The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Meal Plan Your Way To Free Time

Posted over 2 years ago by Jessica H

Posted in Cooking, Home, & Garden, eBooks & eAudiobooks and Resources | Tagged with couponing, easy meals, food, freezer meals, make ahead meals, meal planning, quick cooking, save money, save time, slow cooker and weekday meals

Do you want to save time and money?

Try these simple steps to get started …

Step 1: Get started with a meal planning calendar. 

Keep an eye out for new recipes that fit your time frame and your appetite. In the beginning, flexibility may be necessary. Write it down, see what works.

Step 2: Make that shopping list.

Keep sales in mind. Working with sales to do your meal planning can save you big time.

Check out your local grocery store online. Many offer online couponing and buying rewards. View ads, clip what you use, and earn rewards in one location!

Step 3: Prep your food.

If your upcoming recipe requires sliced or diced veggies, do the work now and store them for easy access later. Prepping food ahead of time can be your biggest time saver on busy days.

Step 4: Practice preemptive cooking.

Pre­cook components of lunches and dinners for easy access. Store them strategically for on the go meals.

If a recipe can be cooked in advance and frozen, why not? Spending time on prep day by doing some bulk cooking will cut time and energy later. If you have a day of chaos in the cards, it may be the day to pull from your pre­-frozen entree list.

Don’t underestimate the value of doubling batches! Double up now to stock your freezer and use up extra fresh ingredients before they go bad. Double the reason to double batch.

Pave your way to meal planning success with the help of quick recipes.

Dinner A.S.A.P. : 150 meals made As Simple As Possible / by the editors of Cooking Light Prep-ahead meals from scratch / Quick & Easy Batch Cooking Techniques and Recipes That Save You Time and Money / Alea Milham, founder of the food blog Premeditated leftovers Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast : Weeknight Meals - Cooking Light Deliciously Ella every day : quick and easy recipes for gluten-free snacks, packed lunches, and simple meals / Ella Woodward
The quick six fix : 100 no-fuss, full flavor recipes, 6 ingredients, 6 minutes prep, 6 minutes clean-up / Stuart O'Keeffe with Kathleen Squires The Everygirl's guide to cooking / Maria Menounos with Keven Undergaro Michael Symon's 5 in 5 for every season : 150 quick dinners, sides, and holiday dishes / Michael Symon with Douglas Trattner ; photographs by Jennifer May Easy Weeknight Dinners - Taste of Home
Slow cooker dump dinners : 5-ingredient recipes for meals that (practically) cook themselves / Jennifer Palmer Make it ahead : a Barefoot Contessa cookbook by Ina GartenSouthern Living fix it & freeze it, heat it & eat it It's all easy : delicious weekday recipes for the super-busy home cook / Gwyneth Paltrow with Thea Baumann ; photographs by Ditte Isager

Or check out these books to save time and money.

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family: Includes so many innovative strategies you won't have to cut coupons by Steve and Annette Economides Good and cheap : eat well on $4/day / Leanne Brown The $5 dinner mom cookbook : 200 recipes for quick, delicious, and nourishing meals that are easy on the budget and a snap to prepare / Erin Chase Supermarket healthy : recipes and know-how for eating well without spending a lot / Melissa d'Arabian with Raquel Pelzel
Budget bytes : over 100 easy, delicious recipes to slash your grocery bill in half / Beth Moncel Budget Meals : Save big $$$ with smart ways to shop and efficient ways to cook $3 Low-Calorie Meals : Delicious, low-cost dishes that won't add to your waistline / Ellen Brown Budget savvy diva's guide to slashing your grocery bill by 50% or more : secret tricks & clever tips for eating great & saving money / Sara Lundberg

No time to visit the library? Explore our eBook collection

Williams-Sonoma School Night Dinner Solutions for Every Day of the Week by Kate McMillan Runner's World Meals on the Run 150 Energy-Packed Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Joanna Sayago Golub Cook & Freeze 150 Delicious Dishes to Serve Now and Later by Dana Jacobi Frozen Assets Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month by Deborah Taylor Taylor-Hough
Quick Slow Cooking More than 125 tempting recipes with hectic schedules in mind by Kim Laidlaw Instant Bargains 600+ Ways to Shrink Your Grocery Bills and Eat Well for Less by Kimberly Danger 101 Recipes for Preparing Food In Bulk Everything You Need to Know About Preparing, Storing, and Consuming by Richard Helweg 50 Quick And Easy Freezer Recipes How To Prepare Healthy Weekly Recipes For The Family by Asher Scott

Web Resources

10 Family Meal Planning Tips & Ideas on a Budget - Money Crashers

30 Family Meal Planning Templates – Tip Junkie

$125 Monthly Grocery Budget for Two: Meal Planning - Living in Retrospect

$200/Month Menu Plan for Our Family of 5 - Thrifty Frugal Mom

Budget Meal Plan: $50, 5 Meals, 4 People - Cooking Light

Budget Meal Planning Guide - All You

Meal / Menu Planners – Money Saving Mom

Meal Plans - The Kitchn

Weeknight Family Meal Plans - My Recipes

Your Four-Week Dinner Plan - Real Simple

Featured Image Credit: Family Eating At Table - Pixabay (Creative Commons License)

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