Our FABULOUS Guest Blogger today is Diane from Doofy Dizee. She’s a FELLOW Long Island Mom and loves to save money! Diane’s brand new to the blogging world and she’s off to a really fantastic start. Doofy Dizee is all about her blog adventure to hold herself accountable for cutting costs and losing weight. Diane has graciously taken on the task of helping me bring an amazing series about Frugal Meals to all of you! (We all know by now, I’m just not meant to be in the kitchen or grocery store, I am just meant to eat.) Check her out at Doofy Dizee AFTER you read all about Shopping and Cooking in Bulk!
What’s for Dinner? My answer used to be a round robin of McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell. I never knew what to cook. You know you have a problem when the kid at the drive-through recognizes you by the sound of your voice… Even when I had a hankering for something, I would realize I didn’t have the ingredients to make my meal. I was a mess.
To help myself, and my family, I started to plan my meals for the week and it was like a whole new world of food opened up to us! I had options that didn’t involve ordering off a large display board or toys with my kid meal.
I base my menu on store sales of the week and what is in my pantry. I try to allow a little latitude on the day when I get home from work and the last thing I feel like doing is cooking a large meal. Those nights, I make very simple dishes – like pierogies & veggies, or easy quesadillas.
On days when I’m feeling a bit crazy, I like to cook a double batch of a dinner that freezes well, such as casseroles, baked ziti and chicken dishes. The trick to storing these meals is all in the way you wrap it. I try to freeze meals in smaller portions. If I make a tray of baked ziti, I freeze it in two halves. Recently, I discovered the ultimate in space saving techniques – liberal use of zip lock bags for storage.
Some of you may have a husband like mine: Hates meals that are re-heated. What a downer! Thankfully, I discovered the ‘half prep’ technique. I chop extra onions, veggies, chicken, etc. while I am preparing a meal & freeze them uncooked. Then, when I am ready to actually make something, I simply defrost and cook fresh. The husband is none the wiser! He’s got no clue that the food was taken from the freezer and my meal is prepared fresh in a third of the time. Win/Win. (Remember, don’t let him in on the secret. You will need to pretend like the meal was tough to prepare. Dab your brow when he is in view and occasionally utter an obscenity or two. It will add to the authenticity of the meal… at least in my house).
Whenever we pick up a pizza pie, we also pick up some pizza dough. By us, the cost is minimal and I get at least two meals out of it (more on this next week so check back!)
I am fascinated by those who dedicate one day to making meals for an entire month. It is so impressive and ambitious – I am just not there yet. Has anyone tried this? Do you have any tips? This can be a real time & money saver.