Well, it’s Monday again, the time when I usually share my meal plan for the week and encourage you to do the same. Today however, two of the six members of my family are down with a little tummy thing, and until I know how it’ll affect the rest of us, I’m not planning anything too adventurous in the food department! So, instead of boring you with a list of bland, tummy-soothing meals, let’s talk about a tool we should all have in our meal planning repertoire: a list of five quick & easy meals that you can get on the table with minimal thought and preparation.
In our classes, we refer to this list as the “Fast Five,” a resource you can consult if plans suddenly change, if you know you won’t have a ton of time, or if you’re just having “one of those days,” but still need to feed your family.
I’ll share my list, plus a few other ideas. They’re not gourmet by any means, but they get the job done if necessary and help us avoid the temptation of takeout. I can get most of these meals into my kids’ bellies in less time than it would take me to order and pick up a pizza. These are just the main dishes, but I try to round them out with fresh fruit, veggies & dip, or a salad.
Megan’s Fast Five
- Chicken Quesadillas (canned chicken, cheese, and taco seasoning between flour tortillas, cooked on my big pancake griddle till melty and a little crisp)
- Pasta & jarred sauce (sometimes throw in some browned ground beef if I have it or have time to cook some, but not necessary)
- Ham & cheese omelettes (or just hammy/cheesy scrambled eggs if we’re in a rush)
- French toast or homemade waffles topped with fruit
- Frozen chicken nuggets (not often, but they’re always in my freezer as a last resort…it’s not the greatest, but nuggets at home plus veggies & fruit beats a drive-thru, and a ton cheaper!)
Other quick meal ideas:
- Tacos (especially if you pre-cook and freeze extra meat on a less-busy night!)
- Homemade soup from the freezer
- Bagel/English Muffin/Pita pizzas
- Grilled cheese & tomato soup
- Cereal night (my kids especially love oatmeal made from scratch…they’re easy to please!)
- Mac & cheese
- Chicken & gravy over biscuits (I try to throw leftover chicken/turkey & gravy in the freezer when I make a big dinner so it’s ready in a pinch)
- Sandwich or Salad night
- Anything from the freezer that’s been previously prepared, then frozen for nights like this! I’ve been trying to do this more by doubling or tripling recipes at least once a week, and I’m finding that I have a few things to choose from now!
I’m curious…what’s in your “Fast Five?” Do you try to keep a few things on hand for when things get crazy? I’d love to hear what you do in the comments or on Facebook!