Hey girl! I want to share with you the perfect three-step hack I recently discovered that’s helped me cut down on grocery shopping from seven days a week to just one – and it’s not meal prep. Seriously, this plan has been a life changer for me. It’s saved me at least an hour every night because each dinner can be made in 30 minutes or less. PLUS, it accounts for those nights of “Ugh, not feeling this tonight,” which we all know happen.
Just ten minutes of prep on a Sunday makes the entire week a breeze! Here are the three steps to the easiest dinner hack you’ve ever used:
Step 1: Plan out how many nights you’ll be eating at home. I like to plan for six dinners, assuming that one night I’ll be going out to eat or eating with friends.
Step 2: Pick your six dishes - aim for dishes that have similar ingredients!
Step 3: Make your grocery list
Dish 1 (and 2): I’m gonna start with a stir-fry dish and “flip it on its head” twice, meaning I’ll plan for the “This doesn’t sound good anymore” nights. By flipping it on its head, this flexible stir-fry dish can be easily transformed into a spaghetti or a shrimp dish because all three recipes are made with most of the same ingredients. Plus, these differing ingredients aren’t perishable anyway, so nothing goes to waste! We’ll count this as two dishes, since it will most definitely be used more than once.
Dish 3: I’m going with stuffed bell peppers. This is a Crock Pot recipe, so it’s perfect for a night that I might have a late meeting, a hair or nail appointment – whatever the case may be, choose a Crock Pot recipe for your busiest night.
Dish 4: Next dish, taco bowls, a.k.a. taco salad (or, for the picky eaters, nachos!).
Dish 5: Turkey burgers (amazing).
Dish 6: Chili – because it’s finally fall!
Step 3: Write out your grocery list. Believe it or not, this step only takes about five minutes! Luckily, all of these recipes have similar ingredients, so you’re saving time whether you’re using a grocery delivery app (which I’m obsessed with), or physically shopping. Check out the list (these are the “key items” so you can see how so many ingredients are interchangeable - download the recipes for the full ingredients list - I bet you already have a lot of this in your pantry already!:
· Bell peppers will be used in the stir-fry/spaghetti dish, obviously in our stuffed peppers, and in our chili.
· Zucchini will be included in our spaghetti dish and as zoodles in our shrimp dish – because why not?
· Marinara is great for the spaghetti dish – but it’s also a good example of one of those non-perishable items that can be thrown in the pantry if you’re not feeling spaghetti that week!
· Ground beef will be used for our stuffed bell peppers, taco bowls, and chili! One quick pickup at the grocery store and you’re getting so many different meals.
· Black beans, salsa, and cheese go with our stuffed bell peppers and taco bowls – three ingredients that make up huge portions of two dishes!
· Turkey for the turkey burgers
· Jalapenos for the turkey burgers and taco salad
· Romaine lettuce for our taco bowls and buns for our burgers – not only a healthier option, but now you’re guaranteed not to throw any of that lettuce away!
· Sweet potatoes for sweet potato fries with turkey burgers
· Kidney beans and tomato sauce will go in our chili, but are both non-perishable ingredients that can be saved if you’re not feeling chili that week and use a “flipped on its head” recipe instead.
By preparing dishes that share several ingredients, I’ve found that I not only save a ton of time on grocery shopping, but I also throw away less food, so it’s definitely a win-win. Any of these ingredients should last a week or so in your fridge (with the exception of shrimp, which I would recommend making at the beginning of your week) so it’s not sitting in the fridge for days (gross), so you’re guaranteed to use them before they go bad.
So, that’s it! Simple, right? Three steps and your week is SO much easier. Don’t forget to download your PDF of recipes and let me know what you think!