This is one of the biggest tips I can share with you.
If you go to the store and you haven't already preplanned today or tomorrow's dinner, check the Manager's Special section.
Did you laugh? A lot of people think the Manager's Special is old food, out of date food, or contaminated food. They are thinking wrong.
Manager's Special is for items that are almost past their sell by date, or items whose package has been slightly damaged (but the food, if it's food, is not touched).
Here's another thing people don't realize about the dates on packages. If it says "Sell by" that's the last day the store can sell it, but it is usable for a few days after. For example, milk is okay 3-5 days after the sell by date, and eggs can be refrigerated and kept for 3-5 WEEKS. Milk and eggs are very often included in the Manager's Special.
If the label says "Best if Used By" it means the quality will probably go down. The color might change, the texture might be off, the nutrients might deplete. For that reason I would use baby food by the date on the package. But for example, diet Pepsi still tastes pretty good until about 6 months after the date. Then the taste goes downhill. By a year it tastes like carbonated water.
If the date says "Use by" you should listen to it, because it could be unsafe after that date.
So if you're going to eat it tonight, go for the Manager's Special!
And a warning about the pre-seasoned chicken often available in grocery stores: Don't buy that. The meat department takes the chicken that is about to go out of date, washes it in vinegar (or in some cases, bleach water) to kill the bacteria, and then coats it in cajun seasoning or whatever they season it with to mask the flavor of spoilage. And then they charge more for it.
Buy the freshest meat you can find and season it yourself!
Love and kisses,