I saw this quote the other day that was like “A relationship is just choosing what to have for dinner until you die”… and it couldn’t be more true. Nic and I wake up at different times in the morning. We eat lunch in our respective work break rooms. And so that leaves dinner to be our only meal together five out of the seven days of the week. So this is the question that pops up a lot: “What should we have for dinner?”
But the thing is that someone has to be decisive or else it could cause some tension in the evenings… so I thought I would share what goes on in my head when choosing what to have for dinner:
Check the Fridge:
The first thing I think of when trying to figure out what to have dinner is checking what we already have. It starts first with the perishables, then go down the list to things like noodles, rice, beans, or other pantry items. Some questions you might ask:
What fresh veggies/fruits are in the fridge?
Is my bread going bad soon?
Did I open a container and not use all of it?
Do I have leftovers I can revamp?
It can be difficult to decide what you want to eat when you don’t have any inspiration. It’s always easier to start with something you already have, then branch off from there. Even if you just have one item , like a couple mushrooms, you can build a recipe from it.
Not only are you eliminating food waste, you are also making sure that you are using your budget wisely. It’s a win- win – win situation for the Earth and you.
Something New or Classic?
We have a lot of go-to recipes. Spaghetti, stir fry, tacos… they are all classic recipes that are easy to pull together. They are some of our favorite meals, so if we are in a rut, just deciding on one of these meals can take away the pain of choosing.
But I have been trying to try new recipes, so if I am motivated to find something to make, I will take what ingredients I have and try to brainstorm ideas for something fresh.
I am not a recipe follower, so Pinterest is the best source of inspiration…. keyword…. inspiration. Taking a quick look at ingredients, the title, and the pictures are usually what helps start the gears for choosing an evening meal. It’s fun to look at the pictures, and then guess what I have to put into the recipes.
To get started, just search “____ recipe” and fill in the blank with whatever ingredients you have in your house.
Grab the Groceries
Going to the grocery store around 5 o’clock after work is an absolute mad house. But what makes it worse is not knowing what to have for dinner, so you have to know what you need, then go in and get out. After checking Pinterest for inspiration, make sure to note the ingredients that you don’t have at home, and make a list for your shipping trip.
I always keep a resuable tote with bulk bags in my car for last minute trips. Most apres work grocery trips are small, so I can usually just carry it in my arms… but just in case you grab extras for breakfast or if you want to get loose items like fingerling potatoes or brussel sprouts.
Don’t forget to still be a conscious consumer… for your benefit and the environment’s.
Put Your Own Twist To It
Don’t forget to add a little of your own flair when cooking in the kitchen. It’s easy to get stuck in a recipe rut, so you need to make sure to mix it up. Don’t be afraid to use random ingredients to spice up your dinner.
Use Italian dressing in pasta sauce.
Use sriracha for Spanish rice.
Use leftover tomato sauce in minestrone soup.
Remember to just think outside the box and the Pinterest recipe.
Winner Winner Chik’n Dinner?
Lastly, it’s okay for dinner to be an experiment. Life is too short to eat safe boxed bland foods. Honestly, there are so many pictures that are on my phone right now of recipes that were a total flop so they didn’t make it to the #parttimeplants blog, but I don’t regret them at all.
Whether your dinner is a winner or not, be stoked that you reduced food waste, used your imagination, and also got some (hopefully!) good food.
Your full-time plant-eater and full-time dinner planner,