With the steady increases in prices lately, it can get tricky planning family meals without breaking the bank. Saving money is always a wise thing but saving money for our family is even better. We can use it for better things like family travel or investing in our children’s education. Food is important as well, but being thrifty by eating cheap junk food is not the right alternative to save that hard-earned income. Luckily, I can recommend a few dishes that work great during periods where you want to cut down on your grocery budget.
Here are some simple and quick suggestions on what you can cook for your family. I find that these are both time savers and also nutritious.
Curry is one of the most versatile dishes that you can cook in big batches over the weekend and store them in the freezer. Make a visit to your nearest supermarket where you can buy any green or red curry paste that you mix with coconut milk. If possible, get those that were produced in Thailand. In my opinion, they are of a better quality. You can add any type of meat or vegetable to these curries. For example, it will go well with sliced green or red peppers, broccoli, zucchini or even mushroom. You can even adjust the spice level based on your family’s taste buds. Just as a tip in case the curry is too spicy for you, you can use some sugar or honey to counter-balance it. If you have a lot of leftover, you can divide it to two portions. Save one half in the fridge section and the other half in the freezer. You can repeat the same process by adding fresh meat or vegetables for the frozen portion to save time.
The slow cooker pot is one of the best cooking appliances in every home. You can prepare it the night before and have it ready for the next day’s lunch. For example, you can try one of my all time favorites – beef stew with potatoes. It’s both healthy and easy. Cut potatoes and chunks of beef stew into small pieces, toss them with celery, carrots and onion. Spice them to taste and they are ready for the cold season. If beef is a little pricey, you can also use pork. Or you can also try a vegetarian approach with bean stew and some chopped carrots. It’s super cheap and very nutritional if accompanied with some bread. Just make sure you boil them long enough for the meat to become tender, and the beans to soften.
One of the most comforting foods there is for the winter is lasagna or any type of casserole dishes. They can be fun to cook with your kids too. You can spend time with them preparing a pasta dish like lasagna or chicken enchilada. They can feel proud that they have helped and know how it was made. A quick fix that I make is a simple casserole with potatoes, ground meat and cheese: Simply boil your potatoes for 15 minutes first, grind your cheese, and cook the meat with some onions, garlic and tomato sauce. Make sure they aren’t hot when you mix them in the glass pan, so the cheese doesn’t melt. Put them in a heated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes, and voila.
I love cooking for my loved ones and I am sure you do too. For this holiday season, have a great time planning your family meals and I hope that you will try some of the above ideas for your next meal.
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