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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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