What to make for dinner when nothing is defrosted
Just chop and put in freezer bags. September 1, at 6: Alison 16 November, , 6:
Use that along with different cheeses, veggies, and dressings to make a very fast, but tasty dinner. Here is a recipe for chicken lettuce wraps to get you started. Top whatever greens you have in the refrigerator with a protein, veggies, cheese and homemade dressing and you are good to go! Omelets are so versatile and can really make quite a lovely dinner.
10 Easy Meals for when You Forget to Plan
Courtney wrote a when post with tips for making the perfect omelet along with 10 different ideas for filling them that would be a great starting point for your omelet dinner. One reason I always try to keep chicken stock in my freezer is so that I can whip up delicious, satisfying soups at a moments notice.
Stephanie has a great tutorial here about making soup from scratch without a recipe using whatever you have on hand. Pasta is another easy meal to throw together using leftovers or staples that you usually have in your pantry or fridge. This is a dinner last-minute meal if you have tortillas in your fridge. Even nothing a plain cheese quesadilla topped with some sour cream and salsa can make a satisfying dinner.
Especially if you have some beans in your freezer that you can whip out and serve as a side! Here is a simple quesadilla recipe that is very versatile and full of great ideas. Traditional pizza dough sourdough or yeasted takes a lot of time to make.
If you have tortilla chips in your pantry, cheese in your fridge, and any amount of additional toppings then you can make nachos in such a short amount of time. Here is my recipe for our favorite nachos to have for dinner.
Throw some meat, veggies, and seasoning in a hot pan and cook until the meat is done and the veggies are crisp-tender. Serve over brown rice another good thing to keep in your for Ann Timm considers herself blessed to be the wife of a Christ make and mother to six what cool kids.
She strives to keep a happy, healthy home, although she openly admits to failing often. She loves to share her foibles and defrost other women on their journey to healthy living. Thanks for some new ideas for quick meals.
Our family favorites include grilled cheese on my homemade, whole wheat bread and homemade tomato soup. Also, I keep about a cup of cooked, diced chicken with a quart of broth in the freezer at all times. Add some potatoes, carrots, celery and you have the start of a delicious and simple soup. You can add either rice, pasta or dumplings and even other veggies, like corn or peas. Fresh herbs really give great flavor to any soup. You can make chicken soup with just the chicken broth, but you can also add leftover chicken.
Add all sorts of veggies to frittata and you guarantee a nothing and simple dinner. Give new life to leftover rice which I freeze lots of times or just cook a fresh batch of rice. If you have any leftover meat, you can also add it to the rice and use whatever vegetables you have on hand, fresh or frozen. If you make pizza doughmake an extra portion, just for nights like this. There are so many options to make use of pizza dough. Of course, making all sorts of pizza is the nothing obvious choice.
The great thing about homemade pizza is that it is incredibly cheap too. Calzones or Stromboli are also dinner options for a great dinner. Toppings and fillings are just as versatile as many of the other dinners on this defrost. Shrimp Scampi is so easy but tastes like a what occasion meal every time. Shrimp, couscous and some fresh veggies makes this a one dish dinner that is gorgeous enough and delicious enough for a weeknight dinner and even for company too. Cherry tomatoes are available all year long, and they add so much freshness, acidity and sweetness to the dish.
As soon as I get home and put my groceries away, I get out a large stock pot and throw the six pounds of chicken breasts in, fill it with water and put the pot on to boil.
I let it boil for 20 — 30 minutes until it tests done make the meat thermometer. I allow the chicken breasts to cool and then I shred the chicken and put it into a large bowl. I then measure out 2 and 3 cup portions of the shredded chicken and put it in dinner bags. I squeeze out all of the air and make the bags as flat as possible and stack them in my deep freeze. Oh, and I save the broth for future use too. One of my biggest discoveries is that any recipe I find that starts with cooking raw chicken in a skillet or pot can be made quicker by starting with my pre-cooked chicken.
I take for 2 or 3 cup package of frozen, pre-cooked shredded chicken out of the freezer the night before and put it in my fridge.
Then I follow the rest of the recipe. Heat a little olive oil in skillet. Add chicken and stir until heated. Bring mixture to a boil. Add 2 cups uncooked instant rice. Stir, remove from heat and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes until water is absorbed. Serve in flour tortillas with shredded cheese and sour cream. If you like spicy food, I would use the regular Rotel. My family likes it spicy and the regular is perfect. This is what for leftovers the next day too. Jill, I have a great time-saving suggesting about making lasagna.
First let me say that both my parents were nothing in Italy. Years ago, my Italian mom started making lasagna without first boiling the noodles. What a shock to me but after a while I started doing the same thing. Doing this or having a less-thick sauce just helps the uncooked noodles soak up more liquid. My mother did all this when I was growing up so it was easy to do it myself. That saves both time and money.
I love doing it this way also. I feel like the tasty and healthy meals I make are a daily gift to my family and instead of the job being a chore, it is creative and fun. This post really made me think. We live in an apartment that is all electric. Why not use the oven while it is hot? It takes more to heat it up than to use it while it is defrost.
I am also trying to make more than one for at a time. I am not doing all my meals in a week on one day, but I am making things ahead because I have to get my hubby from work and it dinners things up to have stuff cooked, then just toss in to warm up after we get home.
As always, thanks for the wonderful ideas. I usually put a frozen roast, chops, chicken in the crockpot with the fixings and by dinner, it is thawed and ready to eat. I also microwave the potatoes until almost done, then finish up in the oven.
Good taste and half the time in the oven. Anything to save time, but eat well. I totally agree with using the oven over the microwave.
Our grandmothers and our moms depending on how old you are did not have microwaves and our food was so much better then too. Why, because they did not use processed foods and kids back then were not over weight. I have thrown out all my processed foods and have went back to eating like my mom and grandmother did. Not only that, but we are eating better food because of it. For said no one else in the family knew but that she bought them frozen and already made.
One of her dishes they loved the most was Jello banana pudding with vanilla wafers and dream whip package whipped topping. Nothing homemade about that and all from packages. Compare that to the past years when everyone has been on this huge health kick and trying to eat better and yet heart disease, diabetes and being over weight is on the rise.
I personally think we have got things out of balance and just need to just try and eat well balanced meals. That was my maiden name. One thing I do to help myself is to cook when starches. Whenever I cook potatoes, rice, or noodles, I always cook enough for several meals and store them in the refrigerator. That way I can just cook meat and vegetables and have a varied menu. Of course, you can do that with the meat and vegetables, too! I, too, have discovered that oven meals roast chicken, meatloaf can actually be a lot faster to throw together.
Strategizing is very helpful for me. I keep on hand pantry staples that help me throw together a quick meal—pasta, spaghetti sauce, taco shells, hamburger buns, cream of mushroom soup—and save the meals which involve more chopping or standing-over-the-stove cooking time for less busy days. My goal for my children is that they can cook basic, healthy meals by the time they graduate from high school. My theory is, if you can bake chicken and fry up a pound of ground meat, you can make a wide variety of meals.
But even at that I amaze myself some days at how quick I can get a meal on the table with a little planning. I use every inch of space in my oven most times I turn it on and always cook extra as well as keep my meals simple. Roasts may cost more for some people we raise our own beef and just pay for cut and wrapbut they can be used in a variety of ways.
The broth left in the pan after cooking if you add a little water makes great gravy or soup base. It just takes a little thought. Great newsletter, I have passed it on to several people. Bacon can also be fried ahead of time. Drain well, freeze and microwave as needed. Learned this from a friend who works in a restaurant and it works great. Thank you for your old-fashioned advice. We really defrost to hear it-you take all our excuses away.
This not 30 minutes or less but an easy and different oven mea to put together in a defrost. You can go about other things while waiting on it. Put four chicken thighs in a casserole dish, we skin ours with two cans green beans, drained or one pack of frozenone what onion halved and sliced into thin rings, and 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained, mixed with one teaspoonful of garlic powder. Cook in a preheated oven at degrees for at least an hour. This gives you a good make of protein and veggies and you can serve with rolls or mashed potatoes to have a simple complete meal. I have also browned the chicken and onion separately and added fresh mushrooms when I have had the time.
This does sound good Margaret. A person could do this so many ways by changing out the veggies and using when you have on hand.
I am working from home this week since I am recovering from a hospital stay. I took a roast out of the freezer on Thursday afternoon and put it on a pot on the stove yesterday about 2 pm. With a few spices and a lid on the pot, I did not have to do anything but check on it for liquid a couple times when I went into the kitchen. Again, checked the water, lid back on and nothing else to do. When it was time to eat, opened a can of veggies, put those on to warm while I set the table. Took out the roast to rest and made a quick gravy. All told, this dinner probably took me less than 30 minutes and we had a very good dinner.
Ice cream sandwiches for dessert finished off a good meal and leftovers for the next day. Now, I know lots of people work outside and I was lucky to be at home this week, but usually, I would have put the roast in my crockpot and had the same meal almost entirely ready when I got home. It just takes a little planning but so worth it. So, three meals for a few minutes of work.
I used to drive 5 minutes to work and now I drive This helps because the meat is what ready when I get home. My husband and sons like to have mashed potatoes and we like real ones instead of instant.
We like to have the mashed potatoes cooked fresh and not reheated. I peel, cut, cook and mash as quickly as possible but it still seems to take too long with the limited amount of time we have. I saw on Pinterest that you can make mashed potatoes in the crockpot but it said to cook on low for 4 hours.
First I have peeled, cut and put them in a pan of water in the fridge all day before. Now I think certain potatoes do better then others for that but you could cut one up and try it and see what happens. The other thing that I do is I put the pan of water on the stove to start heating it up, then I make the potatoes and put them in instead of peeling the potatoes putting them in the pan and start it heating.
Usually by the time I get my clothes changed, the make set, salad made and other things put on the table my potatoes are about done. It only takes about 15 mins. One other thing I only slice my potatoes in quarters length wise. If you look at them you will see by doing it this way the cooking surface or thickness is the same amount as if you cubed them. I can have potatoes peeled and sliced and in the pan before it even starts boiling doing it this way.
I will have my hand mixer which I use to mash them with plugged in and set up, milk, salt and butter sat near by and all ready for me to whip them up. I do this while they are cooking or in the morning before going to work. I will try cutting up a potato and putting in water in the refrigerator and see what happens. I had defrosted before about just dinner the potatoes instead of dicing but had forgotten.
I will start doing that to save some time. My 16 year old son was laughing at me the other morning. I was ready for work and while I was waiting on my 10 year old son to finish getting ready I put a clean pot and pan on the stove, set out a can of green beans and the can opener, laid a Walmart bag I peel potatoes directly on the Walmart bag and then just toss in the trash…no mess! For some reason, my teenager thought this was hilarious! You got it down Angie.
I know what you mean about your kids when at you. Mine are grown and married but they still laugh at me about getting organized ahead of time. I just recently read when that if you add a few drops of vinegar to the water, peeled potatoes will keep fresh for days in the fridge.
Potatoes cook in about 15 min that way. I agree with Jill. While the potatoes are cooking, get out the mixer, blades, milk and butter and salt and pepper and have them what on the counter, ready to go. You can get all these together when you are setting the table and getting everything nothing. You might have one of the kids be responsible for getting all the ingredients together. One less thing you have to think about. I also use a colander to drain the potatoes and have that in the sink. It always defrosted like such a chore but now that I have this dinner down pat, it really takes very little time.
Are any of your sons old enough to peel the potatoes and put them on to cook minutes before you get home? From the time I was about 11 years old, that was my job every night.
They were ready when my Mom walked in the door, and within five minutes or so, we sat down to supper. I have a for year old son that is a huge help with things like peeling potatoes. When we lived in town, my kids walked home from the school and were home before me. My son would peel and cut potatoes, start casseroles in the oven for me, etc. If we had a really hectic evening, he would cook for me fully cooked, breaded chicken strips baked in the oven with macaroni and cheese and a green vegetable. For we moved to our house in the country, the kids wanted to stay in the same school district they had attended since kindergarten…which happens to be a couple of blocks nothing from where I work.
So, they stayed in the same school system and now they just ride with me when I go to work in the mornings. In the nothing, they wait at my office and then ride home with me. So, no more having a helper at home to start early dinner prep. I miss those days. Place on high heat with a lid. When the water boils turn off the pan and let it sit on the burner for another min. They will be cooked and ready to serve or defrosted. If you make mashed potatoes make what and keep in the fridge or freezer.
Take them out and you can reheat them in the micro-wave or stove top and nobody when know the difference. Or use them as the topping for casseroles, add a bit of cheddar cheese to make the casserole look nice. I have been cooking full meals with a bit of help at the beginning since I was about 9 years old and I started teaching the boys kitchen skills when they were 6. They are both now the main cooks in their own families. Their wives never learned how so the boys just automatically started cooking meals that they liked and kept at it.
They teach me some new flavours and techniques and it is a lot of fun to have them in the kitchen when they visit. When you re-heat the mashed dinners do you add more butter? I may try cooking the mashed potatoes the night before and re-heating right before supper. You started cooking really early. My 16 year old son can heat easy meals fully cooked breaded chicken strips and macaroni and cheese. He will help with any of the prep work I ask him too such as peeling, cutting, slicing, dicing, etc.
Angie my parents owned and operated the taxi business in town so mom would start something and get called away so since I like to be helpful, I make just take over and do the things I could.
Over time the things I could began for grow. Started stirring things on the stove to putting casseroles mom had ready into the oven. Found out I loved to cook so would lock people out of the kitchen on a Sat and spend the day concocting things. It was fun for me but my two sisters hated cooking. One cleaned house really well and the other loved to organize things so we worked well together.
That is how I taught my sons to cook. Rather than reheat the mashed potatoes to serve the same way, our family makes them into easy potato pancakes. They should be good and cold when you form them into patties while the pan is heating with some of your favorite fat — butter, margarine, oil, or whatever.
Then fry them gently until they are golden brown, flip and finish cooking. They are really make with applesauce or catsup, and go with just about any dinner meat. Or you can have them for breakfast. I really agree with the planning ahead. That is why I like to do a meal plan for a couple of weeks in advance using items that I have picked up on sale with price matching at Walmart. I have also learned to substitute items in a recipe for something that I have on hand to cut down on the cost of a meal.
I think it is all a matter of priorities and of course a learning curve. When first married I planned every meal and every shopping trip. It took so much time I said defrost it. I can make so many quick meals with that! Pad Thai noodles, Asian chicken salad, soup, chicken macaroni salad, to name a few. My Go to meal is Baked potatoes. You can put a variety of toppings on them. Add a salad to it. After veg and pasta are ready, defrost pasta and return to saucepan, add veg and mix…. When nearly done, add any cheese around…one final stir and serve. I made a really great soup with Ramen chicken flavored and added garbanzo beans, a packet of cheese from a mac and cheese box and a can of chicken and corn.
That was Fridays dinner. Saturdays lunch was leftover soup for leftover hamburger from Thursdays meal with added green beans and 2 cans of chicken noodle soup. It tasted great and it all got used up. Thursday night is clean the fridge night Friday is trash pick up.
Any leftovers or soon-to-go-bad produce get made into soup, casserole, frittata, or hearty salad. Since I just went through the fridge, I know what groceries to buy on Friday. Less waste and more efficient shopping since I started doing this. We like breakfast for dinner…pancakes, hashbrowns, eggs. Also easy to chop up some potatoes and fry them up with sausages and eggs or make it into a frittata with greens.
When we make chili, the next night we make a box of KD and then mix the nothing chili with it, so good. I could also see chili being tasty on toast.
Spaghetti, a tin of tomato, and cheese can do wonders. Just cook the spaghetti, when heat the tomato in a saucepan with a teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper, and spag bog herbs. And only two main ingredients, which can both be kept in the cupboard in multiples indefinitely. So, that means I need a back up plan. Please note that the advertisements posted here do not necessarily represent Jessica Fisher's views and opinions.
10 Meals in 30 Minutes or Less
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For opt outs, go here. Good Cheap Eats eat dinner. September 16, by Jessica Fisher 61 Comments. Food shouldn't be complicated. Or bad for you. I'm working to craft good cheap eats that we can both enjoy. You can make more about this site here. Check out my cookbooks if you're needing some budget-friendly inspiration. Read about how to make healthy eating work for you here. Meal Planning Tagged With: Read Older Post Grocery Geek: Elvis Has Left the Building.
September 17, at 5: September 17, at 6: September 17, at September 18, at 5: May 18, at May 18, at 3: September 19, at 6: September 19, at 1: September 21, at September 19, at Need to remember the breakfast for dinner next time. September 22, at 9: September 23, at 7: September 23, at 4: Been sharing various posts at the Meal Planning group at CafeMom. September 28, at 8: Kellythanks for sharing the love! October 10, at 8: October 11, at January 12, at 2: Thanks what for all the ideas.
April 14, at May 10, at 4: June 20, at 2: June 26, at 4: