Are you tight on time and money? Do you have a packed schedule? Many people find it difficult to cook gourmet meals every day because of their time constraints, never mind the cost of some ingredients. The good news is there are many different meals you can make to save time as well as money! Here are four of the most popular.
Basic Pasta and Homemade Sauce
Did you know you can make countless pasta dishes on a budget? To begin with, pick your favourite shape of pasta at the grocery store. We recommend looking for a whole wheat variety to be healthy, and choose a brand on sale to help save on cost.
A basic tomato sauce makes it very easy to add in vegetables and hearty ground meat for a complete healthy meal. If meat is too expensive, you can easily substitute it for high-protein legumes and vegetables. Also note you can buy bagged frozen vegetables—they are just as nutritious as the fresh variety. The best part? You can save the remaining vegetables for another meal, reducing waste! If you use frozen vegetables, cook them in a skillet before you pour in your tomato sauce.
Brown rice is incredibly cheap, which makes fried rice an ideal healthy and budget-friendly meal. You can throw just about any vegetables and meat you would like into your recipe, so customize to your heart’s content. If you are unsure, try starting with chopped carrots or onions, as well as minced garlic and some frozen peas. Fry these in a pan while your rice cooks. Once you add your rice, start seasoning with soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. We recommend two tablespoons of soy sauce per one cup of rice to start. If you like a little spice, use a couple tablespoons of your favourite hot sauce.
When everything is just about finished, create a hole in the center of your pan. Scramble some eggs (one or two eggs per cup of rice, depending on preference), and integrate it into your rice. The eggs add protein so you can leave out meat, though feel free to add it if you have some extra.
Three Bean Chili
Did you know beans contain a lot of protein? Did you know they are actually quite cheap at the grocery store, particularly if you purchase the dry variety? Those beans tend to need more prep than the canned variety, but are well worth it for saving on costs. Here’s an excellent recipe you can try. The good news? It’s for your slow cooker, which means you can leave it cooking for a few hours while you get everything else finished!
Baked Chicken Thighs
Did you know the ever-popular chicken breast is also the most expensive cut of chicken you can get? If you want to cook chicken but want to save money, look for a cheaper cut, such as chicken thighs. This cut is versatile and full of flavour—and it has all the benefits of chicken breasts. Baking your chicken thighs is a great, healthy option, and you can even make it a complete meal by roasting potatoes using the same pan!
Pan meals such as this save you time during cleanup and make prep much simpler. Here’s a basic recipe for baked garlic chicken and potatoes you can start with. You can even add other vegetables, like carrots, into dishes like this to be even more healthy.