Weeknight Dinners: What Throws You Off Your Game?

We usually start out the week with the best of intentions: we'll plan three meals, have leftovers on other nights, and maybe eat out once. But somehow, inevitably, our plans go awry as the week progresses. And then we're back staring in the fridge for inspiration and itching to order in. What gets your meal plans off track?

Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy. I've been trying to be more frugal about buying groceries, so I only buy what I know I'll use in the meals planned for the week. But then if a meeting runs late or the desire for that dish fades, I find that I don't have all the ingredients to make something else. Or I have to pilfer from the supplies meant for another recipe later in the week, which derails the whole game.

I also have several friends right now with small babies and they tell me how their time to make home-cooked meals seems to have vanished without a trace. Another friend who just took a new job and says she's often too exhausted and starving by the time she gets home to make the dinner she had planned. All around us, it seems like people have the best of intentions, but then life just seems to barge its way in!

What throws you off? Is it time or energy? Forgetting a key ingredient? The lure of friends getting together after work? Or something else entirely?

Related: Good Idea: Make a "Stuff I Like to Eat" List

(Image: Flickr member LizMarie licensed under Creative Commons)