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Daily Dot

This is the key ingredient you’re missing in your meal planning

The Power of Versatile Ingredients

Dot Recs

Published Dec 19, 2021   Updated Dec 21, 2021, 9:52 am CST

Meal planning can seem daunting, but there’s a hack that’ll help you become a pro. The key to optimizing your meal planning lies in the power of versatile ingredients. To do that, you need to break down your shopping list into four categories: Always, Sometimes, Occasionally, and Never.

Always ingredients are foods you get on every trip because you can always turn them into a variety of meals. Chicken thighs can make Tonkatsu or street tacos. Kale can be stir-fried or used to make a nutritious salad. Potatoes can do it all: mashed, fried, baked, boiled, and more! 

Sometimes ingredients are also versatile but purchase them sparingly during the busy months. Heavy cream is great for Alfredo sauce or chocolate mousse. Sourdough bread makes a great grilled cheese or a Croque madame. Short grain rice is key for veggie sushi or onigiri.

Occasional ingredients have fewer uses, and should only be bought for big meals so special occasions. Ribeye steak can be a date-night entree or a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Avocados make guacamole or avocado toast. Wonton wrappers can be potstickers or mushroom ravioli.

Then there’s the Never category, which is basically just black licorice. (Sorry, licorice fans, but it’s true.)

Regardless of how often you shop, saving time and money with smart meal planning can always be done at Sam’s Club. You can earn 1% cashback on Sam’s Club purchases with the Sam’s Club Mastercard**. Visit samsclub.com/credit to learn more about the Sam’s Club Mastercard.


**Sam’s Club® Mastercard® cardholders earn Cash Back Rewards on eligible net purchases (less credits, returns, taxes and adjustments) made with their Sam’s Club® Mastercard® account. Rewards percentages depend on the type of purchase made. Cash Back Rewards are not earned on the following purchases or transactions at Sam’s Club or SamsClub.com: cash advances, tobacco and smoking related products (including electronic cigarettes), prescription purchases, reloading or purchase of prepaid cards, gift cards (including third party gift cards), or any cash equivalents.  Maximum of $5,000 in Cash Back rewards can be earned in a calendar year. Eligible Purchases on multiple Card Accounts for the same Sam’s Club member, including business and personal accounts, will be aggregated in determining the $5,000 maximum Cash Back per year.  Cash back Rewards are issued starting each February for the Cash Back earned during the previous calendar year. Cash back rewards are forfeited if the Sam’s Club® Mastercard® account is not in good standing (i.e., is delinquent) or if the Sam’s Club Membership terminates or lapses. Cash back rewards will be automatically loaded onto your Sam’s Club membership and may be redeemed only at a Sam’s Club location or at SamsClub.com. See the “How to Earn Cash Back with your Sam’s Club® Mastercard®” rewards program for details. The Sam’s Club Mastercard is issued by Synchrony Bank pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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*First Published: Dec 19, 2021, 1:26 pm CST