If you’re human, you breathe and eat. That’s the deal.
Breathing is free; eating not so much.
In a household with two working parents, finding time to grocery shop and prepare healthy meals can be difficult. It’s a mistake to not try though.
Want to burn through cash faster than a no-revenue Silicon Valley start-up? Go out to eat every night.
Want to have emotionally distant and disconnected children? Make meal eating a you’re-on-your-own free-for-all, with members eating at different times and in different places.
So for us, we’ve made a concerted effort to eat the vast majority of meals at home – together.
Nora leads this effort and she has a few tactics:
1. Frequent the same store every time
This is more about efficiency than cost, since time is so critical. We use Safeway, but most groceries will do as long as it isn’t one of those specialty (read: expensive) places.
2. Start with the grocery store sales flier
Everything flows from this. Scan for familiar key ingredients that are being offered for a great price. Buy even if you can’t use it for a while – that’s what the pantry and freezer is for.
3. Look for manufacturer coupons for the same items
If you can increase your savings on items you already plan to buy without too much extra effort, why not go for it? Utilize Sunday newspaper coupons or e-coupons.
4. Stick to a handful of go-to dishes
Nora has about 20 dishes that she makes regularly. That’s enough variety to keep things interesting, yet she can make these with her eyes closed practically. Potato soup. Cheeseburger pie. Pesto pasta. Garden salad. Quiche. Lentil soup. Meatloaf. Macaroni & cheese.
5. Go big when you cook
She doubles and triples recipes to ensure lots of leftovers for lunches. ‘Go big’ also means cooking multiple dishes at the same time. We have four stove top burners and sometimes she has a soup on each one, with just one scheduled for consumption that evening.
6. Don’t stress about dessert
If you are tense about meals already, dessert will put you over the edge. Skip it. Or even better, eat ice cream on a regular basis!
Here is the recipe Nora uses for an easy and delish Egyptian Lentil Soup. Make it only when the lentils are on sale!
Serve and enjoy!
Queen Mum says
All good ideas. And when you’re making a lot of something to get several meals out of it, change the accompaniments each time it’s served for a whole new look. Think salad, rolls, fruit garnish, etc. I’ve even changed a noodle soup to a casserole for its encore appearance by adding chicken chunks and more veggies. Just put a crust on top and pop it in the oven.
Incidentally, there’s nothing like something with yeast in it to capture the imagination of kids learning to cook. I mean, yeast is magic. It’s alive! It does take a little time for the yeasties to do their thing, so start on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. Almost all recipes make enough to freeze some for another day.
The Queen Mum is a very wise lady.
Also: Try Aldi! So much cheaper than Safeway.
I’ve heard that about Aldi. I sometimes go to Save-A-Lot, which is the type of store you don’t have to look at the prices much – most everything is a good deal.
Queen Mum says
An unsubstantiated rumor has it that Aldi is Joe’s brother (as in Trader Joe), but in any case the prices are good even if the selection is sketchy in some departments. Good bread. Try it.
Queen Mum says
P.S. Love the photo of Pippa and Grey!
I like how she Goes Big! Some days it’s so convenient to have meals already ready. Especially after a long day at work. I also think it’s great to have the kiddos help out in the kitchen 🙂 I do this with my niece and nephew!
When they are young, you need great patience to have the kids “help” in the kitchen. Down the road it pays many dividends though!