By Sheela Prakash
No matter our family structure, whether we’re trying to feed a whole herd or just ourselves, getting a good dinner on the table in no small feat. Work, school, and play tend to fill our days to the brim, which often leaves us ravaged at 7 o’clock with not a whole lot of time or energy to assemble a meal that still feels quick and healthy. That means we often resort to take out or something else that probably doesn’t make us feel our best.
I am here to tell you that there are other options, though. Think outside the box and a quick and healthy dinner is suddenly always within reach:
1. Don’t Forget About Sandwiches
Sandwiches are lunch food, you say? Well I think they are anytime food. Gather a little bit of this and that from the fridge — leftover cooked chicken or steak, cheese, lettuce, that wrapped up half of a tomato, spicy mustard — pile it between two slices of bread, onto a crisp leaf of lettuce or a grain-free tortilla and it’s dinner, no fork or knife required. Doesn’t that sound good?
And here’s the thing about sandwiches: you can customize them for everyone at the table (or let them do it themselves.) The reality is that everyone at the table probably needs a little something different to feel good and the customizable nature of a sandwich makes that pretty quick and pretty easy. Plus it’s a great way to take care of those lingering bits in the fridge.
If you want dinner to be warm, turn it into a toasted sandwich by sliding it onto a hot skillet for a few minutes, flipping it once or twice (or go and grab that panini grill you got for Christmas 5 years ago that’s collecting dust). Oh, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box: Things like leftover roasted vegetables or hummus make for a good sandwich, too.
2. Eat Breakfast for Dinner
There are some people who like to make pancakes or waffles for dinner on occasion but when we’re talking about a quick and healthy breakfast-for-dinner scenario I prefer the savory side of things. Egg scrambles, in particular, are a quick and easy favorite. I often have a clamshell of arugula or baby spinach in my fridge, so at a minimum, I’ll toss a handful into my scrambled egg to wilt and add some green. If I have other odds and ends, like the dredges of a jar of pesto or salsa, I’ll add that too.
3. Build a Snack Board
I am a big fan of these sort of clean-out-the-fridge dinners. When it seems like you have nothing really to assemble into a meal, grab your nicest platter or cutting board. Then go dig around in your kitchen. Pull out that chunk of cheese, the leftover hard-boiled eggs you intended to pack for lunch, the can of tuna collecting dust in the back of the pantry, and the half-eaten loaf of sourdough. Cut up that cucumber or head of broccoli, or just slice up an apple or two. Lay all these things onto said platter or board and suddenly you have quite a feast in a matter of minutes without actually cooking a thing. And yes you should eat it in the living room.