Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pantry Meals for Those Nights (you know the ones I mean)

Even though I regularly menu-plan for our household, there are weeks when I, well, don't.

Maybe I'm sick, maybe work is overwhelming . . . whatever it is, there are weeks when I don't quite get to planning the menu.

Or, more often, there are nights when the planned menu item just sounds like too much work.

So, in order to keep us from either doing takeout (too expensive) or starving (too stupid), I have a few go-to "pantry meals", or meals that I can make easily with items I always keep in my pantry (and/or freezer).

Less expensive than takeout, healthier than fast-food, here are my go-to pantry meals:

1) Pasta Salad. Trader Joe's dried ravioli + canned chicken + oil and rice vinegar and spices (mostly Mexican oregano - so good!) and chopped olives and canned tomatoes. Easy-peasy.

2) Quesadillas (and variations). Tortillas + cheese. If you want to get fancy, throw in leftover veggies and meat. Add spices. Yum!

3) Nachos (and variations). Tortilla chips + cheese. This is basically quesadillas for a crowd. Again: add meat, veggies, and spices. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

4) Whole wheat pasta + fro. veg. + canned chicken + alfredo sauce.  Boil some water (add salt to it first, and maybe some dried onion, parsley, and garlic).  Add frozen veggies and bring back to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain. Then add alfredo sauce and chicken. Easy, fast, pretty healthy. Cost of all ingredients should be under $10, which is pretty good for a family of six!

5) Rice + fro. veg. + curry sauce + cashews.  This is pretty similar to the recipe above: cook the veggies with the rice. (Heat water to a boil - enough to cook the rice - then add veggies. Bring back to a boil. Add rice and cook according to package directions).  Heat chicken with curry sauce (I recommend the Thai Green Curry sauce from Trader Joe's - or their yellow curry or red curry sauces. Mmmm).  Serve w/ rice & veg, sprinkle with salted cashews

6) Egg burritos.  Cook eggs. Put cooked eggs in tortillas w/ cheese. Toast those up in your frying pan. Salt and pepper. Add some salsa and maybe some sour cream. Yum, yum, yum.

7) Popcorn. Serve w/ cheese slices and apples. This is an old family tradition for Sunday nights, so the mother doesn't have to cook. I admit, I don't use it that often, but it's not a bad fall-back. Not at all.

I've noticed I say "yum" a lot in this entry. And that's the thing: pantry meals have to taste good, or you wouldn't bother to make them.

So, what are your family's favorite pantry meals?

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


Monica said...

Love these! My family tradition was and is called "Burger Romig." It involves browning ground meat (beef, turkey, pork, chicken, or bulgur or quinoa for the vegetarian folks) and adding whatever sauce might be on hand, usually tomato-based, but could be anything. Then you add in whatever else you find in the kitchen: random veggies, cooked pasta, cooked rice, whatever spices sound good. The concoction is never the same twice, but it was (almost) always edible, with the added advantage of using up extra supplies in the kitchen!

Jessica Snell said...

Monica, that sounds pretty good to me!

Erica Jarrett said...

Love a good popcorn dinner. It is my go to when my husband is out of town. I don't know if he would go for it as a real meal but I may give it a try.