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Many households feel the need to tighten their financial belts after the holidays. Here are a few tips for staying within your budget while maintaining the quality of your meals.

Increase quantities

One good way to save is to buy in bulk and cook your meals in larger quantities. Before heading to the grocery store, make sure you find all the discounts in your local flyer. By buying Compliments products, for example, you can pay less for good quality products.

Freeze your meals

To avoid eating the same thing every day, freeze part of what you cook in individual or family-size portions. Sticking to a few basic principles will let you safely freeze what you cook:

Cool before freezing

When you’ve finished cooking your dish, let it cool before putting it in the freezer. This will prevent the temperature inside your freezer from getting too high, which could affect the quality of the other foods you’ve stored there.

Freeze meat and fish

The good news is that most foods are readily freezable. Fish and other seafood, such as shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams, without their shells, can last in the freezer for two or three months. Raw meat and poultry can be frozen for around two months. When cooked or prepared in a sauce, they can be kept for three or four months.

Keep in mind that prepared meals, such as spaghetti sauces, soups, or stews, will generally keep for up to four months in the freezer.

Avoid freezing certain foods

Other foods cannot be put in the freezer because their texture or flavour would be significantly affected. Such is the case with vegetables containing high amounts of water, such as tomatoes or cucumbers, since they soften after freezing. It’s also not advisable to freeze pasta, rice, or potatoes.

Use the entire vegetable, from stem to tip

Waste costs Quebec families a lot. That’s why it’s smart to cook vegetables whole.

Broccoli stems are delicious!

Broccoli stems are very tasty in a soup, especially when accompanied by potatoes and any other vegetables you have in your fridge. Simply slice them up into equal-sized bites, cook them in a broth, then purée them in a mixer. Add a little cream and you’re all set! They also can be easily added to a vegetable stir-fry or pasta dishes.

Wilted veggies are a nutritional gold mine

You should also keep wilted radish and carrot tops and celery leaves and turn them into a green pesto. Simply chop them up finely using a food processor along with roasted pine nuts or walnuts, garlic, and olive oil. A real treat when you need to throw together a quick meal!

Give your kitchen scraps a second life

Rice: The all-purpose food

Did you cook more rice than you needed? Instead of throwing it out, make it the star ingredient of your next meal by serving it as crunchy croquettes! Simply mix it up with diced ham, chives, grated cheddar, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into patties, dip them into beaten egg, and fry them in a pan for a few minutes on each side.

You can also enhance your leftover rice by turning it into a tasty Mexican salad! Simply mix it up with some beans, grilled kernels of corn, tomato, green pepper, and diced onion.

By following these tips, you can enjoy well-balanced meals without breaking the bank!