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Turn Your Weekend Barbecue Into 8 Cheap, Easy Meals for the Work Week

Turn Your Weekend Barbecue Into 8 Cheap, Easy Meals for the Work Week

Who doesn’t love firing up the barbecue and grilling out over the weekend? There’s nothing better than really taking your time to slow-cook cuts of meat so that you bring out the full flavor you want. You get great food, and you get to relax with your friends and family.Unfortunately, most of us have a little something that we like to call a “budget,” and a big, no-holds-barred cookout can wreak havoc with that if you’re not careful. Luckily, those last four words are the most important ones: “if you’re not careful.” With a bit of smart buying and planning ahead, it’s possible to not only stay within your food budget for the week, but even come out ahead.

Planning for the Weekend Barbecue

First, the key is to purchase big, inexpensive cuts of meat that are versatile and reheat well. Think about things like brisket and pork shoulder. On sale, you can find them for as little as $1.50 to $1.75 per pound, and they’re all delicious either in a smoker or on the grill.

Second, you need to find the right recipe to work a little bit of magic with them. We’ve made the process easier for you by locating these two great step-by-step guides:

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Brisket Recipe for Beef Brisket
BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe for Pork Shoulder

Planning Your 8 Weekday Meals

Now it’s easy to turn your lazy afternoon barbecue into eight different fast and delicious meals that will last you through the week. What kinds of meals are we talking about?

Tacos or nachos. Both brisket and BBQ pulled pork work great in tacos or on top of nachos. Even better, there’s probably a great chance that you already had things like chips, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese for your barbeque, so this can be as simple as covering a plate in tortilla chips, adding the toppings you want, and heating. Mmmm.

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Shepherd’s pie. If you look up the definition of shepherd’s pie, all it says is “a dish of ground meat under a layer of mashed potato.” What that means for you is that you can add pretty much anything you want. Get some pre-made mashed potatoes and pie crusts and you’re ready to go. Just toss the pulled pork and whatever veggies or other ingredients you want into the crust, top it off with the mashed potatoes, and throw it in your oven for about an hour. Admittedly, the cooking time is a bit on the longer side, but this meal is completely hands off once it’s in the oven.

Pizzas. Doesn’t the idea of a BBQ pulled pork pizza just sound good? Well, you can do that, top with brisket instead, or go the “meat-lovers” route and add both. All you’ll need is pre-made crust with sauce from the store, and some shredded cheese to top it off. It should take maybe five minutes to prepare and another 15 minutes in the oven at whatever temperature is recommended on the crust package.

Fried rice. You’ve heard of chicken fried rice, but what about BBQ pulled pork rice? Or even brisket rice? Both work wonderfully with this dish—just make sure the brisket is diced up small enough. Pick up a package of frozen fried rice and frozen veggies from the store and simply heat your leftover meats separately or along with it. You’ll have barely any dishes and the meal will be ready in minutes.

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Salads. Want a lighter lunch or dinner? Leftover brisket and BBQ pulled pork allows you to make several different delicious salads with your choice of ingredients. The only real requirement is that you have lettuce, but many will probably want other veggies, dressing, and so on—it’s up to you! One nice bonus is that this will probably be a welcome healthier meal after a weekend of indulging with hearty, heavy meats.

Wraps. When we think of wraps, we tend to think of chicken, but there’s no rule saying that BBQ pulled pork and brisket are off limits. This is a nice way to get more use out of soft taco shells if you made those earlier in the week. Just add lettuce, tomatoes, and your condiments of choice, and you’re good to go for lunch or dinner.

Sliders. BBQ pulled pork works fantastically as a sandwich, so sliders are an obvious next step. And talk about easy: all you really need to do is buy the buns, heat it up, and start eating. Yum!

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Fully dressed baked potato. Our imaginations tend to start and stop at “bacon” when it comes to putting meat on baked potatoes, but brisket and especially BBQ pulled pork can really add some amazing flavor. You’ll probably still want the other trimmings, though, so don’t skimp on the cheddar or sour cream. For a faster baked potato, cook it in the microwave, then add your toppings.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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