If you are like most mothers across the country, you probably share the same thought every day, “what should I make for dinner? “ I try to cook tasty and nutritious meals, but sometimes, that can seem like a tall task, particularly with hungry mouths to feed and little time. I also feel the emotions of my ever tightening budget – it cries anytime uneaten food goes into the garbage, and emits particularly strange groans whenever organic food is wasted.
As a result, I’ve come up with a solution to address my lack of time and money at the dinner table. It’s a little something I call Diner Encore (which means “dinner again” in French). Please don’t confuse this with the better known “Leftovers” because while my Diner Encore meals may have a hint of dinners past, they are unique in their own right.
There are several secrets to a successful Diner Encore meal, here are just a few to get you started.
1. Always wait a day between the original and Diner Encore meal option. I find the passage of time often helps to fade memories.
2. Try not to serve Diner Encore more than two times a week. The frequency of this meal can in certain situation result in revolts.
3. Cheese makes almost everything look and taste better. I find my Diner Encore broccoli with cheese sauce is almost never mistaken for the simple steamed broccoli we had a few nights before.
4. Change the way you cook it – if the original was sautéed then reheat it in the oven and your previous chicken stir-fry is transformed into deluxe roasted Diner Encore.
5. Never, ever use the microwave to cook/heat your Diner Encore, this always raises suspicion.
6. Change the serving bowls. It is important to transfer the Diner Encore into new serving containers – any baked-on evidence of the former meal can signal trouble from your diners.
7. Don’t give up. Sure, not every Diner Encore is going to taste great, but you need to keep trying. And just remember all the money you are saving – I like to think of it as a free meal.
8. Diner Encore should always, always be followed by dessert – this is not the time for healthy fruit. At our house Diner Encore meals are always consumed with greater enthusiasm when chocolate chip cookies are waiting on the counter for dessert (but only to those who finish their food).
So go ahead save your sanity and create your own Diner Encore. I’ve even got a few potential name suggestions.
Cena Di Nuevo (Italian)
Diner Opnieuw (Dutch)
Middag Igjen (Norwegian)
Cena Otra Vez (Spanish)