Thanks to Brittany for this guest post on ways to save on a family dinner. Image courtesy of dusky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Anyone who has gone grocery shopping for their household knows that feeding the family can get expensive. According to a 2012 Gallop Poll, the average American family spends about $150 a week on food alone! Here are a few tips and meal ideas that will help you save at the checkout counter:
1. Start Menu Planning
How many times have you come home from the supermarket and spent more than you intended? Menu planning is an excellent way to cut down on overspending at the grocery store. By planning out your family’s meals for the upcoming week, you can determine precisely what ingredients you need.
2. Stock up
This may sound counterintuitive, but you actually save money when you buy in bulk. Depending on the size of your family and what people eat, you can divide packaged products (like chicken or ground meat) into portions and put them in freezer bags. By breaking things up into rations, you’ll never have to cook six chicken breasts at once or find a recipe that calls for three pounds of ground beef.
3. Make substitutions in recipes
Fresh herbs can be pricey and their shelf life is often pretty short. Many dried herbs and spices are full of flavor, making them the perfect alternative in recipes. It’s a good idea to keep garlic powder, onion powder, and seasonal all in your pantry.
4. Bake a casserole
There’s really nothing easier than a casserole. They’re savory, quick to cook, and incredibly easy to make. You probably already have the ingredients you need in your fridge and pantry. Casseroles are another great way to use leftovers from another meal. From chicken pot pie to green bean casserole and back to Shepard’s pie, casserole dishes make great dinners.
5. There’s still meat on that bone!
On those occasions when you cook a whole chicken, turkey, or ham, use the leftover carcass or bone to make the stock for a soup. Simply simmer it in broth with carrots, celery stalks and some seasoning. Strain the soup, remove the bones and voilà – dinner is served.
Guest Post Bio: Brittany writes on behalf of Marie Callender’s, where you can find great ideas on dinners under 500 calories, easy desserts, and more.