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When you’re working with a budget, meal planning and grocery shopping can pose some problems. Add in the desire to feed yourself and your family healthily, and well, the challenge becomes even more complicated.

Fortunately, we have a lot of tips and suggestions for this conundrum, but we felt that our ideas weren’t quite enough. We needed to put out money where our words are, so we set out to make five dinners for under $100. The rules were simple: each meal needed to make enough for a family of four, and bonus points were given to those meals that yielded leftovers for lunch on another day.

We did include meat in our meal planning, as well as a few vegetarian options, and also employed modern cooking techniques like using an Instant Pot and making a few one pan dishes. The end result is a delicious week worth of dinners we think you’re going to love:

Spring Vegetable Risotto: Our Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Risotto includes some of your favourite spring veggies and it’s on the table in under 30 minutes! Even better, you can make this impressive dish on a very reasonable budget! During the time of publishing this article, the ENTIRE recipe cost less than $15!

Hoisin Pork Lettuce Wraps: Skip the take-out dinner, because this fast recipe is full of Asian-inspired flavours and it’s faster to make than it is to order in. Best of all, it features inexpensive ingredients, to keep your food costs down.

Southwest Veggie Pizza: Ordering pizza on a Friday night might be your go-to but we challenge you to make it yourself tonight! It’s simple, you can top it with whatever you love and it will save you money! Our new Southwest Veggie Pizza developed by the talented cookbook author, Jan Scott is a winner if you need inspiration.

One Pan Parmesan Chicken with Zucchini: This one-pot meal features basic ingredients but is way more than basic when it comes to flavour! It’s another recipe from our budget series. At the time of publishing, the ingredients for this entire recipe cost less than $17.

Veggie Loaded Shepherd’s Pie: Being Produce Made Simple, we needed to load this Shepherd’s Pie up with as many veggies as we could! We think it adds even more flavour than the traditional favourite.

Lastly, here are some of our own tried and true tips designed to curb the crushing cost of eating well:

  • Consider planning your meals based on what’s on sale. It saves time and also usually means you’ll be consuming fruits and veggies that are in season. For example, if your recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, but Roma tomatoes are on sale by all means purchase those instead.
  • Try less expensive cuts of meat like chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Use your slow cooker to make inexpensive cuts of tougher meats, like pork shoulder, tender and crave-worthy.
  • Meal prep on the weekends so you use the food that you’ve purchased, and nothing goes to waste.
  • Buy what’s on sale and freeze it – meat, fresh fruit and veggies, etc.
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