Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Last Minute Meal

For whatever reason, I have become a fan of The Biggest Loser this season on NBC. Perhaps it is because Sammie from Days of Our Lives is hosting and I feel like I have grown up with her or perhaps the couple concept caught my eye....whatever it is, I enjoy watching bits and pieces of this program on Tuesday nights.

I especially love the "Last Chance Workout" because people are going crazy on the treadmills while Bob is yelling "Last Chance Workout!!!!" I really need someone to yell that to me some mornings at the gym.

A few days ago I raised the question, asking what you keep on hand to make those last minute meals on crazy days. We all have those days where it seems like 5:30pm has hit and nothing is on the table. It is almost as if Trainer Bob is standing in the kitchen yelling, "Last Minute Meal!!". The pressure can knock a mom right out of her trendy non-athletic tennis shoes.

Anyway, there were lots of great ideas in the comments section. Be sure to check those out here.

Here are my top five staple items I keep on hand to make one of those last minute meals.

You have to keep something up your sleeve to serve as a "Last Minute Meal" when someone this cool is dining at your table. (Check back later for a picture...blogger is being difficult)

Keeping these five staple items on hand allows any mother to prepare a fast and tasty meal, even on the craziest of days, and prevents that last minute decision to hit the drive-thru for dinner.

1. Instant Pancake Mix
Breakfast for supper is typically met with much enthusiasm because it seems out of the ordinary. Pancake mix usually only requires tap water to be added, but can be enhanced with the addition of milk and eggs. Sprinkle on some unusual ingredients, such as chocolate chips, blueberries, or chopped nuts, while the cakes are sizzling away on the griddle. The end result will be gourmet pancakes that will please every family member.

2. Instant Pizza Crust Mix
Follow the package directions on how to make pizza crust (again, it only needs tap water!), then roll the dough out into a rectangle. Search the refrigerator for potential fillings such as deli ham and cheese, pepperoni and bell pepper, or cooked chicken and barbeque sauce. Place the filling down the center of the rectangle, fold the sides of the dough up over the filling, and bake according to package directions. Hearty dinner pockets are on the table in less than twenty minutes!

3. Russet Potatoes
Potatoes are great to keep on hand because they tend to have a semi-long shelf life when stored in a cool, dark place. Use a fork to punch a few holes in the potato and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until tender to the touch. Once cooked, sliced the potato down the middle and fill with any leftovers lurking in the fridge. Baked potatoes topped with chili or vegetables and cheese are always a crowd pleaser. Extra time? Pop the filled potatoes into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes to create an elegant twice-baked potato.

4. Frozen Waffles
Frozen waffles can make ordinary lunch meat and cheese extraordinary. Toast waffles according to package directions, then use them to make sandwiches out of whatever sandwich ingredients are on hand (this works with peanut butter and jelly as well as lunch meats). Coat in a bit of beaten egg and then cook in a pre-heated skillet with a tablespoon of butter for about a minute on each side. Dust with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and serve.

5. Frozen Chicken Tenders
Most precooked frozen chicken pieces can be heated in the microwave. Cook according to packaged directions. Add some noodles, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese to create Chicken Parmesan. Slice the chicken into small pieces and place in a tortilla along with salsa and shredded cheese to make chicken tacos. Combine the cooked chicken with a prepackaged salad and some nuts to create a tasty Pecan Chicken Salad. Frozen chicken tenders provide limitless opportunities to create fast and tasty meals.

Having a kitchen stocked with a few staple items that can be used to create a quick, filling dinner is a trick every mom needs up her sleeve. When served on the fancy dishes typically reserved for special occasions, these fast and creative meals will reap tons of praise from appreciative, well-fed family members.


Sydni said...

I do not even believe this. Sayler and I just got home from a trip to Lewistown to see Clint's parents and brother and I'm fried from not much sleep there (I don't sleep in strange places) - even though we had a FABULOUS time. It's Wed. we have church, Clint doesn't come home until almost time to leave for church, and I say all of that to say THANK YOU, YET AGAIN for saving the day w/ your blog.

Tonight, we're having chicken tenders - which I'm so glad I had, but they were buried in the freezer. I had forgotten about them.

I guess reading blogs is not all about wasting time! Yippee!

JenniferReinsch said...

I'm coming to your house for dinner.

Jennifer said...

I try to have supplies to make a pot pie since it's so easy and very hearty.

* 2 frozen ready-made pie crusts
* 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
* 2 cans Veg-All, drained
* 2 cans "cream potato soup"
* salt and pepper
mix all together, pour into pie crust, put other crust on top, put a few slits in the top and cook for 60 minues on 350 degrees.

I also try to have stuff to make spaghetti, green beans and toast as a last minute meal.