Today at work I stopped by my coworker Kelly’s desk to check out these cool hair pieces she is selling by a company called Lilla Rose. Anyone who knows me decently well knows not only can I NOT do a single thing to my hair, I typically won’t even attempt anything outside of my like 4 or 5 different styles that I shuffle between. However, these little clippy thingys (Sorry, Kelly, I have no idea what you really call them) can really spruce up a style so I was interested in checking them out. (And if you are interested in any of them, feel free to let me know and I can get you her contact information, or you can visit her page at lillarose.biz/kellyengelman)
However, somehow, when we were talking we got on the subject of grocery shopping. Man, I don’t know why buying groceries is so expensive. We were discussing the amounts we spend weekly and the types of things we buy. Kelly was very surprised to find out I plan our meals out a month in advance and do so for many reasons, a large one being budgeting. “But what if you don’t want what you have on the schedule that day?” she asked me. “I make it anyways.” I explained. (However, as I previously said in another post- I am NOT opposed to changing up the order through the week so I try to keep that in mind when I am planning for the current week we are in). I told her how doing this planning allows me to take stress off of the constant planning, allows for greater budgeting and keeps me prepared. She said “Man you should teach a class about budgeting and planning.” I laughed it off, because, well, I certainly don’t feel like I could have enough to say on the subject, nor am I any sort of expert on it. But, it got me thinking, for someone like Kelly, who just moved out and bought her first house, and often goes to her Dad’s house for dinner, but still has to buy groceries and yet doesn’t really know how to cook- how does one even begin to know where to star
t?! I find grocery stores overwhelming usually, and I know what I am after. I could imagine if I didn’t. Actually no, no I couldn’t imagine if I didn’t, and if I had not set up a budget or plan for us- the bill could add up extremely quickly! So, as I said, it got me thinking… and while I will not be teaching a class on budgeting and meal planning, I figure it would make for a great blog post!
Let me start off by saying- budgeting and meal planning is hard work at first. It takes dedication, and it takes time and effort. I often try to not make the same thing too often, and I try to use all of whatever I am buying that week (for example, buns, potatoes, etc) On top of this, it is not always as cheap as it should be when getting started because you don’t have a lot of the staples that people have. (I wish that was something I would have realized at first) But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still eat easy to make, semi-healthy (I will be the first to admit they could be made healthier and could be made less healthy too!), meals for cheap! I have a lot of go to staples that I make when I want something done in a crock pot, when I want something quick and easy, or even when I want something that may look like I put in a little more effort (but often times don’t-shhhh) so, if you are looking for something to make for dinner next week, or even thinking about what to add on your shopping list- give a second thought to some of these. Or, maybe you already do use these ideas- and if so, kudos to you!
Meatball Subs- 1 bag of frozen meatballs (beef, turkey, whatever your preference), 1 jar of red sauce (once again whatever your sauce), sub or hotdog buns, cheese (optional)
Literally SO simple, you just combine the meatballs and sauce in a pan, bake as instructed on the bag and add them to the sub roll with some cheese, throw them in the oven under the broiler for 10 minutes to crisp the buns and melt the cheese and boom!
Spaghetti/Pesto- Noodles, sauce (spaghetti OR pesto- depending on your choice) and some Parmesan cheese (optional)… of course I live with a big meat loving man, so if I make spaghetti I use a pound of turkey or lean hamburger, and if I do pesto, grilling or baking a couple chicken breasts usually works best.
Buffalo Chicken Wraps- 1.5-2 lbs of chicken breast, shake and bake buffalo chicken mix, tortillas (flour, corn, whatever you prefer), cheese, lettuce and ranch optional
Slice chicken, throw in a bag with the shake and bake mix and bake in the oven as directed on the box. Create wrap once chicken is baked as desired, you can add lettuce, cheese, ranch, tomato, avocado, as much or as little of anything you want really! (I will say I was not excited to try this the first time- and pleasantly surprised that I ended up liking it!)
Breakfast for dinner- This is of course has endless options- make some pancakes or french toast with some eggs and whatever breakfast meat you enjoy (or not), or get creative and buy some bagels or English muffins and make breakfast sandwiches. If you are trying to cut costs, a good option if you do buffalo chicken wraps is to use the tortillas from that meal and make breakfast burritos, or even just use toast to make a sandwich! Like I said, options are endless!
Kielbasa, Potatoes and Green Beans- 1 kielbasa (brand, type of meat, etc all your choice), 4-5 russet potatoes, 1 bag of frozen green beans (I use frozen veggies versus can, but 1-2 cans of frozen veggies would work fine as well)
Such a cheap, easy crock pot meal- slice kielbasa, cube potatoes, and dump those along with the green beans and 1/2-1 cup of water in the crock pot and cook it on low all day while at work.
Chicken Tacos/nachos- 2 lbs of chicken breast, 8 oz cream cheese, 1 jar of salsa
Another cheap and easy crock pot mea
l- combine everything in the crock pot and cook it all day on low. You can make it into nachos with chips or as tacos with tortillas. Feel free to add avocado to it, black beans, corn, any veggie you think sounds good for added nutrition.
Now that I have shared a few secrets for cheap, quick and easy meals, my friends won’t say “wow” when they call and ask what I am cooking for dinner tonight. Whoops! 🙂 But truly, there are plenty more ideas where those came from so I am totally happy to give out any other ideas and maybe one day I will even do another blog post about them!