Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Confession Time

Every once in a while a brave soul asks me if I ALWAYS stick to my menu plan and the big fat answer is NO! Sometimes I forget to thaw the meat or I don't get dinner in the crockpot on time or maybe my day ended up full of surprises or maybe I was just lazy. Whatever the case, when I can't make the meal that I've planned, I have a few standbys that I turn to.

Scrambled Eggs and Toast. I buy 5 dozen eggs at a time and lots of people can't figure out why I need so many. I'll tell you why. Just to feed my family this meal it takes 18 eggs and 3/4 of a loaf of bread. I usually throw some greated cheese into my eggs and sometimes I'll slice up and fry some potatoes in butter with garlic powder and salt. Start to finish..20 minutes.


Homemade Soup and Fried Bread. This is the reason why it's so great to keep homemade broth in the freezer. I thawed some beef broth in the microwave, transferred it to a pot and added 2 fresh sliced carrots, some leftover green beans, a handful of macaroni noodles, a little bit of V8, another handful of yellow split peas and some spices. Out came a thick and hearty vegetable beef soup. I buttered some bread, grilled it in a frying pan and sliced it into triangles to serve on the side. Start to finish....20 minutes.

Grilled Tuna or Cheese Sandwiches. I don't always have cheese on hand so grilled cheese is the rarer of the two but when I make one of these the kids are thrilled. I just butter both sides of the sandwich, layer the filling in and then grill them up. We usually slice fruit on the side or if we're lucky I make tomato soup to dip them in. Another 20 minute meal.

What do you make when you're original plan isn't going to cut it?

35 comments:

Ann said...

When I can't stick to my menu plan. I fix what ever is quick and what I have on hand. Sometimes frozen pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, or tacos. Those are usually quick to fix.

Michelle said...

Spaghetti. Meat optional, but some quick options are frozen meatballs, precooked beef (I do it in large batches to freeze ahead of time), venison hot dogs (just thaw in microwave) or leftover chicken lurking in the refrigerator. Also, tacos, BLTs in the summer, and on a really bad day, frozen pizzas that I stocked up on during sales (with a coupon, of course!).

Carol said...

Great article in the Longview Daily News, today. Thanks

Sarah said...

I make McDonald's. ☺

Brassy said...

My never-fail go-to meal is spaghetti without meat. Pasta, that I buy in bulk for dirt cheap, and jarred spaghetti sauce that I stock up on when it's on sale.

Paula said...

If my day has not turned out as planned, I usually pull out the leftovers (I double recipes a lot so we can eat them for lunch the next day, but they work for quick suppers, too!) or take some spaghetti sauce out of the freezer for a quick spaghetti dinner or lasagne. I also do eggs and toast! Last night I threw together leftover bbq meat, some frozen taco soup, a bit of pasta I had left in the cupboard, tomato sauce, carrots and onions, and...a couple of other things. And made some cornbread to tide us over in case it wasn't edible. lol. Didn't have any idea how it would turn out but the kids ate it and didn't complain! I'm not always successful with those types of meals, but sometimes they actually work. :)

Katy said...

Scrambled eggs is also a favourite when the day just gets away!

I try and keep the freezer stocked with leftovers (curries especially), which also serve as hubbies lunches.

And the easy one, a packet of pasta with pasta sauce stirred through, with a little grated cheese. Kids love this!

Fried rice is another easy one, and I freeze leftover rice for this purpose, it also uses leftover vegies and eggs from the fridge too.

autumn said...

I make pancakes!! The whole family loves them and it is so easy for me!!

Melissa said...

I have almost the same exact fall-back list too! I, like the others, also have spaghetti on my list too!
I have been really enjoying your blog, thanks!

Kim said...

We do breakfast for supper...DH makes the waffles or pancakes in our house so it also means I don't have to cook :)! Also I tries to keep some chili frozen and use it to make nachos or a chili cheese dip. Bean and cheese quesadillas are also quick and easy!

Jodi said...

Breakfast for dinner, quiche or bean and cheese burritos. I've been making my own pizza (and pizza sauce) a lot lately, too. Tuna melts and veggie burgers are quick.Great with chips on the side! I find I usually stick to my weekly menu, but might switch my days around.

copperdog said...

I'll either whip up a soup with your quick biscuits that my family loves or we'll do breakfast for dinner; pancakes are a good standby. If I have a lot of eggs I'll make a fritatta.
-Heather

JeannaMO said...

Usually when I don't have any meat out or any "game plan" for dinner, I make quickie stuff like spaghetti with cheapo jar sauce. Sometimes I make italian grilled cheeses to go with these, adding garlic powder to the buttered bread slices and using mozzerella instead of american cheese. But my daughter and I LOVE to have beanie weenies and spaghetti and cheese (which is cooked spaghetti pasta with a little butter, milk and 2 slices of american cheese). This week instead of beanie weenies, I made the beanies with a little bit of ground beef. It was a feast!

Growing up, my mom would would make us: rice and tomatoes and fried potatoes! Of course we liked that it rhymed! It was stewed, sweetened tomatoes with minute rice added to the tomatoes and cooked until thick, and fried potatoes! Funny how those are the meals I loved the best!

Cate said...

I'm usually pretty good about planning ahead (taking the meat out of the freezer or whatever), but we often have pancakes, scrambled eggs, or grilled cheese for dinner, with fruit, toast, or soup on the side.

peterpan said...

I keep a small stash of Homestyle Bakes on hand so we can put together a quick casserole. The casserole is usually big enough for the 3-4 of us and I can always "stretch" it with the addition of a can of chicken and any leftover veggies.

Bevy said...

I usually will have cooked chicken in the freezer from when I would "pick-a-roast chicken"... so if this happens and I don't know what to do for dinner. I will either pull that out to make Chicken and cheese quasiadilla's or chicken salad... sometimes I might have time to actually throw the cooked meat into a quick casserole... I know that isn't 20 minutes.

Homemade pizza is another good one. The crust only takes 10minutes to prepare and 8 to bake.

Bevy said...

I was going to say "I make Reservations"... but in all honesty that is only wishing. Out to eat is real rare treat.

Anonymous said...

Rotisserie chicken for $5. Cut up and put in deep pan and pour a jar of spaghetti sauce over. Simmer for 20 minutes. Boil a pound of spaghetti noodles. Serve with salad and bread. Voila, a meal that lasts our family for 2 meals.....There are only 4 of us.

Halfmoon Girl said...

I fall back on eggs and toast as well, or soup and garlic toast/grilled sandwiches. Pasta with beef broth and peppers is another one, as well as hamburger and macaroni casserole.

Kim said...

When I can't stick to the plan, we fall back on nachos (always have tortilla chips on hand!) or pumpkin waffles. The family doesn't realize I'm rushed...they think they've earned a "treat"! Mwahahaha....

Shannon said...

Our quickie fall backs are like most Breakfast for dinner, spagehtti.

Our different ones are MYO Bake Potatoes cooked in the microwave, refried beans on tortillas, and we make McD's Snack wraps at home with chicken tenders, hot sauce, lettuce, cheese and tortillas.

Candi said...

This is so funny you posted about this today! My whole week has been off from our meal plan. We almost always end up with Breakfast for dinner when I'm too tired to cook a whole meal. Or I look thru the fridge and make some kind of quick soup with leftovers. Last week I came up with a "Pantry Italian Soup" it turned out great and my picky husband loved it!

http://familystampingfood.blogspot.com/2009/10/recipe-pantry-italian-vegetable-soup.html

Candi said...

This is so funny you posted about this today! My whole week has been off from our meal plan. We almost always end up with Breakfast for dinner when I'm too tired to cook a whole meal. Or I look thru the fridge and make some kind of quick soup with leftovers. Last week I came up with a "Pantry Italian Soup" it turned out great and my picky husband loved it!

http://familystampingfood.blogspot.com/2009/10/recipe-pantry-italian-vegetable-soup.html

Kate said...

Greek pitas are a great standby for us! I always have ground beef and pitas in my freezer. Thaw both, fry the beef adding greek seasoning. Add some dill and lemon to sour cream for a quick dip. Chop up tomatoes and cucumbers. Done. Everyone fills their pitas themselves! Happy family!

SavvySuzie said...

I always start my menu plan with the best intentions! My favorite fall-back meals:
- Grilled Cheese sammies
- English muffin pizzas
- Breakfast (any variety!)
- Black Bean Quesadillas, if I have tortillas on hand (mash up 1 can black beans with 1/2 to 1 cup salsa, spread on a tortilla, top with cheese and fold in half - bake for 12 minutes at 375! done!)

Anonymous said...

Our fall back meals are "cream" spaghetti, just butter and flour, milk (or w/ half and half if I have it on hand), garlic powder, salt and pepper over spaghetti, definitely my families favorite, served w/ broccoli. It was my MIL's 'recipe' but to me it was like putting thin gravy over spaghetti, so I added garlic powder and make it a little thicker. The others are nachoes(Tortilla chips, refried beans, cheese, sour cream and salsa) or Cheese Quesadillas, sometimes served w/ refried beans, sour cream and salsa.

I love your blog.

Shan

Shirley said...

I try to keep prepared meals in the freezer that can be thawed and reheated in the microwave. My standby foods are Hashbrowns and Fried Eggs, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Fruit, Hotcakes, French Toast, Cheese and Ham Omelet and Toast.

Melanie said...

Biscuits and gravy made with canned biscuits and gravy made with cheap smoked sausage, frozen chopped onions, flour, salt and milk.

Or Tomato Soup and noodles. I just boil up a whole bunch of elbow macaroni. After cooking the noodles, I drain the noodles and stir in a big can of tomato soup and a big can of milk. It heats fast cause the noodles are already hot. We top each bowl with grated cheese (if we have any) or sprinkle with parmesan. If my husband is home for dinner we have buttered bread with this. :)

Oh, and another last minute thing... I most always have spaghetti sauce in the freezer that we can thaw and heat and put over noodles, or bread. (When I make spaghetti sauce I use 1 1/2 pounds hamburger and one of those huge cans of crushed tomatoes from cosco and my own homemade italian seasoning) it's way too much for our family to eat in one meal so there's always an equal amount of leftovers to toss in the bag and freeze.)

DW said...

Recently we've had a weird situation where we've had a ton of tortillas in the house (found them on bulk sale a few weeks ago), so every Monday or Tuesday is "Mexican" night. The meat, if there is any, is leftover chicken or ground beef from the weekend tossed with some cumin, garlic, paprika, and lime juice (we keep a huge bottle in the fridge for emergencies like these). If there's no meat (or even if there is, DH likes the beans), some black beans and pinto beans get similar treatment. We always have the necessary onions, hot peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes on hand from the garden, and wow, it's our favorite meal of the week right now. We had sour cream the first few weeks due to my experimentation with making my own cultured dairy products, and DH was sorely disappointed when all he got was "cheap" grated cheese this week. I didn't have the heart to tell him the homemade sour cream cost about a 5th what we paid for the cheddar.

Dawn said...

Since there are just the two of us, whenever I cook dinner I always have leftovers. I immediately freeze them in meal-size containers, label them with masking tape including the contents and date, so there is always something in the freezer for a last-minute meal.

I also usually have spaghetti sauce left over whenever I make lasagna, so I freeze that in meal size containers. Then I just cook up some pasta, microwave the sauce, and dinner is ready fast!

Gayle, thank you very much for your blog! It is always informative, inspiring, and makes me smile and sometimes laugh. I always figure if you can feed your family for that cheap, surely I feed two people for half of that.

J said...

we chopped up leftovers and throw it in the egg and make it as a egg pancake( kids call it big egg and I don't like green beans in it but everyone else does) or I make pasta with butter and garlic powder with raw veggies and fruit as the side.Or I make scrap soup,like the elders in our family, anything in frig goes in the pot and water is the broth ( or broth if I have too much.I can get overloaded with chicken broth) or into a casserole, Tightwad Gazette has a basic casserole recipe.Refried beans and cheese either served with tortilla chips( boughten or homemade) or put in tortilla wraps( boughten or homemade)I make bean soup once a month and always make extra to can for soups,casseroles or refried

Quaker Mom said...

Rice & beans is our fall-back "pantry meal." My rice-cooker will steam rice in less than 30 mins, but sometimes I use frozen rice (reheats great w/a little added water)& canned beans for a meal that can be on the table in 15 mins tops. If we have tortillas (or the time to make them - water & flour is cheap!) we make "wraps", or add canned corn, tomatoes, etc & some shredded cheese to a big bowl. My 5 yo asks for this in her lunch!

Anonymous said...

One of the commmenters said they make pizza dough in 10 minutes. How do you do that? Isn't there rising time ?

Anonymous said...

It is the mention of spices that throws me in your recipe. I am a dutz with spices. Can you give us an idea on which ones to add and which ones to add the most and which the least of in that list? Jody

didi wood said...

i dont usually have a plan, i try but with 3 teens they get hungry and eat the stuff i planned 4! so its what do i wanna cook and clean up after! tonite i made chicken pot pie i told my husband i was making dumplings from bisquick, well he got excited cuz i've NEVER made, well i've attempted but they didnt work ! i stretched the recipe with more milk and was a biscuit crust, that i liked but hubby wanted pizza! when i went to north carolina last year i made a weeks worth a meals made a plan enlisted my daughters help and still daddy did take out almost every nite! the kids missed my cooking though:)