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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

5 Meals to Keep in Your Pantry & Freezer

Do you ever have those weeks when life just happens? Boy, we do! Even the best of menu plans can't possibly account for times when life throws a curve ball.

To counteract the craziness, I like to keep my pantry and freezer stocked with several meals that can be made in a pinch. I try to keep some frozen browned ground beef and cooked, cubed chicken in my freezer to help with quick meals. I also try to keep a good supply of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses in my freezer. Here are some of my favorite quick meal ideas.

Five Can Soup
1 can Progresso Minestrone soup
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can mixed vegetables
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 15 oz. can white corn
Mix it all together without draining anything and heat. You can even throw this in the Crock Pot for a few hours or all day. Sometimes we add some browned ground beef or cooked chicken to it.

Cheesy Pasta
3/4 box of Piccolini pasta (or whatever you have on hand)
2 c. cooked, cubed chicken
1 can Hunts pasta sauce (or whatever you have on hand)
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Tonight I cooked up 3/4 of a box of Piccolini pasta until it was al dente. Mix in the rest and heat through.

1 c. warm (not hot) water
2 T. canola oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 c. flour
1 T. yeast

Mix ingredients in order listed in bread machine. I use my bread cycle, and my machine beeps when dough is ready. You may have to consult your machine's book to know when yours is done. In a pinch, you can just knead the dough by hand for five minutes. Place dough on pizza pan sprayed with canola oil, and spread the dough to cover the pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Add sauce, toppings, and cheese. Bake another 8-10 minutes at 450 degrees.

If I have pitas or English muffins on hand, I'll use those in place of homemade crust.

Chicken Wraps
1 can refried beans
1/2 c. salsa
2 c. cooked, cubed chicken
1 c. cheddar cheese (Mexican blend is good too!)
12 corn tortillas

Mix refried beans, salsa, and chicken. Divide the mix among the tortillas. Roll each tortilla, and place seam side down in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan sprayed with canola oil spray. Bake uncovered at 350 for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake another 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Grilled Cheese & Soup
You can't bypass the old stand-by! I like to keep several types of canned soups in my pantry so that we can use them in a pinch.

What are your favorite meals to keep on hand? Do you have any advice for making meals in a pinch?

This post is linked to:
:: Works for Me Wednesday hosted by We Are THAT Family
:: Frugal Friday hosted by Life As MOM

Photo Credit


Southern Fried Gal said...

Great list. Thank you for sharing! Have a blessed week.

Annie @ Sister Wisdom said...

Mmm that cheesy pasta sounds delicious. Quick & easy too and my kids would love it! i love having quick go-to recipes I can keep on hand. Thanks!

Mom2fur said...

Sometimes life doesn't just happen--it gets in the way, LOL! I love your suggestions--having a few meals ready to go sure makes life easier!
And I'm with you on grilled cheese and tomato soup--yum!

Suzanne said...

I always have an easy stir fry on hand too. Just a little soy sauce, olive oil, some frozen mixed veggies, leftover chicken and serve it over rice (even easier if you bulk cook rice and can just pull out a frozen baggie of it!)

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Wonderful addition to menu planning this can really save time in a pinch!

'Becca said...

If there's not much time for food preparation but there is time to let it cook unattended, Honey Baked Lentils rule! Made entirely from cheap, shelf-stable ingredients!

Meals I can make in 20 minutes or less from things we usually have on hand:
Pasta and vegetables with herb sauce
Pasta with tomato sauce (sometimes we add sardines or pureed garbanzo beans to the sauce for protein)
Tofu and vegetables with buckwheat noodles
Jazzed-up canned salmon
Fried rice using extra rice from a previous meal, any suitable leftovers, and carrots and onions (I always keep those in stock)
American Beanwich

Dee said...

Great idea to keep quick meals handy like that! I just worked out a new meal plan list to get working on that again.

Beverly said...

awesome ideas!

Tailored Trash Queen said...

Wonderful ideas! Thank you for sharing. I'm becoming a follower -- I always need to ideas and inspiration!! We too are really trying to get on a budget and honor God first. Thanks again for sharing!

Olivia said...

Great ideas! Happy FF!

Patti said...

We love "sub" sandwiches - I have a teenage boy. I keep the hoagie rolls in the freezer. We make them with spaghetti sauce, pepperoni or meatballs, and mozzerella cheese - heated in the microwave or we make them with cold cuts and broil them for a few minutes. For some reason "hot" sandwiches feel more like a meal.

itwasyoublog said...

Great list! That cheesy pasta sounds so good right now!