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Budget-Friendly Meals: 3 Tips for Stretching Quick Meals

Budget-Friendly Meals: 3 Tips for Stretching Quick Meals

It's hard to beat the convenience of fast food, but for families the cost of dining out adds up quickly. At Kahiki, we wanted to do something about this constant battle between convenience and affordability. After experimenting with hundreds of family dinners, we created meals that could easily expand as needed. Use our StirFresh® and Steam & Serve™ lines to quickly transform meals for two into easy meals for four.

Tip #1: Make it a meat-lovers' with ground turkey

Typically less expensive than ground beef, ground turkey provides a great source of protein. On the other hand, turkey burgers don't bring that same level of meaty satisfaction that hamburgers do. Skip the burger competition and use ground turkey in flavorful, one-skillet meals instead.

Making a one-skillet, meat-lovers' meal with Kahiki is so easy, because you don't have to do any chopping. First, brown a pound of ground turkey in a skillet. Then add your favorite Kahiki StirFresh® products to the skillet. Our sauce is bold enough for most palates, but if the flavor of the dish tastes too diluted to you, add soy sauce, a teaspoon of ground cumin, a pinch of cayenne (aka ground red pepper) and/or a touch more salt. Dinner is done in no time.

Tip #2: Add filling fiber using kale

At first Kale may be a polarizing ingredient for families. Begin incorporating a little bit at a time, and soon this superfood will work hard for you. High in fiber, kale is a surprisingly filling leafy green - and it's almost always cheaper than spinach.

When buying kale, look for whole stalks. Interestingly, pre-cut, pre-bagged kale is often less convenient. This is because most manufacturers do not remove the tough center stalks of the kale before chopping. Removing the stalks at home is much faster when the kale is kept whole versus when it is chopped into small pieces.

Adding kale to your favorite Kahiki StirFresh® product is simple. As the StirFresh cooks, rinse the kale and tear the leaves from the stalk. Then add the kale to the skillet along with the StirFresh sauce. Kale cooks really fast. Once it wilts, it is ready to serve. Do not over-cook the kale or the dish will turn bitter.

Tip #3: Stretch the meal with beans

Beans of all varieties are versatile and super cheap, creating one of the best budget-friendly meals. While canned beans are convenient, dried beans are cheaper. Choose the form that better fits your lifestyle.

When choosing a bean for your Kahiki meal, consider its color. Contrasting colors play a huge role in the appeal of a dish. Pair dark-colored beans, such as black and kidney beans, with light-colored Kahiki meals, such as Chicken Fried Rice. On the flip-side, light-colored beans, such as pinto and garbanzo (aka chickpea), work well with darker foods such as General Tso's Chicken.

Before adding any beans to Kahiki meals, make sure to rinse and drain them. Note that black beans require a little extra rinsing, because the liquid from black beans has a tendency to turn dishes into unappetizing colors.

Try out one or all three of these tips, and enjoy the satisfaction of both a great meal and savvy savings.