I cook most of our meals at home and make my husband’s lunch for him to take to work. We do go out to eat but not very often. I have found that the less we go out to eat the more we like the food at home. When we do go out to eat I find I am almost always disappointed at our meal. So to combat going out to eat I like to make simple meals at home.
What is a simple meal?
A simple meal a meal you can put together without too much work. A meal that does not take too many ingredients. I will usually plan a main dish and fill the rest of the meal with a salad or potatoes or rice. So I may make spice rubbed steaks and then make a salad and baked a potato. All of the item for this meal takes very little time, very little ingredients and don’t cost too much.
Where to find simple meal ideas
Most of my menu plans I make are composed of simple meals. When I plan a meal I want to enjoy making it and not spend all day getting stressed out over what I need to do next to complete the meal. That doesn’t mean I never make a more elaborate meal but most of our meals are quick and easy to make.
I also like the recipes at Everday Foods. I had a subscription to this magazine for a while and it has great meal ideas. Most of them are very easy and quick to make but also tasty. I have found I can find almost all the recipes in my back issues of this magazine online so there are lots of meal ideas.
Another place to find some great meal ideas is at All Recipes. At All Recipes they have a menu section that has a quick and easy menu ideas. Most of the recipes in their quick and easy menu section that I have seen, are able to be prepared in under 30 minutes. They also have videos and recipes of all kinds. So if you need a recipe of any kind you will likely be able to find it at All Recipes.
Stock your pantry for simple meals
I have also found to make simple meals I only need a few things in my pantry. I will stock spaghetti sauce and pasta for a quick spaghetti dinner that can be made in minutes. I do sometimes make my own pasta sauce but having the sauce ready in the pantry helps to make the meal come together quickly on a busy day.
I stock canned tuna and salmon for a quick and easy tuna patty or tuna melts or even tuna casserole. Canned salmon works great for salmon patties. This is an inexpensive way to get more fish into your diet too.
I stock my freezer with meat packages. I will prepare the meat with or without a sauce for a certain dish. If I am making a stir fry package I will cut the chicken up and make the sauce then freeze it together. Then when I want to make stir fry it is just a matter of cutting up vegetables or opening a package of frozen stir fry vegetable and cooking the meat. All of this can be done while my rice is cooking as a side dish.
I have some posts for Spice Rubbed steak, Herb and Spice Rubbed chicken and ground beef for the freezer. Which are great starts to quick meals. I am hoping to add more freezer meal packages soon, so be sure to keep checking back.
Using simple meals to save money
By preparing meals that take only a few ingredients you can save money. It is usually less expensive to make a meal that only has five ingredients than one with ten ingredients. But you don’t have to give up flavor in a simple meal.
For example, I take a steak and place it in some homemade teriyaki sauce and marinate it overnight or all day. It only takes me a few minutes to get it marinating but adds lots of flavor. Then grill or broil the steak, make a batch of rice and some stir fried vegetables and you got dinner.
You can take a less expensive cut of meat and cook it all day in your crock pot. By using a crock pot it save you time, you only have to spend a few minute placing the meal in the pot and turn it on. But it also saves you money because you can use a less expensive cut of meat and the low and slow cooking all day makes it tender. Not to mention place a few potatoes and veggies in with the meat and you will have a meal in 4-8 hours.
So between planning easy meals you like to make, along with the use to a crock pot and making up some meat freezer packages you can get a meal done in no time flat. You will save money by not eating out. You will also know what is in your food because you made it yourself. Try putting a few simple meals into your meal plan this upcoming week and see if it helps you save time and money.
What are some of your favorite simple meals to make for your family?
Please share them with me in the comments.