To make cooking dried beans faster and easier, soak them overnight. They'll cook in a fraction of the time, and your budget will thank you.
Rather than prepare meals from scratch every day, spend some time on the weekends cooking up big batches of food that your family can eat in different ways all week long. It saves money and helps you resist the temptation to order take-out or go out to eat. Americans on average blow over $2,600 per year dining out, so anything that makes eating at home easier and more delicious is great for your budget [source: McIntyre].
Some versatile big batch foods include:
- Roasted vegetables -- make sandwiches, salads or cook into quick soups
- Pasta -- toss some with sauce, make a pasta salad or bake into a casserole
- Baked tofu or chicken -- top a salad, heat up with pre-made sauce for a main dish or dice up for tacos
You can also cook more than one thing at the same time, so you're not spending the whole weekend over the stove. The veggies can roast at the same temperature that you're baking your tofu or chicken if you leave them in a bit longer. Meanwhile, the pasta can be boiling on the stove while everything else bakes.
And here's another idea for saving money in the kitchen: How about giving up meat sometimes?