How to save money on side dishes-
Vegetables- You can buy the frozen steamers kind that is listed on the grocery list. These are easy but I find the portions small and we need 2-3 to feed all 5 of us.
If you are looking to save money, you should consider buying frozen vegetables in bulk and stock up when on sale if possible. Buy the big bags and just heat up what you need. This big bag is about $4.50 at WalMart and lasts us 4 meals as a side dish.
It is so easy to add what you need to a bowl with 1/2 cup water, cover and microwave for 6-7 minutes.
The steamers rice bag runs $1.00-$1.75 a bag. It takes at least 2 bags to feed all 5 of us at a meal.
A 2lb bag of brown rice is about $1.50 and will last 4-5 dinners. I make it in my rice cooker on the same day I assemble meals.
Here is the cost breakdown (prices may vary in your area)
Steamers $2.00-3.50 per meal vs. bulk $1.12-$1.50 per meal
Steamers $2.00-$3.50 per meal vs. bulk $.30-.38 per meal
You could easily save $10-$15 off your weekly grocery bill by buying in bulk!
Here is a great article on fresh vs. frozen fruit & vegetables.