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With the rising cost of groceries, many people are looking for ways to save money at the grocery store and stretch the food they have on hand. Coming up with ideas for budget meals that all family members will eat is a challenge.
As one reader wrote, “I’m looking for things that will appeal to kids and are fast to make that won’t have us eating spaghetti every night.”
Hayley Ewing, the registered dietician for the Atlantic Superstore in Bridgewater and Liverpool, often works with customers and clients to reach these goals of creating budget meals. She offers the following tips.
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• Stretch proteins by adding a can of beans, lentils or chickpeas. Lentils have the least noticeable texture if you’re trying to get kids accustomed. They go great in dishes like Shepherd’s pie, meatloaf, tacos, and pasta sauce. Start with a really small amount and work up to more as everyone gets used to them
• Edamame beans in stir fry can add protein to help decrease portion sizes of meat
- Vegetables that have been in the fridge for some time can be thrown into soups, sauces or casseroles before going bad.
- Utilize planned overs — batch cooking components of meals to use for new meals on other days can help reduce how many individual ingredients you need. Think a double portion of rice or chicken for two different meals. This also saves you time.
- Check for 50 per cent off stickers in store – things like bread products freeze well for French toast, toasted sandwiches, pizza crusts or wraps for in enchiladas or tacos.
Often, we have strict views of what a healthy, balanced meal is, says Ewing. This may be influenced by social media and bloggers. But, she says, meals don’t have to be perfect.
“We’re aiming for a grain or starch, a protein source and some vegetables,” says Ewing.
This can be something as simple as Kraft Dinner with frozen broccoli and tuna, or chicken strips and fries with some raw veggies and dip, or soup and sandwiches.
“Meals don’t have to take an hour or use a bunch of fresh ingredients to be delicious and balanced,” reminds Ewing.
Requires no perishable ingredients, so great for when the fridge is getting low. It’s a great planned over meal if you’ve cooked up rice and a protein for a previous dinner.
- Protein of choice: shrimp, chicken, tofu, or beef strips
- Garlic powder and ground ginger
- Mixed canned or frozen peas and carrots
- Fresh or frozen chopped onion
1) If not already cooked, brown your protein of choice in a pan with oil heated over medium-high.
2) Add your garlic and ginger, sauté for one minute.
3) Add all vegetables and edamame and sauté until thawed, about five minutes.
4) Move contents of the pan to the edges, creating a hole or well in the middle.
5) Crack your eggs and stir quickly with a spatula, scrambling as they cook.
6) Add your cooked rice and soya sauce, stirring until heated through and combined.
1. Preheat the oven to 375F and grease 12-cup muffin tin with oil or non-stick spray (it is best to use silicone muffin liners for easy clean up!)
2. Divide the chopped veggies evenly among the cups
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs until well combined.
4. Carefully fill each muffin cup evenly with the egg and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.
5. Bake for 24-28 minutes, until the egg muffins are set. Let cool for a few minutes and then run a butter knife around the edges of each muffin to loosen it (or if using silicone liners, simply pop out as they are no stick!)
6. Remove them from the muffin tin and enjoy immediately or let cool and refrigerate. Freeze for up to three months.
*Reheat in the microwave or toasted oven, or microwave from frozen for 2 ½ minutes*
(Both of these recipes were taken from PC.ca)
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