Slim Pickings

The kids and I spent the day visiting their grandparents, and my husband got home just before we did.  As I was pulling into the driveway, I noticed he had sent me a text message:  “you should consider eating dinner out.  Slim pickings here.”

I’m sure you’ve had evenings like this.  You’ve plowed through last week’s groceries and you haven’t had time to shop yet (or if you’re like me, you’re bound and determined to make it until your next official shopping day so you can stick to your grocery budget).  Not to worry!  As I was driving home with the kids, I was mentally going over the contents of our refrigerator and pantry and I had already settled on a game plan.

I knew we had at least one package of whole wheat spaghetti from our Costco bunch (and it turned out that we in fact had only one!), and I also knew there was a package of Trader Joe’s meatless meatballs in the freezer (these are also sold under the name Nate’s meatless meatballs).  We had plenty of ingredients for marinara sauce, but we’d be getting home late and I wanted a dinner that I could throw together in a hurry, so I decided on the yummy Alfredo sauce in Dynise Balcavage’s Urban Vegan.

Now, for veggies.  We ate the last of our fresh veggies last night which left me with two options:  frozen spinach and canned green beans.  Neither of which sound very appetizing if you ask me!  But I thought green beans would be easy and I knew the kids would love them.  Rather than simply heating up the can, I gave them a quick sautee with freshly chopped garlic and some olive oil.  It was an improvement, but nothing to write home about.

The end result was pretty good.  Everybody ate up the pasta and green beans – and we all got our whole grains, vegetables, protein, and full bellies.  I call that a win!  And it was definitely healthier and more satisfying than anything we could have gotten if we had eaten out.  Not to mention the money we saved.  It doesn’t do much good to put off grocery shopping in order to stick to your budget, if you turn around and go out to dinner!

What do you do for dinner when your refrigerator is getting empty and you are short on time?  Any favorite recipes you’d like to share?

3 comments Add yours
  1. Slim pickin’s almost always means that we’ll fall back on pasta too! My kids love garlic bread with it and I try to have tomato sauce on hand. I’m trying to learn to come up with soups from leftovers, but I don’t quite have the knack that my Mom-In-Law has. I’m learning…

    The other thing I fall back on is the frozen leftovers. I try to make double what we’ll eat and freeze the rest. Many’s the night that I have half an hour to come up with something and ‘discover’ that Hey, we still have lentil soup in the freezer! Or hey, there’s some pizza dough available and we have some good toppings. 🙂

    I’m enjoying your posts!

    1. Thanks Laurie! I did have some pizza sauce in the freezer but I use a different recipe for that than for spaghetti sauce. Adam tends to freeze leftovers in single-serving portions to take to work, so we don’t often have a nice big meal saved. I’ll have to start doing that, though!

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