Four easy hacks to get dinner on the table without turning on the oven. And no, ramen isn’t the only answer.
First apartment. Class gets out late in the evening. Fridge is practically empty. The terror of being that amateur who sets off the smoke alarm gathers like a storm cloud. Believe it or not, there are ways to experience a decent home-cooked meal without actually cooking, and we’re not talking microwave dinners. Below are four tried and trusted hacks to make planning for meals just that much easier.
- Rotisserie Chickens Should Be Your Go-To — Cooking chicken is a terrible experience when trying to figure out your way around the kitchen. You take it out of the oven to find the inside still pink, put it back in, and next thing you know the smoke alarms are ringing. An easy and quick way to get around this is to purchase a rotisserie chicken. Typically under $5, you can either have some of that as the meal or take the meat to use in any given recipe. If you’re only cooking for yourself, there will definitely be leftovers.
- A Cheap Panini Press Will Save You — They’re not just good for making paninis (although that’s another great option). Getting a small panini press can act as a grill with lower heat, which means you’re less likely to burn whatever you make on it. Perfect for making grilled cheese, quesadillas, and melts, they can also cook up hash browns in the morning. Plus, it’s a convenient way to reheat things like burgers and chicken without overcooking it in the microwave.
- Check Your Nearby Restaurants For Discount Nights — A lot of restaurants have certain nights (usually during the week) that offer great deals for food. Below is a list of some chains that consistently have specials:
- Tully’s — After 9 p.m., their tenders and fries combo is half priced.
- Bar Louie — Every Tuesday year round, they have $5 burger night.
- Uno’s — Sign up to their email list. They regularly send out coupons for 50 percent off takeout orders and buy one get one free pizzas.
- Cook For Leftovers — OK, so this involves some cooking. But instead of planning meals nightly, try planning them for every other night but make a little extra of each dish. On the off nights, all you’ll have to do is reheat and maybe change up the side dish.