Fellow aviation bride NavyGirl of Marrying the Navy recently held a Reader Recipe Giveaway. I submitted my recipe (Lentils with Spinach and Goat Cheese) largely for the fun of writing up one of our household staple meals, but the random-drawing Force must have been with me: I won! (I only wish my admittedly healthy recipe had been as drool-worthy as the cookies NavyGirl featured after the announcement.)
Sampson and I have never, perhaps, been as good as we could be about planning our meals in advance. When we did, though, it was always a pleasant surprise how much of a stress-reliever it was to have answers to “the eternal question” (as the adorable notepad puts it at the bottom of each page) written down right in front of us. Our grocery runs were smoother, we avoided situations where we needed to dash out at the last minute to get some missing ingredient, and we didn’t wind up eating out when we hadn’t already planned to do so.
And then stuff would come up, and we’d get distracted, and we’d forget to sit down and plan out our meals ahead of time. The same old rut welcomed us back: “What’s for dinner?” “I dunno. What do we have?” “I dunno. Wanna go to Chipotle?”
It’s been even worse since Sampson deployed. I haven’t gone out to eat, which is good, but neither have I been motivated to cook just for myself and wind up with piles of leftovers. I’m kinda lukewarm about leftovers; I get bored with the same dish reheated, and with the household’s King of Leftover Demolition currently halfway around the world, leftovers can hang out in my fridge for a long time. Unless I come up with clever ways to transform those boring remnants of a previously exciting meal into something new and different, they probably won’t get eaten.
That’s where mapping out my culinary week is going to come in really handy: figuring out how I am going to utilize leftovers from one meal in future recipes throughout the week. If I plan out my “transformations” ahead of time, I can space out my leftovers so that roasting a chicken and making rice pilaf for myself doesn’t mean a week-long dinnertime death march until it’s all gone (read: when I can’t stomach another bite of microwaved chicken and rice, it languishes in the fridge until I eventually throw it out). A far better scenario is likely when I know before I roast the chicken that I will use the leftover breast meat for chicken salad one day and soak the remaining dark meat in a soy-sesame marinade to go in fried rice made from the leftover pilaf on another.
Less wasted food, more motivation to cook, and I get to indulge my stationery nerdiness by writing it all out on a hip notepad? Thanks so much for a prize imbued with several different kinds of win, NavyGirl! I strongly suspect that many recipes from her other readers will wind up jotted on the notepad in the coming months.