HOUSTON - As inflation has driven up food prices by 10% this year, a Texas mother has figured out a way to make 5 dollar dinners every night. She shares her secrets with us.
One of the most important ways San Antonio mom Erin Chase saves money on groceries is through what she calls Freezer Cooking.
"I have four boys," said Chase. "My oldest son is now 17, then 15, 12, and 9. So there’s a lot of food that runs through my kitchen."
That's why she started 5 Dollar Dinners, a website, blog, and newsletter, to help families like hers save on groceries. She starts by checking grocery store circulars and buying what's on sale, especially meat.
"I think with $5 dollar dinners, the first key is your protein cost. That’s 99% the most expensive part of a $5 dollar meal. So you’ve got to get your meat when it’s on sale," said Chase.
She also snaps up fruit, veggies, and other items on sale, too. Then she plans her meals for the week using those items, and others already in her freezer. That's what she calls Freezer Cooking.
"I’ll make three or four fresh meals with fresh meat, and pull two or three meals out of the freezer, because I know I got that meat when it was on sale," she explained.
To help others, Chase now offers classes on Freezer Cooking and an app, called MyFreezEasy, that helps with meal planning based on what you find on sale.
"So if you see chicken on sale, you go into the chicken category and pick a couple meals, and it will populate the shopping list for you, the recipes, and how to put it all together into the freezer," said Chase.
She utilizes instant pots and slow cookers to make multiple meals at once, freezing the meals until she's ready to serve them. She adds things, like beans to ground beef or stew, to stretch her meat further.
She says it all helps to keep each dinner to $5.
"Over time, adopting this mindset and using this concept has literally saved our family tens of thousands of dollars," said Chase.