I am so happy to have Adelle Gabrielson as my guest blogger this week! She is sharing with us how “The What’s for Dinner?” Solution has changed her family’s life.
It’s 5:30pm on a Wednesday, and I’m lighting the candles in the dining room. The place-mats are out, dinner is on, and I’m adding a little ambiance before I call the boys to the table.
Sounds like I’ve been working in the kitchen all afternoon, right?
Nope. I got off work exactly one hour ago. Despite that, my family is about to sit down to a home-cooked meal that is made with fresh, healthy ingredients. Spicy Butternut Squash and White Bean soup with a hearty whole wheat bread. Lots of veggies, super healthy, and homemade.
A few weeks ago, we would have been eating frozen chicken nuggets in front of the TV – again. Trader Joe’s freezer section was my main-stay. Every day at 3 o’clock my husband would call me and ask “What’s for dinner?”
I hated that phone call. I hated that question. I don’t know! I’m too busy to worry about dinner -I work full-time, I volunteer in about three-too-many areas, and I am also trying to write a book. How can I possibly know what’s for dinner until about 15 minutes after I get home?
We were eating processed, frozen foods and take-out — and spending a lot of money doing it.
That is, until I read The “What’s for Dinner?” Solution by Kathi Lipp. I’ve always loved Kathi Lipp. Now my husband is pretty well head-over-heels for her, too.
As of today, just about two weeks since I read the book, we have three family-sized portions of frozen chicken breasts, trimmed and marinated, waiting in the freezer. $1.77/pound. (Yes, you read that right!) We also have three packages of cooked chicken, ready for salad or soup. Two meatloaves, pre-cooked, ready to re-heat. (I know it ain’t very posh and Martha Stewart, but I LOVE meatloaf.) Three dozen Italian-style meatballs, scratch made, two spinach quiches, three Shepherd’s pies, and four packages of pre-chopped and measured Mirepoix (a mixture of celery, onion and carrot that is the base for most soups). And a partridge in a pear tree. (Just kidding.)
“That seems like a ton of work!” you might ask -but it really wasn’t. Following Kathi’s advice, instead of preparing one meal, we prepared four. We ate one, and froze three. Instead of tossing the produce into the crisper, where it would turn brilliant colors and be thrown out two weeks later, we washed and chopped it on the spot.
With Kathi’s help, we are ending our old, wasteful, unhealthy ways. We are planning ahead. We are LOOPing (Left Overs On Purpose)
and we are eating better, day by day, bit by bit.
Last night, I set out my Dutch oven (because enamel is a snap to clean after soup), a can of white beans, and my squash. I also pulled a
can of chicken stock and all my spices out of the cupboard. The longest part of tonight’s dinner preparation was peeling and cutting the squash, and my husband was happy to do that bit. (Guys love to play with knives – it’s the whole cooking with danger thing. Barbecuing and knives…they love it.) If there’s no danger-loving guy around, you can buy pre-cut squash in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s, or simply do it up the night before.
A little forethought, and my family was able to sit down at the dining room table together on a weeknight and enjoy a great meal.
Tomorrow, when my husband calls me and asks “What’s for dinner?” I’ll have an answer. “Marinated flank steak and with an orange and feta arugula salad!”
Sounds a lot better than chicken nuggets, or frozen pizza, don’t it? Like I told you. He’s head over heels.
Oh I almost forgot, I want to share with you the recipe for the Butternut and White Bean Soup I made…
Tomorrow! Stay Tuned.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.