It’s not fun standing in front of your refrigerator at dinner time, trying to figure out what you’re going to eat based on what ingredients you have available.
If the kids are whining during this time, and your spouse just asked why dinner isn’t yet ready, and you’re tired and hungry yourself, it’s going to be very easy to get stressed out.
You may even throw your hands up in the air and order in a pizza or send your spouse out for McDonald’s. While this is OK once in awhile, if it becomes the norm, it’s going to get pretty unhealthy and fairly expensive in no time at all.
I find the easiest way to make dinner choices is to have a plan of what we’re going to eat BEFORE dinner time rolls around.
And I don’t mean a minute before.
I mean, at minimum, a few hours before so you can pick up what you need at the grocery store if necessary and get started early enough.
That being said, planning at least a day or a week in advance is even better…and I try to do that with my family most of the time.
I know…it takes time to plan out meals. But it doesn’t have to take hours. In fact, I get most of my weekly meal planning done in about 20 minutes, and I try to do it during ‘waiting time’, like while I’m waiting for my daughter’s dance practice to end or while I’m waiting for a load of laundry to be completed.
In general, I choose at least five ‘I already know how to make it’ recipes, and one ‘give it a try’ recipe per week. That results in six meals. Then, I have anywhere from one to three days with no cooking after that as we enjoy our leftovers.
May 6, 2013
Yesterday, we received a call from a relative who was dropping by today for a visit. It was going to be lunchtime, so I told him to come hungry.
I had an appointment this morning, and while I normally love to make my special recipes, I knew I didn’t have much time to prepare–so whatever I was serving had to be store-bought. Also, I wanted it to be light and simple, since he was arriving at 11:00 in the morning.
I stopped at my local grocery store on the way back from my appointment and bought…
* A loaf of fresh-baked ciabatta bread
* A half pound of honey ham
* A half pound of smoked turkey breast
* A half pound of American cheese
* I displayed these on a pretty platter, and included small dishes of mayonnaise and mustard with them
* A container of marinated artichoke salad
* A container of black oil-cured olives
* Both of these were transferred to pretty dishes and placed on the table
* Salad greens (I had enough ingredients at home to whip up an Asian Sesame Orange Salad…yum!)
* One seedless cucumber
* I had mandarin oranges at home
1) In a large bowl, include salad greens (I used a bagged Spring Mix version), mandarin oranges, and sliced cucumber)
2) Make dressing: 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil, , 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar, 3 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds, 2 teaspoons of sugar. Whisk, pour over salad and toss.
* Two on-the-vine tomatoes…I picked some fresh basil from my backyard, and topped sliced tomatoes with olive oil, black pepper, and basil.
* Assorted fresh fruit (I made a fruit salad with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, and grapes).
* Assorted bakery cookies
It was a lovely spread, super easy, delicious, appreciated by our guest, and more than enough was left over for our family to enjoy for lunch for the next few days!
July 5, 2012