September Meal Plan: Shopping for Seafood on a Budget | Dish on Fish
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September Meal Plan: Shopping for Seafood on a Budget

Happy September, Seafoodies!

Let’s face it: Grocery shopping is tough these days! Rising food costs can make budgeting challenging. We are going to show you how to include seafood in your meal plans without breaking the bank. With a little advance planning and some fabulous recipes, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a “cheap eats” seafood champion! This month’s Meal Plan showcases dishes that are easy on the wallet, as well as the taste buds. If you’re looking for some delicious ways to enjoy seafood while pinching pennies, read on!

Stretching your grocery dollars starts in the frozen foods aisle. Frozen seafood is a no-brainer! It can keep in the freezer for months and tastes fresh because most seafood is flash-frozen at peak freshness. We always have a bag of shrimp in the freezer because it’s so versatile. It can be tossed with tropical fruit, pasta and mushrooms or peanutty soba noodles for tonight’s dinner! And let’s talk about fish — salmon, tilapia, cod, wild Alaska pollock — available in perfect frozen portions to pull out for a quick dinner. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator (or under running cold water, if you’re in a hurry) and you’ll be ready to whip up some lemony baked tilapia, sheet-pan salmon with veggies, fish and chips or zesty fish tacos!

Then, head into the center of the store for some super seafood deals. Shelf-stable seafood such as canned and pouched tuna, salmon, crab, clams and anchovies is incredibly affordable. And it couldn’t be more convenient — it’s all pre-cooked and ready to amp up your salads, sandwiches, pastas, soups and dips at a moment’s notice! If you get in the habit of keeping your pantry stocked, you’ll always have ingredients on hand for satisfying meals like our mouthwatering tuna with puttanesca sauce or crowd-pleasing salmon burgers. These dishes are inexpensive, but they don’t scrimp on taste or nutrition.

Also keep an eye out for sales in the fresh seafood case. Retailers often celebrate seafood with weekly fall specials. 

In short, seafood delivers plenty of bang for the buck! It’s a rich source of protein, brain-boosting omega-3s and essential vitamins and minerals that keep you strong and full of energy. Here are some of our best tips and tricks for seafood meal planning, plus a few budget-friendly recipes to get you started.

Dollar-Smart Seafood Shopping

  • Plan ahead. Take a few minutes each week to draft a meal plan based on what you already have in the kitchen and any recipes you want to try. Build your shopping list from there. Bring a calculator to the store, and enlist the help of your little Seafoodies to keep track of what’s in the cart. It’s a win-win: They’ll help you stay on track, and you’ll be teaching them valuable lessons about nutrition and budgeting.
  • Stock up. Seafood is so versatile that you can make ingredient substitutions in virtually any recipe. So, keep an eye out for what’s on sale — whether it’s seafood, produce or pantry items — and adjust your cooking accordingly. Be sure to grab some crushed tomatoes and whole-wheat pasta while you’re at it! Having everything you need for a healthy seafood dish makes it less likely you’ll reach for that takeout menu.
  • Keep it simple, Seafoodies! We can’t stress the KISS rule enough. Trust us, you can eat extremely well without a ton of luxe ingredients. Try to stick with simple recipes that make the most of inexpensive pantry staples and your spice rack. These meals tend to be much easier to prep and clean up, too.

Caribbean Shrimp with Tropical Fruit

Amazing and affordable, this island-inspired shrimp gets a kick from ginger root, jerk seasoning and fresh lime juice. Substitute any fruit in season to make this dish even more wallet-friendly.

Baked Lemon Butter Tilapia

Quick-cooking tilapia will keep you on time as well as on budget! Only a few kitchen staples are needed for this easy-bake dish.

Tuna Puttanesca

Packed with olives, tomatoes and garlic, this flavor-forward tuna pasta proves there’s no need to sacrifice taste when you’re watching expenses.

Sheet-Pan Italian Salmon

Heart-healthy salmon bakes alongside colorful veggies for a festive, economical meal.

Air Fryer Beer-Battered Fish and Chips

The trusty air fryer offers an impressive return on Seafoodie investment. Save big by making this lightened-up fish and chips at home!

Orecchiette with Shrimp, Spinach and Mushrooms 

Tender shrimp are tossed with seared mushrooms, greens and “little ear” pasta for a light and healthy dish that won’t break the bank.

Tequila Lime Fish Tacos

Let’s do the math: Budget-friendly tilapia + a few inexpensive veggies = a tasty taco night like no other!

Soba Noodles with Shrimp

Tired of PB&J? Try some PB&S (the “S” is for shrimp!) These buckwheat noodles get a triple boost of protein from shrimp, peanut butter and chewy edamame.

No-Fuss Lemon-Pepper Salmon Burgers

Pouched seafood is a great value, especially when it’s already seasoned! With some lemon-pepper salmon, you can make these luscious burgers in record time.

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