You guys know by now I’m a big fan of meal planning. Wether its through an online service or via one of the many options available online, including MPMK’s own 6 week meal plan, a well thought out plan is a major time saver. But what about those days, or weeks, when you barely have time to cook let alone meal plan?
I’ve found myself up against a lot of those weeks lately. So I’ve developed one more meal plan – an emergency week meal plan. This is my list of five weeknight meals and a Sunday night meal that take the least amount of time possible to prepare and that I know my family will eat happily. They are by no means the most well-rounded meals out there but they get the job done in a pinch.
One of the meals even comes with a yummy bonus lunch the day after (pictured above). So here’s the deal, I’m gonna share my emergency meal plan with the hopes that you’ll share yours. Because a week of go-tos to fall back on is great, but a month’s worth would be even better! For some reason my plan is centered on a different ethnic dish each night (or at least my very American version of ethnic dishes).
This one is no surprise. I think everybody has their own recipe for a good red sauce and many of us fall back on it when there’s not time to try something new. On a Sunday before what we know will be a hard week, we’ll either let a big pot of spaghetti simmer all day or take some time to build a lasagna with the kids. We match it with a salad kit and french bread that night and then use if for lunches. Plus if things really get crazy later in the week we can always fall back on the left overs for dinner again.
Our second Italian dish is sausage and peppers. All we do is spread crumbles of italian sausage along with sliced onions and peppers in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper. Then bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve over flat bread, rice, or alone with a side of fruit.
We make hard shell tacos using ground turkey, shredded cheese, avocados, salsa, and olives. Serve with a side of boxed mexican rice and steamed corn.
Brush pita pockets with olive oil and salt and lightly pan fry while also sautéing some onions. Grill and chop a few chicken breasts (make an extra for lunch the next day) and mix with plain greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, lime juice, and pepper. Stuff the pitas with the chicken mixture and serve with a side of boxed 5 minute cous cous and tomato slices drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
bonus: Combine left over cous cous with the extra chicken breast, as well as chopped left over tomatoes and cucumbers. Heat then drizzle with olive oil, salt and a little feta cheese for a quick and easy lunch.
There’s really not much to this one. We use french dinner bread, lean cut bacon, mayo, avocados and tomatoes to make hearty BL(A)Ts. Serve with either pre-made salad mix or store bought tomato soup (Costco has a good one).
We have a local upscale super market that sells a delicious bottled red curry sauce for something like $4 a bottle. For this one, just steam some rice, cook a few chopped chicken breasts on the stove in the sauce for 15 – 20 minutes and then serve on top. Trader Joe’s has some yummy frozen naan bread that makes a nice side and we usually supplement with some fruit as a side.
So that’s it – my six favorite ways to quickly get dinner on the table. Whether that means a frenzy of cooking in the span of 10 minutes or 3 minutes of prep and 45 minutes of baking. Now it’s your turn, what are your go-to dinners in a pinch?