It’s 7:00 pm, do you know where your dinner is? It happens to all of us–we’re either too busy, too exhausted, or too distracted to think about what to make for dinner until it’s too late! …Or is it? Before you reach for your phone or car keys, look in your kitchen for quick meal ideas. The freezer is my gold mine, and when that fails I turn to the pantry.
Hi, my name is Marina and I love my freezer (If you don’t know already). I freeze any food if I know it will not be eaten within 3-4 days. Why? Because freezing foods is like freezing time! In other words, your broccoli will be much nicer if you freeze it now, rather than waiting until next week and hoping it will hold up. There are a few things to keep in mind…
- It ‘s not always a good idea to freeze vegetables you plan on eating raw
- Think about stick-age! If you don’t want the items to stick together, freeze them in one layer on a baking sheet first and THEN transfer to a freezer bag or other device
- Think about portions. If you’re freezing a liquid (pasta sauce, broth, etc), consider the size of container you use first. Will it be a large container? Or an ice-cube tray?
- How will you most likely use the food later on? Should you cut/peel/shred it up now or later?
Keep in mind: If you’re making a more labor-intensive meal one day, make extra to freeze! Save it for a rainy day.
If your freezer is empty, try the pantry. Canned chicken or tuna recipes are easy to find. Tonnato sauce (made from canned tuna) is so delicious, you’ll be happy you didn’t plan dinner! How about canned beans? You can make a bean salad, or use them with canned tomatoes to make chili. Have any broth or bouillon? Heat it up with some frozen vegetables, and rice or pasta. Or throw in an egg to make egg drop soup. How about omelets? Or even pancakes now that we’re talking about it. Ok, ok, am I going too far?
Here’s a pretty sweet recipe my mom shared with me. I really want to make it tonight, but I have dinner planned (hah)
- Chopped or smashed garlic
- Pancetta, or bacon (sliced)
- Chick peas, aka garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained if they’re from a can)–at least one cup
- Broth (water will also do)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Spaghetti–whole wheat please 🙂
In a medium-large pan, cook the pancetta or bacon for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for one minute more. Meanwhile, blend the chick peas with some broth. Only add enough broth (or water) for the mixture to be somewhat fluid. Add this to the pan, and heath through. Add salt, pepper, and cheese. Cook pasta, and add to sauce. I like to save some of the water the pasta has been cooking in, in case the food dries out later.
This dish is creamy, tasty, and loaded with fiber and protein. Ohh yeah! It’s also great if you substitute cooked cauliflower for the beans.
So don’t feel guilty next time you forget about dinner. And certainly don’t think about ordering out…just yet!
Marina Bedrossian is a Northport, NY dietitian nutritionist who helps people with holistic nutrition solutions and food sensitivities. Visit this page to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to join the private Facebook group “Ingredients For Healthy Families” more information here.