If you’ve spent any time at all here at Simply Frugal, then you know I sing the praises of meal planning. Taking the time to meal plan is just so sanity saving and money saving!
However, if you’re anything like me, there are seasons in life when you need all the inspiration you can get.
That’s why I’m excited to let you know that the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle is available once again for a couple of days!
I’m a big fan of printables so I’m especially excited about the Grocery Budget Binder and the Meal Planning Success Kit.
Since my daughter was diagnosed with many food sensitivities last year, I’m going to dig in first with the For Real: For the Love of Real Food ebook for some ideas.
If you want to simplify mealtimes, put unfussy (but still healthy) meals on the table, and ditch the frantic late afternoon craziness, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
If you’re ready to stick to your food budget, whip up healthy meals, and quit wasting food, check out the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle before the sale ends January 27, 2021.
I think this will be a fun week in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series! It’s all about food! Specifically, we’re going to plan our holiday menus. You’ll want to think about:
- Christmas dinner
- Christmas brunch
- Christmas eve
- Boxing day
And well, any meal surrounding Christmas day. My planning is quite simple. My parents cook our Christmas brunch and dinner so all I have to do is bring the cheesecake and some baking!
For inspiration, I highly recommend taking a look through Pinterest.
While you’re planning out your dishes, be sure to start adding items to a grocery list. You don’t want to forget anything!
To help you out, you’ll want to check out the Christmas dinner planner and grocery list that are available in the Holiday Planner, here.
Also be sure to print off the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas checklists to make sure you’re on track for the final week’s until Christmas day!
What will be on your holiday menu? Leave it in the comments! Any food traditions you have to uphold? How do you keep on budget?
Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist! This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.
Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:
There’s nothing more frustrating than starting to bake or cook something delicious only to find that a key ingredient is missing. Ugh! But there’s no need to scrub a recipe and sulk in frustration. If you know what you’re doing, you can just substitute it with something else! Here are a couple of ingredients that are bound to be in everyone’s pantry or fridge and are a dish-saving substitutes.
Read on to see the complete list, or download your own printable PDF copy using the button below. (I recommend hanging it up somewhere in your kitchen for easy reference!)
Substitute with butter, margarine, coconut oil or apple sauce
Apple Cider Vinegar
Substitute with white vinegar
Substitute with apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
Substitute by mixing one part Tomato Paste and one part Water.
Or substitute with canned tomatoes and adding onions, garlic and some herbs.
Baking Powder (1tsp)
Substitute with 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Substitute with cracker crumbs, crushed cornflakes, ground oatmeal, or even cooked quinoa.
Brown Sugar (1 Cup)
Substitute with 1 cup white sugar and 2 Tbsp molasses.
Substitute with margarine, oil or shortening
Buttermilk (1 cup)
Substitute with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar and enough milk to make 1 cup
Or substitute with 1 cup plain yogurt
Substitute with honey, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup
Substitute with cottage cheese or cream cheese.
Fresh herbs (1 Tbsp)
Substitute with 1 tsp dried herbs
Honey (1 Cup)
Substitute with maple syrup, corn syrup or 1 1/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup liquid (whatever is called for in the recipe)
Substitute with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Substitute with sour cream or plain yogurt
Substitute with beef broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth, apple cider (not vinegar), water, tomato sauce, white grape juice or non-alcoholic wine.
Yeast (1 tsp)
Substitute with 1/2 tsp Baking Soda and 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
Substitute with Quinoa. (Quinoa also provides twice as much protein and fiber which promote a healthier digestive system.)
Substitute with 1 Tbsp ground Flax Seeds or Chia Seeds and 3 Tbsp Water. Mix until gelatinous.
Or substitute with silken tofu.
Or substitute with apple sauce or mashed banana
Pastry Flour (1 cup)
Substitute with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch combined with enough all-purpose flour to make a cup.
Often times, substituting salt for herbs and other seasonings like onions, lemon or lime can make a dish taste really flavourful.
Substitute with 1 and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar.
I hope you find this substitutions list useful! I’ll leave you with the button to download a free printable PDF copy of the list, in case you missed it earlier in the post! 🙂
I don’t know about you, but all this cooking at home has me constantly looking for shortcuts. While I don’t hate cooking, I don’t like spending hours upon hours in my kitchen. I want easy, fast, flavorful and cheap!
That brings me to rotisserie chickens. Time and time again, grocery store rotisserie chickens have saved my sanity when it comes to dinner time. They are easy, already seasoned, already cooked, and can be used in a lot of different recipes. There are so many ways to use a rotisserie chicken!
On that note, I have rounded up a list of easy and cheap rotisserie dinners! I hope you enjoy!
First of all, if you wish, you can make your own rotisserie style chicken in the slow cooker with this recipe I found.
What are your favourite ways to use rotisserie chicken?
Summer is almost here! Can you feel the heat and the excitement?
This season is all about outings, get-togethers, swimming, and vacations! There are more opportunities to spend more time with your family and friends. Catch up, enjoy, and explore new locations!
Of course, any summer activity would not be complete without food!
If you want healthy and home cooked meals, you don’t need to spend a lot of time (Who has extra time in the summer anyway?) The secret is all about meal prepping. You can create different meals for different times of the day without the hassle and without overspending on take out.
If you want to create a meal plan this summer for your family, here are 10 quick and easy meal prep ideas that will help.
Create A Plan
Decide on the different kinds of food that you want to prepare ahead of time. Take note of all the recipes you want to prepare and cook for the whole week. Then write down all the ingredients you need on your shopping list.
Cook multiple recipes at the same time. You can roast summer vegetables while baking chicken. This will allow you to get things done faster.
Don’t Over Prep
Don’t prepare meals for five days or more at one time. Some foods, such as fresh summer produce, may not last for more than three days in the fridge and you might end up with a lot of spoiled, wasted food.
Use Your Grill
Summer is often too hot to turn on the oven because it heats up the house. Instead, prepare meats and vegetables to cook outdoors on the grill, after all summer is time to grill! Schedule some barbecue nights and grill fresh summer vegetables. They not only taste great, you can relax on a warm summer evening with your family while grilling outside.
Be sure to cook up plenty of meats so you have leftovers for other nights!
Prepare Raw Food
Vegetables like zucchini and cucumber can not only be paired with different fruits and veggies, it can make you feel cooler, especially during the hot summer months.
Spiral some zucchini and cucumber then blend them with basil pesto for a vegan pasta recipe. You can also schedule some no-cook options like canned corn, beans, and green salads to spice up your weekly schedule.
Utilize Your Slow Cooker
You might think that your slow cooker is only for winter, but this multipurpose appliance is also ideal for summer cooking!
You don’t need to heat up your whole house while waiting for your lunch or dinner to be cooked. Start making large batches of shredded meat or beans then freeze them in smaller portions. You can also cook potatoes, corn, and carrots in your slow cooker.
The Instant Pot is also ideal for summer cooking!
Glass Over Plastic
Plastics can be cheaper but using glass containers are better. Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should choose glass over plastic containers:
- The contents are easier to see.
- You can microwave them.
- The taste of the food will not be altered, even if you leave them in the container for several days.
- Glass doesn’t release any chemicals when exposed to heat, thus making it safer for your family’s health.
Make extra servings of your meals for dinner then eat the leftovers for breakfast or lunch. My husband loves taking leftovers to work!
Reusing leftovers makes it easier to plan your meals because you don’t need to think about the food you’ll eat for lunch every day. It also eliminates wasted food and cleaning out the fridge.
Buy The Best Bread You Can Get Your Hands On
Did you know that all the outdoor activities of summer can cause you to feel more hungry and more often?
Opt to get whole grain breads, especially if you’ll be having sandwiches for any of your meals. Look for a bread that is made with 100 percent whole grain. Bread with lots of texture makes you feel like you are eating an actual meal, which can make you feel fuller, faster, rather than just eating a sandwich.
Cook Once A Day
Prepare all your food in one go then store them in your glass containers so you can just heat them up once your mealtime comes.
Check your schedule then look for a block time when you can cook and prep your meals on a daily basis.
Stop spending a lot of time thinking and prepping your meals for the whole week. With enough preparation, you can feed yourself and your family with healthy and delicious meals without spending much time or money.
What are your summer meal prep tips? Let us know in the comments below!
How to Feed Your Family on $50 This Week
One thing that will bring a family together are home cooked meals at the kitchen table. There is nothing better than gathering around yummy food, while conversing about life, with your family members. Unfortunately, feeding your family does not come cheap. Here are some great tips to help you feed your family on $50 this week, whether you are tight on cash, or just simply looking to be a little more frugal.
Take inventory of what is already in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. I make a list using the inventory sheet from the Grocery Conqueror Kit, so that I have it as I sit down to make my shopping list and menu plan. No need to buy tomato sauce if you already have some in the pantry!
Use Store Rewards
I like to collect PC Optimum points because the points turn into cash that I can put towards my grocery bill. I just recently redeemed $30 so that was a nice chunk of change off that grocery bill! There are many other store reward programs out there that may be worth trying out if it means savings for you!
Use Grocery Rebate Sites
I like Checkout 51 and Caddle because I can just upload my receipt and go. I have 7 days from the time I shop to upload, and I can combine rebates from all 4 sites from 1 receipt to maximize savings! Ampli is also great if you don’t mind connecting your debit and credit cards to a secure app! Use the promo code AMPLI5 to get $5 for free!
Shop the Right Places
Being able to feed your family for less, means that you need to be willing to shop at different stores. If you are used to shopping at higher end grocery stores that generally charge more than say, Walmart or No Frills, consider stepping outside of your box, and head into a less costly store. Set aside your reasons and any ill feelings that you may have about those stores. You certainly will not regret it after leaving the store with a little extra change in your pocket!
Meal Plan Around Flyer Sales
Meal planning is a great way to make sure you know exactly what your family will be eating every day. Knowing which meals you will be enjoying also means that you know all of the ingredients needed, and this will allow you to better stick to your budget of $50. Just make sure that as you plan your meals, that you are scoping out the flyer sales and planning your meals around what is on sale and what you already have at home.
Use Cheap Fillers
When you have a tight food budget to stick to, you will find that rice and beans will become some of your favorite ingredients. Rice and beans generally do not have much flavor, so they can be added to almost any meal, even if it is just as a side that you season with salt and pepper. However, the other great thing about rice and beans is that they are cheap fillers in things like tacos, soup and chili! This means that you will feel fuller after eating them. Dry beans will be your best value, so don’t be afraid to use them!
Make a list of cheap meals
I’m in the thought camp that most meals can be frugal meals if you purchase the ingredients on sale. for example, meat. Don’t buy chicken breasts if the chicken thighs are on sale. Also, take a look at the 20 meal rotation I have been doing as our meal plan lately. I’d consider most meals on the list cheap and frugal!
Stick to the same things for Breakfast and Lunch
In our house, I have a rotation going of oatmeal, pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs and cereal all served with fruit for breakfasts. Sounds time consuming, but it’s really not because once in a while we have breakfast for dinner (pancakes/French toast) and I freeze the leftovers. We can then pop them into the toaster for a super quick, filling breakfast! Same sort of idea for lunches. Sandwiches, grilled cheese, soup, leftovers… Dinner is where most of the variety comes from!
Eat Those Leftovers!
Who wants leftovers? Most people generally are not fond of reheated meals the following day. However, eating leftovers is a great way to help you stick to your weekly food budget. If your family cannot handle the same meal twice in one week consider turning your leftovers into a new meal by turning it into a soup or stew, or adding new flavors or vegetables to it. Taco Tuesday can become taco salad (or taco soup) Wednesday. I especially love to freeze leftovers like spaghetti sauce. Makes for a super easy meal on a rushed night.
Feeding your family on $50 this week really comes down to being creative as much as it does frugal. People do what they have to do to survive and you, my friend, can totally make this work for your family. What tips do you have to add?
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