8 Fast Get-Ahead Strategies for Weeknight Dinners
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Ditch the Dinner Doldrums
Yes, you can feed yourself (and your family) fresh, healthy meals without breaking the bank — or resorting to the Tuesday-must-be-meatballs syndrome. The secret: incorporating a few simple prep-ahead strategies into your routine. (Ordering takeout isn't one of them, though we'll cop to doing that on occasion too.) Try one or two of the following ideas to unscramble your weeknight dinner routine, starting now.
Go with the Grains
Avoid Menu Planning
Expand Your Definition of Dinner
Take your cue from the restaurant small-plates trend and graze your way through suppertime with a well-stocked "appetizer" tray that doesn't require any cooking. Start with some cured meats (prosciutto, soppressata, salami) and a couple of cheeses (hard or soft), then add olives or pickles, crudite (baby carrots count!), a little tapenade, pesto or relish if you have some, and a hunk of bread. Or rewind your day and go with the crowd-pleasing breakfast-for-dinner option. An omelet and a glass of wine? Yes, please.
Love Your Leftovers
Roast It All
Fill Your Freezer
Keep these dinner building blocks on hand and you are halfway to an evening meal when you walk in the door: frozen dumplings (pot stickers or pierogi), sausages (Italian, chorizo or andouille), shrimp, pizza dough, peas, bacon, spinach, corn, edamame and stuffed pasta (tortellini or ravioli).They are all easy to transform into quick dinners. Pot stickers + Edamame + Chicken Broth = Asian Soup. Corn + Cream + Shrimp = Chowder. Bacon + Peas + Tortellini = Pasta Salad. You do the math.