a.k.a. what to do when you’re too tired to come up with an actual plan
Okay, so here’s the deal.
I totally had a plan.
Actually, I had many plans for today. These plans involved:
- putting together a shopping list
- executing said shopping list at Kroger
- filling up my gas tank using my Kroger rewards points
- coming home and meal prepping the crap out of this week while jotting down recipe notes for future blog posts
Yeah, so none of that actually happened. Instead, my husband and I dragged our children to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens to catch Pokemon. Well, my husband was on the Pokemon hunt, I just snapchatted the whole thing. (Are we winning at this parenting thing? I feel like we are.) Then we had lunch at Fuddruckers, because obviously, when you’re in the same town as a Fuddruckers, you have to go to Fuddruckers. Then we went to an actual park with swings and slides and stuff, you know, for the kids, but also for more Pokemon hunting. Then, during a snapchat convo, I realized that my 13-year-old nephew has never listened to Michael Jackson (!!!) or Jimi Hendrix (??!) or any artist outside of country music or dubstep, so I spent 3 hours curating a playlist entitled, “Tiernan, Welcome to Your Music Education”. It contains roughly 1,000 songs. Priorities, am I right?
So instead of a useful guide to Monday Meal Prep, I have this sad taco salad recipe for you. Except it’s not sad, it’s actually pretty awesome. And it’s not really a recipe since I sort of just shoved whatever crap I had left in the fridge into a jar.
Here’s what you should do when real life gets in the way, and you don’t have time to grocery shop or come up with an actual plan:
- Raid your freezer, fridge and pantry- which brings us back to the importance of having a master list! When you have a master list, you’ll find that you always have something on hand to whip up something quick and easy (i.e. taco salad.) I was able to make my own salad dressing because I always stock olive oil, vinegars, and various seasonings in my pantry, and we always have beans, rice, and shredded cheese. The lettuce was leftover from last week’s meal prep (still crisp and fresh!), and when I raided my freezer, I found this:
Whenever there’s a big sale on chicken or ground turkey or any other protein/meat, I tend to stock up and freeze whatever I don’t use for that particular week. This definitely came in handy today! I seasoned the ground turkey meat with a homemade taco seasoning, sautéed it up, and threw it in the salad. Always stay on top of your food inventory, that way you can make sure you use up everything before it goes bad.
- Get creative! I remember one week, all that we had in our fridge were chicken breasts, some fruit, and some random ginger dressing I had bought when I was trying to make a salad that “tasted like the one you get at Benihana’s.” So my husband mixed the ginger dressing with some Sriracha sauce we had in the pantry and turned it into chicken marinade. It, surprisingly, turned out amazing, and it’s now a go-to recipe of ours- one that I will probably share on this very blog one day. Get creative, and start to experiment! Sure, you will have some misfires (we have had plenty) but it’s only through trial and error and a few mistakes that you’ll truly learn and grow as a cook.
- Grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are always an option. (No kidding.)
As I mentioned before, I don’t really have a recipe for you, but I’ll walk you through how to prepare a kickass taco salad in a mason jar:
- Acquire a mason jar. (HomeGoods has plenty.)
- Layer the salad starting with your wet ingredients on the bottom, and your most delicate ingredients on top. My salad was layered as follows (from bottom to top): dressing, red onions, corn, tomatoes, brown rice and black beans (this was actually leftover from last week!), shredded cheese, seasoned ground turkey, lettuce. When you’re ready to eat, shake that bad boy up like a McDonalds salad shaker and enjoy.