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The everyday dilemma—what is for dinner tonight—can be pretty stressful and overwhelming. You know how to cook a certain number of dishes, but it is always at loss how to diversify you weekly meal rotation. Those thoughts make you aimlessly walk around the grocery store isles. You browse endless food blogs and culinary books for inspiration. You might know little tricks for how to jazz up a basic dish with herbs and spices to give it an extra bite or a more complex flavor, but you are still looking for more novel and original meals.
You are tired of eating the same things and habitually throwing out all your leftovers because you are not sure how to incorporate them into something more creative and fresh. But believe it or not, it is pretty easy to bring new, inspiring, wholesome fares into your diet just by changing the familiar recipes a little bit with the right ingredients or doomed leftovers that have been sitting in your fridge or pantry with no final destination.
Here are some useful life hacks to make your life in the kitchen easier, save you time cooking and cleaning, and spend the least amount of money possible.
This is my philosophy on what kind of food to keep arounds your kitchen.
1. You can easily create dishes around proteins of your choice.
So you should always have some in your fridge or freezer. Chicken is a great example. Make baked chicken for dinner with vegetable sides and use leftover the next day to make a mouthwatering easy chicken salad for lunch. It's just basic mayonnaise, that is everyone's fridge essential, as well as leftover veggies like celery, onion, or peppers. Throw in some nuts that you have leftover from making that zucchini bread and voila! You have a satisfying and delicious new meal.
2. The core of the dish stays the same just change up the details.
The same chicken can be served a piccata style, inspired by the Italian ingredients that you already have on hand, or the Madras style, utilizing that jarred sauce that has been getting dusty in your pantry. Serve them with different sides, be it rice or veggies, and you'll have two completely different meals.
3. Eat seasonal produce!
Because it is at its best in season and it is cheapest. Use the farm to table approach. Fresh vegetables and herbs add an unbeatable freshness to any dish. Always try to use up what you have in the fridge or leftovers first. Just made chicken vegetable soup and have some extra spinach remaining? Throw it in the food processor together with the basil from the pizza you baked and blend into creamy pesto that you can serve with spaghetti later. It doesn't get easier than that.
4. Always have enough variety of starchy sides such as rice, quinoa, pasta, or couscous.
When you feel like eating something more substantial and ample than a salad, these sides will be there to guarantee comfort. Fun and original side dishes are an ultimate way to spice up your meals.