One of the hardest parts of eating on the cheap is working all day – often late into the evening – only to return home to an empty fridge and a hankering for easy, greasy takeout. The temptation of ordering in and plunking down another $15 on a “meh” meal usually wins out leaving your wallet lighter and your belly fatter.
There’s a reason us moms ramble on about the value of a home-cooked meal: they’re valuable. In addition to being a mother, I’m also a human, one who works by day and cooks by night. It is possible. It just takes a little know-how and some planning ahead.
I hereby swear to guide you, step-by-step, to the joy of returning home in the evening, after a day of crunching numbers and balancing clients, to the prospect of a meal in minutes, having already been prepared the weekend before. By preparing several meals on a Sunday you’re guaranteed a cost-effective, effortless repast much faster than the local takeout joint can deliver.
The following four recipes are geared towards the small kitchen – thanks to my daughter, who has discovered the unique pleasure of cooking in Manhattan minus a counter (not one, seriously) – and require only a 5-7 quart stock pot, a medium-large sauté pan, and 2 – 9” round baking tins. (Should you choose to prepare the corn bread.)
Note: My son mentioned that buying fresh herbs is expensive when cooking for one or two and often wasteful as they aren’t available in proportionate sizes. When possible, and without compromising the flavor of a recipe, I will give the fresh-herb-to-dried-herb conversions.
Hankering for some Tex-Mex? These next few recipes will satisfy your south-of-the-border cravings while filling your fridge and freezer. The Guacamole keeps for days and will keep hunger pains at bay as you reheat the Harvest Soup or Bob Moody’s Texas Chili. Also, if this will be your maiden voyage into the kitchen, make sure to check out the “Well-Stocked” page, which lists all the basics you’ll need to keep you armed and ready to make a meal at home.