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As everyone looks for ways to cut the fat from their household budget, the food budget is often on the top of the list. But don’t despair--it is possible for families to eat cheaper just by shopping smarter. Here are some ways to trim down your food budget while still eating well.
Take Inventory of Your Pantry.
A well-stocked pantry is essential to paring down your grocery bill. How often have you come home, opened the fridge to find nothing to eat, and then proceeded to order a pizza? By making sure your pantry is stocked with the basics, you can prepare a pasta dish and have it on the table before the pizza delivery guy could ever find your door.
Here’s how: Invest in stocking your pantry (the basics include pasta, rice, chicken broth, sundried tomatoes, anchovies, canned tomatoes, canned clams, olive oil and staples such as russet potatoes, yellow onions, and garlic.) Always make sure you have butter and eggs in the fridge as well. Even if you only have 15 minutes to make dinner, that’s all the time you need to make a satisfying pasta dish using common pantry and fridge items:
Try This: Pasta with Clam Sauce
What You Need:
- 1 pound spaghetti, linguini, or capellini (capellini is the thinnest pasta with the quickest cooking time, perfect for when the family is really hungry.)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2-3 heads of chopped garlic
- 1 can of clams, reserving the clam juice
- one lemon
- ¼ cup chopped Italian flat parsley (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
What You Do:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and proceed to add your pasta to cook. While that is boiling, melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Once melted, add the garlic and sauté for about one minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the clams and clam juice and allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Zest the lemon and set aside. Juice the lemon and add two tablespoons to the sauce. Drain cooked pasta and add into the saucepan with the clam sauce, coating all the pasta with the sauce. Top with lemon zest and chopped parsley and serve.
Variety may be the spice of life, but it can also be very expensive when it comes to meal planning. Incorporate leftovers into your weekly meal plan. Not only will it save money, it’s a time saver too. Plan Sunday dinner so that a leftover dinner is always a given for Monday, and possibly for lunches for the early part of the week.
Here’s how: Prepare the classic roast chicken for Sunday, but instead of one, roast two. Stores like Costco often sell pairs of whole fryers for about $10. Serve one for Sunday dinner with carrots and mashed potatoes. Wrap and refrigerate the second chicken, and shred for chicken soft tacos for Monday night dinner. Still have leftover chicken? Add mayo, dried cranberries and toasted pecans and you have a fantastic chicken salad for lunch the next day.
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