12 Ingredients to Have on Hand for Quick Meals

In a perfect world we would all plan our meals and have dinner ready just in time for our family to all sit down and eat together at 5:30.  But lets be REAL, that’s a dream for the majority of us.  We have busy school and work schedules  so when you throw in evening activities and sports practices it makes it almost impossible to find time to cook a meal you can all share together.

I would love to say I’m organized enough to plan out our dinners for the week on Sunday but that wouldn’t be the truth.  I often find myself scrambling to throw something together last minute.  I have a few items that I keep stocked in the pantry, fridge and freezer that make putting together a quick meal super easy.

Do you have days when you just need to get a quick meal on the table?!? Keep these 12 ingredients on hand to help you get it on the table fast!

1.  Onions:  Add flavor to almost any dish.

Suggestions:  Stir-fry,  add to dishes like: pasta and rice, jazz up a pre-made soup…the possibilities are endless!

2.  Frozen Chicken/ shrimp/ground meat:

Suggestions:  Defrost chicken and cut into smaller chunks, so it cooks quickly.  Shrimp cook SUPER fast!  Ground meat cooks quickly and can be used in tacos or as a meat sauce to put over pasta.

3.  Canned tomatoes: Variety

Suggestions: Add diced tomatoes to pasta dishes, casseroles, and soups.  Here’s a link for more recipe ideas from Eating Well.

 4.  Frozen or Instant Rice 

Suggestions:  As a stand alone side, mixed with soups, or added to stir fry.

5.  Eggs

Suggestions:  Make omelettes with your choice of toppings or add it to rice to make fried rice.  Breakfast for dinner is ALWAYS a hit at my house, too!

 6.  Cheese: Variety of Shredded and Sliced

Suggestions:  Added to pasta dishes, grilled cheese sandwiches…Cheese is good on just about ANYTHING!  😉

 7. Frozen or canned veggies

Suggestions:  We want our kids to eat healthier, so if you always have veggies in the house it will make it a lot easier.  You can add veggies to most dishes or as a side.  A bonus is that they are already chopped and cleaned for you!

 8.  Pasta: Variety:

Suggestions:  Toss with a meat sauce or veggies and oil/butter.  Make a cold salad with pasta, veggies and Italian dressing.

9. Potatoes:

Suggestions: Make Baked Potato Soup.  Use a side: mashed, roasted, baked. 

 10.  Flat bread and/or tortillas:

Suggestions:  Add your favorite toppings with some cheese for a quick pizza or a quesadilla.

11.  Chicken or beef broth:

Suggestions:  When you are cooking quick meals you still want it taste slow cooked.  Adding broth is an easy way to give you the effect of slow cooking without spending the time.

12.  Bacon!

Suggestions:  Bacon can add great flavor to just about any dish.  Top salads or pasta  dishes, add to sandwiches, or just eat it by itself!

 How do you battle the last minute weekday meals?!?