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Meal planning

The secret to low-cost meals? Set up a meal plan

By Jana du Plessis

Another dinner is done and you’re sitting with leftover rice and a few stray pieces of broccoli that will inevitably end in the garbage bin before the end of the week. So how do you cook meals without wasting any food or paying through your teeth for perfectly portioned pre-cooked options? Let us show you.

Plan to fail or fail to plan

Planning is key to maximising your bucks in the kitchen. When cooking a dish, always think ahead of other things you can prepare with the same ingredients. It’s kind of like batch cooking, just slightly more refined. Instead of mixing and matching a variety of cooked ingredients, you plan to transform certain foods into a whole new eating experience.

The method in this madness

To help you out, we have compiled a week’s meals by shuffling the same set of ingredients and sprucing them up with fresh flavours here and there:

Batch cook: Rice, chicken, stir-fry veg

Monday: Rice + stir-fried veg + chicken

Tuesday: Chicken + pasta + quick tomato sauce 

Wednesday: Rice pilaf  + optional protein

Thursday: Chicken + potato skins + dip 

Friday: Rice + fresh salad ingredients + hard-boiled eggs

Saturday: Stir-fried veg + tortilla wraps (for quesadillas)

Sunday: Rice pudding

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