Learning how to stock your pantry for quick meals is the first step to take if you ever want to stop eating out. Maybe you keep failing and end up at the drive-thru multiple times each week even though you really want to cook at home. But who’s got time these days? Well, you absolutely can do it with the right preparation.
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No matter how organized you are, there will always be times that you run behind schedule and need something to feed your family FAST.
If you’re like me, you want to be the kind of person that has everything together all the time and never has to worry about such things – but it’s just not the reality.
We’ve overscheduled ourselves and run out of time more often than we could even count. It probably happens to me at least once a week.
And, if you don’t have some kind of backup plan, you’ll be grabbing fast food. That’s a disaster for any family’s budget and our waistlines, too.
Are you grabbing a pizza or fast food a little too much? Would you like to eliminate all those trips through the drive-thru?
I’m guessing your answer is YES!!
15 Minute Meal Planner
Plan 15-Minute Meals that your family will love. Perfect for busy weeknights. Includes: Printable Planning Pages, Worksheets, and 10 15-Minute Dinner ideas.
How to Stock Your Pantry for Quick Meals
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1. Start by Coming up With a List of 5-10 Real Quick Meals.
I want you to think of 15-Minute Meals. Any longer than that and they’re just not going to fit the bill.
Here are some of my personal favorite 15-Minute Meals:
- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches – I use some of my frozen Batch-Cooked Chicken Breast and mix it with BBQ sauce (our favorite) then serve them on whatever bread I have on hand.
- Sloppy Joes – Mix frozen pre-cooked hamburger meat with sloppy joe sauce and serve on buns.
- Chicken Quesadillas – Shredded chicken, chunky salsa, and cheese.
- Tortellini with Pesto – Just mix cooked tortellini with pesto and serve.
- Salsa-Poached Eggs – Eggs poached in salsa, served on a corn tortilla.
- Kielbasa and Mashed Potatoes – Use instant potatoes, or if you have a couple extra minutes, make my Creamy Mashed Potatoes.
2. Figure out Which Items Can be Kept on Hand.
Don’t forget to include your refrigerator and freezer as part of your pantry because they can certainly help you out here. You may have some of these meals in your routine already, but we’re going to use this list with a bit more strategy.
- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
- Sloppy Joes
- Frozen Ground Beef
- Sloppy Joe Sauce
- Salsa – so yummy
- Pre-Cooked Shredded Chicken
- Tortellini and Pesto
- Refrigerated Tortellini
- Salsa-Poached Eggs
- Salsa – This is our favorite
- Corn Tortillas – this is our favorite brand, they’re so soft
- Shredded Cheese
- Kielbasa with Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Mashed Potatoes (we buy this kind at Costco), or
- Potatoes, milk, cream, and butter for my Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Related: How to Batch-Cook Chicken Breasts
3. Create Your Pantry Checklist
Write out a Checklist of everything you need to make your 15-Minute Pantry Meals.
And, once you have this list created, your job is to keep these things stocked in your pantry at all times. If you use some of the ingredients, add them immediately to your grocery shopping list and replace them the next time you’re at the store.
4. Utilize Your Freezer
Your freezer is your best friend when it comes to fast meals. Many of these ingredients can be kept in your freezer and cooked straight from frozen or quickly thawed either in the microwave or a sink of water.
Freeze these items:
- Pre-cooked chicken and hamburger
- Refrigerated Tortellini
- Shredded Cheese
5. Now, Make the Meals
So, your mission now is to actually follow your plan. The next time you realize you’re totally out of time and you need to feed your family a quick meal, take a look at your Pantry Meal list. Pick one of the meals and MAKE IT. No dashing out get fast food. Don’t stop and grab something on your way home, make the commitment to use these meals even when you’re tired at the end of a long day. Anyone can pull out just 15 more minutes even while exhausted. DO IT!
You will feel so much better when you eat meals from home. Stocking your pantry the right way for quick dinners is the only way to do it when life has you running ragged. Believe me, though, you will be absolutely happy that you did when all is said and done.
Get my complete Create Your Quick Meal Pantry – So it Works for You workbook Here. You’ll get the worksheets you need and a step-by-step process to follow.