Dinner Time Stress
You’ve had a busy, stressful day, and when you look at the clock, you realize you have less than an hour to get dinner made and on the table. When you look at your meal planner hanging on the refrigerator door, you see that you had planned on making meatloaf and baked potatoes tonight. Well, that ain’t happening tonight! In fact, the ground beef is still sitting in the freezer, as solid as a brick, because you forgot to take it out and put it in the refrigerator yesterday so it would be ready to cook tonight. Ugh! Today was supposed to be an easy day, with plenty of time to make meatloaf and baked potatoes. Panic starts to set in. You open the pantry and stare at the sparse pickings there because you haven’t had time to go grocery shopping this week and you are out of everything except ramen noodles and gravy packets – there’s not even a box of macaroni and cheese, for goodness sake! You stare at the ramen noodles and gravy packets trying to figure out a way to upgrade them and make a dinner out of them without your husband realizing he’s eating ramen noodles with gravy, but eventually give up because you don’t even have a can of peas and carrots to add to it. Heaving a defeated sigh, you give up on a home cooked meal for tonight. Frustrated with yourself, you pull out your cell phone and guiltily start looking for some place different to order take out from that you haven’t already ordered from this week.
Does this sound familiar? For so many of us moms, this is painfully familiar. Meal planning is a wonderful way to put delicious and nutritious dinners on the table for our families. But you and I both know there are times when our days do not cooperate and go as we planned, right?! Ok, what then? You could make sure you always plan a day or two of easy dinners that can be thrown together quickly for when you find yourself in a situation like the one above. But what if your week has more of those days than you planned for? Having your pantry and refrigerator stocked with the basics can mean the difference between feeding your family ramen noodles and gravy or a simple but delicious meal of spaghetti with meat sauce.
If you have the basics, you will always be able to throw something delicious on the table your family will enjoy, even if it’s not on your meal planner for that week. Honestly, I don’t really enjoy cooking all that much, and I prefer simple and easy when it comes to cooking, shying away from fancy and complicated recipes. But, I’ve been cooking for over twenty years, and I’ve figured out a few things that have helped me with dinner time. Making sure that my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer have the basics to throw a quick meal together, makes life so much easier on those days that refuse to cooperate with my plans for that day.
Every household’s pantry essentials will vary according to the recipes they like and make most often. I’ve noticed over the years that I tend to make meals that fall into one of six categories: beef based, chicken based, pork based, vegetable based, tomato-y (is that even a word?), and creamy. We do a lot of casseroles and soups in our family because they are usually quick, easy, and delicious. Many of those recipes use similar ingredients which simplify cooking tremendously.
Pantry Essentials Checklist
I have put together a super cute Pantry Essentials Checklist to help you keep your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer stocked with the essentials. I’m working on putting together a post of our favorite throw together recipes, so stay tuned for that!
If you enjoyed this post, you might like my post on 18 Super Easy DIY Seasoning Mixes to Spice up Your Cooking, as well!
Yours till the kitchen sinks,
Melissa (no-more-stressing) Shantel