restaurants and $25 is what we shaved off each week's grocery bill, all while making enough food for hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners &mdash; seven days each week.</p> <p>Your results with this type of challenge will vary depending on how much you eat out, the cost of living in your area, and your creativity with using leftovers. Regardless, here are some tips that can help anyone to stop the takeout cycle today and save big. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now?ref=seealso">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a>)</p> <h2>Examine Your Habits</h2> <p>Get honest with yourself about your eating and restaurant habits. When we wrote it out, we realized we were grabbing takeout pizza on Friday night, scouting out brunch or lunch on Saturday or Sunday, and sneaking in at least another meal out every week. I say we were spending $50, but I'm sure the amount was closer to $75 at the rate we were going.</p> <p>Beyond that, we had a huge problem with food waste. I found myself tossing rotten fruits and veggies before our weekly grocery trip. We had expired cartons of yogurt nearly full and long-forgotten bags of whatever else going stale. The weirdest part? Our grocery bill was higher than ever. In better days, we tried to stick to around $80 to $100 for a family of three, but we were climbing at least $25 higher than that amount, all while feeling like we never had ideas for dinner. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fruits-and-veggies-that-stay-fresh-a-month-or-longer?ref=seealso">10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Fresh a Month or Longer</a>)</p> <p>After facing the hard truth, it became crystal clear that we needed to put more effort into planning and preparing our meals to save money and create less waste.</p> <h2>Embrace the Plan</h2> <p>Meal planning has been the key to our success, and it hasn't taken much effort. Every week before shopping, I take stock of what we have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. It sounds like a big job, but it probably takes five or 10 minutes. I figure out what meals we can make with those items first. Some of the ideas come from memory. Other times, I use sites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes">Supercook</a> to help with my creativity.</p> <p>Feeling intimidated? It helps to stick to basic breakfasts (oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc.), easy lunches (sandwiches, salads, and other things that can be made in bulk), and use tools like a slow cooker to make simmering satisfying dinners a breeze. We even do some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a> to help when we're in a pinch. Example: I made a huge batch of freezer veggie burgers that we can grab on busy nights.</p> <h2>Shop Smart</h2> <p>After I account for all the leftover foods, I look up recipes or write down old favorites for the other nights in the week. What results is an awesomely organized grocery list. At the store, we only buy what we need, nothing additional. That's how food waste is made! And I'll tell you what, there's nothing more satisfying than ending the week with a near-empty fridge.</p> <p>We also found when we changed what day of the week we shop, we felt less compelled to grab takeout. For us, this meant heading to the store on Friday nights so our cabinets were packed with lots of exciting foods for the weekend. We had been shopping on Mondays, and with little in our reserves &mdash; that's when we'd venture out to takeout town. Now, making our meals and enjoying food together has even become one of our favorite sources of frugal entertainment.</p> <h2>Start Small</h2> <p>Does cooking absolutely everything at home sound too overwhelming? I admit, I have a high tolerance for being in the kitchen. If you don't &mdash; start small. You can get great results by replacing just one of your meals out each week. Maybe you can start by packing a lunch instead of buying out. Replacing your morning coffee and muffin habit with a homemade variety. Look for any and all opportunities and add on from there.</p> <p>If I had to choose just one, I would have started with our pizza takeout night. Making pizza at home doesn't take much skill. A plain pie at the place down the street costs around $14. To make dough ($1 for flour, yeast, and water) and top with sauce ($0.99 a jar) and cheese ($2.99 for a two-cup bag)? Well, that's more like $5 if you stick to the basics. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Make Restaurant-Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>Resist Temptation</h2> <p>There were some tricky moments we encountered along the way. For example, our friends came down to visit and asked us if we wanted to buzz out to get some dinner with them randomly one afternoon. I felt paralyzed and slightly embarrassed, but I told them the truth: We'd love to get together, I shared, but we have some big budget goals this year, and eating out doesn't fit into the puzzle right now. Plus, we had already started cooking dinner.</p> <p>Guess what? It was no biggie. They came over to our place, we hung out for several hours, and they even told us our Crock-Pot dinner smelled amazing. For us, temptation usually comes when we're lazy about planning or when we get social pressure. We know this now. Your own triggers might be different. Be aware of them. Be honest about your goals. And get cooking.</p> <p><em>Did you break your takeout cyclc? What worked for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-restaurant-menus-are-designed-to-make-you-spend-more">9 Ways Restaurant Menus Are Designed to Make You Spend More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping eating out Fast Food food waste groceries meal planning restaurants Takeout Mon, 29 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1659930 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000068458311_Large.jpg" alt="a cheap and easy meal that will make even better leftovers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's true, some things just get better with age. This is true even with some foods &mdash; just a <em>little</em> age, mind you. Some flavors improve when they've had time to meld, mellow out, or become more concentrated. Here are 10 dishes that not only get tastier, but can serve double-duty as an additional meal the next day.</p> <h2>1. Chili</h2> <p>My favorite recipe contains garlic, oregano, onions, Tabasco, green peppers, and jalapenos. On day one, it's a fairly spicy concoction, but upon reheating, it has been delightfully tamed. Chili also holds up well in the freezer and defrosts pretty quickly. Serve it up again for lunch or dinner with some grated cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.</p> <h2>2. Meatloaf</h2> <p>Always great with a pile of mashed potatoes and some dilled carrots, meatloaf is so much better the next day in a sandwich with mayo, cheddar cheese, and dill pickles. If you can score some rye bread for that hot mess, all the better.</p> <h2>3. Pizza</h2> <p>If you buy a frozen pizza, or go the take-and-bake route, pizza and salad is a darned inexpensive meal. I never get anything except the large size because it can serve double duty: dinner <em>and</em> breakfast. My husband's trick is to heat a leftover slice in a little olive oil on the stove, so that the bottom re-crisps. Then, he makes an over-easy egg (firm, but still slightly runny). The egg goes on the top of the pizza. The flavors in Italian food are more pronounced, it seems, when reheated. I'm not sure he cares about that. He's a dude happily eating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-actually-enjoy-leftover-pizza">pizza for breakfast</a> instead of granola.</p> <h2>4. Mushroom Burgers</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mushroom-burgers">mushroom burgers</a> are one of my favorite vegetarian recipes. Not only are they inexpensive to make, but I actually prefer them to a meat hamburger. Don't skip the dried thyme, which imparts great flavor. I also add a little dried sage. This combo will remind you of Thanksgiving.</p> <p>Even though these days it's usually just my husband and I for dinner, I always make four patties. Why? Breakfast! Go Hawaiian-style with them and re-heat the &quot;burger.&quot; Plop it over some brown rice, and add an egg on top. As the Hawaiians say, &quot;So<em> ono</em>!&quot;</p> <h2>5. Lasagna</h2> <p>If you are going to make a lasagna (or <em>lasagne</em>, whichever way you prefer to spell it), well, go for it and make a big 9x13 pan of it. Why? Lasagna always always gets better after spending the night in the refrigerator. Mine are usually a little sloppy coming out of the oven, even when I let them rest. However, on day two or three, something magical happens and it firms up. The flavors are also more prominent. This can be a second or third dinner, or you can cut into smaller squares for lunches. Lasagna is also a good candidate for the freezer.</p> <h2>6. Stew</h2> <p>Stew meat is really cheap, and there is a reason for that &mdash; it comes from a tough cut (usually chuck or bottom round). Save even more money by just buying a package of meat and cutting it up yourself, rather than buying packages of precut &quot;stew meat.&quot; Don't worry about toughness, though. The act of cooking it slowly breaks the fibers down and tenderizes it. If you pair your meat with some pearl onions, garlic, red wine, and bacon, you'll be happy for days to come. It also freezes well.</p> <h2>7. The Sunday Roast, on Monday</h2> <p>Cooking a roast is a big effort, but the leftovers are great, and you will have enough for sandwiches, and maybe even another dinner. But wait! There is a breakfast bonus. Chop it up, add cooked potatoes, sauteed peppers, and onions, and bake into hash. Voila! Add a fried egg on top for a little extra treat.</p> <h2>8. Chicken Soup</h2> <p>For a variety of reasons, chicken soup is just better down the road. My mother's theory was that bay leaves gave soup extra flavor. She also was a fan of bouquet garni. I think the chicken fat and salt helps, too. I freeze mine in double gallon Ziplocks &mdash; you don't want to chance leakage &mdash; and don't forget to label. When you get a cold, remembering you have homemade chicken soup in the freezer will make you instantly feel better.</p> <h2>9. Thrice-Baked Potatoes</h2> <p>Not too many foods are as inexpensive as potatoes &mdash; or as versatile. Baked potatoes are fine, but twice-baked (containing cheese, green onion, maybe some broccoli or spinach) are terrific. And they are even better at breakfast, and especially on cold days. Bake a whole potato, stuff each half, and enjoy half with dinner and half another time. I tote my &quot;second half&quot; to the office, where I can microwave it.</p> <h2>10. Curry</h2> <p>Curry is often so spicy that I want a glass of milk to drink with it. So hot, but so good! Let it spend the night in the refrigerator, though, and it will mellow out. But it won't become boring, as the flavors seem to concentrate. I like mine with chicken, carrots, and pumpkin. Usually served with lots of rice, there is always enough for a second meal. It's inexpensive comfort food.</p> <p><em>Did we miss any delicious leftover gems? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-instant-pot-recipes-that-will-save-you-money">12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-turn-leftover-sweet-potatoes-and-other-starchy-foods-into-something-special">11 Ways to Turn Leftover Sweet Potatoes and Other Starchy Foods Into Something Special</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian">12 Delicious Ways to Go Meatless for the Newly Vegetarian</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap dinners Cooking easy meals leftovers meal planning recipes Tue, 23 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1658639 at http://www.wisebread.com