Try batch baking potatoes for a budget-friendly way to provide real food meals for your family.
Every week there is a great crying and gnashing of teeth in our household. Our neighbors may also tell you that around this time they hear screaming of “Whyyyyyyyyyyy do they have to eat for EVERY meal?!?!?”
OK, that may be dramatic, but that is definitely what I feel on the inside when it comes time to plan and prepare meals while trying to stick to a budget.
If I was to be really honest with you I would admit that I have gone over budget every week on groceries for quite some time now. And that’s just on ingredients. I still have to wash, and chop, and prepare it all once I get home. By evening time I feel completely defeated and just want to order pizza and call it a day. Oh wait, I can’t order pizza because I’m gluten-free and it’s sooooo not worth the week of brain fog, fatigue, and migraines I get when I accidentally get glutened. So I force myself to keep on, keeping on.
I hope I don’t sound like a Debbie-downer, that’s just the reality of life right now. And I have no one to blame but myself. Somewhere along the way I stopped meal planning and decided I would have an easier time staying on budget if I just bought some quality meat and dairy, then supplemented with whatever fruits and veggies were in season/on sale. It worked for awhile. I had to get creative and just come up with meals based on what I had bought that week.
Then I had a baby (almost a year ago?!?) and my thyroid symptoms flared up, and I just slowly began to lose all motivation. I would stare at our refrigerator with all kinds of ingredients and our grocery budget in numbers of red and just feel frustration.
But enough is enough. I could sit around making excuses all day long, but I’m not going to. Thankfully there is a silver lining to this story.
My name is Sarah and I am finally back on the bandwagon. Yes, you heard me. I am going to cook my family real food. I’m going to do it on a budget ($400 a month). And I’m going to do it with a cheerful heart.
The game plan: Purchase in bulk, do lots of batch cooking, and develop a new love for beans, rice, and potatoes.
Batch Cooking Potatoes
How’s that for the world’s longest introduction to this post, which is really meant to be about potatoes.
I mean, potatoes are so underrated. They are cheap, filling, and can be used in a
million bajillion different ways.
The only problem with potatoes is that if you buy them in bulk, and don’t eat them fast enough, they start sprouting. Our house is pretty warm (we live in the desert) and sometimes my potatoes will be sprouting within days of buying them no matter where I keep them in the house. It’s not good to keep them in the refrigerator, because that converts the potato’s starch into sugar, and so it can be quite tricky to use them all up in time.
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me until recently to batch cook those darn little roots. But that’s what I’ve started doing and life has been so much easier! Not only do I have potatoes ready to go for any meal, but they don’t go bad as fast and I don’t have to continually heat up the house to prepare them.
Batch cooking them is super simple as well. You can do it in a crock pot, roaster, or oven. I use a roaster. Just pile them in, set the temperature to about 415 degrees fahrenheit, and roast for about an hour. I set my roaster outside so it doesn’t heat up the house.Oh hi there little roaster!
I’m not the only person who talks to her appliances, right?
Then, the beauty of it all, take those cooked potatoes and portion them out to use in frugal but filling meals throughout the week.
Chop, slice, or dice them for any of the following recipes, all while greatly reducing the overall cooking time!
For lunch/dinner: Potato salad, Buffalo Chicken with Potatoes and Bacon, Real Food Taco Soup, Twice Baked Potatoes, Crispy Stuffed Potato Skins, The Irish Potato Jacket, Smashed Potato Pizzas, Potato Soup, etc.
I also have it on good authority that a pre-baked potato with a thick slab of grass-fed butter and a dash of Real Salt makes an excellent midnight snack.
Happy potato-eating my friends! May the budget be with you! 😉