Last month, I shared that one of the best ways I've found to save money on your groceries is to plan your meals around seasonal produce, not meat. Not only is this a healthful approach to eating, it's also a great way to prevent dinner ruts! Today I want to show you how I took the bargains I found at Grocery Outlet and turned them into two delicious, budget-friendly meals.
My Grocery Outlet store almost always carries bell peppers at low prices! I decided to use that as the inspiration for this month's frugal recipes.
Here are some of the great deals I picked up at Grocery Outlet to complete a couple dinners:
- Chicken at $2.19/lb
- Zucchini and peppers at $1 each
- Red onion at $0.50
- Organic canned beans at $0.99
I even found a big bag of bamboo skewers for just $0.99! Since we're moving into summer now, I took that as my cue to do some grilling! All told, I spent a little less than $15 at Grocery Outlet for these ingredients!
(See what I'm starting to get at by featuring vegetables?)
Night One: Honey Chicken and Grilled Vegetable Skewers
What could be more fun than making kabobs for dinner? They are simple to make and full of flavor. It's also an easy way to sneak in extra veggies in your family's diet! Today's recipe is adapted from this recipe I spotted at AllRecipes
Here's what you'll need:
1-2 lb chicken, cut into 1" chunks (I found that 1 lb made 4 skewers, plan accordingly!)
3 bell peppers, cut into big chunks (I used red, yellow, and orange)
1 red onion, cut into big chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
Salt & pepper, to taste
Start by chopping your vegetables into large-size chunks. As much as possible, try to cut them roughly the same size for even cooking.
Mix the honey, oil, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper in a bowl. Allow your chicken and chopped vegetables to marinate in it at least 2 hours in the fridge. You could even allow it to marinate overnight if you have the time!
When you're ready to cook, heat up your grill (or grill pan, as I'm using!). Using the skewers, alternate threading a vegetable and chicken cube until full. As you can tell from my picture above, I left some room at the bottom and the top for easy eating. In some cases, I added an extra veggie here and there, too.
This is going to take anywhere from 12 - 20 minutes cooking time, depending on the temperature of your grill and the thickness of your food. Rotate every few minutes to ensure even cooking.
You could serve this alongside a salad, fresh buttered bread, and some fresh fruit. Feel free to change up this recipe to suit your preferences and what you find at Grocery Outlet! Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and jalapenos (de-seeded!) would also be delicious.
Night Two: Grilled Rainbow Vegetable Pasta
For the second night, we're going to do something a little bit different with grilled vegetables! This dish has a ton of flavor, it's good for you, and it's inexpensive. What more could you ask for?
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 lb cooked & drained pasta
- 1 can Great Northern Beans, drained (or beans of your choice)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 1 red onion, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh torn basil leaves
- Parmesan cheese, to taste
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Start by preheating your grill or grill pan. Then, get to work on your veggies! As I was chopping mine up I realized, "Eureka! It's a rainbow!" Hence, the name of this recipe. Toss your veggies with 1/4 cup olive oil, some salt and pepper.
Grill your veggies until they are fork tender and have that nice char-y look about them.
When your veggies are cooked, toss them in a large bowl with the cooked pasta and can of beans. To that, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the fresh torn basil, plus the cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. While this is a vegetarian dish, you could easily add grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp if you wish. Either way - it's absolutely delicious!
The next time you're shopping at Grocery Outlet, consider how you could turn the bargains you find into healthful, budget-friendly meals!
Join me next month for another menu plan and shopping list!
Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In the rare event she finds spare time, she loves gardening, hanging out with her girlfriends, and watching old cheesy monster movies.