I hate making dinner. It’s true.
The fruit and veggie smoothie is a no brainer but the rest of it is a struggle.
A piece of toast with peanut butter + the smoothie and I would be fine most days of the week. The troops on the other hand think differently.
They want dinner, every night.
Rarely, we eat take-out pizza and fast food about 4-5 times a year...mostly when we are on a road trip.
Dinner is a burden, an energy sucking wasteland but we gotta do it or hanger takes over and no one wins.
The secret to eating better dinners lies in planning. Planning is so hard.
Many times I have asked, even politely, what the gang would like to eat for dinner. They don’t know either; they just expect something magically delicious will appear.
This brings us back to planning. I have a new resolve. I want to tighten up our grocery spending. It’s an excellent time of year to play this game because of the garden swinging into awesomeness. But, it leaves me with the planning. Ugg.
So here I go. Family, what would you like to eat? We eat about the same 10-12 meals week after week, month after month. If something new is going in the rotation it’s because I’m dying for something different.
5 SIMPLE STEPS TO PLANNING DINNER (it won’t take a spreadsheet either)
- Write down everything you make for dinner
- Assign those meals a day of the week
- Circle the items that freeze easily
- Pinkie promise you will double or triple the batch and freeze the leftovers
- Pinkie promise to try two new healthy dinner ideas each month
With dinner being such a bear to even want to plan, it just got a little easier for both of us.
One of our favorite meals that is as easy as it is good for us is Ham Fried Rice.
Made with brown rice (a whole grain), the pickies don’t even know I use brown rice or they would pitch a fit. The soy sauce added to the rice colors everything enough that they don’t remember to be gaged out. They pick around the veggies they don’t want to eat and everybody wins.
Whole grain + cheap + easy = on the dinner list.
And to boot, the pickiest of the pickies asked for Ham Fried Rice for dinner this week. Ahhh, one planning day down.
HAM FRIED BROWN RICE
- 4 cups cooked cooled BROWN rice
- 3 Tbsp oil (I use canola)
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 1-2 cloves finely minced garlic
- 3-4 eggs beaten
- 3-4 oz diced ham (usually 1/3 the package of deli ham)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (gluten free if necessary)
- VEGGIES – broccoli, peeled diced broccoli stem, diced carrots, peas, green beans, radish, eggplant, zucchini, whatever your people will eat.
Heat oil in your biggest non-stick skillet or wok if you are that fancy. I use two 10 inch non-stick skillets. Over medium heat, add onion, ham and veggies to oil and cook until softened. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. In the second skillet, scramble the eggs. Otherwise you can transfer the onion, veggies, garlic and ham to a plate to wait or just scramble the eggs with them. Whatever floats your boat, this recipe is very forgiving. Once eggs are done add the rice, top with the soy sauce and veggie/ham mixture. Mix until everything is evenly dispersed and is warm and yummy.
Drip or squirt sriracha if you dare.
For more veggies, fill the bottom of your bowl with shredded cabbage and then place the hot ham fried rice on top, mix it all around and dig in. You can do the same with kale but personally I have to cook it first (in my bowl just steam in the microwave for 45 seconds).
Leftovers make excellent breakfast and lunches too!
Give this whole grain recipe a whirl. I am certain you won’t be disappointed!
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