Ever look at your grocery receipts and wonder why it costs so much money just to exist? We've all been there, and it's no fun.
But here's the thing: if you're already buying your own groceries, you are on the right track to saving money, since cooking for yourself is almost always cheaper than ordering takeout on the regular.
You can cut down on your grocery bill even more by buying seasonal fruits and vegetables and crafting your recipes around them. Since it's now officially spring, the cheapest and freshest produce includes: asparagus, Swiss chard, spinach, Rhubarb, pineapple, peas, mangos, limes, green beans, collard greens, artichokes, chives and broccoli.
Keep these foods in mind through the month of April, and you'll save a pretty penny. Here are some of our favorite affordable spring dinners:
These savory pancakes are veggie-packed and easy to make for a perfect breakfast-for-dinner treat. They are delicious as is, but you can totally take them to the next level by topping them with smoked salmon or maple syrup if you're in the mood.
Believe it or not, soda is the perfect meat marinade and tenderizer -- you can do the same thing with beef (we recommend cola) or chicken (cola or lemon-lime soda are fabulous) for a similar effect. Feel free to use an even cheaper cut of meat, since the slow cooker will make it nice and tender over several hours anyway.
It's a fair bit of work to make ravioli from scratch, but don't let that scare you away! It's not as hard as you might think, plus ravioli freeze well, so you can make a ton in advance. On top of that, you probably already have most of the ingredients you need at home, since you can make the filling out of just about anything you want. It's very leftover-friendly and perfect for a special evening.
This veggie dish is delicious and filling, and leaving meat out of your meal keeps costs and calories down. Scoop this breakfast-for-dinner up with your favorite type of crusty bread.
Since asparagus is in season, this is the perfect springtime recipe to make. Use whatever noodles are on sale, and feel free to swap out shiitakes for Portobellos or even just regular white/brown mushrooms if you'd rather.
With potatoes, onions, veggies and ground beef (or turkey if you prefer) stacked in the slow cooker, this hearty dinner is dirt cheap and impossibly easy to make.
The whole wheat noodles (or whatever you have on hand) get an added filling, nutritional touch with a fried egg and spinach or your choice of greens. Delicious!
Featured Photo Credit: Nina/Nourish Atelier