As it always does, Friday night rolled around recently and, being the lazy sod that I am, I made the executive decision to ixnay plans for cooking dinner. After all, it’s been a busy week and a woman needs a break every now and again, right?
Okay, the guilt did overcome me for a millisecond or two, but thankfully by the sheer force of will, I ignored it.
Between busy weekdays, homework, hockey and soccer practices, grocery shopping, laundry and other wonderful activities that are part and parcel of being a parent, one has to give themselves a well-deserved break every now and again. I don’t know about you, but cooking meals for the family gets a tad uninteresting – and tiring – by the end of the week. Oh, it’s also really boring and just plain annoying as well, but I digress.
If you haven’t picked up on it already, mom needs a break. Mom needs a break because she’s tired and doesn’t want to have to worry about the kids having a balanced meal according to the most up-to-date food guide or some nutritionist’s recommendations. Mom doesn’t care. Mom wants to kick back, have a vino and watch some trite, light and fully-entertaining fluff on the tube. Kids: fend for yourselves.
On this liberating vein of self-fulfillment, I threw caution to the proverbial wind and announced to the family that we were having leftovers. I also introduced a new word to my kids: scrounging. We were going to scrounge in the fridge for leftovers and other morsels and from our findings we were going to make a meal. No pizza tonight, no order-in Chinese and no boxed chicken fingers for this klan. No, we were going to make the best of what we had and mom was going to follow her own advice about being frugal, efficient and making the best of what she had.
Whatever disappointment and irritation that was felt after hearing this pronouncement was immediately displaced by agreement that was borne of raging hunger. I had a captive and willing audience.
How did I swing this? How can you have a break every so often, save some money and clean out your fridge as well? It’s simple:
How to Save Money, Food and Clean Out Your Fridge At The Same Time – 5 Simple Tips
1) Make a regular date and stick to it – It could be Friday night, it could be Sunday morning. Whenever you chose, stick to that date and don’t waver. Let it be known in your household that from now on, you will not be cooking on that day and that it’s every man, woman and child for themselves (in a manner of speaking. Babies are exempt from this directive).
2) Plan the week’s menu - By doing this, it will make it really easy to end up with some yummy leftovers on your cooking day off. Strategically prepare food’s Monday through Thursday (or any days preceding the day that you’ve determined as your “lazy cooking day”) and kick back with the grub on the day you’ve chosen to be idle. The food will taste so much better when you’re eating it, knowing that it has taken the minimum amount of preparation for the maximum amount of gain.
3) Make sure you have the goods in place – This is easy to do. If you’re like most parents, you’re cooking regularly so you will likely have leftovers in the fridge or freezer. If you don’t regularly store leftovers, now’s a good time to start. Make it a habit to cook a bit more of your meals than are required and store the rest in the freezer for a lazy day, or in the fridge as leftovers. In doing so, you’ll always be prepared for that day or evening when you’ve decided to avoid your Chef status for the evening.
4) Prepare easily re-heatable foods – You know the score: some foods reheat better than others. Some ideas for quick and easy foods? Pizza, pasta, meatloaf, soups, stews and most types of casseroles. They heat up quickly and well and taste so much better a day or two later.
5) Banish the guilt! - You cook for your family regularly. Don’t feel guilty about this lazy day of scrounging and eating leftovers. You deserve it and you’re doing your part to decrease the amount of wasted food. You’re also getting your fridge cleaned out in the process
BONUS: Get the kids to help you clean out the fridge while scrounging! They’ll love it!
How often do you eat leftovers? Do you cook for your family every day? Will you start having a lazy day off as a way of using up the leftovers and cleaning out your fridge? Answer in the comments below.
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