Eat What You Have

I am a terrible meal planner.

When I lived alone I virtually never planned dinner for myself. I’d get home from work and feel hungry, so I’d eat whatever I had. This often consisted of nuking a plate of tortilla chips smothered in salsa and cheese (a damn tasty snack, but not so nutritious as far as meals go), or angel hair pasta with frozen veggies and Parmesan cheese. Only angel hair would do because it only takes 3 minutes to cook – when I’m hungry I’m hungry! In fact, those are the only two things I can think of that I made with any regularity. Sometimes I’d get on a kick and buy lots of good food with the best intentions of eating and cooking better, but that never really panned out, or not for long anyway. I thew a lot of good food out because I just never got to it.

I’ve been parenting for over 7 years now and on the one hand I’m happy to report I’ve never served my kids tortilla chips for dinner, but on the other, I’d say we only have a meal I’ve planned more than an hour or two in advance once or twice a month. I know I have to feed them every night, but somehow it doesn’t really dawn on me most of the time until we’re all in the car on the way home at the end of the day and they are clamoring to know “what’s for dinner????”

Tonight was no different really. Except Krystal was home sick for the day so when we were leaving to go pick up Belle she asked that dreaded question (What’s for dinner?) and so I pulled open the frig. I took out whole wheat pizza dough we’d gotten at Trader Joe’s last weekend, some zucchini and summer squash I’d bought a week or so ago and never got around to grilling (the girls love it on the grill), and some leftover broccoli that I had grilled, but we hadn’t quite conquered the leftover part. I announced we were having pizza.

Originally I had planned to grill the zucchini and summer squash, but since I had no other reason to fire up the grill I decided to roast them instead. I cubed them and tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic cloves and put them on the bottom shelf of the oven. The pizza got covered in tomato slices from our container tomato plant and chopped leftover roasted broccoli and cheese. When it all came out of the oven 10 minutes later the kids said it looked like a restaurant.

It was all really tasty too. The entire pizza got eaten. We do have some leftover veggies, but those will probably get eaten tomorrow. I’m really happy that I was able to make a very tasty meal out of what was already in my refrigerator, which also included using up quite a bit of food that in a few days I would have had to throw out.

Eating what you have is the easiest way to save money on food. And making it healthy will keep the doctor away (just say no to tortilla chips for dinner!).

3 responses to “Eat What You Have

  1. You go girl! We LOVE our homemade pizza…carmelized onions, mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan on a really thin crust. You can do something similar with flour tortillas, veggies and cheese, in the microvewave or oven and instant quesadillas!

    Maybe you can conscript the girls into helping you make a weekly menu?

    If you eat salad, try cutting up enough “salad goodies” (I use red cabbage, broccoli slaw, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, chopped carrots, green onions, sometimes jicama) for a week…store it in a sealed contained in the refrigerator and you have instant salad whenever someone is hungry!

  2. We do homemade pizza a lot, but the kids will only eat black olives on it. And DeBoy requires that his be made without sauce.
    As to tortilla chips, sadly, one of DeBoy’s staple meals is chips and plain yogurt. (His full name is Destructo Boy Pickiest Eater in the Universe.)

  3. I’m the same way – no plans. I do most of the cooking for me and MY WIFE, and I rarely plan it out more than a few minutes beforehand. The only exception might be Saturday or Sunday, since the shopping is done on Saturday morning and something is usually bought with those days specifically in mind.

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