Yes, the yearly effort to make you a better “you” might involve making yourself a little thinner, but you don’t want that same goal to apply to your wallet. For many of us, 2017 is the year we’re finally combating our ever-thinning wallets. With a few of our simple tips on your side, you’ll find that it’s actually easier to eat on the cheap (and to eat well) every day of the week.
Stretch your proteins.
Structuring your meals around a big hunk of meat and a little helping of everything else is a custom that’s falling by the wayside. Instead, use our tips to stretch one protein of protein into four satisfying dinner servings by boosting meat with other ingredients and not making it the focus of the meal. Take this Pot Roast Stir-Fry (pictured above), for example, which gets its heft from eggy noodles, veggies and a hearty sauce.
Own eating eggs for dinner.
Cracking a few eggs into a pan might sometimes gets the rep of a sad fallback dinner, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Using eggs as an inexpensive source of protein can actually be a bit refined, especially if you’re scrambling a few to make Ina’s 5-star, filling Potato Basil Frittata.
Have a little patience.
Go for a budget cut and cook it low and slow. Though pork shoulder is a notoriously humble, fibrous cut, giving it a lot of love will transform this inexpensive cut of meat into fork-tender, crowd-pleasing Succulent Braised Pork.
Extend protein with beans.
While the ingredients for a a fish dinner can often rack up your grocery bill, stretching pricey seafood with inexpensive beans can keep a meal satisfying yet sensible. Melissa d’Arabian pairs white fish filets with sauteed white beans for crunchy, fresh Fish and White Bean Tostadas.
Be the butcher.
Rather than paying the premium for pre-cut meat at the grocery store, do it yourself. Breaking down a whole chicken at home for one-pot Arroz con Pollo means a lot of chicken for not a lot of money. Watch how to do it here.
Make your pantry ready for anything.
Stocking your kitchen on a night-by-night, recipe-by-recipe basis is sure to make your grocery bills soar. Instead, stock up on versatile pantry staples — using these 14 must-haves as your guide — before you need them to prevent any frivolous trips to the store.
Get more ideas for budget-friendly dinners right here.