The worst time of the day is 4:45 when you realize you totally didn't plan what to eat and the army of tiny humans in your house are just on the verge of hangriness. Am I right!? I love when I can plan out dinner and have everything made and ready in time, but sometimes the day just gets away from me and before I know it everyone is tearing into the pantry (INCLUDING NEIL!) trying to eat Cheez-its and granola bars for dinner! SO, today I'm sharing some of my go-to quick and easy dinners that will help you in a pinch to get some kind of dinner on the table!
I grew up in a family and culture that always tried to have food storage on hand. My parents taught us the value of being prepared and having food on hand in case of a natural disaster or economic hardship, and that's something I try to keep in mind and continue to do now that I'm the mom! We aren't perfect at it, but we try really hard to keep the pantry stocked with items that will last a while.
Here's the thing about the meals I lean on for busy nights: they are absolutely not rocket science. I KNOW these aren't fancy AT ALL, but sometimes they're life savers!
You know the ones…meals you can make that are fast, crowd pleasing, and come together with stuff that's easy to always have on hand! It's SO nice when I can get food on the table with minimal planning and I don't have to send Neil out to the store or pile starving kids into the car and then try to drag them up and down the aisles of a grocery store!
These recipes ALSO use at least 1 item from Walmart's Fight Hunger campaign, so not only am I getting items that I can use for future dinners, I'm also supporting Feeding America® and helping secure a meal for someone in need. Such a win-win!!
I really feel like if you're shopping for these items anyways, it makes total sense to make a purchase that will feed someone in need, and getting them at Walmart means you're probably already getting the best deal on your grocery purchase! For every Fight Hunger item you buy through May 20, the manufacturer makes a contribution to Feeding America that secure a meal for someone who needs it.
This first meal is my mom's Instant Pot salsa chicken! For her recipe she uses green salsa, but the Pace salsa we always have on hand is great in this recipe (plus it's Neil's favorite salsa to snack on!). This dinner couldn't be easier. It's frozen chicken and a jar of salsa cooked in the Instant Pot, and then you add in a can of black beans, cheese, and frozen corn. I usually serve this with rice, but it's also good on a salad or with chips! 15 minutes start to finish!! Basically a miracle.
Meal #2 is rotisserie chicken tacos…yum! I originally got the base for this meal idea from the Clean Simple Eats winter meal plan and it's quickly become a family favorite. It's so easy to grab a rotisserie chicken when you're out and about (which is awesome because you can also use the chicken for sandwiches or salads), and then for this meal all you do is add a tablespoon of taco seasoning to some chicken and put it in tacos. The Clean Simple Eats recipe has a special delicious sauce that's super healthy to put on these too but if you're just looking for quick and basic and you don't care about the macros, you can just use plain sour cream!
The taco seasoning we always get is a part of the Feeding America initiative right now, so by stocking up on that ingredient you're also doing a good deed! We melt cheese on the tacos under the broiler, then add lettuce and tomatoes and it's such a yummy, easy meal! Everyone in the family loves this, and sometimes I use the chicken in quesadillas for the girls, which they are ALL about.
Idea 3 is so basic and easy that I am ALMOST embarrassed to put it in here, but, mamas need to help other mamas and share when something works! The bowtie pasta we use is part of the Fight Hunger campaign, so all I do is make that and add a sauce that has some good veggies mixed in. The pasta fills them up and I like that they're getting some vegetables in their system! These are pantry ingredients that won't go bad anytime soon and feed my family SO fast. I just love knowing in a REAL pinch when I only have 10 minutes to throw something together, I can boil a pot of water and have dinner in my kids' bellies before they can eat all the snacks in the pantry!
Here's my list of quick and easy dinners that I can go to anytime I feel like “I have no idea what to make and everyone's starving!!”
1) Instant pot salsa chicken
2) Chicken tacos
3) Pasta & canned red sauce
5) Grilled cheese and tomato soup
6) Frozen salmon, rice, and broccoli (frozen broccoli is a Fight Hunger item)
7) Mini pizzas on a bagel or English muffin
8) PB&J and canned soup
9) Ramen with a fried egg and frozen veggies added in
10) Egg sandwiches (my mom always makes these for my dad – cute huh!)
12) Breakfast for dinner (pancake mix is SO easy to keep on hand!)
13) Avocado toast
15) Mac and cheese (Fight Hunger item!) always a win with small kids
16) Chef Boyardee mini raviolis (also Fight Hunger) another win with littles
17) Sloppy joes
18) Lemon chicken
19) Mini meat loaves (only need to bake 20-30 min if you make them mini!)
20) Southwest Soup
Like I said…most of these aren't fancy dishes, but they get your family fed, they're easy to shop for ahead of time, and I love that I can get so many of the items with the Fight Hunger label and do some good!