Cooking for two is more difficult than I ever thought. I’ve been in the kitchen with my mother since I was old enough to reach the counter. We were a small family but my Mother always cooked like we were expecting an army to show up. I grew up learning how to cook for 4-6 people so when I moved out on my own I had to relearn how to cook for myself or couple. It took almost 3 years of trial and error to finally figure it out without having piles of leftovers at the end of the week. So I decided to put this blog post together as it may be helpful to others out there.
Meal plan. Meal plan. Meal plan.
Before you head to the food store you want to make sure you figure out what your meals are going to be for the week. Meal planning may seam really easy but as a seasoned planner myself it can be difficult and even sometimes tedious. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to want to eat in a couple of days so that can be hard. To help with getting sick of the same food over and over I have a several healthy and cheap recipes I rotate through my repertoire. I usually plan for one “big” meal a day and then I always have the ingredients for salad, sandwich, and breakfast stuff on hand. The “big” meal usually includes a protein and 2 veggies (a starchy and a non-starchy). Here’s an example of a weeks worth of big meals.
Usually on the weekends when we are home for multiple meals, we catch up on any leftovers that we may have or munch on salads and sandwiches.
Make a Food List
I can’t stress this enough. I use to go to the food store without a clue in the world what I wanted to eat for the week. This the worst and most expensive thing you can do. You end up spending more money than you intended and most often than now you overbuy. What I do before I go food shopping is make a list using the meal plan. I list all the things I need to make all the meals I’ve planned. Then I buy any foods I need on a weekly basis such as eggs, bread, milk, creamer, etc.
Meat goes on sale every several weeks while produce is seasonal and always fluctuating. There is no reason you should ever pay more than $1.99/lb for boneless chicken breasts. Chicken goes on sale every 4-6 weeks and thats when I stock up. Bone-in chicken is always cheaper because there is less butchering so when chich thighs or hind quarters go on sale I always pick up a few extras. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy bulk. Last year, we bought $55 worth of new york strip that we cut up into 11 lbs of steak steaks which is exborinantly cheaper. Its all about finding the sales and buying in bulk when it’s more cost efficient.