I have to make dinner? Again?

June 22, 2011 | By | Comments (3)

Here are the facts – I love to eat. I even like to cook. But with a full-time job, a part-time job, two kids and too little time, my husband and I find ourselves regularly stumped with what has become an age old question . . . “what’s for dinner?”

I think it would actually be easier if I didn’t like food so much, because I’d be perfectly happy eating cereal or scrambled eggs every night. I’d also be more than happy to eat out on a daily basis, but I’m fairly certain that would send my blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight through the roof (and put me into the poor house).

Happily, there are many great resources available to the dinner challenged like me:

One of our big challenges is making sure there is enough of the right types of food in our house (it’s not uncommon for us to have 5 jars of peanut butter in the pantry, but no rice). With PantryList I can store our grocery list in the cloud, and make edits to it from my laptop, my iPhone (with the $3 app) and through the web site. My husband can access the list through the Pantry Viewer before heading to the store.

It’s not a perfect solution, but if it reduces the peanut butter expenditures, and increases the boxes of rice, we’re already ahead of the game.

Real Simple’s No Time to Cook App
Once we have the groceries, now we have to figure out what to cook. Enter the No Time to Cook App from Real Simple ($5.99) which gives you ideas based on the amount of time you have (20, 30 or 40 minutes) and ingredients on hand (poultry, pasta, vegetarian, etc). It will also provide a grocery list (in case you actually have time to plan ahead), step-by-step directions, and a timer to keep you on track.

Menu Masters
Given our challenges – planning and ideas – a service that delivered menu plans and grocery lists could be the perfect solution.  A four-week “light” subscription  from Menu Masters includes three meal plans a week for just $7.95. They also have a list of pantry basics – which I’m pretty sure doesn’t include those 5 jars of peanut butter.

We’ve received the e-mails and the recipes look great – now we just need to work it into our meal planning routine!

How do you handle the daily dilemma of what to make for dinner?