Don’t cook so much. It’s awesome outside (it is in Memphis, anyway!) and you can frolic and rejoice. And when you’re done, you’ll be hungry. Here’s the Dinner Belles Method to dealing with mealtimes when you want to stay out of the kitchen, and its all in stocking your pantry well:
- Buy lots of kinds of vegetables and fruit. Try to buy half squash, lettuces, berries, zucchini and tomatoes and half hardy greens, potatoes and cruciferous things (broccoli, cauliflower). The plan is to avoid going to the grocery store more than once a week: Have salads Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays and roasted sandwiches and things until your next visit.
- In that same vein, buy breads (besides the basic loaf!), pasta and a variety of grains and legumes (quinoa, lentils, rice).
- Keep canned canellini, black and pinto beans around all the time.
- Round out your sources- different cheeses, oils and vinegars allow for invention
- As previously mentioned here and here and here and here, little toss-ins such as olives, sundried tomatoes, etc. add character
- When you have time (or its raining), make pizza crust, pie crust and dips for later.
Doing these things will allow you to throw something together at pretty much any time within a short time frame. Cook vegetables that are reaching their age limit and throw them into your creations, and the hardier produce will be there waiting for you. Combinations of produce, starches/carbohydrates/fats will make you feel like you’ve done something AND keep you going!
Ideas are (and this is really how we eat, easily and efficiently, without resorting to take-out or frozen dinners):