In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, I have constantly been thinking about planning and preparing, especially in regards to food. As the school year kicks into high gear and extra curricular activities become a nightly routine, not having dinner planned can really throw a mama off her game. If only you had started a crock-pot meal that morning! Instead of driving through another fast food restaurant, here are five staples to stock in your pantry for easy dinners.
Pasta and Sauce
Any noodle, any sauce and voila you have a simple, easy dinner! I have a confession to make. I hate marinara sauce. I literally gag at this sight of it. Am I the only one? Anyone else have such an aversion? So pasta night at our house has several sauces. I usually drizzle olive oil, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese and I am good to go! Nugget and the hubby prefer marinara. Gross. Spaghetti, ravioli or tortellini is on constant rotation in our house. It is easy to make, inexpensive to stock, and usually has leftovers for lunch! If we are feeling fancy, we may add some veggies or leftover meat to spice it up and make a heartier meal. We also always stock cheese toast in the freezer so that usually makes an appearance on pasta night!
There are so many options with soup, you cannot go wrong. In fact, you could cook a few different options and have a soup buffet to make dinner interesting one night. The hubby is a big guy and when I suggested soup for a dinner one time during our meal planning for the week, he stated that he could not possibly feel full after soup. Challenge accepted buddy. I proved him wrong! There are quite a few soups out there that are fuller, more protein packed soups. He especially loves Progresso soups. I used to think soups were just for being sick, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the options! There is nothing better on a cool fall night that tomato soup and grilled cheese.
Rice and Beans
Rice is a great side but can also serve as a main dish with the right addition. Add beans, sausage and some seasoning and you have a delicious dinner! Yum. You could make fried rice if you have all the additional ingredients, add rice to a burrito bowl or you could heat up the pre-made broccoli and rice bags. Rice can be used in so many creative ways, it should be a must in the pantry!
Peanut Butter, Jelly and Bread
Even before Hurricane Harvey, I stocked peanut butter and bread in the pantry for last minute dinner ideas. It is not glamorous or gourmet, but it feeds hungry mouths. You can get creative with different types of peanut butter and bread to make it more interesting. No kid turns down PBJ sanwiches. PS- I am not a fan of jelly so there is none in my pantry! You can also add peanut butter to oatmeal, smooth it on celery or make peanut butter and crackers.
Chips and Salsa
So, this is technically not a dinner, and I am not sure the kiddos would go for it, but who hasn’t has chips in salsa for dinner at least once in their life? Especially my southern mamas! There is something so comforting in chips in salsa. They seem to take all your problems and melt them away. I will always have chips and salsa in my pantry. Always.
Fancy Bonus Items
If you are an over achiever, I would add a few more items to keep on hand in the pantry. I personally need some sort of sweet after dinner so I usually have cookies, er Oreos, in the pantry. Mama can eat some Oreos. Every once and awhile I feel daring and want to make cookies or brownies. When I get that urge, I know that I have all the baking essentials (flour, baking soda, baking powder, chocolate chips) on hand!
We also have canned/packaged meat and canned vegetables on hand as well. These are excellent hurricane meals or sides to round out a dinner.
If meals on the fly make you anxious, make sure and sign up for my emails to receive the password to my Meal Planning printable. This printable has a built in grocery list as well as space for your meal planning. What about you all? Any staples that I missed that you keep stocked in your pantry? Comment below, I would love to hear from you!