We’ve probably all had that moment where it’s almost dinnertime and you have nothing planned. Well, assuming you aren’t a hard core meal planner. Honestly, meal planning is SO helpful! But some weeks, it’s Wednesday before I’ve even thought about it.
Here are some tips we use regularly to make sure we are staying on track with our eating yet not stressing out over meals.
Are you ready?
It’s really as simple as figuring out some good foundations. What are the meals your family always enjoys on the regular? Choose 4-5 meals that can be prepared in 15-20 minutes and make sure they ingredients are ALWAYS in stock!
Stock your freezer and pantry. I have a separate post on pantry and freezer must have items that will be coming to my blog later this week.
Last night we had, “nothing to eat” because I have not grocery shopped in a couple weeks. My stocked freezer and pantry saved me! I was able to whip together a delicious meal with items I typically always have one hand. Here’s what we made:
Sweet Peanut Curry & Basil Vegetables over Rice with Roasted Chickpeas. It was SO simple, yet so satisfying. The photo does the flavor zero justice:
Here’s what I did to make this:
For dinner, since we mostly eat a plant-based diet, I like to always include a variety of the following:
- Healthy Fats
This meal checked off all the boxes because I was able to throw together: sweet potato, stir fry veggies, peppers, onions, mushrooms, quinoa, rice, kale, corn, chickpeas, and a sauce with some nut butter incorporated. It turned out to be a well balanced meal and here’s how I made it:
I took inventory of the freezer and noticed I had a bag of stir fry veggies! I also had a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen Quinoa & Sweet Potato veggies. I threw both bags into a cast iron skillet and added some sesame oil. I decided I would make it saucy & serve it over brown rice, which I also had on hand in my pantry. My daughter will eat just about anything if it has a delicious sauce and is served with rice, so I went with it.
I made the sauce by adding in 2 TBSP of peanut butter, some tamari, liquid aminos (soy sauce), maple syrup, and a drizzle of pre-made teriyaki sauce. I even had some mango juice I splashed in because fruit with curry is where it’s at! I added all of that to the pan once the veggies had cooked down then added in some water, you could also use vegetable broth. For spices I added in curry powder, ginger, basil, and garlic. I didn’t measure, I just threw it together with hope and a prayer. (Or just quickly google something like “peanut butter curry sauce” and make one based off whatever ingredients you have) At one point it was too spicy so I added some more peanut butter. You really can’t go wrong when you’re using delicious ingredients!
So thankful for my freezer and pantry items! They really come to the rescue for me several nights a week.
Here’s a recipe for roasted chickpeas:
Roasted chickpeas are a delicious and nutritious way to get added protein to salads, bowls, and even just as a snack.
Some staple meal ideas:
- Pasta and Marinara – have meatballs (vegan or not) pre-cooked/frozen
- Tacos if you keep shells in the pantry or freezer, eat with beans and rice from the pantry. You can make filling for tacos with walnuts and sundried tomatoes. Recipe here.
- Freeze leftovers from a nice meal and save for a day you need something fast
- Breakfast for dinner! Pancakes are always quick to throw together meal. I throw my pancake batter ingredients in the blender and blend. So fast! Here’s a great vegan pancake recipe: Vegan Pancakes
- Bowls: basically, I just cook whatever rice, veggies, and potatoes I have and eat them together in a bowl. I love to make a quick sauce or drizzle a dressing I like over the top.
- Soups! I always have broths on hand and just throw in some spices with whatever veggies I have to make a vegetable & beans soup.
Get creative when you’re in a pinch. I always have so much fun when I am facing a challenge in the kitchen. Stay tuned for my pantry and freezer post coming soon!