Wednesday, September 13, 2006
With the beginning of school, and an entirely new fall schedule including Bible studies, soccer practice, and school volunteering, meal-planning is becoming increasingly important to me. One key in being sure that there is a meal on the table each night is thinking ahead. Unfortunately, on those weeks that I have a busy schedule, sometimes meal planning (or grocery shopping) is just too much for me to handle.
This is where the Pantry Meal comes into play. I consider a pantry meal one which I can throw together without any thawing or not involving perishable items, like fresh vegetables. I do include dairy, because it has a reasonably long shelf life, and I usually have these items on hand. If I keep the staples for these kinds of meals in my pantry or refrigerator, it enables me to get dinner on the table, even if I haven't been to the grocery store or haven't planned ahead. I have a couple of favorite pantry meals that I will share, and I would love to hear your ideas and/or recipes in the comments as well for the types of meals you create out of what is available.
San Antonio Skillet Supper
This is one of those recipes that I don't use a recipe for anymore, so it's approximate. You can also make it vegetarian by adding another can of beans (black beans or any variety). This serves our two adults, one kid and a toddler, usually with enough leftovers for my husband's lunch.
One link (half a pkg) of smoked sausage (kielbasa), sliced in half lenthwise, and then sliced
one can of tomatoes (diced, stewed, or with green chiles, depending on your love of spice)
one cup of salsa
one cup of water
one can of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
one cup of long grain white rice (I think that I probably use more rice to stretch it, but I don't measure anymore, so I'm not sure--you could try a cup and a half)
Mix all together in a large skillet with lid. When it boils, turn down to simmer, and cover. When I’m cooking regular rice, I never peek, but with this, you should peek and stir, and add more water if necessary every 5 - 10 minutes or so. It takes about 20 minutes to cook.
Garnish with shredded cheese and/or sour cream.
My husband IS a meat kind of eater, but this hearty Italian casserole doesn't make him ask, "Where's the Beef?" You can add sliced pepperoni if you need to. I usually serve it with broccoli (if I have it) or salad, and garlic bread.
8 oz dried pasta--ziti, rotini or macaroni even
8 oz (1/2 carton) ricotta cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce
shredded mozzerella (at least 2 cups--I'm thinking)
Boil pasta and drain. In a large bowl, add the ricotta, a handful of the mozzerella, and some of the jarred sauce (you don't want it saucy--just moist). Turn the pasta into a 2 qt dish. Pour a good layer of sauce on top, and then cover with cheese (and pepperoni if desired). Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.
What about you--what kind of meals do you prepare when you have nothing to cook?