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2. Have backup plans (ABC)

You’ve bought all eleven ingredients in the new recipe you planned to make for dinner tonight, but by the time you get to the kitchen to start cooking, you don’t have nearly enough time to make it! Maybe you’re way too hungry or you forgot soccer practice starts in 45 minutes. Either way, if this is the only dinner plan you had, you’re screwed. It is absolutely necessary to have backup plans available, so that when plan A doesn’t work out, it isn’t the end of the world. So shop for your plan A ingredients (lasagna and the like), but DO NOT forget to also shop for plan B and C ingredients. Plan B dinners are quick meals you can build, like black bean quesadillas and tuna melts. Plan C dinners are canned chili, mac and cheese, and frozen lasagna. You can slice an apple or open a can of mandarin oranges to quickly add color to any dinner. Keeping your kitchen stocked with the ABCs will ease your mind and make dinner a lot less stressful!

Worried chef with kitchen utensils.

3. Maximum of one complex recipe per meal

Be realistic and anticipate what you can handle. If you are planning a multi-course meal, make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for hours in the kitchen when you only have one hour. Is the entree where you’re dedicating your chopping or browning time? If so, consider using a bagged salad kit and instant mashed potatoes. People who brag about creating multicourse scratch meals are either making it up or have a lot more time than you do.

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