5 Easy Pantry Meals for Busy Weeknights

The following post is from Jessica of GoodCheapEats and LifeasMOM:

source: Good Cheap Eats

Weeknight dinners can be harried. Homework, music lessons, club meetings, gym workouts — these good things can keep you out and about during rush hour, and the siren song of the drive-thru can be tempting on those nights.

You know that homecooked is better and more economical, but do you have what you need at home? Or do you have to run by the crowded grocery store at the end of a busy day?

Solve a week’s worth of dinner dilemmas by keeping the fixings for these five easy meals on hand. They’re regular pantry and refrigerator staples that can come together quickly for great tasting suppers.

source: Good Cheap Eats

Want to make it even easier? Print out this printable shopping list and stock your pantry this very weekend.

The Staples

  • cooking oil
  • butter
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • sugar
  • maple syrup
  • salt and pepper
  • red wine vinegar or your favorite bottled dressing
  • canned black beans
  • canned tuna
  • chicken broth
  • garbanzo beans
  • long-grain rice
  • tomato sauce
  • dried pasta
  • tortilla chips
  • favorite canned spaghetti sauce
  • favorite canned soup
  • salsa
  • milk
  • eggs
  • grated cheese
  • sour cream
  • parmesan cheese
  • breakfast links
  • french rolls for 2 meals
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • fresh fruit
source: Good Cheap Eats

The Menu Plan

Beans and Rice

People are always so surprised when I tell them that beans and rice is a regular meal at our house that the whole family loves. Maybe they don’t expect the wealth of toppings that can make this humble meal so much more.

Heat up canned beans and pair with simple cooked rice. Top with shredded lettuce, grated cheese, salsa, and sour cream. Serve tortilla chips on the side.

Pasta with Red Sauce, Green Salad, French Rolls

This is a meatless main dish that is always filling.

Heat up your favorite sauce while the noodles are cooking. Serve with a green salad and crusty rolls on the side. Pass grated parmesan for sprinkling.

Pancakes with Sausage and Fruit

Breakfast for supper is a super easy meal to pull off. Kids of all ages will be pleased after sitting down to this meal.

Use this recipe for easy “from scratch” pancakes. Fry up some breakfast links and serve fruit on the side or as a pancake topping. Pass the maple syrup for drizzling.

Soup & Bread Night

You can easily make your own soups at home, but for busy nights, don’t be afraid to use the canned variety. There is a huge variety out there, so feel free to experiment. “Get ’em fed” is always a great course of action.

Serve crusty french rolls on the side.

Salad Bar

Real men will eat salad, especially when you pile on the protein. This is also an opportune time to use up the leftovers of the week. Cut any leftover rolls up and make croutons.

Offer a variety of topping to go with the lettuce: garbanzo beans, black beans, drained tuna, hardcooked eggs, grated cheese, rice, pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes, salsa. Mix up a simple oil and vinegar dressing or use your favorite bottled variety.

Click here to download or print this meal plan and shopping list.

What quick fixes do YOU use at suppertime?

A foodie at heart, Jessica Fisher has learned to reconcile a tight budget with her love for great food. As a busy mom of six voracious eaters, she regularly shares healthy, delicious and budget-friendly recipes at GoodCheapEats. She also writes at her parenting blog, LifeasMOM.