The Cure for Your Meal Planning Blues

Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2018

What if there was just one thing standing between you, a lower grocery bill and a healthier life?

I know it seems hard to believe but hear me out…

Healthy meals don’t just happen. (Wouldn’t that be nice!) You have to decide what you’re eating, make your list, buy the ingredients, and then prepare everything. And the domino that starts it all is knowing what you’re going to eat.

In other words, the path to a lower grocery bill and health begins with a plan.

Starting today, and for only 48 hours, you can get your hands on ready-made meal plans for just the way you eat – complete with shopping lists and fresh recipes – for a ridiculously low price.

It’s called the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle and here’s how it works:

It’s a complete meal planning solution made up of 10 mini-bundles.

Each bundle contains digital cookbooks, fresh meal ideas, and ready-made plans (and even grocery lists!). No matter how you eat, there’s a mini-bundle that’s perfect for you and there are two buying options:

Option 1: Pick up just one mini-bundle that works best for your life right now – quick & healthy, budget-friendly, Instant Pot & slow cooker OR diet-specific options like vegan, real food, paleo, keto, gluten-free… there’s one that’s right for you.

Option 2: For less than the price of two mini-bundles, get the ENTIRE package with over 3,000 recipes and 100 weeks of made-for-you meal plans, so you’ve got total control no matter how your food needs change.

You really can start saving money and get healthier, starting today.

Make those dominos fall by picking up your copy of the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle (or any of the mini-bundles) right here.

Sale ends September 25, 2018.

20 Family Dinner Recipes that Cut our Grocery Bill

Planning a menu each week can be such an annoyance. Some weeks, it would take me hours to come up with enough meals for the week because I’d always try to add variety with new meals. I would scour cookbooks and Pinterest for new recipes and get distracted trying to decide if something sounded good or not. Or whether or not the rest of the family would eat it… So, one thing that has helped us to cut our grocery budget was to create a short, go-to recipe list! I mean, we eat the same basic things for breakfast each day, why not apply the principle to dinner too?

If you want to finally stop wasting money on groceries, I'd encourage you to grab some inspiration from our go-to recipe list. #mealplanning #menuplanning #dinnerideas #easydinner

Narrowing our meal ideas to only 20 options has made meal planning a breeze and has saved us so much money. It also reduces food waste, because I know I am making food that we all enjoy. These meals are a mix of quick & easy meals, recipes that are great for leftovers, and some a wee bit more complicated because they’re just so tasty.

So, if you want to finally stop wasting money on groceries, I’d encourage you to grab some inspiration from our go-to recipe list. Here’s what we’re eating, aside from leftover nights and super simple meals (like tomato soup & grilled cheese):

  1. Tacos – I find that one package of ground beef is enough for two meals for our family. I’ll often make it stretch further with a can of baked beans.
  2. French Toast – We often like breakfast meals for dinner. I especially love to make a big batch of French toast because I can freeze the leftovers for quick breakfasts.
  3. Instant Pot Beef Stew – This is so good! Since the recipe doesn’t call for potatoes, I like to serve it over mashed potatoes.
  4. Spaghetti – Lately I’ve been browning ground beef, adding it to the slow cooker with a jar of pasta sauce, a bit of water and a sprinkle of beef bouillon powder.
  5. Hamburger Soup – This freezes well and is enjoyed every time I make it.
  6. Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce Pork Chops – Place pork chops over sliced onions in a slow cooker, then pour your favourite BBQ sauce over top. Cook on low for about 4 – 6 hours. Serve with rice or potatoes and steamed veggies.
  7. Sausage and Potato Bake – Cut up potato, carrots, sweet potato, peppers, and farmer’s sausage and place in a big 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle olive oil and a dose of oregano, salt & pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.
  8. Roasted chicken – It no secret that a roasted whole chicken can stretch for many meals. I’ll often buy rotisserie chicken for a super fast dinner with veggies and potatoes.
  9. Balsamic beef roast – This is another meal that stretches far or is great for feeding a crowd.
  10. Quiche– a satisfying meal
  11. Instant Pot Honey Sesame chicken – Delicious served with rice and veggies!
  12. Creamy chicken soup – This is another delicious soup that freezes well!
  13. Chicken pesto stuffed shells – My husband’s favourite meal that actually isn’t that hard to make! Great freezer meal too.
  14. Ramen Vegetable stirfry – I buy the healthy ramen noodles from Costco. A great way to use up vegetables that are needing to be used up.
  15. Meatballs– These are so versatile and the recipe make a ton so you’ll have plenty for the freezer.
  16. Chicken in basil sauce – One of our “fancy” dinners that we enjoy.
  17. Fettuccine Alfredo – An indulgence we don’t mind occasionally since we need to fatten up the kids. 😉
  18. White Chicken Chili – A good twist on classic chili that again, freezes well.
  19. Chicken & Asparagus Pasta Bake – So easy to put together. Also works well with green beans.
  20. Slow Cooker Barbacoa – Leftovers are so good over salad, in tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more!

There you have it! The 20 family dinner recipes that have managed to cut our grocery bill!

Does your family have a go-to recipe list? What are your favourite meals?


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The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 3

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge from SimplyFrugal.ca

Welcome back to the Eating from The Pantry & Freezer Challenge!  Here’s what it’s all about or you can read the post from Week 2.

Here’s my update from last week

I took a little hiatus last week since we had family visiting and we were all over the place! We feasted on burgers, hot dogs, pizza… all the healthy stuff 😉 Needless to say, we still have quite a bit of stuff in our pantry and freezer!

This week should be different so we should be going through quite a bit of stuff.

Getting creative with what you have left

At this point in the challenge you may have come to a point where you need to be creative when it comes to using up what you have an abundance of and filling the spaces of those things you wish you could go out and buy.

There are a few great websites out there that will come up with some recipes for the ingredients you already have on hand.  All Recipes is one of them.  Simply input the ingredients you have and the ingredients you don’t have and it will pull up a list of recipes you could make!  Recipe Matcher, Supercook and Ingredient Chef are also good resources!

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Since not many of my planned meals got made last week, you’ll see some recycled meals on this week’s menu.

Monday:

  • Breakfast:  Refrigerator oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner: Asian Vegetable Pasta (with chicken and using healthy ramen noodles from Costco), artisan bread in the slow cooker

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Breakfast:  refrigerated oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Potato soup
  • Dinner: Quiche, salad

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Brunch: Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, toast
  • Dinner:  Leftovers

Sunday:

Now it’s your turn, what’s your update and what will you be eating this week?

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 2

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge from SimplyFrugal.ca

Welcome to the second week of the Eating from The Pantry & Freezer Challenge!  Here’s what it’s all about or you can read the post from Week 1.

Here’s my update:

As it seems with all my weeks, not every meal I had planned got made.  Things just come up or we have more leftovers than we thought!

But I did manage to rid our freezer of a few things!  Some taco meat is gone, a couple of bags of frozen fruit are gone, along with quite a few frozen bananas.

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Monday:

  • Breakfast:  Banana Muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Egg Salad sandwich
  • Dinner: Ham, mashed potatoes, corn (didn’t get made last week)

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs with yogurt
  • Lunch: Potato soup using leftover ham?
  • Dinner: Cheesy Beef & Rice

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast:  Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Potato soup using leftover ham?
  • Dinner:  Baked Ravioli

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Banana muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  leftovers
  • Dinner: Leftovers

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Refrigerator oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner: We will have family in town so maybe a BBQ but I’m not setting anything in stone

Saturday:

  • Brunch:  French Toast
  • Dinner:  We will have family in town so I’m not setting anything in stone

Sunday:

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal/cereal, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Egg salad sandwich
  • Dinner:  We will have family in town so I’m not setting anything in stone

Now it’s your turn to share your menu plan with the rest of us!  We’d also love to hear your progress and savings report!

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge Starts! Week 1

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge from SimplyFrugal.ca

It’s time to start the Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge!

I told you last week that I’d be sharing my goals and plans, so here’s what I’ve got in mind:

My number one goal is to clean out the pantry and freezers, especially the freezers!  It seems like we’re always throwing stuff out because it gets lost for far too long. 🙁

Also, I think it’s important to say to make this challenge your own.  Decide what will work best for you to help you clear out your pantry and freezer while still making it a challenge.  Maybe this means you won’t be buying any household items (toilet paper, toothpaste..etc) because you really do have enough to get you through until the end of the challenge. Or maybe you realize that you have a ton of stuff to go through so you can actually do the challenge for 5 weeks.  Make it yours!

Now, how am I going to make this happen?

I took inventory of our pantry and freezers (and discovered that I don’t have as much meat as I thought)!  Here’s what I’ll be working with:

  • Some shredded chicken
  • a couple of packs of Ground beef
  • Taco meat
  • Ham
  • Shrimp
  • Pulled pork
  • Plenty of flour, oatmeal, rice, pasta, quinoa
  • Lots of dried beans and lentils
  • Lots of frozen fruit (peaches, strawberries, mixed berries, raspberries)
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Chicken nuggets/fries
  • Puff pastry
  • Crackers
  • Apple sauce
  • Premade butter chicken and Coconut curry (No one will eat it but me!)
  • Frozen bananas
  • And lots more!

I’m actually quite shocked at how much I found and I’m sure I could do this challenge for longer than I have planned!

Don’t forget to join the Simply Frugal Pantry Challenge Facebook group!  I want it to be a place where we share meal inspiration, tips and more!

Here’s what we’ll be eating until next Sunday 

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Tomato soup
  • Dinner: Taco bar

Thursday:

  • Breakfast:  Banana muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Chicken noodle soup
  • Dinner: Ham, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Overnight oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner: Chicken in basil cream sauce, Greek quinoa, steamed vegetables

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Waffles with Berry sauce and whipping cream
  • Lunch:  Cheese Quesadillas
  • Dinner: Fettucine Alfredo, Caesar Salad, Raw carrots

Sunday:

  • Brunch:  Oatmeal/cereal
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwhiches
  • Dinner:  At my parents

On Monday, April 23, I’ll be back with my next menu plan!

Now, it’s your turn to share your menu plan, goals and plan of attack with the rest of us!

How to Turn Ramen Noodles Into a Healthy Meal Idea

It is no secret that Ramen Noodles are a staple in every college student’s pantry. However, ramen noodles are not just for the college student, bachelor, or preschooler anymore. I have even found some organic brown rice ramen by Lotus Foods at Costco that we love, making it a healthy choice for our family! Even if you buy the budget friendly packs of ramen, there are quite a few healthy ways to spice up a package of the fried noodles.

How to Turn Ramen Noodles Into a Healthy Meal Idea

How to turn ramen noodles into a healthy meal idea. This post sure has me wanting some ramen noodles now! #healthymealidea #mealidea #ramennoodles #cheapeats #budgetbites

Ditch the Packet

Some people prefer ramen noodles simply because they are cheap, cheap, cheap. Others prefer them because of the beef, chicken, or oriental flavor that comes in the package. While that packet is full of flavor, it is also packed full of sodium and MSG. Make your meal a bit healthier, by ditching the packet, and adding your own herbs and flavoring. Boil the pasta in low sodium chicken or beef broth, and throw in some pepper and herbs, like thyme, or oregano.

Use Uncooked, as a Topping

That’s right. You can eat Ramen without cooking them first! Dig the recipe for your favorite Asian inspired salad out of your recipe box, and simply swap out the Asian noodles for Ramen Noodles. Just discard the seasoning packet and break the noodles up. Add them to your salad just before serving.

Stir Fry

Instead of opting for burgers and fries, pull out a package of ramen, and some fresh or frozen veggies. Cook up chicken or beef pieces, and throw some in some veggies, with a bit of low sodium soy sauce. Meanwhile, cook the Ramen in either plain water, or low sodium beef or chicken broth. Once it is all done, simply toss it all together, and grab a bowl and a seat.

Make a Hearty Soup

There is nothing like a hot bowl of hearty soup, on a chilly evening. Gather the ingredients for your favorite soup, and toss it all in the slow cooker. When there are just a few minutes left of cooking time, add a packet or two of Ramen, minus the flavor packets, and you have yourself an easy, healthy meal.

Limit the amount you eat

Even if you dish up Ramen Noodles to be healthier, you still need to limit the amount you eat. Many carbs come from ramen noodles, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Which is why adding them to a salad as a topping or using it as a filler, is an excellent idea.

The great thing about Ramen is that it’s so inexpensive. Once you get rid of the packet and figure out how to make it into the perfect healthy dish, you are good to go.

I’d love to hear how you use ramen noodles! Let me know in the comments below!

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