It’s one thing to suffer through a rough day. It’s quite another when it turns into an insufferable week. And when the inevitable ‘what’s for dinner?’ question rolls around you need fast, simple solutions.
As a mom who just survived a first trimester morning sickness that felt more like a 24/7 plague, I’ve pulled together a few tips, tricks and meals to help you get through a week of tough days. It won’t heal sick kids or gift a tired parent with extra sleep, but this Emergency Meal Plan will make sure that you at least have dinner on the table at the end of the day. And yes, frozen pizza and a trusty takeout menu are totally okay ideas too!
1. Have a back pocket recipe
For a recipe to qualify for back pocket status it must be so simple that you hardly need a recipe. It needs to be so quick that you can finish prepping it in less than 15 minutes. Best of all, it’s the kind of recipe that you always have the ingredients for.
This Lemon Pepper Chicken and Quinoa Rice recipe is a one-pan survival meal that I’ve pulled out of my back pocket during many emergency weeks. It’s a no-brainer and it’s delicious. Get the Recipe for Lemon Pepper Chicken and Quinoa Rice via Some the Wiser.
Since we all know those days and weeks are going to strike, be preemptive and make dinner when the skies are clear and the sun is shining. There were days during my first trimester of pregnancy that I really could not handle making dinner at all! Being able to reheat something from the freezer was the only way anyone got fed on those days. Having a little stockpile of easy meals stashed away is a real life saver.
Frozen turkey meatballs from the supermarket and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese turns simple spaghetti into a ‘meal.’ And if you really want to plan ahead, these Sneaky Meatball Subs with hidden nutritious veggies can also be made ahead of time and stored away in the freezer for a rainy day. Get the recipe for Sneaky Meatball Subs via Iowa Girl Eats.
Whether you are tending to the needs of sick kids or you’ve been taken down by a nasty bug yourself, the crockpot is your best friend during a week of hardship. A slow cooker makes it possible for you to pull dinner together on your schedule, rather than having to make things work just before the dinner bell rings. Pop everything into the pot when you get a burst of energy, before the kids even wake up that morning or over the course of an hour or two as you make your way in and out of the kitchen. As long as you can pull together the ingredients, the crockpot will do the rest of the heavy lifting.
This tasty Springtime Crockpot Minestrone can be easily adapted to use what you have fresh in the fridge, canned in the pantry or stored in the freezer. Get the recipe for Springtime Crockpot Minestrone via How Sweet Eats.
4. Breakfast is a dinner winner
Think outside the box. Sure, dinner is supposed to be the heartiest meal of the day, but it doesn’t always have to be the hardest. Sometimes dinner needs to be as easy as breakfast. Breakfast for dinner is an emergency dinner standby at my house. When mom hasn’t had time to grocery shop or we’re running late after ballet lessons or mom feels a serious headache coming on and dinner needs to hurry up and happen now, there’s hardly anything better than waffles and pancakes. The kids always eat them, they are easily customized and you can even freeze and reheat them if needed.
These Whole Wheat Flax Waffles with Cranberry Orange Syrup are a crowdpleaser. Best of all, they can be made in a triple batch and saved in the freezer for later. But even if you’re making them last minute, they whip up quickly to solve the dinner dilemma. Get the recipe for Whole Wheat Flax Waffles with Cranberry Orange Syrup via Good Life Eats.
When the storm really hits, just don’t cook. When things really get hard, the only way to survive is to go back to basics. Sure, you need to eat but you don’t actually have to cook. A hearty meat, cheese and bread platter is as basic as dinner can get. It will fill everyone up and you can sit back and relax.
This guide to the perfect cheese platter will steer you towards all the most important elements of a delicious, filling platter than can substitute for dinner in an emergency. Being pregnant is totally an emergency in my book, and I will admit that I have resorted to a cheese platter dinner more than once! Get the Guide to a Perfect Cheese Platter via Honestly Yum.
And if you’ve managed to survive the week with the help of this emergency meal plan, go ahead and order a pizza on Saturday – you’ve earned it!