I’ve always been an aspirational meal planner. I know that if I sit down for a few minutes each week, I’d avoid the mid-week grocery run and the last-minute frenzy to dream up something at 6 pm. Meal planning ultimately saves time, money and stress, and usually leads to healthier choices. Smart & Final is our go-to for everything from fresh produce and meats to club sized items. The pandemic has changed the way many families shop, which is why we are excited that Smart & Final is now on Instacart. Meal plan and shop from the comfort of your home! Scroll down to see how we put together three 30-minute meals for under $50 thanks to Smart & Final.
Smart & Final
I remember shopping at Smart & Final with my parents as a child, so there is a bit of nostalgia when it comes to the brand. The store offers great prices on our family’s favorite items. But what I find unique is the ability to shop for items in a variety of sizes without having to pay for a club membership. Families can also save money by purchasing Smart & Final’s private label brands, including First Street and Sun Harvest.
Three 30-Minute Meals
With two tweens in school, on different schedules, and my personal schedule where I juggle work and school, meal planning has become essential. The interval between work and evening classes or work and my kids’ extracurricular activities can be minimal, so having a plan that involves, quick, healthy meals ensures we are able to sit down together as a family for dinner.
The key to 30-minute meals is to keep each meal simple, flavorful, and healthy. I also like to build a few simple dishes around one main protein. Smart & Final offers a dinner-size package of Turkey Meatballs which are fully cooked. I built our three 30-minute meals around these meatballs including Spaghetti and Meatballs, Swedish Meatballs, and Meatball Flatbread.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Pasta is a weekly staple in our home and one of my kids’ favorite dishes, so I knew I’d want to incorporate it into this week’s meal plan. Spaghetti and Meatballs is the simplest of the dishes, requiring very little prep or cook time. I picked up a jar of First Street Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Pasta Sauce and warmed it up with the meatballs to serve with First Street Linguini. I also picked up fresh Rosemary to garnish the dish.
As you are prepping your meals, you may find that you can utilize some ingredients in more than one dish, as I did with the pasta sauce (I also used it on the pizza). You can then purchase a larger size as you shop for your weekly meals on Instacart.
I have admittedly never made Swedish Meatballs, so I looked to my favorite recipe source for guidance. Since the meatballs I purchased were already cooked, I simply had to make the gravy. The author was inspired by Ikea’s famous Swedish Meatball recipe. The gravy starts with a roux (butter and flour) and is prepared with sour cream for a rich, savory flavor.
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a skillet
Whisk in flour until lightly browned, approximately 1 minute
Gradually whisk in vegetable broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes
Stir in sour cream
Season with salt and pepper, to taste
Stir in meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 20 minutes
You can serve your Swedish Meatballs with fettuccine, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Pizza is our go-to on nights when we want a quick, easy meal. What we like about pizza night is that each of us can DIY with our favorite ingredients. I like to grab a handful of fresh veggies and meats, prepared sauce, and grated cheese to make it easy for each of us to build our pizzas.
Since I had meatballs and pasta sauce from a previous night, we used those ingredients along with refrigerated pizza crust and grated mozzarella cheese for Meatball Flatbread pizzas.
Once you have pre-baked the pizza crust according to the directions, top with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and sliced, baked meatballs. Bake it in the oven at 400° F for 12-14 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the crust is browned. Top with fresh Rosemary, if desired.
Thanks to Smart & Final, we created three 30-minute meals under $50 and we didn’t have to step inside the store thanks to Instacart! Share your best meal hacks with Smart & Final using the hashtag #MySmartandFinal.