How many times a day do you realize you’ve made something harder than it needs to be? In our busy-ness, we don’t take two seconds to think it through…we just go and don’t look back. And I’m so guilty of taking the long way, even when I’m trying to save time/money/resources. Argh.
Good news: food should be easy, simple even! And cooking at home is, perhaps, the simplest thing you might do all day. You know what you’re putting into your awesome body, you aren’t paying extra for fancy restaurant decor and fabulous waitstaff. And you don’t have to wait too long. So let’s KISS. Ha. Let’s make dinner with stuff we have on hand, with no extra evening trips to the grocery store. Especially when it’s dark and raining five days straight in Portland (what!?).
Easy Dinner Tips (for when you have nothing prepped and you’re hangry)
1. Know what you have on hand
- Make a list of the ingredients you have on hand and tape it inside of your pantry/cabinet/fridge/freezer doors. (This also helps with grocery list making when you run out, plus you won’t have 5 jars of marinara from overbuying.)
- Make a list of your family’s top 7 dishes, those go-tos. (Ours are tacos, taco salad, breakfast for dinner, shrimp pasta, spaghetti, salmon/asparagus, pizza.) Post this inside the pantry, and keep some of these ingredients always on hand.
2. Eat this combo: protein, fiber and produce. It is naturally human to grab pizza, bread, chips. And we know that doesn’t tame the hangry beast that is your stomach! Grab an apple with peanut butter when you can’t think straight, not cereal. Down some cucumber slices and hummus, not kettle chips. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a healthy snack just to tame the beast quickly.
3. Dress up something boring. (Add veggies and cheese to boxed soup, add nuts and topping to green salads, and be creative with your presentation and flavor/texture combos. Have fun with it!) Here’s an example:
Dressed Up Asparagus
- 1 pound (or so) Asparagus, washed and ends trimmed off
- 1 1/2 oranges
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 TB oil (olive, avocado, coconut)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- On a cookie sheet lined with foil or non stick spray/liner, spread the Asparagus spears out in one layer.
- Drizzle oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Squeeze half an orange over and toss with tongs or hands. Spread spears out again in one layer. Tops spears with orange slices (see photo above).
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on thickness of spears and preference of crunch. Sprinkle a little salt on top, if desired. Eat!
Super simple. Makes boring frozen salmon and plain quinoa a little more fun! (I added the other half of the orange and grated orange rind to the quinoa.)
Happy weekend! Make creative food out of this week’s leftovers!