An important key to saving money for grocery shopping is meal planning. Planning for what you’re going to make for meals not only helps you create a clearly defined grocery list but also helps prevent unnecessarily going out to eat. It gets rid of the excuse that you have nothing at home to make for dinner. But coming up with meals for an entire week can difficult. Unless you know a trick utilized by school cafeterias across the nation; simplify meal planning by using a single main ingredient to create several meals.
Step 1: Choose Your Main Ingredient
As an example, I give you one of the most versatile ingredients of all time: taco meat.
First, make a batch of taco meat. You can make a single batch at the beginning of the week, or you can make a huge batch and freeze it in containers holding 1-2 pounds of finished taco meat. That way, for several weeks to come, you have taco meat in your freezer ready for action.
Step 2: Make a List Of Meals
Next, come up with several meals you can make with that main ingredient. A pound or two of taco meat can be a lot, even for a family. It certainly allows for multiple meals. Here are some suggestions for different meals you could make with taco meat.
- Tacos: This is the main use for taco meat, obviously. Rotate between hard and soft shell for variety from week to week.
- Taco Salad: You probably have leftover shredded lettuce from having tacos, so why not make it into a taco salad? Add cheese, crushed up Doritos and taco sauce and you have a delicious second meal.
- Quesadilla: Fire up the griddle or a frying pan, throw in some butter and crisp up some flour tortillas with your favorite cheese, taco meat, and salsa in the middle.
- Burritos: Get your roll on with taco meat, cheese, taco sauce and throw in some onion and black olives for extra flavor.
- Nachos: Just when you think you’re getting tired of taco meat, you sprinkle some over tortilla chips with some shredded cheese. After microwaving it a bit to melt the cheese you add some onions, jalapenos, and tomatoes for a night time snack that finishes your taco meat for the week.
Meal planning for a week can be much smoother if you can make several meals, and even a snack, out of a single main ingredient. Simplify meal planning by building your meal plan out of a handful of main ingredients. Come up with several meals you can make out of each and you’ll find yourself rarely eating out and saving money.
How about you Clever Friends, what main ingredient can you make several meals from?