By Deborah Goldstein
Whether you’re hosting a holiday meal or contributing to a potluck, now is a great time to map out a strategy for your grocery shopping and cooking. It’ll save you time, stress, and money later this month.
Start by writing a list of the holiday dishes you’ll make through January 1. Need recipe inspiration? Browse one of these great food sites:
—Food52: Recipes suggested by home cooks, tested by the site’s staffers, and served to you. Created by longtime New York Times staffer Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubb.
—The Kitchn: Their home kitchen tours make great eye candy, but their weekly recipe round-ups are the real draw. Search their recipe index.
—Orangette: Dozens of irresistible recipes made by charming blogger and food writer/chef Molly Wizenberg, combined with beautiful photography.
—Simply Recipes: Blogger Elise Bauer keeps it simple with hundreds of easily searched recipes—all personally tested by Bauer or her friends or family.
—Cooks Illustrated: This site is not free, but if you’re looking for fail-safe recipes that have been tested again and again until perfected—recipes that include painstakingly specific instructions—you can’t go wrong.
Once you’ve selected your recipes, devise your shopping lists. You may choose to make two runs—one for non-perishables that you can buy now, one for produce or fresh seafood or meat that you’ll want to purchase closer to when you plan to use them.
Next, save money with a little online coupon research. Most of these sites require simply plugging in your zip code to search for local, printable grocery coupons or store specials:
Don’t forget to peruse this Sunday’s newspaper for coupons. And if you’re loyal to one grocery store, sign up for deals on their website or become a member of their loyalty program. Most importantly, stick to your grocery list at the supermarket—impulse purchases are the quickest way to break your grocery budget.