Supermarkets as well as local grocery stores release their flyers and advertise deals on Thursdays. This isn't an accident, retailers know most people buy their groceries on the weekend. I know, shopping the flyers sounds so 1970’s but I’m happy to have the savings in my pocket.
Pork shoulder makes awesome Pulled Pork and is often on sale. It's such a great choice as it feeds a crowd and it freezes really well, so nothing needs to go to waste.
Boneless chicken breasts and thighs are another popular protein that is frequently on sale. Chicken is just so versatile, pair it with fruits and vegetables that are in season and it will bring variety to your meals.
2. Cook what’s in season
Not only are fruits and vegetables that are in season cheaper they also taste better. If you are lucky enough to buy local, even better. Of course this isn’t always possible, lemons are on my list every week, I can’t live without them. But I live in Canada, where lemons aren't a local product. Many fruits and vegetables fall into this category, just decide the ones you must have and factor in the cost.
Root vegetables are a staple in winter (carrots, potatoes, turnip) they keep well and roasting brings out their natural sweetness. Nothing screams comfort food more than roast beef and mashed potatoes!
Spring asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables, it’s both cheaper and tastier in late March and April. I like to roast it with garlic and parmesan cheese. Roasted Asparagus is a great side dish with roast chicken. A frittata with leeks, asparagus and goat cheese turns Easter Sunday brunch into Yum!
Roasted Asparagus with garlic & parmesan cheese
3. Make a meal plan
Meal planning is such a part of my weekly routine, I can't remember not doing it. Once you get in the habit it saves time, money and can improve the nutritional content of your meals. Build your meal plan based on what’s on sale in those flyers. Thinking about meals once, for the entire week means you won't need to shop daily or every couple of days. It minimizes that 4:00 stress of ‘What’s for Dinner?’.
Most of us don't know what’s in the fridge or pantry on the drive home from work resulting in buying food already in the cupboard. This is costly, both in dollars and the amount of food that ends up in the trash bin.
4. Search Recipes
No longer do we need to own a stack of cook books and magazines. Unless you're like me and love them.
There are so many credible cooking websites out there. Two of my favourites are www.epicuirious.com and www.eatingwell.com. You can search by meal, by food (chicken, leeks) or by diet choice such as vegetarian and vegan. There really is something for everyone.
5. Shop your fridge & pantry
Once you have the recipes you’ll need for the week, its time to shop your fridge and pantry.
Check off the ingredients you already have so that you don't repurchase them. This also lets you know when something should be discarded and what you’re running low on. You will be amazed the amount of time this one activity can save you at the grocery store.
6. Take the grocery list with you & stick to it
This one task is sure to save you money. It decreases impulse buying. We’ve all been told that shopping on an empty stomach increases spur of the moment spending. I agree, but if I don't know what to buy I tend to put more items in the cart than when I have that list.
7. Reinvent leftovers
Cooking once and reinventing food for another meal not only saves time but also grocery dollars. When creating your meal plan decide what and how to reinvent turkey, chicken or beef and it doesn’t have to be as a sandwich.
Taco’s can be made with every protein including fish. Chicken & broccoli bake and enchilada’s are always a quick and delicious weeknight dinner.
When searching for a recipe just type in leftovers and you will be amazed at what you will discover.