As the world is starting to open up, my son Nate is back to baseball. Last week, we were packing up from one of his games and I happen to run into a Mom of a kid who used to play with Nate a few years ago. I asked how she was hanging in and this was her response:

“I am hanging in, although with this pandemic and now that the summer is here, I feel like I am in the kitchen. All. The. Time. My grocery bills have skyrocketed and I am constantly cooking. I can’t stand it.”

I get it. I mean, I REALLY get it.

Having both kids at home while they were doing online learning for over a year, then ‘poof!’ the summer is here. It can feel like Groundhog Day, right? I know. I feel you. So let’s walk through a few ideas that will help you to spend less time in the kitchen and spend less money in the grocery store, shall we?

Repurpose

  • When you are making dinner, think about making extra for the next day. You don’t have to serve the same thing as the night before, just use it a different way. As an example, when I make chicken for dinner, I make a few extra breasts/thighs for things like a Cobb Salad, Chicken Fajitas or to add to pasta through the week for lunches. For fajitas, slice some peppers and onion, either grill or sautee, add a dash of whatever seasoning you have on hand, add chicken pieces to warm up and put in a tortilla. Can’t think of a sauce for a pasta? Try this one: 1 1/2 cup of mayo, 3/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 3 tbsp fresh or dried basil, 1/2 tsp paprika and salt and pepper to taste. It may seem a bit weird, but it tastes delish-trust me!
Cobb Salad with left over Chicken

Make It Big

  • Think meals that taste fantastic for dinner and equally fantastic when heated up in the microwave. Lasagna, stew, Taco filling, meat balls, stir fry, and meatloaf. Double the recipe and save anything left over to heat up later in the week for lunches. Also, think about making something extra that is easy to heat up for lunches too. Instead of making 4 hamburgers, make 8. Instead of making spaghetti sauce for 1 meal, make a big batch and freeze some for later.

Meal Prep

  • It takes time to prep all your meals every night, but if you to set aside a few hours to chop your veggies, prep your sauces ahead of time and put in the fridge, you will be amazed at how liberating it is to by pass these steps during the week. Begin by prepping 3 meals on 1 day and place items in containers, then label them. On those days, simply pull out the contaners and start cooking.

Meal Plan

  • The key to spending less time in the kitchen is to plan ahead. Map out your lunches and dinners on a piece of paper. Try it for a week and see how you feel. More in control? More organized? And you will save numerous trips to the grocery store.

Create A List

  • Based on your meal plan, create a list that you will buy at the stoe. You will save yourself at least 23% with a list, not to mention countless trips to the store.

Price Match Like a Mother

  • Meat is expensive. It is even more expensive post pandemic. Yes, you are noticing a rise in your bill because of COVID and one of the easiest ways to dodge this bullet is to look at your flyers or go on an app. I like Flip. Look at what is on sale. Create your meals around these items. If there is something on sale that you love, buy it by the trays and freeze.

Listen, even if you try just one of these tips, you are doing great! Stick with it. Don’t give up and most importantly…

Stay sassy friend.