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Save Every Day: Shrink Your Grocery Bill

August 22, 2012 | Alliant Credit Union

You know cooking at home is more affordable than going out to eat, but sometimes grocery bills seem to get out of control! How do you keep it within reason? Start using less ingredients.

By creating a meal plan in advance, you can plan out your meals, buy and cook produce that is in season (affordable!) and reduce the amount of ingredients you use by choosing the right ingredients. Think: simpler recipes with fewer ingredients.

We found a great blog post about a girl who simplified a few recipes to shrink her shopping list. By using power-packed produce like onions for flavor she made lots of slow cooker dinners with very few ingredients.

There are tons of articles all over Pinterest that use this same method - shrink your grocery bill by cooking with seasonal, flavorful veggies and fruits. If it isn't in season, consider the canned or frozen alternative for great flavor at a lower price.

Here are a few of our favorite minimal-ingredient meals:

Teriyaki Chicken (Split Recipe Between 2 Freezer Bags)
Recipe from "The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis" Blog

Split a large bag of Baby Carrots between the 2 bags
Cut Red Onion into Large Chunks and split between the 2 bags
1) 20oz can pineapple in each bag (undrained)
(2) Garlic Cloves chopped per bag
(2) Chicken Breasts in each bag
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce in each bag
*Add 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce to mixture. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours. Serve over Rice.

Hokkien Noodles with Tofu, Honey & Soy
Recipe from "Zen Family Habits" Blog

1lb (500g) fresh hokkien or singapore noodles?
10oz (300g) firm tofu, chopped into large chunks?
1/3 cup soy sauce?
2 tablespoons honey?
6 green onions, finely sliced

Place noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 1 minute then massage to loosen into individual strands. Drain.
Heat some peanut or other vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan. Add tofu and stir fry until golden brown. Mix together soy and honey in a small bowl then add to the wok. Stir and allow to cook until slightly reduced. Toss through noodles and green onion and serve hot.

Country Mustard Rubbed Pork Chops
Recipe from Sandra Lee via

1/2 cup country Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons herb garden seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 1/2 pounds thick-cut boneless pork loin chops

In a small bowl, combine the mustard, herb garden seasoning, garlic, honey and chopped parsley. Reserve 1/4 cup of the rub for serving.
Transfer mustard mixture to a resealable plastic bag. Add the pork chops and thoroughly coat with the mustard mixture. Let the pork chops sit for at least 5 minutes or as long as overnight, in the refrigerator, before grilling.
Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Grill the chops for 6 to 7 minutes per side.
Transfer to a serving platter and serve sprinkled with the reserved rub.


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