Dave and I are in a small trough of rest between my parents' visit to Prague and our upcoming trip to Venice—where we'll explore for...Read More
Fridge to Plate in 20 Minutes
And now, a dramatic re-enactment of me, at the bus stop last night. 7:40 p.m., talking on the phone to my mom. We join the action mid-monologue.
“… and I was in meetings all day and had to work late and I’m not going to get home until after 8:00 and there’s nothing prepared in my fridge ’cause I ate all the leftovers in my snacks and lunch today. My sink is full of dirty dishes on one side and a huge pile of clean dishes on the other… and I don’t have anything I can just grab [pathetic hiccup sob thing] and I’m SO HUNGRY and I’m SO TIRED… I ate my last snack, like, FOUR HOURS AGO!”
Major blood sugar/overly-tired meltdown. That last part was so loud, the dude at the bus stop raised his eyebrows at me.
Mom, in her calming Mom voice: Honey, maybe you should go get yourself dinner somewhere.
Me, bratty voice: I forgot my wallet at home so I have to go all the way home on the bus. ‘Til I do that AND get my car AND drive somewhere, I. May. As. Well. Cook. My. Self.
Terrible! I was getting on my own nerves.
Mom is an angel. She chatted with me ’til the bus came, and while I was on the bus, I did the following:
1) I took a deep breath and got a grip. Yes, being overly hungry and tired is challenging, but it’s small potatoes compared to real problems. Seriously.
2) I did a mental inventory of my fridge. I didn’t have anything cooked and ready-to-eat, but I did have supplies that could be made into something. Ground turkey was defrosted and waiting to be sautéed. And there were plenty of fresh veggies… but that was kind of the problem. I’ve never shared my dirty little secret with you: I HATE cleaning and prepping fresh veggies. LOVE eating green beans; RESENT the washing and snipping. Ditto for kale, cauliflower, cabbage… basically all my leafy friends. Anyway… feeling overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning and chopping a bunch of kale, I remembered I had fennel in the fridge. Ah! Relief! Wash, slice, sauté, done.
3) I made a plan. Go in the house. Put down bag. Hug Smudge. Remove high-heeled boots. Turn on stove. Put turkey in pan. Change into comfy clothes (quickly). Return to stove to finish turkey. Etc., etc. Visualization helps me through workouts and through blood sugar meltdowns. Yeah, I had to one-step-at-a-time it. When my blood sugar bottoms out, that’s the only way I know to keep myself on track. (Got other suggestions? Post to comments.)
After I hugged Smudge, I bent into the fridge for the ground turkey and saw beautiful, tiny organic peaches. Salvation! I ate a peach, changed my clothes, and started on my dinner.
I sautéed the ground turkey with a little coconut oil, garlic powder, and salt. When it was done, I took out a portion for dinner and put the rest away for future meals. In the same pan, I sautéed sliced fennel and when it was soft, added a crushed garlic clove and salt. Then I threw the ground turkey back into the pan and gave it a quick stir-fry ’til it was all hot and carmelized.
I grabbed a bottle of water and parked my sorry ass on the bed (!) with Smudge and watched The Racing Game, a British production of a Dick Francis novel I’ve been trying to watch all week.
Twenty minutes from fridge to plate.
Moral of the story:
If you have a source of protein and a vegetable in your fridge, you are about 20 minutes from a healthy, delicious meal. Make it easy on yourself. It doesn’t have to be a meal worthy of photos and write-up – it just has to be nutritious and tasty enough to not suck. Quick protein options: a few eggs, a hamburger patty, a can of tuna. For the veggies, slice a cucumber and call it success. Defrost a bag of frozen spinach in the microwave then stir-fry it in coconut oil ’til it has brown bits. Eat a green pepper like an apple. Or eat an apple!
Last night, if I’d really not wanted to deal with the stove, I could’ve eaten a can of kipper snacks and a Larabar. Not ideal, but still high-quality food in pretty good proportions.
If you have one protein source and one vegetable in your house, you have dinner.
And I’ll bet you a fresh jar of Sunbutter, unless you live in an apartment on the second floor of a building with a restaurant on the first, you cannot make a run for takeout or get food delivered in under 20 minutes.
Do you have a favorite go-to meal that’s super fast to prepare and never lets you down? Post to comments.