Meals on a budget takes a bit of organizing. It used to be that you could have a few tried and true recipes and rotate them to make meals that made everyone happy. Now, people decide they need to be vegetarian or gluten free or whatever, and it takes a bit more to keep up with plans.
I have binders I picked up at the goodwill and print recipes from Betty Crocker on line. Sometimes someone will give a new one to me, Plastic sleeves are at the dollar store. The office big box stores have them, but I don't see the need to have super good quality for this use. If you have the recipes under plastic it saves them from getting messed up with splatters while you cook. I also have my personal recipe binders from the 80's .
I recently found recipes that are designed to make ahead the night before and put in the fridge. You can come home from whatever and stick them in the oven, or in the crockpot the next morning and have dinner ready. I find this desirable because our meal time is late because of schedule issues and by that time, I'm wasted. The last thing I want to do is spend an hour cooking dinner AND watching a toddler. LOL. Before, it was nice to come home from work and shove something from the fridge to the oven and sit and watch the news with a glass of ice tea, or have time to get a load of laundry in before dinners.
I'm in the process of separating the recipes into other sub groups. I have deserts and sides on one book and main dishes in another.
I have developed a meal plan work sheet that helps with using up what needs to be eaten soon and listing what you have to work with and what you may need to buy to fill in. Most of the time I don't need anything but I don't stock any speciality items like avocados etc.
Mohave a small closet /pantry on my kitchen. I have different items in sections on shelves. I can tell if I see white space whether or. It I need to watch for a sale. This doesn't come fast, but eventually you get there. When you find something 1/2 price you buy two instead of buying one. You have spent your regular money, and you are one ahead. Eventually you get to the point where you only buy the sales on its,a the you use in a regular basis and the perishables you need. Once a month I go to Costco and buy eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese. I watch Fred Meyers for milk and buy as much as I think we will need before it goes on sale again, watching our consumption and pull dates. Usuall I can rotate between qfc and Fred Meyer sales and cover ourselves. I haven't had to pay full price for milk in a while.
We get Winco on October 22nd. I can't wait. It is no sere that I am not a anzmoured with the merger or buy out of albertsons and Safeways. It has created a big upheaval in the grocery industry and now Haggens has filed chapter 11 stating that they have lawsuits pending from the ,eager and owe wages. My daughter was stiffed out of three grand worth of wages, it os,not a good thing
At least now, we have Kroger and Winco along with Costco and grocery outlet to stay the tide until things level out. I suspect that the two stores will merge, and unfortunately, stores will close and jobs will be lost.
Being flexible and changing meals to adapt to the rising cost of some food items, knowing your prices on your staple ite,s and stocking when it's a RBP are tools you can use to keep your grocery down to a manageable amount.
The Internet can be a wonderful resource for recipes and ideas.
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