The Money-Saving Grocery Shopping Tip That Changed My Life

Faced with the challenge of cooking like a foodie on a budget, I learned how to plan my meals so that no good food (or money) goes to waste.

Smiling young woman holding a long grocery receipt at supermarket.Photo: Shutterstock / Stokkete

Cooking a good meal is always the highlight of my day. But coming up with a budget to satisfy my curiosity of cooking like a foodie was tough. (In a similar situation? Start with these budget-friendly dinners.) Luckily, I had an a-ha moment helped balance out my love of food without breaking the bank.

Here’s the trick: Repurpose leftover ingredients from each meal to remix into flavorful new recipes. You’ll find yourself able to stretch the ingredients you have on hand and resist spending to extra cash on expensive proteins or fixin’s.

Here’s how I do it:

Each week I plan a menu of five meals. I start with Sunday, when I like to make a big dinner with a hearty meat choice and a lot of vegetables. From there, I figure out how I can use the leftover ingredients from each recipe. Then I piece together other big-batch recipes that will help me get to a total of 10 meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Easy Make Once, Eat Twice Meal Ideas

1. Big Roast Dinners

Taste of Home

One of my all-time favorites is a heavenly citrus ham, you can use in a noodle bake for a quick-to-the-table option.

2. Rice Based Recipes

Taste of Home

Rice-based recipes are a staple that works beautifully with this meal-planning method, too. I like to cook up a whole lot of rice as a side dish to this Cashew Chicken and Ginger recipe, and store about 4 cups in the refrigerator. Two days later, I’ll use the cold rice to make a fried rice dish.

3. Sensational Sides

Taste of Home

If you buy green beans, peppers, onion, mushrooms, broccoli, squash or spinach as side dishes to other meals, store the excess in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the frittata for a perfect Sunday morning breakfast. Learn how, here.

Go with ingredients you love, and you won’t mind using them twice. This method also introduces more variety than doubling a recipe and freezing it would—which definitely keeps the fun in cooking.

These Meal Plans Let You Cook Once and Eat All Week
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Kizmet Byrd
Kizmet Byrd is an enthusiastic home cook, decorator, and crafter of beautiful things. She is owner of Mattie Mae Company, which specializes in easy to make recipes, decorating ideas, and home organization tips. Her recipes have appeared in Taste of Home Magazine, The Journal Gazette, Lincoln Financial IAO Cookbook, and other publications. Byrd is well versed in everyday home lifestyle needs, foodie trends, kitchen hacks, and blogs about food adventures. Having roots based in Northeastern Illinois and Indiana; she is inspired by the changing seasons, festivals, thrift shop finds, farmer's markets, and that good old Midwest hospitality. She contributes to Taste of Home Magazine as a Volunteer Field Editor and as a Content Writer, with an emphasis on cooking and baking. Coffee is her spirit animal. Instructing culinary classes brings her joy. Food is her passion.