What’s for Dinner?

On May 26th I got a new job. I call it my Big Girl Job. I get a salary instead of punching an hourly clock, I work 40 hours each week, I get retirement benefits, it is pointing me in the career direction I want to go and I get to wear pretty clothes. I am so excited about what we do- investigating how to improve health and surgical outcomes for patients with complicated vascular disease. I am so happy to go to work every Monday through Friday- my coworkers are amazing. I am tired when I get home- but I need dinner.

Now, I know what the “experts” say I’m supposed to do:

  • Plan meals a week at a time.
  • Prep vegetables on the weekend for those meals you will make during the week.
  • Make extra when you have time and freeze for when you don’t.
  • Split cooking duties amongst family members so no one bears the whole burden.

Right. I’m so non-linear I have trouble planning to stop for gas on the way home from running other errands, never mind planning seven days of dinner. Since I never know what I’ll want to eat I can’t really prep for it days in advance. I have a small oven and a small freezer so cook/freeze is not a valid option for me. It is just Mr. Food It Yourself and I at home; the cat has flatly refused to cook. And, since I get home first, I find I am the food preparation instigator most week nights.

Bonzai can't make dinner because he doesn't have thumbs.

Bonzai can’t make dinner because he doesn’t have thumbs.

But you know what? This is what DIYeting is for! Here are some of my go-to quick dinners. These aren’t recipes, they are just ideas.

A childhood favorite of mine- sautéed onions and peppers with whatever protein you can scrounge up. Leftover chicken, ground beef or turkey, canned shrimp and canned beans all work. You can season with whatever you’d like. Serve over leftover cooked grain (rice, quinoa) or with bread or muffins. This was dinner at least once a week when I was growing up.

The protein shown here is chicken, the seasoning is Madras style masala.  The meal is delicious.

The protein shown here is chicken, the seasoning is Madras style masala. The meal is delicious.

When it is too hot to cook, we have big bowls of salad and top with some kind of protein, preferably something that does not require turning on the stove. Mr. Food It Yourself makes a mean tuna salad for just this purpose.

Assuming I remembered to buy eggs (I’m so non-linear I usually write out a grocery list and then forget to bring it with me), we often have breakfast for dinner, AKA egg sandwiches. I like fruit as a side dish for this.

An alternate breakfast for dinner- Mr. Food It Yourself discovered that if you cook hot cereal and add a little milk and a little shredded cheese you end up with a pan full of yumminess.

Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Food It Yourself and I have been known to eat take out know and again. I’m not a superhero. However, it is generally cheaper and healthier to have a few quick options you can whip up yourself. What fast dinners are a part of your DIYet? Share in the comments section!

There is always time for muffins.

There is always time for muffins.