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Turn Your Weekend Barbecue Into 8 Cheap, Easy Meals for the Work Week

Turn Your Weekend Barbecue Into 8 Cheap, Easy Meals for the Work Week

Who doesn’t love firing up the barbecue and grilling out over the weekend? There’s nothing better than really taking your time to slow-cook cuts of meat so that you bring out the full flavor you want. You get great food, and you get to relax with your friends and family.Unfortunately, most of us have a little something that we like to call a “budget,” and a big, no-holds-barred cookout can wreak havoc with that if you’re not careful. Luckily, those last four words are the most important ones: “if you’re not careful.” With a bit of smart buying and planning ahead, it’s possible to not only stay within your food budget for the week, but even come out ahead.

Planning for the Weekend Barbecue

First, the key is to purchase big, inexpensive cuts of meat that are versatile and reheat well. Think about things like brisket and pork shoulder. On sale, you can find them for as little as $1.50 to $1.75 per pound, and they’re all delicious either in a smoker or on the grill.

Second, you need to find the right recipe to work a little bit of magic with them. We’ve made the process easier for you by locating these two great step-by-step guides:

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Brisket Recipe for Beef Brisket
BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe for Pork Shoulder

Planning Your 8 Weekday Meals

Now it’s easy to turn your lazy afternoon barbecue into eight different fast and delicious meals that will last you through the week. What kinds of meals are we talking about?

Tacos or nachos. Both brisket and BBQ pulled pork work great in tacos or on top of nachos. Even better, there’s probably a great chance that you already had things like chips, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese for your barbeque, so this can be as simple as covering a plate in tortilla chips, adding the toppings you want, and heating. Mmmm.

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Shepherd’s pie. If you look up the definition of shepherd’s pie, all it says is “a dish of ground meat under a layer of mashed potato.” What that means for you is that you can add pretty much anything you want. Get some pre-made mashed potatoes and pie crusts and you’re ready to go. Just toss the pulled pork and whatever veggies or other ingredients you want into the crust, top it off with the mashed potatoes, and throw it in your oven for about an hour. Admittedly, the cooking time is a bit on the longer side, but this meal is completely hands off once it’s in the oven.

Pizzas. Doesn’t the idea of a BBQ pulled pork pizza just sound good? Well, you can do that, top with brisket instead, or go the “meat-lovers” route and add both. All you’ll need is pre-made crust with sauce from the store, and some shredded cheese to top it off. It should take maybe five minutes to prepare and another 15 minutes in the oven at whatever temperature is recommended on the crust package.

Fried rice. You’ve heard of chicken fried rice, but what about BBQ pulled pork rice? Or even brisket rice? Both work wonderfully with this dish—just make sure the brisket is diced up small enough. Pick up a package of frozen fried rice and frozen veggies from the store and simply heat your leftover meats separately or along with it. You’ll have barely any dishes and the meal will be ready in minutes.

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Salads. Want a lighter lunch or dinner? Leftover brisket and BBQ pulled pork allows you to make several different delicious salads with your choice of ingredients. The only real requirement is that you have lettuce, but many will probably want other veggies, dressing, and so on—it’s up to you! One nice bonus is that this will probably be a welcome healthier meal after a weekend of indulging with hearty, heavy meats.

Wraps. When we think of wraps, we tend to think of chicken, but there’s no rule saying that BBQ pulled pork and brisket are off limits. This is a nice way to get more use out of soft taco shells if you made those earlier in the week. Just add lettuce, tomatoes, and your condiments of choice, and you’re good to go for lunch or dinner.

Sliders. BBQ pulled pork works fantastically as a sandwich, so sliders are an obvious next step. And talk about easy: all you really need to do is buy the buns, heat it up, and start eating. Yum!

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Fully dressed baked potato. Our imaginations tend to start and stop at “bacon” when it comes to putting meat on baked potatoes, but brisket and especially BBQ pulled pork can really add some amazing flavor. You’ll probably still want the other trimmings, though, so don’t skimp on the cheddar or sour cream. For a faster baked potato, cook it in the microwave, then add your toppings.

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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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