Quick Recipes and Easy

Don’t Eat Out – Open a Drawer

We all have nights when we just don’t want to make dinner or clean up. I’m not talking about the times you’re longing for some special dish at your favorite restaurant; I mean the times when you feel anything will taste excellent as long as you don’t have to cook it or wash the dishes.

This is when it’s really tempting to get take-out or herd the family to a quick-food place. But there’s a better, cheaper way.

Fill a drawer or a shelf with food that’s very quick and simple to get ready, and that will keep outside the refrigerator. Get enough for at least one meal for everyone, and make at least an attempt at balancing the food groups.

Some possibilities are:

*canned tuna slices

*pre-cooked bacon (remember to keep this cool enough)

*canned paté

*canned artichokes

*bottled olives

*a box of croutons, if it has an inner plastic bag

*canned shrimp

*instant dinners in plastic bowls (the kind where you add boiling water, or microwave them)

*instant macaroni and cheese

*pudding packs for dessert

Place in plastic cutlery, paper plates (from the last holiday, if you want to get them for next to nothing), plastic wineglasses, a cheap plastic tablecloth and matching paper napkins. This’ll make the dinner seem less like a quick snack and more like a spur-of-the-moment party.

Store everything in a somewhat out-of-the-way place, where you won’t be too tempted to raid it for lunches and snacks. (That’s why it’s impossible to keep a stash like this in the refrigerator – you’d see it too often.) I place mine in a drawer without a handle. It’s not impossible to open, but it takes a small extra time.
And there you have it – no real cooking, dishes you can throw away, and about as healthy a meal as you’d get at a restaurant, for maybe half the price.

Jane Wangersky is the author of In Small Packages: Gifts You Can Mail at Canada’s Lowest Postal Rates. For more thoughts on saving money, visit smallpackages.ca/ smallpackages.ca

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