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Meal planning can be a total pain. It used to take my husband and myself hours because every week we started at square zero. We would search cookbooks and Pinterest for new recipes and get lost trying to decide if something sounded good or not. It was a huge headache. So, one of the major hurdles in helping us finally cut our grocery budget by 50% was to create a short, go-to recipe list!
Narrowing our meal ideas to only around 20 options made meal planning a breeze. It also reduced food waste, because we know we are always making food that we like. These meals are a mix of quick & easy meals, recipes that are great for leftovers, and some slightly more complicated dishes that we know are worth it.
After sharing how we finally stopped wasting money on groceries, some readers reached out asking what exactly our go-to recipe list looked like. Here’s what we’re eating!
Mama Fish Saves Family Dinner Recipes
I’ve broken down our top recipes below by protein type and linked to where we originally found the recipe we loved. However, we are always tweaking recipes to correct for any issues we faced. So, if you want to see all our recipes in one place without clicking through all the links below, I created a printable PDF with all of these recipes that you can download from the Freebie Library. Enjoy!
I apologize for not having photos of all these meals like those fancy food bloggers. The fact is, we take more pictures having fun while cooking with Fuss Fish than we do of the finished product!
Soups & Stews
Soups are one of the best meals for leftovers. We usually make a loaf of fresh bread and eat it with the soup for 2-3 days that week! Even when we don’t need the leftovers right away, we can freeze extra soup in mason jars to help bail us out when we don’t feel like cooking.
Chicken / Turkey
- Bruschetta Chicken
- Chicken & Asparagus Pasta Bake – So simple and yummy! Dinner in just 15 minutes.
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Turkey Pot Pie – We use chicken or turkey, whatever we have available at the time. It turns out delicious both ways!
- Roast Chicken – If you have never roasted a chicken before, don’t be nervous! It doesn’t take long and isn’t hard.
Because we buy our meat in bulk, we tend to have a lot of ground beef, steaks, and roasts to work through in the freezer. For steaks, we usually just throw them on the grill and serve with rice and vegetables. But the below gives us a few great options for ground beef and roasts.
- Beef & Broccoli – It took us a while to find a good beef & broccoli recipe, but this is just like take out!
- Beef Lasagna
- Crockpot Balsamic & Onion Pot Roast
- Crockpot Barbacoa – I love putting leftovers of this on salad.
- Spaghetti & Meatballs – We almost always cook a double batch and freeze a bunch. We can microwave just a few for lunches or easy dinners.
- Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Quiche
- Kielbasa, Peppers, Onion & Potato Hash
- Pork Carnitas
- Pork Chops with Apples
- Potstickers – Another recipe where we make doubles and freeze the extras. Freeze these before cooking, then when ready to eat put in boiling water for about 3 minutes then pan fry.
At first, we thought limiting our recipe list to 20 or less different meals would feel repetitive. But with leftover nights and times where we cook super simple meals not listed here (like salad, stir-fry, burgers, or grilled cheese & tomato soup) we really don’t have repeats all that often. We feel like we eat a great variety of delicious meals, but having that shorter list instead of getting lost in the many corners of Pinterest saves our budget! What does your family’s go-to list look like?
Do you have a short-list of family favorite recipes to meal plan from? How do you keep variety in your diet while saving money on groceries? Comment below and let me know!