Cooking from scratch is the best way to save money in your family budget, but it can be time-consuming when you don’t have a plan. If you can do one week of food prep in one day you will be ahead of the game at dinner time.
I’m excited to have my daughter Allison Easterling, begin a monthly series about food storage for families. She’s in the thick of it all, cooking every day for a hungry bunch!
My husband and I decided our family needs to start eating better. The main issue is that with both of us working full-time jobs and having three kids with full school and sports schedules, we are constantly on the go.
It’s all we can do to come home and just making something quick and easy. The problem with that is that what we were cooking wasn’t always healthy.
It’s Time for a New Dinner Game Plan
We set a reasonable budget for our grocery shopping. It’s a challenge because eating healthy is much more expensive than eating junk.
We also wanted to use things we already have at home in food storage, so when planning meals we incorporated those items to save money.
My family has been planning meals for a while and the main thing I figured out is to pick items your whole family will eat. That is how we picked meatballs, meatloaf, and chicken patties.
The second thing I realized was that any items we chose needed to be able to freeze well.
Related Post: How to Freeze Fresh Vegetables
The first thing I knew I wanted to make was turkey burgers. My husband works for a food distribution company and we have a stockpile of meat in our freezers. We decided to make a parent version and a kid friendly version. The recipe called for zucchini and my kids will not eat it, so we added green onions to ours instead.
The kid’s version looked more like a chicken burger with burger seasoning and shredded cheese mixed in.
Processing was easy. We formed generous ¼ pound patties and cooked them on our George Foreman grill. In all, we made 20 so now we have several meals that we can freeze and eat them throughout the week.
The original recipe for Turkey Zucchini Burgers with Lemon Yogurt Sauce can be found at The Iron You dot com
Ground Chicken Meatballs Recipe
Next on my list was a batch of meatballs. We used ground chicken instead of hamburger as it’s much healthier and formed them in cupcake tins. I didn’t need them to look pretty, just be easy to eat, easy to get to and freeze well.
Again, we added a few things to this recipe as well because if I cut onions small enough my kids WILL eat them. We also swapped the oats in the original recipe for Italian bread crumbs.
Makes 6 servings, 5 meatballs each.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1.5 lbs raw 93% lean ground chicken breast
- 1 tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs- Use more if your mixture is thin
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 12 fresh parsley sprigs, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. tomato sauce no sugar added
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Lightly coat a large baking sheet with spray; set aside
- Combine the turkey, salt, mustard, paprika, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, and tomato sauce in large bowl; mix well by hand
- Roll mixture into 30 1-inch meatballs. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.
You can find the inspiration for our recipe at Ashley Beck
Planning ahead helps out
Finally, I wanted to make sure we had plenty of snacks that are easy to get to. I was looking for a snack from things I already had available. I cut carrots, celery, and lettuce for a quick salad and packaged these in gallon size zip lock bags. I also put a handful of veggies in individual snack size bags so I could grab them easily and go.
We are three weeks into our prepping and eating healthy plan and I’ve found that having some meals already prepared, or at least the main part of the meal already cooked, really helps me out on school nights.
It has relieved a lot of stress knowing that our 24 hours of prep time is worth it. We are eating healthier, and dinner is ready soon after we get home from work. This is a tradition we will continue.
Ashley Albeck says
Thanks for the mention! That’s awesome that you used chicken instead of ground turkey!
Thanks for the idea Ashley!
I bought your book “The Make-Ahead Kitchen” and have a question about the Slow Cooker Meaty Spaghetti sauce.
It didnt say how long you cook the sauce in the slow cooker nor the temp of the slow cooker (high or low). So, how long would you recommend cooking it in the slow cooker?