the time thing needs to be strategized.

so latest things I rely on for weekday dinners: lentil soup (can add a small amount of meat if one wants - I have 3 recipes for lentil soup!), fish (this last is not really anyone's definition of budget food but it's easy prep). Bf uses beef/mushroom tacos in the weekday rotation. Yes it's all lazy. But it's not take out, restaurants, center of the store. I can cook well, but I seem to get jobs that have near an hour commute, so I'm very tired. Weekends are different.

As for beef, I have casseroles that only use 1/2 lb, that's 1-2 people for 3 or 1 1/2 meals.

And the carbs--I was buying stuff I never buy, like doughnuts and dinner rolls and cookies--when they say you eat more carbs when you are tired, they are correct.
in my experience it works, at least for the "I wasn't able to sleep all last night but have to be awake" type of tired. It takes some of the brutal rough edge off of the tiredness. So though I usually sleep enough or at least enough that a bit of caffeine suffices, for those nights: get me to the bagels!!!