One of the ways we’re able to feed our family of six on roughly $400-$450 a month is by “double-dipping” on our meals. The concept of double-dipping where meals are concerned is basically that you re-use what you’ve got left to make another meal.
How to Double Dip on Your Meals
For instance, when ham is on sale at the local grocery store, we’ll buy a big ol’ ham. A tip: Never ever pay full price. We either wait till it’s down to under a buck a pound or until they’re having a buy one, get one free sale (with ham, this usually happens around Easter or Christmas time). We do this with most meat (and other products) that we buy.
So, we buy our ham, cook it up for dinner one night, and then, with the leftovers we’ll:
- have ham sandwiches for lunch the next day
- make bean and ham soup to freeze for later
- make one or two casseroles to freeze for later.
- dice the ham and freeze it to use in salads or casseroles
So, for the cost of one meal, we’ve now got 4 or 5 meals. This can really be done with most meals, especially those that contain meat.
Leftover meat loaf can turn into meatloaf sandwiches or cheeseburger soup, or be chopped up into smaller chunks and topped with gravy for Swedish Meatballs.
Leftover chicken can turn into a chicken and rice hot dish or chicken tacos. And by freezing some of the meals (or just dicing and freezing the leftover meat), we’ll have food available for those days when I don’t have time to cook, saving us even more money by avoiding those last-minute meals like delivery pizza.
Planning in Advance
You can also double-dip your meals on purpose by planning in advance what you’ll do with the leftovers. One of our favorite double dip foods is chuck roast. We cook a fabulous roast in the oven or crock pot with all the fixins’: you know the ones – onions, potatoes, carrots. We always choose a bigger roast; one where we know we won’t eat it all. Then we add in extra carrots and potatoes.
Then we take the leftovers and make roast beef stew. Or we separate the meat and onions out and add barbecue sauce for barbecue beef sandwiches, turn the leftover potatoes into mashed potatoes and serve with the leftover carrots.
You can really do this with almost any big meal. For instance, leftover taco meat from taco night can be used to make taco salad the next day or this awesome recipe that we call Mexican Lasagna (FYI, the recipe calls for chicken, so you could do taco night with chicken instead of beef, but it tastes just as awesome with beef).
Or you could cook up a turkey and use it in a myriad of ways to double dip:
- turkey casserole
- turkey noodle soup
- hot turkey sandwiches with gravy and mashed potatoes
- turkey, bacon and avocado wraps
The point is that there’s no limit to how you can double dip with your meals to make them into something else.
By getting creative and refusing to let food go to waste, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on your grocery budget. For another great leftover idea, read a post from our cooking extraordinaire friend, Michelle, over at Rockin’ The Mom Role.
What are your favorite money-saving tips for feeding your family?