Dinner plans

It’s been a crazy past week, friends! I’ve had something going on every single night. And by “something,” I mean rehearsals. This is what I went to school for. I’m supposed to like this. And I do! The problem was that rehearsal time imposed upon dinner time all week.

There are two keys to eating well when you don’t have much time on your hands: 1) plan ahead and 2) leftovers are your friend.

So first, planning ahead. I shop on a week-to-week basis, so I tend to evaluate my week and buy accordingly. To some of you non-list-making types, this sounds painful. It doesn’t have to be. Honest. Just take two seconds and think about how much time you’re willing/able to devote to cooking in the coming day, week, weeks, whatever. Be realistic. When I find myself facing busy weeks like this last one, I recognize that if I don’t have a gameplan, I’ll end up eating yogurt and granola for dinner 5 nights straight. As much as I like yogurt and granola, that just won’t cut it.

Some questions to ponder: Do you have plans every evening? Will you be stuck at the office late a couple of nights? Are there just a couple nights that dinner will be a rushed affair, and the rest of your evenings you’ll have time? Will you come home from work completely exhausted and not want to create that complex (albeit tasty) recipe? I reiterate: be realistic.

Alright. Phew. That wasn’t so bad. Now you have a game plan. Congrats!

After having a plan, my most favorite antidote to this dilemma is the art of intentionally making leftovers. It’s all about The Plan here, you catchin’ my drift? My plan was to make a big dinner Sunday and a double portion on Monday, so as to have easily re-heatable/re-creatable meals. And so I did. I made a stir fry on Sunday night, making much more rice and veggie mess than I would need for that one meal. Check out this recipe for a great way to recreate extra veggies/rice into a completely different meal. That was dinner on Tuesday.

Monday night was the night that I was able to get home from rehearsal relatively early, and so, I had some time to make dinner. I made a double portion of Salmon in parchment so that I could reheat the other half in the oven in a couple of days. There’s dinner on Wednesday. In addition, I pre-made pasta and put it in a tupperware to store in the fridge. I love putting cold pasta on my salads, or warming it up with some marinara sauce for a quick and easy dinner that’s more wholesome than top ramen.

It’s amazing what having pasta and rice cooked and waiting in your fridge will do to speed up a meal-making process. Try it sometime! Cook once, and reheat and recreate to make multiple easy meals over the course of the next few days!

Eating well doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming or boring. Sometimes, it just requires a bit of a plan and some creativity so that you don’t have to resort back to boxed meals.

I wanna know: What do you do for meals when you’re in a rush? What’s your fall back never fail quick-fix meal?