With the arrival of Fall ….
I look forward to the end of sweltering heat & humidity, the beginning of football season & starting to spend more time in the kitchen developing more complex recipes with richer aromas.  Although, I am sad that sooner than later we’ll have to don more layers for early morning dog walks as the urge for icy, refreshing cocktails fades.  For most of us however, this change of season symbolizes back to school, back to a routine and shorter days, which can cut into the family dinner schedule.  All the more reason to get into a habit of planning ahead for healthier, easy to prepare dinner choices.   Here are a few tips to achieve a more efficient, leaner budget menu, along with a few dinner concepts to get you started.

  • Try to plan at least 3 nights meals ahead of time; take a pix of what’s in the refrigerator so you won’t duplicate and waste $$.
  • Review grocery weekly ads as you create shopping lists; cut out coupons then organize by aisle or category and keep in the car; plan recipes around what’s fresh in season to save $$.
  • If you’ve got the storage room, be sure to buy meats at big warehouse stores; simply separate into portions in plastic freezer bags.  Not only will you save time, you’ll save big bucks.
  • Learn to eat leftovers for lunch!  Cook a double or triple batch of vegetables and use for hot & cold meals over the next few days.
  • My favorite tip of all:  when you do have time on the weekends, overload on what you’re cooking, cool well & freeze.

 

3 meals from a Rotisserie Chicken- for a family of 4

2 store bought whole Rotisserie Chickens- eat with your family’s favorite vegys the 1st night

Carve off remaining chicken for 2nd dinner and a lunch or two- chicken salad, chicken quesadillas, chicken fajitas/burritos, or atop greens for a salad meal with favorite toppings

Put the carcass in the crock pot, add onion, leftover vegys, & broth.  Dinner’s ready when you walk in the door!  Leftovers can be frozen or used for another lunch.

3 meals from Pork Tenderloin-  for a family of 4

2.5 lbs Pork Tenderloin- bake or grill for the first meal

Slice half of the remaining meat in 1/2-inch x 1-inch pieces and add to your favorite stir fry ingredients tacos, or quesadillas w sauteed onion & cheese

Chop the other half into 1-inch pieces and add to a can of drained black beans, cooked cubed squash or sweet potato for a Fall stew

Share one of your solutions to the dinner dilemma!