It happens at least once a week: Bjork and I are standing in the kitchen after a long day of work, looking at a sparse pantry and fridge, and asking ourselves, “What should we make for dinner?”
Five years ago, this dilemma would have led us straight into the arms of a frozen pizza, takeout, or even just a bowl of cereal for dinner. This was especially bad news when we moved in together for the first time in a condo that was within walking distance of fast food, pizza and a Mexican restaurant. Yoiks.
Fast forward to today, while we can still appreciate the fun in a casual dinner once in a while (Friday night, anything goes!), we’ve also realized the health, relationship and financial benefits of being resourceful with our food and meal prep. When we opt to get creative about how we could create a meal at home, we’ll usually end up spending valuable time together preparing a meal, saving money and eating food that doesn’t fill us with regret the next day. Yes. Triple win!
Soup: We live in Minnesota, so this is a MUST for us throughout the winter months. Neither of us really likes big chunks of vegetables, but the silky-smooth texture of a pureed soup made with onions, broth and vegetables does the trick for making all those vegetable odds and ends into something delicious.
Rice/Noodle Bowls: We have a big container of rice that we keep full at all times because rice can be the base of so many meals. Recently I cut up a bunch of vegetables for a curry and I just stuck the extra vegetable pieces in the fridge, not knowing how I would use them. A few days later when we needed a fast dinner, Bjork had the idea of taking my extra veggies and stir frying them with some garlic, topping with a little bit of soy sauce, and putting the whole thing over rice (with a fried egg, obviously). Boom!
Salad: We have made some pretty epic non-lettuce salads by piecing together a random combination of ingredients in the fridge that both Bjork and I have loved – even though Bjork claims he’s not a salad lover (LIES). One of my favorite examples of this is building a huge taco-inspired salad out of some leftover chicken. We added canned beans, salsa, vegetables, hot sauce and tortilla chips – all of which were things we already had on hand.
Egg Dishes: This concept is one of our favorites to make together as a couple because Bjork could eat eggs all day every day, and I obsess over the fillings and stuffings and cheeses and sauces. So as a team, we can create some incredible egg-based recipe combinations. Our regulars are egg bakes with leftover meat, bread or potatoes, or using bits of cheese, vegetables and herbs in egg-white omelettes.
Tacos: This is why we always keep tortillas in the freezer! We always end up with easy, delicious tacos when Bjork sautes any leftover chicken and pork with hot sauce and sugar until it gets caramelized, and I whip up a fruit salsa – we’ve used everything from apples, peaches and pineapple to cucumber and zucchini. Who knew tacos were so versatile?!