When it comes to dinner, sometimes my good intentions go right out the window. It’s been a long day of doing [x, where x=working, cleaning, or doing nothing] and when it comes to dinner time, even if there’s a “plan” in place, the excuse of “I don’t feeeeeeeeeeeeeel like cooking! *huff/stomp/pout*” comes out.
In this moment, it seems like it would be easier to just pick up the phone or go online and place an order for some sort of sustenance to fill the hungry hole. But what does that sort of decision cost in the way of time and money? And is it REALLY worth the effort? Let’s break it down:
Our top three options for ‘I dont wanna’ usually include Domino’s, Jimmy John’s, or Wendy’s.
1 – Large Specialty Pizza, + taxes and delivery, +tip ~$25.00
1 – Side order of parmesan bread bites because we just can’t resist ~ $3
Total: ~$28.00, 30 minutes of waiting, 10 minutes of eating, hours of guilt for spending money we didn’t need to, eating bread bites we didn’t need to, and loading up on greasy cheesy pizza that is essentially nutritionally void. Worth it?
2 – Bootleggers, + taxes and delivery, + tip ~$14.00
2 – side order of chips because they’re too good to resist, ~$3.00
2 – side order, giant chocolate chunk cookie, ~$4.00
Total: ~$21.00, 10 minutes of waiting, 10 minutes of eating, up to an hour of guilt for spending money we didn’t need to, eating almost 400 calories worth of mayo because I always forget to tell them to leave it off, upset stomach due to the kettle chips and the chocolate chunk–and why? Because we didn’t feel like cooking. Worth it?
2 – Asiago Chicken Ranch Clubs
1 – 1/4 lb. Classic
1 – side of chili
2 – Softdrinks (small)
Total: ~$15-20, depending on prices and variables in choices; prices are not published online. Wendy’s doesn’t deliver, but they’re up the road from us, less than a mile so we take the time to go down to the car and drive there (yep. you read that correctly), go through the drive-through, and then drive home because we don’t feel like cooking. But we feel like getting dressed, putting shoes on, waiting in line, paying money for food that (again) is nutritionally void, going back home and disposing of all the trash. Worth it?
See? When you really take a look at how ‘convenient’ convenience food really isn’t it becomes easier to make meals at home. One of our new discoveries is from Campbell’s and it’s called ‘Skillet sauces‘ – you just add chicken (or beef, or shrimp) and serve over pasta or rice. So, the box of rice is a couple bucks and it lasts us a couple months. This is the first one that we tried, but, we were pretty impressed with it. The skillet sauce packets likely goes on sale, so if you get a chance, you could stash them in the cupboard for days when you just don’t feel like it.
Last night, we were tired and unmotivated and having one of those ‘don’t feel like it’ moments. I felt the urge rising to call for pizza, but, my new year’s resolutions are to lose weight, save money, and get better at my job. Well, heyo! Ordering in goes against two of those objectives. Keep it simple, stupid–cook at home! Save time, save money, control portions and nutrition.
I defrosted chicken in the microwave while setting a pot on the stove to boil water for the rice. I measured the rice and sliced up a cucumber while those two finished. While the rice started cooking, I sliced up the chicken and browned it in the skillet. Add the toasted sesame ginger sauce on top and heat through–voila, meal is done. We went from frozen chicken and two packets of ingredients to a nutritionally sound meal in approximately 20 minutes for a cost less than $3/person.
When making your new year’s resolutions, flesh them out a bit. How does having a meal plan or back-up plan take my KISS goal and make it a SMART goal?
S – Specific – I want to save at least $100/month for the next year.
M – Measurable – I saved (by not spending) net $17.00 by not ordering in.
A – Attainable – If I can continue to make decisions to eat at home like this, I can definitely save over $100/month. This would include brown-bagging it for lunches and eating breakfast at home, too.
R – Relevant – Preparing and eating food from home, let’s say 4/5 work days, is relevant and applicable to my goals to save money, lose weight (remember I can control portion and nutrition), AND to become better at my job – when I stop to pick something up on the way to work, I usually scoot in a few minutes late. Being punctual will improve my perception at work, and, perceptions are realities.
T – Time-bound – The time is weekly, adding up to monthly, adding up to the entire year of 2013.
What are some other ideas that you have for quick back-up plans for when you don’t feel like cooking? Crock-pots are always good because you can just toss in a few ingredients and it does its thing while you do yours. What else?