Great tips from Everyday Cheapskate Newsletter by Mary Hunt. I hope you get some good takeaways from this one.... Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)
Five Ways to Keep Dinner Simple
By Jane DeLaney, founder of E-Mealz
Spring baseball season is here again, and one of the first things to fly into the outfield is family dinnertime. As a mom of four scattered, school-age kids, it is quite the feat to make dinner magically appear each night, even on the best of days. Add the drive-thru temptation, and the food budget will take a fatal hit. So here are some things I've gleaned to curtail the disappearance of dinner, no matter what the season.
1. Keep dinner simple. Meals do not have to be elaborate to be good. Stick to simple recipes with few ingredients. If it's too complicated, you set yourself up for failure.
2. Eat in. Think of eating out as an occasion, not a habit or quick-fix.
3. Have a plan.Write your own simple dinner menu, or have it done for you by E-Mealz. It does wonders to have your family's meal plan off your mind and on a piece of paper. Not having a plan will translate into money down the drain.
4. Make dinner after breakfast. Make dinner ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator. That way, dinner will be there for everyone, no matter what each person's schedule is. Grab a plate, warm it up, and a full meal magically appears!
5. Embrace the slow cooker. Did the baseball game go into overtime? Not to worry. A warm dinner will be waiting, thanks to the slow cooker. Try one my family's favorites: French Dip Sandwiches. Eat at home together and use the time to decompress, save money, and enjoy!
French Dip Sandwiches
.5 to 1 pound any cut of roast beef, fat removed (Tip: Buy the least expensive cut.)
1 (14-ounce) can beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 loaf French bread
1 (8-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
Combine the beef broth, water and onion soup mix in a slow cooker. Add the roast. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove the roast and slice into shredded pieces.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Slice the French bread in half, lengthwise. Place the open loaf on a baking sheet. On the bottom half, layer beef, then cheese. Close the sandwich tightly with the top half of the loaf. Cover loosely with foil, sealing seams tightly around the pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and slice. Serve sliced sandwiches with individual bowls of broth from the slow cooker for dipping. Serves: 6.
Serve with chips and sliced cucumbers with Ranch dressing.
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