Dinners: Planning ahead = Thrifty and Frugal

Making your own frozen dinners not only saves you time but, it also can save you money. When you find a sale on some perishable items at the grocery store but, know that you are only going to use a certain amount and the rest might go bad, make up some frozen dinners and use up those items.

I am one of those grocery shoppers who walks down the out perimeter of the store first. You know, hit the fresh produce, then the meat, then the dairy. Not too mention the bakery area. I do this at a pretty good speed because my eyes are trained to look for those "Reduced for quick sale" stickers.

I think with the exception of maybe 3 times this past year, I have not bought any meat that was not reduced for quick sale. Troy even does it now when he stops at the grocery store.

Most items can be frozen and they are fine. Meat gets rewrapped and then immediately frozen if I am not using it that night. However, if I bought a bunch of say the same meat because they were all reduced and I am making a meal that night with one of the packages of meat, I go ahead and make up several of that meal and just freeze the whole meal for a later date.

I have found, for me, it is very little extra work to make 3 portioned out meals at once opposed to just making the one meal.

I love to have several "frozen dinners" all ready to just pull out and heat up or even if I had put together the meal for future cooking, I don't have to mess with getting things together to make a meal. It's all done and ready to be cooked.

I don't know about you, but summer is a very busy time for us. We are on the go constantly. And even with best intentions, food thawed or simple gathered together to make that nights dinner, sometimes when we get home from a busy day, I just have no energy left to go in and start cooking a meal.

I rarely buy frozen dinners or entrees. They are just too expensive and not so great in the healthy department either. Occasionally I will buy a frozen entree if I can get it for "a song and a dance", but that doesn't happen often. I love the convenience of just pulling something out of the freezer and putting it into the oven.

So, I try to keep some frozen homemade dinners ready for just those times.

Several times a month I will get into a big cooking/baking mood and I take advantage of that mood when it hits! I try to keep at least one weeks worth of quick and easy frozen dinners. so, throughout each month, I will cook 2-4 extra meals when I cook our regular meals. That generally happens when I have hit on a great sale for certain things.

It is not uncommon to see me making 3 lasagnas at once. If I have all the ingredients and I am going through of the time and mess to make one, I might as well make 3. It doesn't take much more time than making one. I have to get all the pots and pans dirty anyway, why not?

If I am opening a box of spaghetti anyway, why not cook the whole box and make an extra dinner out of it right then and there.

I know a lot of people set aside a weekend a month so they can make a lot of meals ahead of time to freeze. I used to be that person and I would slowly like to get back to doing that. But, for now, I just make an extra meal of 2 when the situation allows me.

Not only are you taking advantage of ingredients that go on sale for a really low price, but you aren't nearly as tempted after a long day to just order out.

In my best Martha Stewart voice....."Saving money and saving time is a good thing".

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  1. I do the same thing! It doesn't take any longer to put together two of a dish than one for most of the things I regularly make. I love having a couple of meals in the freezer for busy weeks (like this one!) or just when something unexpected comes up and I find myself not able to fix dinner...much healthier and easier on the grocery budget than take-out or fast food!

  2. Kara, I totally agree! Not to mention, there are times when company shows up and I have a meal ready to heat up and serve or if I need to take a dish somewhere and I haven't had the time to prepare it, I just reach into the freezer!

  3. I really want to do this, but I HAVE to get a freezer. I think it would change my life, but it just isn't in the budget right now. Hopefully soon!!


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