Food Fast Without Fast Food

I have to think about dinner the night before.  I look at my menu and soak beans, soak wheat, lay out meat to defrost in the fridge, confirm fresh vegetable supplies – whatever I need to do for the next day’s meals, I prep the night before.

When you eat the way my family eats, and when you cook the way I cook, you will occasionally face the same dilemma I have faced: Something has interrupted my schedule/planning/coordinating or I’m sick.  I haven’t prepped a thing, nothing is defrosted, soaked, steamed — what in the world can I cook for dinner?

In too many households across America, that answer will be, “Call Dominoes.”

I try VERY hard not to have that be my answer.  I’m not going to pretend that I don’t order pizza, but I don’t like to.  I prefer to feed my family food I’ve prepared.  So – what is there that I can do for dinner that doesn’t require a fast-food answer?

I’ve been paying attention to myself for the last several months so that I can answer this question honestly.  This is what I’ve discovered about what I will do and have recently done in that situation:

  • Make breakfast.  I have done this twice in my kids’ lifetime, so it’s an extra-special treat.  Turkey bacon defrosts very quickly.  Beef sausage links can start off frozen in the pan.  Blueberry pancakes and cheese grits hit the spot on a day when everything else seems haywire.
  • Have a freezer stash.  In my freezer, I have the base for turkey soup — all that needs to be added is rice or noodles.  I also have two pizza’s worth of dough and sauce frozen, ready to be thawed out in warm water.  You just need about an hour of notice time.  I have a freezer bag full of spaghetti sauce – ready for noodles.
  • Make a chef’s salad.  It takes 10 minutes to hard boil eggs.  Add some cheese with your veggies, some homemade ranch dressing, and you’ll never notice the lack of meat.
  • I have one can each of organic black beans, garbanzo beans, and pinto beans.  I can make a quick soup, salad, hummus, or make some rice and open a can of beans.
  • Utilize canned fish.  Salmon patties or tuna casserole are quick, healthy meals.

What are some quick, low-prep fixes that you use on those nights when your plans just go out the window?



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