Hip pocket skill #1: the dinners ideas you have on demand

What's for dinner when you have nothing planned?

"In order to succeed, you need to have a hip-pocket skill." - Indra Nooyi, ex-CEO Pepsico

I think mothers live and die by the concept of hip-pocket skills. While Nooyi describes this more in the world of business as a competitive advantage, I like to think of the term as it relates to safety valves. When things are in a bind and overwhelm sets in, you need some things you've thought through earlier to rely on.

Hip pocket skill #1: what to make for dinner when you are completely spent.

Yes the answer is always takeout or outsource if you are able to. But that's not really healthy and maybe you're tired of that or don't want to spend anymore on it.

In Dinner Uncomplicated, recipe developer Claire Tansey describes the importance of having easy, staple ingredient dinners to get you out of a bind.

She recommends three reliable dishes:

  • Buttered pasta
  • Black bean quesadillas
  • Dutch baby - a combination of a pancake-crepe-omelet

The idea is to have a dish that is centered around pasta, because that is a pantry staple and cooks fast. Also having something centered around eggs is smart because they cook fast and are satiating. Working with a canned item fits into pantry-staple mentality.

Tansey also discusses the concept of out of sync families - multiple people at the dinner table have a different diet.

Out of sync families have different demands and needs

The pressure to get dinner on the table for everyone's liking is an added layer of complexity that could drive you towards insanity.

There are many kinds of eaters in my house. Some days I am able to manage it for everyone, and other days I ask everyone to fend for themselves and the kids survive on something frozen.

I am continuously building out a food database - I will be continuing to experiment until I can find a system and process that can work for the multiple needs of my out of sync family.

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