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Tired, hungry, single, watching calories and payday's a few days away

That title should say it all, and we've all probably been there. You drag home sometime around twilight wondering what your tired, poor body can put together for dinner. It's not a date night, so you can't slap on a fresh layer of makeup, poof up the hair and head off to dinner with your guy. Besides, you're just not in the mood to sparkle.

And then there's that annoying incoming/outgoing money balance thing. You gotta go with what you've got in the pantry or freezer. A double-patty cheeseburger in the drive-thru might be just $1, but that moment of weakness could come back to haunt you next week when you struggle into your jeans.

These are not recipes, and they're not intended to be. If you're like me when you get home in this state, the very idea of gathering a bunch of ingredients and measuring stuff just sets your teeth on edge.

Here's what I do. I keep bags of frozen veggies in the freezer and instant brown rice in the pantry. If I have an ounce of willingness when I get home, I'll make stir-fried veggies with rice. Prepare your instant rice, and while that's bubbling, heat a saute pan and add just enough olive oil to coat the pan, or spray before you heat it with cooking spray. Add frozen veggies, enough for a serving, and, about halfway through the package's recommended cooking time, add teriyaki, soy or stir-fry sauce (whichever you have on hand), just enough make your veggies a little saucy. Drain rice, put a serving on a plate, top with veggies. Grab whatever beverage is required/available and your remote, and watch something mindless on TV. This is truly filling and tasty.

If you don't have that much gumption, this is perhaps my simplest solution: Keep those pouches of preseasoned tuna on hand; lemon-pepper is my favorite. Put lettuce in salad bowl, add just enough low-fat mayo to tuna to moisten it (I also like the empowering feeling of ripping that pouch open). Dump tuna atop the lettuce; accompany with a few thin wheat crackers, if you like.

Then feel that grumpiness melt away.

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