Almost a year ago I started prepping our food, organizing our lunches and making weekly menus. I make lists for our grocery shopping and we try to stick with it.
It’s true that sometimes our days don’t go according to the plan, and I don’t even cook the meals I’ve written, but that’s ok. Life’s messy and that’s the beauty of it.
But I’m glad that most of the time I make meals that I’ve written the week before on a list and I am happy when the week has a happy ending, when I stick to the plan and when we spend only how much we talked that we would spend.
The thing is, you can save money if you just organize a little bit. I know it’s easier to buy take-outs and eat frozen pizza, but if you organize your meals, just by writing them down on a piece of paper, you accomplished a lot. Here are some of my tips on how to organize and not spend a fortune on grocery shopping:
- You have no idea how much food you have in your kitchen cabinets, fridge or freezer, that you can improvise and make new recipes, without going to the supermarket. Before going grocery shopping, take a look and see what you really have and what you really need.
- Don’t ever go grocery shopping without eating at home, because then, you will want to buy every little thing. The truth is, most of the things that you will buy, you don’t actually need them. So, eat before and you will see the sweet isle in a totally different way.
- Always make a grocery list. Try as much as you can to stick with your list. If something is not on your list, you probably don’t need it.
- Make a food budget. We spend a week 50 euros, and when we are going to the supermarket, we buy the things that we actually need, so there’s no more money for sweets and other things that we don’t need.
- Once in a while, treat yourself to something that you really like. We like dark chocolate and we buy 2-3 packages and we eat them all month long.
- Don’t buy pre-cooked meals, or frozen cooked meals, those meals are expensive and are not good for you.
- Buy a lot of fruits and veggies, especially the ones that are in season. That way you can save money by making meals with seasonal produce.
- Freeze veggies. This is a really helpful tip. Buy seasonal and cheaper fruits and veggies and you can have them all year round, and have them prepared for your meals. Wash and chop or slice the veggies. Freeze them in small bags for easier reaching.
- Cook from scratch. If you want to save them, you have to cook at home. Cooking at home saves you a lot of money.
- When you can, make bread at home. You can make 2-3 loafs at a time and freeze them. You can make all kinds of bread, even if you are a beginner at making bread. Focaccia per example is very easy to make and soo delicious.
- Use coupons but only with foods, you were already going to buy. Don’t buy things just for the sake of buying.
- Plan your meals and your grocery list. This way you will buy foods for your next week of cooking. And stick to the list.
- It’s very easy to wander through the supermarket, so write your list according to the distribution of the supermarket.
- Don’t buy pre-chopped vegetables. This is such an easy job, that you can make at home, especially on the weekends and freeze the chopped vegetables. You will pay more for your chopped vegetables because you will also pay the chopping.
- Try not to buy dressings or pasta sauce. They are not good as the ones that you can make at home, and they’re pricey as well.
These are some of my tips on how to save some money and not spend all your paycheck on grocery shopping.
Now for the recipe. I bought some peppers to make Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, but I kinda changed my mind, because I have another recipe with quinoa so I changed this one for brown rice. So I came up with this delicious recipe, that’s so easy to make and affordable too.
- 2 peppers, halved
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 big mushrooms, chopped
- salt, pepper, oregano
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 4 tablespoon of brown rice
- cheese for topping (optional)
First, start by cooking the rice. In a medium pot add the brown rice, salt to taste and water to cover the rice. Let it cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low, or cooks al-dente. In a pan add the olive oil and saute the onion for about 7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano and add the mushrooms to saute as well.
When the pan has no more water from the mushrooms, add the cooked brown rice to the pan and stir to combine. Cut the peppers in half, scoop the seeds and the core out and wash them. Add spoons of the mushroom mixture to the peppers until you finish with all of it. With these ingredients, you should have enough for 4 halved peppers.
Lastly, add the peppers to a baking dish and bake them at 180*C for about 30 minutes, or until the peppers are soft and the top is golden.
Take the baking dish out and add 1 tablespoon of cheese of your choice on top. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.