If you're like most people, you're constantly on the lookout for quick, easy, and budget-friendly ways to feed your family. Try the following ideas:
Preparing a week's worth of meals at a time. If you put in a little effort upfront, it will be worth your while when you come home each night to a dinner that is ready to eat. To save money, prepare a roast and use it for sandwiches, beef stroganoff, or in a stir-fry instead of all of it at once. Freeze several pounds of hamburger for later use by making a casserole, taco meat, or chili.
When you come home from the grocery store, wash all of the fruits and vegetables you can before storing them in your refrigerator. To eat them, all you need to do is cook them or add them to a salad or soup when it's time for dinner.
Watch culinary programs on television for inspiration. Some excellent television programs teach you how to prepare a nutritious dinner in only a few minutes.
Create a recipe file that is constantly updated. With a recipe file, you don't have to worry about planning 30 dinners a month. Make a monthly file with everyone's favorite recipes and let them vote on the ones they want to include. After five or fifteen days, the dish is ready to be prepared.
Involve your family members in the process. As soon as the children are old enough, split up the cooking duties. Allow everyone to help out with a single chore or the whole dinner. With pre-washed and pre-cut produce, these recipes are a no-brainer for dinnertime.
Sharing the cooking with friends or neighbors is a great way to get everyone involved in the process. Some of my acquaintances have been known to prepare multiples of the same dish and then exchange them with a similar number of individuals. This works better with the same fundamental notions of what they like and dislike. It's a terrific concept for a simple week of dinners.
When you go to the grocery store, remember to save your coupons for easy-to-find items. Fresh or frozen, they provide whole dishes and evenings. For an evening when everyone is going to various places and time is of the essence, they are an excellent option to have in your arsenal.
It's OK to dine out sometimes. For these occasions, remember to save your coupons, and if you have children, search for establishments that provide discounted rates for those under the age of 12. Healthy options are being offered by a few fast-food chains, but this is still a work in progress.
Almost every major city has a restaurant that serves dinner at night. At first glance, they seem pricey, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. They may be used by a single individual or a whole family. There are a wide variety of menu options and special-diet meals available. This may work for you if you do the math on how much food you purchase and how often you dine out each week.
Decide which ideas from the list above work best for you and combine them into one cohesive strategy.
You don't have to spend all day in the kitchen to make fast and simple meals. All you need is a little forethought.