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You have worked hard to plan your menu for the week, prepare dishes that were easy and on the table fast, and then it all falls apart in one day! You have a day, and we have all had them, where nothing goes right. You didn’t thaw out the meat you needed, you got busy with unexpected things like a sick child or unexpected meeting, and you whole menu is thrown in to chaos!

I have to admit, this happens often at my house due to my health issues. I could wake up one morning feeling good and start out my day with all good intentions and then something starts to hurt or fatigue hits me like a mack truck and dinner is the last thing on my mind.

How do I keep from ordering pizza or having the husband pick up fast food on the way home? I keep back up meals that are simple to whip up and get on the table – simple enough even the husband can help out if need be.

What do I mean by back up meals? Well, that has several meanings in my house. In the winter, I keep extra servings of chili and soup in the freezer that can be thawed out easily in a saucepan on the stove. In the warmer months, I keep hot dog buns in the freezer as well as nitrite free turkey dogs. I keep shredded chicken in the freezer as well to quickly make quesadillas or fajitas along with some cut up onions and green bell peppers.

I also keep on hand some staples that will help me whip up things quickly. Some of those staples include:

  1. Spaghetti noodles
  2. Spaghetti sauce in a jar or homemade in single meal servings in the freezer
  3. Macaroni noodles
  4. Ground beef (I always keep extra packs of ground beef to thaw in the microwave and brown for tacos, beef spaghetti sauce, or ghoulash)
  5. Tomato Sauce
  6. Frozen vegetables such as peas
  7. Cream cheese (I use this to make some Alfredo sauce up real quick and throw some shredded chicken and it’s a quick meal).
  8. I keep taco seasoning made up and on hand for quick tacos.
  9. Flour tortillas for the quick tacos or quesadillas
  10. Refried beans to go with anything mexican
  11. Rice
  12. Frozen chicken breasts (I keep a few marinades on hand to quickly grill up some chicken)

With some planning ahead of time, you can have several “go to” back up meals with the ingredients in the pantry or in the freezer just for those times when it all goes to heck and you have no way to get the dinner you had planned on the table that day. I have to say, it has made a huge difference to keeping us from spending money on fast food, take out, or pizza by just having some things on hand and a few quick meals that I can go to when I need it.

What are some of your backup meals or tips to get dinner on the table when it all goes to heck?