To help make your weeks flow smoother and save your budget from fast food dinners that break the bank, I am bringing you a list of 5 Easy Frugal Meal ideas and Prep Tips. Put these simple tricks into place in your home and find yourself with unexpected savings in your budget as well as less stressful evenings after work and before bedtime.
5 Easy Frugal Meal Ideas and Prep Tips
It’s easy to realize that buying meat in larger quantities typically gives you the best price per ounce. Put this into practice but rather than simply throwing that large back into the freezer or even dividing it up to freeze, go ahead and pre-cook the meat, allow to cool, label and freeze. Chicken is great if cooked on the grill, baked or boiled. Hamburger or ground meats can be precooked with simple salt/pepper seasoning and divided into 1-2 cup portions to be put into casseroles, tacos, spaghetti, etc. Even things like pork chops, turkey breasts, ham and steaks can be cooked ahead, frozen and labeled. Pull the meat out of the freezer the night before use allow to thaw in your refrigerator and save half your cooking time and money on buying in bulk.
Take a few minutes each week to plan ahead and decide what meals you wish to have each evening. During busy schedule times planning meals that can provide leftovers for lunch the next day or that provide 2 nights worth of meals for the family are great. Casseroles, soups, stews and easy foods like spaghetti & tacos are great choices. This is one of the most important frugal meal prep tips we stress to you.
PREP FRESH VEGETABLES ONCE A WEEK
Using your menu plan as a guide prep vegetables you will need later in the week. Slice peppers and onions when you buy them and store in plastic storage bags in the freezer for easy grabbing as needed. (These are often cheaper in produce clearance and can be prepped and saved for later use.) Slice, dice and clean veggies for sandwiches and salads ahead of time and don’t neglect fruit like grapes, berries and melons that can be rinsed, peeled and stored in portion containers for easy grab and go lunches & dinners.
COOK DOUBLE BATCHES
Even if your family doesn’t like eating leftovers, cooking larger portions can save you time and money later. Split the casserole, batch of spaghetti or slow cooker of chili in two and store the second half in freezer safe containers that are marked and labeled clearly. On those weeks or nights when reheating is the only option, grab something from the freezer and enjoy one of your family favorites a second time around without the extra kitchen time.
MAKE ONE NIGHT VEGETARIAN OR SANDWICHES
Skip the meat in your meal one night awake to safe on cook time as well as money or simply make one evening a week a “fend for yourself” sandwich night. Whether it be pre-cooked hamburgers or chicken breasts in the freezer, luncheon meat or classic peanut butter & jelly this can be a stress free meal that saves time and money.
Planning ahead is really the best way to come up with easy frugal meal ideas and prep time for it during this busier time of year. Don’t neglect to include the entire family in menu planning and prep each week. If it’s as simple as helping you set the table or toss prepped veggies in baggies even the youngest kids can get involved and help out to ease the burden for mom or dad.