Lifestyle Design

Simplified Dinners

With the cost of everything skyrocketing, it’s hard to keep food on the table without spending a lot of money at the grocery store. Dinner is an especially hard meal to finance because there are so many choices and our families are picky. Save money by turning one dinner into a second meal a couple of days later.

Some people don’t like leftovers. No matter how you good the food was the first time, they won’t eat it again to save their lives. This can eat into a family food budget when a portion of that food ends up in the trashcan.

You have two choices: fix less or make that meal go farther. The former can be tricky or near impossible with a family of hungry picky eaters, large or small. Let’s go for option two and see if we can surprise those finicky folks.

If your family won’t eat leftovers, maybe they will go for another fabulous creation from your kitchen. We are calling these “two night dinners.” The two nights in question don’t have to be consecutive. In fact, it is probably better that they are not so you can surprise your family.

We start with the basic meat. Purchasing a whole pork shoulder, chicken, or piece of beef is economical. Have the butcher cut it up for you for free in the grocery store or meat market. You’ll have several cuts to choose from for dinner.

Let’s try a chicken dish. Everyone loves the yard bird don’t they? For the first night, the family enjoys an herb rubbed roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots. No one will eat the entire chicken. What do you do with the rest?

Pick as much meat off of the chicken as you can and store it cooled in a Ziploc bag or reusable container. As for the carcass and essence, boil it down to create chicken stock. When cooled, pour it into Mason jars or plastic containers.

The leftover chicken can be used in a variety of ways. Mix it with rice to create a casserole dish. Stir fry it with frozen vegetables and pasta. Make chicken salad for a light dinner on a busy night.

Other meats are just as versatile as chicken. Leftover beef roast can be used for stews and soups. Combine with egg noodles and sauce to create beef stroganoff. Slice thin and stir fry with vegetables for beef fajitas.

You get the basic idea. You have several dinner ideas just waiting to be born right in your refrigerator. We suggest two night dinners because leftovers don’t keep for long. After the fourth day in the fridge, it’s best to toss it out. With the ideas you are sure to come up with, there shouldn’t be anything left by day four.

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