Now would be a good time to re-evaluate why you eat a certain way and why you buy certain types of foods. Do you buy things to eat because they are healthy and tasty for your family or do you buy food because they are convenient and easy? Do you cook from scratch or is opening a box your thing?
There is a really good book called “Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence” co-authored by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. Basically the book talks about our relationship with purchasing convenience and how much it costs us. It talks about how advertisers convince us that we need “and deserve” convenience. Advertisers have convinced us that we just can’t do “it” as good as they can and that our families will be better off if we let them do it for us so that we have more time to what? Go to work to so that we can earn more money so that we can buy more convenience? How inconvenient, and so very expensive.
I know that everyone that works is going to say, “I just don’t have time to fix dinner and I’m too tired”. I know, I understand. I work full time, I just recently quit my second job. I clean a house every other week, write a newspaper article and help out in the community and I have a family. I understand what you are saying. I’m tired too. I just find it too costly to buy “convenience” as an every day way of life. I am not saying that I don’t ever stop off and get a pizza on the way home, but my family does consider fast food a rare and unexpected treat – not an everyday way of life.
In order to keep my sanity I have come up with my own “Fast Food” and I will share it with you. You probably have your own favorite quick fix meals, but remember they don’t all have to be casserole based and you can use your food storage items.
My first and favorite recipe is one that my friends Diane and Stanley Green shared with me. It is called Salsa Soup: Brown 1 lb. of hamburger and drain the excess oil. Add 1 pint of your favorite salsa and 1 quart of stewed tomatoes. Heat and eat. Really that is it. By the time it is warmed up, it is ready. I serve tortilla chips with it on the side and a bit of shredded cheddar cheese on the top with a dollop of sour cream (both are optional). This soup only gets better with age – think yummy homemade lunch the next day at work instead of the old tired sandwich or the expensive “buy on the run” meal.
This next recipe is actually a two-nighter planned meal. Have spaghetti the first night (that is easy enough) and cook twice the amount of spaghetti noodles. With the leftover spaghetti noodles you can make my family’s favorite meal – Spaghetti and Vegetables (a variation of some Chinese dish). Warm up the spaghetti by putting it in a colander and running hot water over it.
Meanwhile either steam or fry up some frozen oriental vegetables from a bag. After the vegetables are hot, toss the noodles and vegetables in a large hot pan (the one you cooked the vegetables in) with just a little bit of olive oil. Season with some granulated garlic, black pepper and lots soy sauce – to taste. You might use more soy sauce than you are used to, but it will make all the difference in the taste.
Warm everything up together so that the sugars will caramelize a little. You can also add a dab of butter at the end for taste or drizzle just a little bit of sesame oil on it. Throw a couple of shrimp in with it if you have them, but they are not necessary. Serve with soy sauce so that everyone can season it to taste. Remember you are using left over noodles – very EASY and TASTY!
Next time I will share with you how to make rice come alive. Remember that stuff in your food storage? No longer is it just a side dish.