The Survival Series - What's For Dinner? August 20 2009

[caption id="attachment_1449" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Photo by Zeetz Jones"]Photo by Zeetz Jones[/caption]

At the end of August each year, I remind my friends that I’m going back to work as a classroom teacher. This means that I virtually disappear during the month of September. I don’t make plans or commit myself to anything. I don’t answer phone calls or emails, at least with any amount of urgency.

I’m totally focused on this transition back into the classroom, and it’s exhausting at best. When my school day is done, I come home and lay down. It doesn’t matter if the television is on or not. I don’t  have the energy to find the remote.

So there’s no grace for the question, “What’s for dinner?” Instead of becoming frustrated every September at having to figure out the answer to that question (or yell at whoever’s asking), I’ve figured out how to prepare for it.

The Freezer

If you don’t currently have a freezer, you need to buy one. Another alternative is to empty out the one you currently have of all the extraneous contents, like a plastic bag containing a lone hotdog bun, or frozen blueberries from 1983. It’s time to throw it out.

Local Warehouse Meals

Now that your freezer is empty or you’ve bought a new one, go to a local warehouse store (i.e. Costco) and stock up on frozen meals. These are easy to pop into the oven or microwave when you get home – no prep, no mess, no clean-up.

Paper and Plastic

Speaking of no clean-up, now is the time to use paper plates. I have a hard time with plastic cups and cutlery because of the environment, but at least there are environmentally friendly paper plates out there now. You don’t need to be doing dishes during the month of September. You’ll intend to, but then just attract fruit flies.

Fruits and Veggies

Since your freezer will be stocked up, you’ll not need to make lengthy trips to the grocery store during the month of September. Keep the grocery list simple – milk, bread, fruit, vegetables, eggs. That way, you can easily have breakfast for dinner or grab a handful of baby carrots as a snack.

Take Out

Your freezer is stocked and your grocery list is small. But you don’t have the energy to even deal with that. It’s Friday and you wore mismatched shoes, and two kids got in a fight at recess.

This would be the day to call ahead, even before you leave work, for some take out. Since these opportunities are few and far between for me, I have the phone numbers to my favorite restaurants already in my cell phone.

September is hard enough without worrying about what’s for dinner. Plan now to take the guess work out of it, and rest instead!