I’ve been focusing on how PLANNING AHEAD can make things cheaper (and easier) for you when getting meals on the table. One of my favorite ways to do this is to double or triple whatever I am preparing for supper. It often takes an additional 5 or so minutes to make twice as much as I was already planning to make, so this little trick yields big dividends. I then have one waiting in the freezer for another night or for a friend who just had a baby or who hasn’t been feeling so great.
If I want to stick to our budget of $200/month, I don’t have the option of paying for much in the way of convenience foods. BUT, I love having a head start on our meals. So, I make many of my own convenience foods.For instance, I made a huge vat (okay, maybe about 4 quarts) of taco sauce over the weekend. It was cheap, easy and much quicker than a lot of people think (about 10 minutes of hands-on time, plus some simmering). Plus, I was able to control the amount of sugar and salt I put in it. This sauce can be canned or frozen for later use, and it even keeps well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.Other sauces I make to keep on hand are marinara, enchilada (the taco sauce works well as an enchilada sauce, too), salsa, hot sauce and pesto.