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Penny Pinching Tip #10: Meal Planning

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Penny Pinching Epicure: Penny Pinching Tip #10: Meal Planning

Monday, May 10, 2010

Penny Pinching Tip #10: Meal Planning

Now that I've started a new job that has me working some long hours, I've had to get smarter about planning my meals, i.e. I'm too tired to go shopping after work and then make dinner like I used to, so I'm doing a lot more pre-planning and pre-shopping.

The key to meal planning but not spending a lot of money is to buy ingredients that are versatile, and to make dishes that can double as lunch or dinner the next day but don't feel like you are eating leftovers. [When you plan multiple meals in advance, it also helps to make sure you don't buy ingredients without an idea of how you are going to use them and they just end up going bad in the fridge.]

For example, if you're making my dutch oven chicken, throw in an extra thigh, shred it, and eat it over leafy greens, tomatoes, sweet peppers, artichoke hearts and a vinaigrette for lunch the next day. Or, if you're making my basil & nut crusted salmon, bake an extra portion and eat it over chopped romaine, cucumbers, and avocado--the fish is already so flavorful you won't need a dressing!

You can also save a lot of money by buying items in bulk, like a family pack of boneless chicken cutlets. You could eat chicken all week but it wouldn't feel like it if you made sure your recipes were really different--baked with a spice rub or a sesame-soy glaze; stove-top with stewed tomatoes and garlic; stir-fried with onions, mushrooms, sweet peppers and snow peas...the combinations are endless :)

Oh--and pack your lunch the night before in case you decide to hit the snooze button, or are running late and don't have time to put something together so you end up needing to buy lunch.

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1 Comments:

Blogger judy said...

Great tips!

May 10, 2010 at 9:27 PM  

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