Sometimes It’s Best If You Schedule These Things.

Confession time: over the past year or so (maybe even eighteen months: I’ve lost track!), Jim and I have been in a rut. I never thought it would happen to us, but it did. We used to have plenty of time, and plenty of desire. In fact, on the nights when I didn’t feel like it, he took charge, and vice versa. As of late, our busy schedules and pure exhaustion at the end of the day turned the tides. When we least expected it, something we used to do almost every single day became an afterthought, a rarity.

Of course I’m talking about cooking dinner.

We used to have the ability to think about what we wanted for dinner in time to pull something out of the freezer or at least have a plan, but once we started letting our schedules get in the way of thinking ahead, it was all over. For the past twelve to eighteen months, we’ve held old standbys close: salad, pancakes, frozen pizza, fajitas, grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches, and even omelettes. All of these dishes are super-easy to make and don’t require more than twenty minutes of thought and/or preparation. Occasionally on the weekends we’d prepare something a little more elaborate, but generally…we didn’t. Sometimes we’d just throw in the towel altogether and go out to dinner, which is great when you’re planning for it but it doesn’t feel really nice on the wallet when you’re doing it because you failed to make a better, more economical plan.

Things have turned around here recently, though. Due to an unfortunate circumstance brought on by the sucky economy, my sister is living with us for a while. I love having my sister around for many reasons, but one big one is that she has inspired this house right out of the no-cooking doldrums. She loves to cook, and when you add her specialties and sense of adventure with recipes to Jim’s and my repertoire, you get…FANTASTIC FOOD. A couple of weeks ago she and I made a four-week meal plan and posted the calendar on the refrigerator. Now we have a plan, we all know when we’re cooking, and grocery shopping is easier, more logical, and more reasonable since I’m not just tossing random items that “look good” into the cart.

Just in the past week, we’ve made Rachel’s migas recipe, grilled chicken salad, Pineapple Rum Chicken, taco bowls, Jambalaya (we now call it “Jimbalaya”, since it’s his specialty), baked tilapia with salsa fresca, and some outrageously delicious “21 Club burgers” (recipe from the NYC restaurant famous for selling the burgers for $30) topped with a “salad” of heirloom tomatoes and onions:

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I can’t express how good they were. *wiping drool*

What I can tell you is, I haven’t had frozen pizza in a couple of weeks now, and I don’t miss it one bit.