Meal Formula #3: The Shortcut Skillet

What do you make on a Thursday?

No really, at the end of a long week when supplies are running low and the weekend is almost in sight, what's for dinner? 

For me, a Thursday meal has to be easy and fast. It has to make use of any ingredients left in the fridge. And it has to feel virtuous enough to land on a weeknight but indulgent enough to kick-off the weekend. By the way, does Thursday feel like the start of the weekend to you? Maybe I'm just holding onto my college days (pub crawl, anyone?). 

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Meal Formula #2: The New Taco Night

Tacos are basically the perfect meal. Easy to make, customizable for picky eaters, and they can be as simple or as complicated as your night allows.

Plus, everyone has fond memories of taco night. Those crunchy shells, that shredded cheese, the tear of the seasoning packet bursting with flavor...

But after awhile you start wanting something new. Maybe you're tired of iceberg lettuce or you're not sure about the questionable ingredients found in most seasoning packs.

I rely on some type of taco night each week in order to use up whatever's left in the fridge while delivering a meal that everyone likes. Which means The New Taco Night is our second meal formula (more about the first meal formula here).

Take a look at a few examples below. These meals follow the same formula yet you can vary the proteins, vegetables, and wraps to keep things interesting, to use what your family likes, and to make the most of what's in your capsule kitchen

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Meal Formula #1: The Asian-Inspired Grain Bowl

I used to make a big batch of one recipe and try to eat it throughout the week. But inevitably by night 2 or 3, I'd be bored with that pot of chili, or crockpot chicken with salsa and wanting to pick up something new.

I've also tried following new recipes each night in order to keep things interesting. But that's not sustainable either because following a recipe requires one, time to plan to make sure I have all the ingredients and two, the ability to focus while following a recipe (hello, toddler on my leg). Two things I can't guarantee on a weekly or daily basis.

What works best for me most of the time, is following meal formulas instead of recipes. In other words, basic templates that work with a variety of different ingredients. Once I understand the formula cooking becomes second nature and I don't have to focus or scroll through a recipe on my phone. And since these formulas work with everything on my capsule kitchen list, I always have the right ingredients on hand. 

One of my favorite meal formulas is the Asian-Inspired Grain Bowl. It's easy but it tastes complex. It's customizable so you'll never get bored and you can modify it easily for picky eaters and dietary preferences.

Here are a few examples of this simple and outrageously delicious formula on my dinner table. All the meals below follow the Asian-Inspired Grain Bowl formula yet are so different from one another.

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It Is Possible

When I was working in the corporate world it felt impossible to cook and have a career all while raising a family. It was so overwhelming that I decided to quit my job and return to school to study nutrition in order to figure it out. 

I have good news.

It turns out it is possible to cook real food and have a full life but only if we completely change the way we think about cooking.

Here's what we have to do:

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