What's for Dinner?
While steadily progressing through work, you glance at the corner of your screen and realize its late afternoon. The time is starting to wind down and your mind changes gears to the second shift. Within hours, dinner needs to be ready and you have little choice but to get it together.
“The kids will be fine with cereal, right?”
“Should I just swing through drive-through again?”
“I have a few frozen pizzas.”
“Does a sleeve of saltine crackers count as dinner?” Believe it or not, I know a physician who actually used this as a regular meal plan.
The food data company Food Genius reports as many as 80 percent of Americans don't know what they're having for dinner by 4 p.m. that same day. In my experience reviewing hundreds of household budgets I’ve found that meals away from home tend to be the black hole of spending. I’ve seen individuals and families who spend more than $1,000 per month on restaurants and takeout. When the mobile banking app shows the amount they spent on restaurants they say to themselves “That can’t be right. Oh well, I’ll worry about it later.” And so the cycle continues. Over and over. Month after month.
How do we get out of the trap of feeling like dinner is a perpetual emergency? I’ve found that about 15-30 minutes of planning every weekend with a complementary thought to when I’ll complete the shopping has worked wonders at reducing stress to make me a better professional, spouse, and mom. My favorite paper meal planner is made by a small company called MomAgenda started by a mom looking to organize her family’s chaotic schedule. Free apps like Cozi, Mealime, or AllRecipes Dinner Spinner ensure that you never get caught without your shopping list. Some apps even connect with services that let you order groceries online which in turn helps avoid impulse buys while wandering the store with every other dinner procrastinator.
The reality is that personal finances don’t incite the same urgency as hungry stomachs. While you’re busy managing the day-to-day, it's hard to find time for shopping around for the best savings account, creating a household budget and opening an IRA (let alone learning about the “Backdoor Roth IRA” that everyone is so excited about).
Right now I’m tempted to start reviewing savings accounts and discussing the pros and cons, but it’s time again. It won’t be long until dinner needs to be ready and I’ll have hungry (hangry?) people on my hands. Thankfully, I already know what will be on the table: broccoli and cheese quiche. I’ve shared my recipe below for two quiches - one for tonight and one for the freezer. Next week I’ll discuss where to find and how to access the best savings accounts. Most saving accounts I see clients using are returning only one-tenth of a percent while many of the leading savings accounts return 20 times that rate. It’s low-hanging fruit to improve your financial plan in just a few minutes.
Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
- 2 refrigerated pie crusts
- 1 large head of fresh broccoli florets or 16 ounces frozen broccoli
- 2 cups shredded cheese (whatever kind is on hand)
- 8 large eggs
- 3 cups milk
- ½ tsp salt
- Pepper to taste
1) Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Steam broccoli in microwave for 3-5 minutes and drain.
3) Prepare pastry by pressing gently into pie or cake pan. Fold and crimp the edges.
4) Sprinkle cheese and broccoli into pastry lined pan.
5) Beat eggs with milk and seasoning. Pour over broccoli and cheese.
6) Freeze one and bake the other uncovered for 25 minutes.
7) Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to bake for 15 minutes more or until knife inserted in center removes clean.
8) Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
9) To bake from frozen, cover the edges with foil and bake for 55-65 minutes at 400 degrees.