This was my week off from shopping since I'm currently doing the shopping-every-other-week experiment so I spent no money on groceries. And do you know how nice it was to have plenty of food on hand and not have to worry about shopping? I haven't felt well most of this week (a bad head cold combined with being 38 weeks pregnant has left me fairly exhausted most days) so I was so thankful we were just able to stay home and eat from our stockpile.
Before I came down with my head cold, I did have a chance to have a Baking Day (you can read about that here, in case you missed it). I'm so glad I did that because not only did we finish filling up our freezer with snacks and meals for after the baby comes, but it also meant we had some quick and easy snacks on hand for the girls and Jesse to eat while I haven't been feeling well. Also, having chicken cooked up meant I could easily whip up a simple casserole or pizza this week without a lot of effort so we didn't fall back on carryout–something which I find easy to do when I'm not feeling well and haven't prepared some things for the freezer.
One thing I've really been finding recently is that having frozen veggies, muffins and rolls, and cooked chicken and ground beef in the freezer, along with some fresh fruit in the refrigerator, and a number of staples in the cupboards guarantees I'm able to put together a very simple and healthful dinner in minutes, all for a fraction of what we'd pay for picking up something at a restaurant.
Two of our favorite quick and easy meals:
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole–I cook and freeze up rice ahead of time and use cooked and chopped chicken from the freezer and then add in frozen broccoli, shredded cheese, cream soup, salt and pepper, and maybe butter and an egg or two. Using pre-cooked rice and chicken from the freezer, I can put this together in five minutes or so and then bake it for 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. While it's baking, I add some rolls or muffins from the freezer, some green beans, and some fruit and you have dinner in less than 20 minutes of preparation time!
Homemade Chicken Salsa Pizza–I use frozen homemade pizza dough and cooked and chopped chicken from the freezer. I just set it out around lunch time and then 30 minutes before dinner roll out the pizza dough, spread on some salsa or barbecue sauce, and then sprinkle on the cooked and chopped chicken, and generously sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake it (more detailed directions here). While the pizza is baking, add some fruit salad and some veggies and dinner is done in less than 30 minutes.
By not shopping this week and by having a plan for simple dinners to fall back on instead of carryout, we saved quite a bit of money this week. And it's these little things can really add up over time to make for Super Savings!
By the way, do you have any quick, easy, and frugal meal ideas your family falls back on during busy weeks or when you are feeling exhausted or sick? I'd love to hear them!
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