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Dinner comes around at the end of most days and if you are like me you don't want to fuss about dinner. By 5 PM, I'm tired, worn out, and probably on my way to a ball game or an Orchestra concert.
Life does not stop.
We try to keep a tight food budget every single month. We shop at Aldi weekly, but shopping at Aldi can be an adjustment for some people. The selection is small and learning to meal plan within the store can be overwhelming.
It's a learning curve, for sure.
My number one hack for meal planning at Aldi shopping is to use Emeals. For a few bucks per week, the lovely gals at Emeals will send you a new and fresh Aldi specific meal plan with a shopping list and recipes.
You guys, it's glorious. And worth every penny.
And the Emeals app will change your life!
But if you are tight on funds (i get it), here is my secret hack to quick and easy meal planning for Aldi!
Create a simple meal planning rotation. You could do this a million different ways but this one has worked for me. Pick 2 one-pot meals, one meal using taco meat, one meal with chicken legs ( or sub chicken breasts if needed) and pizza night.
With this meal planning hack, you have 5 meals done. Your weeknight dinner plan is made!
Here is how a sample week might look.
Let's break this down and make it super simple for you to plan!
ONE POT MEALS I MAKE FROM ALDI
One pot meals are a gift to busy families. One pot meals are meals I can cook l from start to finish in ONE SINGLE PAN.
No extra dishes to wash. Every ingredient gets into the pot and a few minutes later, dinner is done.
The best one-pot meals are full on flavor and short on time. By the way, I recommend a pot that can transfer to the stove as well.
We use this pot. It's pricey but I use it ALL the time. From supper to baking bread, to popping popcorn. This baby is worth every penny!
Easy one pot meals you can make from Aldi:
STOCK UP ON CHICKEN LEGS
It has taken me 10 YEARS of meal planning to discover my love for chicken legs. Every time I make them, my kids LOVE it.
Periodically throughout the year, Aldi will carry family size chicken legs in the meat section. When they do, STOCK UP! Buy as many as you can afford.
When you come home, divide them into gallon size freezer bags. We serve 2 legs per person. Do what works for your family. Be sure to thaw your chicken legs in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before cooking.
Our favorite ways to cook chicken legs are:
SERVE TACO MEAT
Taco meat can transform into so many different meals. You could buy your meat in bulk, brown it, season it with taco seasoning, and then freeze in dinner sized portions.
If you are short on time or funds, make one batch at a time and see how many different meals you can come up with using taco meat!
Here are some of our favorite quick dinner ideas using taco meat:
Tostadas. Serve seasoned taco meat on an Aldi tostada shell. Top with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, salsa, cheese, and guacamole.
Hard shell tacos served with rice and beans.
Soft tacos served with chips and salsa.
Nachos. Place tortilla shells on a rimmed baking sheet. Top with browned taco meat, black beans, and cheese. Place in a 350-degree oven until cheese is melted. Serve with toppings of your choice.
Burritos. Place brown taco meat inside an 8" tortilla shell with black beans. Wrap tightly. Make 6 to 8 more. Place in a baking dish, top with cheese, and bake for 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
What else can you come up with?
You can use taco meat once per week and have over 5 different meals to serve your family over the course of one month!
HAVE A PIZZA NIGHT EVERY WEEK!
Do yourself a favor and have pizza night every single week. Pick a night that is most stressful for you and make it a pizza night.
Friday night is always pizza night around here. It has been this way for almost 10 years. We make a fuss about it! Friday is family time. We watch movies or go see a ball game. It's fun and stress-free for me.
Most of the time we make our own pizza. It sounds complicated but I have a simple process:
I make dough recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day. This cookbook is a must have in my opinion! You can make this dough up to 2 weeks in advance and keep in your fridge. Use a container like this to keep your dough fresh.
We make small personal pizzas. The kids load up what they want.
I try to have all the ingredients on hand: red sauce, white sauce, pepperoni, precooked chicken, cheese, and veggies.
I usually serve pizza with a premixed salad or cut up veggies and dip.
Aldi does carry great take and bake pizzas. You can get an 18" pizza for around $6. It is a steal! Every week they seem to have new flavors and toppings. Check it out the next time you shop. They make a great quick dinner solution! Plus, we always seem to have some leftover for lunch the next day.
NEED MORE ALDI MEAL PLANNING IDEAS?