I wish I was better at menu planning, but I haven’t found the right system for me yet. Some weeks, I’m organised and it all goes well, and other weeks, I have no idea what we’ll have for dinner each night (except Fridays – that’s pizza night!).
Even when I have planned out my menus for the week, sometimes it gets to 5pm, and I realise I’m missing ingredients, I haven’t defrosted the meat, or I’ve run out of time to cook the planned meal. Standard story – life got in the way.
In the past, I’ve stared into my well-stocked pantry, trying to dream up something healthy to eat. I then get overwhelmed and disheartened, and it’s easy to go the takeaway option.
To get out of this rut, I made DIY “Dinner Kits” in my pantry (previously shared at the CSI Project). Three reliable, family-favourite recipes that are simple to cook and can get dinner on the table in a pinch. When I stare into the pantry, looking for something to cook, I can quickly pull out my meal kit and a quick, easy and healthy dinner will be on the table before I know it!
What makes a good meal kit recipe?
- Simple recipes, made mostly from pantry and freezer staples (ie ingredients you keep on hand).
- Recipes that you’ve cooked over and over. You know your family will eat it and a it’s a no-stress recipe for you to cook.
How do I Make my Meal Kits?
I use cheap plastic baskets from the Dollar Store (and I lined them with fabric to pretty them up – tutorial coming later this week!).
Most of my “meal kits” are based around canned food. So each kit contains the canned ingredients and dry ingredients (pasta, corn chips, even onions or potatoes). If I’m really organised, I measure out things like flours and spices and put them in small jars or zip-lock bags. That can make such a difference getting dinner on the table quickly!
I also have a laminated copy of the recipe in each kit (well, actually I used self-adhesive book cover stuff). No searching to find the recipe when I need to be cooking!
What are my current Meal Kit Recipes?
I have Tuna Mornay, Nachos and Creamy Tomato Pasta in my kits at the moment. I also have the ingredients on hand for my Pesto Pasta, although most of them are in my fridge. Feast in 15 has more great last-minute recipe ideas.
Stay tuned later in the week for a tutorial on making the basket liners.
Do you put together “meal kits” for easy meals? What do you do when you realise late in the day that you don’t know what’s for dinner? What are your go-to last minute recipes?