Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stand-by Meal Planning

Weekly meal planning is very important to me both for organization and saving money. I take the time each week to pick out recipes, plan our meals and buy whatever extra ingredients I don't already have in the pantry. However as every busy mom knows, even the best laid plans sometimes fall through. So you're having one of those days - kids forgot their lunches, late for soccer practice, five different errands to run and you get home and realize that the meal you put in the crock pot that morning is completely uncooked because you forgot to plug it in. Ahh!! What's for dinner?!

This is where stand-by meal planning comes in. Stand-by meals are the quick, easy meals your family enjoys that you can go to when time is short or you are tired. Usually these are not meals that you schedule into your weekly meal plan but you make an effort to keep the ingredients on hand for whenever they are needed. They are just there to give you another option to eating out on a crazy night.

For our family these meals include: 1. Pasta with jar sauce, 2. Baked potatoes with canned chili on top, 3. Bean burritos, 4. Hamburger Helper. Now I know that these meals fall into the "quite processed" category but compared to greasy fast food I think they're at least a few steps up. Plus there are ways to make all of these meals a little healthier (i.e. whole wheat pasta, vegetarian chili, fat-free refried beans or ground turkey).

I bring all of this up to help you along on those busy nights and to remind you about the great coupons Cellfire has available right now for you to load onto your grocery store card. They have a Hamburger Helper coupon available for 75¢ off 3 boxes, which includes Chicken Helper and Tuna Helper also. So what are your family's stand-by meals? Anyone who leaves a comment will be given an extra entry into my $100 grocery gift card giveaway sponsored by Cellfire. (If you are not familiar with the Cellfire program, read my previous Cellfire post.)

* This post is in conjunction with Cellfire's sponsorship of an upcoming $100 grocery card giveaway at Recipes for Moms. All opinions are my own.

I also shared this post at 11th Heaven's Homemaker Monday & We Are THAT Family's Works-For-Me Wednesday.

28 comments:

Grocery Coupons List said...

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Kristi said...

One of my standby meals is chicken over potatoes with cream of mushroom soup.

kristisdeals1 at yahoo dot com

Suzanne said...

Make your own pizza is a stand by recipe for us! Quick and easy!

sodahoney said...

I try to stay away from boxed or canned food. But I do have several meal prepared in the freezer. For example make one meat loaf make two and freeze one. One the frozen meal loaf and precut into individual pieces so thawing is quicker.

Nicole said...

I have only eaten hamburger helper once... it was horrible

AF_wife said...

I don't have kids yet, so the meal planning is something I'm keeping on my mind for when I do have kids! :)

Haydensmommy05 said...

We love hamburger helper and on nights taht we just have to much going on its quick and cheap!

jennifer horn said...

We always have pasta and sauce on hand.
huntandride@hotmail.com

Tracy Harper said...

I love Hambuger Helper! I always have some on hand.

tharper31@hotmail.com

Lindley A said...

Tuna Helper and salad or spaghetti and salad are my 2 favorite stand-by meals0 kids love them as much as anything!
linjenals at yahoo dot com

Sarah Elyce said...

Whenever I make something like lasagna I make extra and then freeze it for an unexpected meal. I always have garlic bread and veggies to go with it.

sdenk6378 at comcast.net

Shel said...

Our faithful stand-by meals are eggs and toast, waffles (the old breakfast-for-dinner meals) and I always have a few pounds of throw-down ground meat in the freezer and a can of sloppy joe sauce in my cupboard..quick and easy dinners in a pinch.

Karen said...

veggie burgers and sweet potato fries are a great stand by meal

DG said...

I've never tried hamburger burger meal but it looks good. we tend to turn to veggie burgers as a quick meal!

Anonymous said...

My husband loves H-Helper - they make mixes with whole wheat noodles now too - we get the beef stroganoff and add mushrooms and green peas and it's one of his favorites ! belauvibes (at) yahoo (dot) com

Renski17 said...

Scrambled eggs is a great stand-by meal. renski17@fortaj.com

Smarti said...

my standby meal is mac n cheese with broccoli
rmartinclarke at gmail dot com

paula michele said...

One of mine is grilled cheese and tomato soup. We also like penne noodles with some spinach and Alfredo sauce.

hafner611{AT}gmail{DOT}com

Angel Jacklyn said...

THANKS FOR THE SUGGESTIONS!

Barbarawr said...

I'm embarrassed to say that my daughter LOVES Banquet TV dinners. And she is usually the one who doesn't have time to eat, so I keep a lot of them in the freezer. When I make chili, I put half of it into the freezer in small containers for those times that the rest of us need to eat fast.

Betty C said...

Our favorite standby meal is spaghetti. We always keep extra spaghetti sauce ready for a quick meal.

Lisa said...

Hamburger helper is good, but chicken helper is way better.

dddiva said...

My standby is salad and pre-grilled chicken. We always keep salad fixings and it is much healthier than processed food and quicker as well.

guettel78 said...

What I do for stand-by meals is to make a bunch of different kinds of sauces (marinara, pesto, peanut, garlic) over the weekend so I have them ready to add to pasta, noodles, or chicken in an instant. That way, the hard part is done, and I can make whatever everyone's in the mood for without much sweat.

ccboobooy(charity) said...

I ate hamburger helper as a child, and I don't like it as an adult. I do love coupons.

Ardy22 said...

one stand by that we have is hormel complete meals. Pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes and they are done

ardy22 at earthlink dot net

slehan said...

Tuna casserole is a Stand by meal for me.

Shawna said...

We always have stock pile of spaghetti noodles and marinara sauce, but my oldest son does not like spaghetti so I also keep the corkscrew shaped pasta noodles on stock and put a little butter on them and he eats those up. Another stand by meal we do is Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches on toasted bread.

ShawnaMichelle@ymail.com

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