Friday, February 27, 2009

In Case of Emergency

At some point after Ben was born, I realized that life was a lot easier if I had a meal plan for the week. I didn't try to be hyper-organized - meals weren't necessarily designated for specific days. But grocery shopping was easier and less frequent, and I didn't end up with as much surplus in my pantry.

However. There were those weeks I forgot (or procrastinated) the planning, or an extra day of the week that I hadn't planned for at all...what to do on those days?

I realized that I had all kinds of go-to meals in my head that I had forgotten about. Like spaghetti. Seriously, for awhile there I think it had been months since we'd had that basic, kid-friendly meal. Well, kid friendly after we convinced Leah that it was okay to have her sauce ON TOP of the noodles.

Here are some more of my "Stand-By Meals":

Tacos - Aaron's favorite. I make the meat with beans in it, usually enough for at least 2 meals, then freeze the extra.

Enchiladas - My mom's recipe. I call them Norwegian enchiladas, since they have about zero heat.

Porcupine Meatballs with mashed potatoes - meatballs with rice in them, cooked with a tomato soup sauce. Mine is a microwave recipe (cooks in 15 min) which greatly increases the frequency with which we eat it. Also, the kids gobble it up like crazy.

Meatloaf - 2 favorite recipes, but one of them cooks in the microwave. Guess which one I make more?

Apricot BBQ'd Chicken with rice- cubed chicken, BBQ sauce, onion soup mix, and apricot preserves. Originally it baked in the oven - but guess what? Now I microwave it.

Chicken, Pasta, Veggie skillet - Yes, I do use my stovetop. A little rubbed sage makes this extra yummy.
Chicken Fried Rice - basically the same as above, but with a couple of scrambled eggs mixed in and a different starch.

Creamed Chicken (and Peas? Corn? whatever) on Biscuits - An old favorite from the farm days. I use Bisquik mix and make the drop biscuits. Leah is suspicious of the "creamed" part, but I'm wearing her down.

Stir Fry - The trick here is to have enough fresh veggies on hand. Easy in the summer, not so much in the winter. I don't like using frozen, as it gets too mushy.

Veggie Soup - I have about 4 different variations that I make frequently - all take about a half hour, start to finish.

Chili - Not a kid fav in our house, but I make it every once in awhile anyways, just to keep it in their heads. As with all soups, I usually make some kind of muffin or biscuit to go with it - but I've learned not to bring them to the table until the kids have eaten at least some of the soup.

Baked Mac & Cheese - Since mac & cheese is one of Aaron's favorite meals, I experimented with about 3 different recipes until I found my favorite. It's pretty rich, so we usually have steamed broccoli with it.

Mexican Ravioli - Cheese ravioli or tortellini, with a tomato sauce and black beans. If you really want to see Leah hit the roof, wilt some spinach in there like the recipe actually says. We usually just eat it on the side as salad.

Sweet & Sour Chicken - Hmm. It's a crockpot recipe, but I think I only made it once or twice before putting it on my list. Maybe I should try that one next week, huh?

Italian Deli Roll - Otherwise known as pizza roll-up. Homemade pizza dough, rolled out, topped with minced (in the food processor) pepperoni and deli ham along with shredded Cheddar & mozzarella. Roll it up, bake, eat with pizza sauce for dipping. Yum! I made it once after a long hiatus, and Aaron said, "This is good crap. You should make it more often." He has a way with words, doesn't he!

Pancakes - Leah's favorite. With either eggs or sausage for protein. Aaron has converted the kids to the dark side of putting peanut butter on their pancakes, also. And just because you are wondering, if you ask Ben what we should have for dinner, he'll say, "Chicken - Rice!" not that that means he'll actually eat the chicken.

Sloppy-Joes - I use Manwhich sauce. Just have to remember to also buy buns.

So there you have it. These meals are basically my equivalent of a box of Hamburger Helper - quick, easy, some not even needing an actual recipe. Just having them on paper makes me feel prepared for that 5pm frenzy of "What am I making for dinner?"

Because it's a very bad thing when your hungry husband gets home from work and you ask, "What do you want for dinner?" Warning sirens go off in his head that he won't be eating for at least another half hour or more. And now you have TWO desperate adults.

Great. Just great.


lexiewaa said...

Peanut butter on pancakes, mm, good! And I totally know what you mean, if you have your meals down on paper it is a whole lot easier to know what to make and to buy.
And i think i will be trying one or two of your recipe!

Noel said...

Noel's short list:

1. Papa Murphy's pizza
2. Soy protein textured as chicken between two carbohydrate disks
3. Extruded carbohydrates in a flavored salt solution
4. Compressed wheat fibre with psyllium husks in a bovine secretion (excretion?)
5. Avian protein extrusions topped with protein sheet between two carbohydrate disks.

Bon Appetit!

Suzi said...

Love your enchilada recipe, I make it a lot, with one exception though. Most of the time I use shredded chicken, a little healthier than ground beef. Oh and I usually add a little more chili powder.

Anonymous said...

let me know the next time you're having creamed chicken and biscuitsl, with or without peas. I will be right over!

AJ said...

Did I actually say "crap"? Must have been very humorously. I must also point out Lyz has made two or three hamburger helper meals in the last several months. She is slowly coming over to the bachelor cooking I used to live on. =)

Lyz said...

Noel: "chicken" burger, fries, cream of wheat, egg sandwich. Very basic, but not too bad!

Suzi - I warned you. NO heat.:)

TOM - Anytime, you know that!

AJ - It's been TWO Hamburger helper meals in as many months. And only as a favor to you. Don't give me a worse reputation than I already have!

Anonymous said...

Love your Emergency List! You've inspired me to concoct one for myself. In case you're looking for fodder for a future Blog post, I'd love to get my hands on your recipes for the following:

enchilada, chicken/pasta/veggie skillet, chicken fried rice, ITALIAN DELI ROLL!

If Aaron loves that last one so much, I'm sure Aneesh will too...hook me up if you get the chance!