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The Thrifty Lady’s Guide to Easy Meal Prepping

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Making dinner for a busy family – or even just yourself – is a task far greater than often gets commended. A nutritious, tasty, fast, and cost-effective meal is almost too good to be true.

Are you ready to revolutionize your mealtime routine without breaking the bank? Dive into our guide tailored for savvy and budget-conscious individuals who are looking to master the art of easy meal prepping effortlessly. Discover practical tips, smart tricks, and delicious recipes that will not only save you time but also money.

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Let's embark on a culinary journey that will transform the way you approach meal preparation!

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The Thrifty Lady’s Guide to Easy Meal Prepping

If you’re looking for ways to cut costs while still preparing a fast, nutritious meal, try incorporating a few of these ideas:

Prepackage Ingredients

There are many different ways to include this idea in meal planning. For snacks, buy in bulk and prepackage servings yourself, rather than purchasing the small, individual bags that cost more. This way, when hunger is near, your family has healthy choices available.

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You can also prepackage Mason jar salads as a way to prepare for the lunch hour at work. Built within a jar to keep the ingredients fresh, these salad options are sure to be delicious.

Plan Meals in Advance

The best way to avoid spending more than necessary is to plan a meal schedule far in advance. Take a look at the week’s calendar and plan out each day’s food intake. Make a list of all of the ingredients needed for the recipes you’ll use. Go to the grocery store and only buy what’s on the list to avoid unnecessary spending.

Try a One-Pot Meal

Who wants to spend a lot of time scrubbing dishes after working all day? One-pot recipes are a great solution. They don’t require multiple dishes, and you won’t have to worry about individually preparing each part of the meal. With a one-pot meal, everything is combined into one pot and cooked together.

Make One for Now and One for Later

When purchasing ingredients at the grocery store, try to get enough for two of whatever you will make. A lasagna, for example, can be a time-consuming dish to prepare. Make two at a time, one for now and one to pop in the freezer for a later date. Before you know it, you’ll have a large stock of frozen dinners to choose from.

An image of leftover chicken.

Utilize Leftovers

Many people dislike leftovers, but did you realize they’re easily made into something entirely new? A chicken dinner one night can be the base for a chicken noodle soup the next. Spaghetti one night can turn into a casserole the next. Using leftovers means less waste, which means you’re saving money.

Go Vegetarian for a Night

Some of the biggest meal expenses come from purchasing meat. Save a little money by going vegetarian one night a week. Pasta, in its many forms, is quick and easy. And best of all: it’s also cheap.

25 Easy Meal Prep Ideas

Buffalo Chicken Salad – Bursting with bold flavors and versatile serving options, this dish is a game-changer for any mealtime, offering a delightful twist on traditional salads.

Instant Pot Black Beans and Rice – Savor the convenience of our Instant Pot Black Beans and Brown Rice recipe, a hearty and flavorful vegan-friendly meal ready in just 30 minutes. Packed with fiber and protein for a satisfying dinner.

Tacos al Vapor – Elevate your taco game with homemade Tacos al Vapor. Infused with a blend of spices, these steamed tacos offer a flavorful twist on traditional favorites, perfect for a family fiesta.

Asopao de Camarones – Experience the savory delight of Asopao de Camarones, a flavorful shrimp and rice stew bursting with Latin flair. Perfect for cozy nights or festive dinners, this nutritious dish is a must-try.

Spanish Chorizo and Potato Soup – Indulge in the heartwarming flavors of Spanish Chorizo and Potato Soup, a comforting blend of savory chorizo, earthy potatoes, and aromatic spices—a perfect dish for chilly evenings.

Tacos de Papa – Delight in the flavors of homemade Tacos de Papa, crispy fried tacos filled with seasoned mashed potatoes, pickled onions, cotija cheese, and a variety of customizable toppings for a tasty meal.

Air Fryer Curry Chicken and Pepper Kabobs – Discover the magic of Air Fryer Curry Chicken Kabobs—crispy, flavorful, and guilt-free. A quick, delicious meal option with juicy results, perfect for satisfying your curry cravings in a healthier way.

Frozen Italian Meatball Soup – Savor the convenience and flavor of Frozen Italian Meatball Soup, a comforting and easy-to-make dish perfect for any day. Explore the delicious blend of Italian flavors without the hassle.

Tuna Pasta Salad – Experience a delightful fusion of flavors with our Tuna Pasta Salad recipe. Enjoy the perfect blend of al dente pasta and tender tuna, creating a refreshing and versatile dish for any occasion.

Charquican – Easy Chilean Stew – Enjoy the comforting flavors of Charquican, a traditional Chilean stew brimming with minced meat, beans, corn, and peas. Perfect for any season, this hearty dish is a delightful culinary experience.

Mexican Meatball Soup – Immerse yourself in the rich flavors of Mexican Meatball Soup, a traditional and hearty dish featuring tender meatballs, savory broth, and a medley of vegetables—a comforting classic for any occasion.

Air Fryer Chicken – Elevate your cooking with perfect Air Fryer Chicken, achieving a crispy exterior and juicy interior. Explore tips on seasoning, cooking times, and flavor variations for a delightful culinary experience.

Keto Broccoli Salad – Indulge in the refreshing crunch of Broccoli Salad, enriched with diverse flavors and textures. Try the Keto Broccoli Salad for a low-carb twist, offering a nutritious and delightful culinary experience.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta – Delight in a flavorful Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta, a versatile and tasty dish perfect for any occasion. Easy to make, this recipe offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures.

Camarones al Ajillo (Shrimp With Garlic Sauce) – Savor the exquisite flavors of Camarones al Ajillo, a delightful Spanish dish featuring succulent shrimp in garlic-infused sauce. Easy to make and perfect for any occasion, it's a culinary delight.

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta – Discover the savory delight of Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta—a blend of bold flavors and cheesy goodness. Quick, easy, and family-friendly, this dish is sure to become a favorite weeknight meal.

Low Carb Air Fryer Sesame Chicken Legs – Master the art of creating delicious Low Carb Air Fryer Sesame Chicken Legs—a crispy, flavorful recipe that's family-friendly and low-carb friendly, offering a delightful and healthy meal option.

Ground Pork Tacos Recipe – Experience the savory simplicity of making Ground Pork Tacos, a versatile and budget-friendly recipe perfect for gatherings. Quick to prepare with various toppings, it's a crowd-pleasing option for any occasion.

Puerto Rican Cabbage Salad – Enjoy the versatile Puerto Rican Cabbage Salad—a refreshing side dish that complements grilled meats. With a hint of crunch and optional spice, it's a flavorful and healthy addition to your meals.

Keto Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole – Indulge in the creamy goodness of Keto Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole, a low-carb delight bursting with flavorful ingredients like cream cheese, chicken, jalapenos, and cheese—a perfect option for ketogenic enthusiasts.

Sausage with Puerto Rican Rice with Pigeon Peas – Delight in the ease of creating Sausage with Puerto Rican Rice and Pigeon Peas using an Instant Pot. Enjoy a flavorful blend of ingredients for a traditional dish made effortlessly in no time.

Stuffed Avocados with Chicken – Create flavorful Stuffed Avocados with Chicken using simple ingredients like shredded chicken, mayo, and spices. A versatile, healthy meal option perfect for quick lunches or light dinners.

Instant Pot Puerto Rican Beef & Pasta – Whip up a delightful Instant Pot Puerto Rican Beef & Pasta dish in under 20 minutes. Skip store-bought sauces for this flavorful recipe using sofrito and a unique Puerto Rican twist.

Bacalaitos (Codfish Fritters) – Savor the crispy goodness of Bacalaitos, Puerto Rican fried codfish fritters, perfect as appetizers or as your main dish. Follow a simple recipe with soaked cod, flour, spices, and frying for a delightful treat.

Ranch Hasselback Chicken – Experience the simplicity and flavor explosion of Ranch Hasselback Chicken. With just four ingredients, this quick recipe results in a cheesy, savory dish perfect for family dinners.

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Meal prepping isn’t rocket science, but it does require planning and effort. Use these tips to become a pro at prepping healthy – and fast – meals for the family.

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  1. Great tips! We definitely go vegetarian one or two nights a week. Meat is expensive, so I agree with that. I’m also all for leftovers, I love to make a menu of leftovers for my daughter to choose from as a fun “like we’re at a restaurant” event.

  2. I’ll be moving out of my mom’s house and on my own in about a year and this post has definitely opened my eyes to how easy cooking on my own can be 🙂 Great post!

  3. This could help save a lot on unneeded groceries! We always buy extra and its sad but some of it goes to waste. A meal plan is just what we need.

  4. I love your “One Pot Meal” idea! I am always telling my family: “Why dirty a dish, when you don’t have to!” I swear they use every pot and dish in the cupboards to make a simple dinner! LOL

  5. These are great tips and suggestions. I have started using leftovers more in recipes. It has certainly saved a lot of time in the prep work.

  6. such great tips ! thanks for posting them here and sharing them with all of us ! 🙂

  7. Love it! Thanks for linking up with Share the Wealth Sunday! I’m going to share this on my blog and FB page this week.

  8. Great ideas. I definitely notice that when I just eat veggies I end up spending less. And I think they normally take less time and effort to prepare too 😀

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