Keeping it simple

Whew, this spring has been a whirlwind! Even so, we have been managing to enjoy some pretty good meals while staying on a decent time and money budget. Staying on top of menu-planning has really helped us avoid last minute meals out, which always seem to leave our pocketbooks empty and our tummies overfull.
My menu-planning goal recently has been to eat cheap, healthy, and with minimal mess. And that means lots of planned overs. And grilling. Which is fun in our warm spring weather!

I have stuck with two main marinades for the past couple months, and will usually grill once a week or so. that usually gives me two meat and veggie dinners, and one where I add beans or turn the leftover meat into a soup to extend it a little. Voila! Three dinners for the time and cleanup of one!

Tex Mex marinade (for 4 servings)
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp tequila (tenderizes, but not necessary for a great flavor)
salt to taste
Marinade chicken pieces for half an hour before tossing on the grill or in the oven.

Chicken, Pork, or Venison marinade (for 4 servings)
1 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp garlic
marinade meat overnight or all day in this one for great flavor.

My other time saving trick has been to chop a couple of tomatoes and cucumbers, and mix them up in a glass lock container. When dinner time comes, I mix a scoop of this “greek salad” with my spinach or mixed greens, for a colorful salad. I wash my cutting board one time, rather than chopping and cleaning every night we have a salad. Less fuss, less mess, and I can usually get three salads out of it.

What are some other favorite marinades? Also, I’m trying to find good oven-fried chicken recipes – any recommendations?

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