We’ve all been through it: You come home at the end of a long day to find that your fridge is empty and it’s ramen for dinner again. It seems all of your groceries have vanished in very little time, leaving you with less than delicious and nutritious meals. However, by simply altering what you put on your grocery list, you can eliminate food waste and become an expert at meal planning. With these tips, you won’t have anymore expired foods hiding in the back of your fridge, because you’ll actually be using these ingredients for multiple meals:


Poultry is an extremely versatile dinner ingredient. There are so many different preparations you can use to create a variety of dishes. Glaze a few chicken breasts with barbecue sauce before cooking, and serve with dinner rolls and corn on the cob for a quick meal.

In the mood for Mexican food? No problem. If you have chicken, you have a Mexican meal ready to be prepared. Flatten a few chicken breasts with a mallet; then top with your choice of cheese and a slice of canned green chilies or chipotle peppers. Roll each breast and secure with a toothpick before baking. Serve with black bean and corn salsa.

Maybe you’ve been craving an Italian meal, but all you have is some chicken. How about the classic chicken Parmesan? It’s easier than it looks to make. All you do is bread your chicken and top with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.Then after baking the dish in the oven, place it under the broiler for a few seconds. Present alongside fresh veggies, like steamed broccoli or baked asparagus.

Ground Beef

Ground beef is the perfect meal planning ingredient because there are so many different meals you can create. Use it to make a few burgers on the stove or whip up some hearty chili for a meal that will warm you up during the winter. You could also make sloppy joes by combining ground beef with canned tomatoes, diced red peppers and frozen corn.


It’s time to move past the whole idea that eggs can only be served scrambled, poached, sunny-side up, fried or hard boiled. Every week, stock up on a dozen eggs so you can turn this healthy and delicious ingredient into a meal in no time. Add a fried egg to the traditional burger to switch things up, or craft up a frittata for a creative morning meal.

If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary lunch, top your BLT with a fried egg for a tasty protein boost. You could also whip up your very own breakfast burrito by topping scrambled eggs with chopped bacon bits, sauteed bell pepper, onion and a drizzle of hot sauce for an added kick. Wrap it all up in a tortilla and enjoy.


There’s a lot more you can do with pasta besides serving it with tomato sauce. Grab your favorite shape and coat with a homemade cheese sauce for savory mac and cheese. You could also create an antipasti salad with pasta shells, pepperoni, sliced olives, feta cheese, pepperoncinis, chopped celery and vinaigrette.