Budget-Friendly Meal Planning!

As we cautiously walk into 2022, many of us find ourselves taking a deeper look at our finances! Reviewing last year’s spending habits to create and strategize improvements for this year should be at the top of the list. One of the big-ticket items in your budget is groceries, and with the cost of food these days, I’ve made food planning the focus of this month’s Saving Cents. Meal planning is probably the most helpful step you can take to control your food budget. Work on packing a lunch instead of getting takeout or going out to a restaurant. Plan your meals by slightly overestimating the amount of food you will need for a specific recipe so you will always have leftovers that you can eat at lunch over the next couple of days. An easy and cost-effective way to make an easy dinner (and lunches because there will be leftovers) is by using a crockpot. There is a little-term that I like to use called, “Dump-and-go” and the recipes I found below are among my favorites. Be sure to store the leftovers in freezer-friendly containers for later meals. 


Here are 3 of my favorite “dump-and-go” time-saving crockpot recipes:


Lemon Herb Pulled Chicken: What I love about this recipe is how simple it is. Just add the meat, seasonings, and just like that, it is dinner time once you get home! I also like how this recipe can turn into other meals such as garden salads or even as an alternative to beef tacos.


Whole Chicken: It doesn’t get any easier than placing a whole chicken in the crockpot with some seasonings and coming home to your house smelling like you’ve spent all day cooking. This recipe also has many options for leftovers, such as chicken salad sandwiches, a chicken and rice stir fry, and, of course, quesadillas.


Chicken Noodle Soup: Who doesn’t love chicken noodle soup, especially this time of year? I love to make this soup, then freeze the leftovers because we all know that chicken noodle soup is a classic healthy meal that you can enjoy anytime. Leave a couple of leftover containers in the freezer at work just in case you forget your lunch. This handy food backup saves from spending extra money on takeout or going to a restaurant at lunch. 


Try these time/budget-saving recipes, and let me know what you think! Or if you have a dump-and-go favorite recipe, send me an email so I can try it too! If you need help to get your food budget on track, let me help! Send me an email at Creynolds@newdimensionsfcu.com or call (207) 660-6267 to set an appointment!