Emergency week night meal kit
- Hank Hanover Aug 13, 2010 10:50 AM
What could you set up in your pantry, refrigerator and or freezer as an emergency week night meal kit?
You know when you have come home late and have to cook something because you don't want to ruin the budget with "Take out" food.
Could you set up some kind of kit? Maybe home made boiling bag meals.
TJs - frozen turkey meatballs in the freezer
Pasta and sauce....it can be made with said meatballs (see above)
eggs - cheap and they keep for a few weeks.
I always have cheese in the frig.
cheese and eggs - yum!
I also usually have some homemade frozen soup in the freezer - just heat it up.
Yes, freezing individual portions is the way to go. Soup, yes. Lasagna. Rice dishes. Pretty much anything, really.
The key, for me, is to take the time to divide up the whole into individual portions, wrap, and freeze rather than lazily freezing the entire thing.
And, yes, I'd precook the meatballs (don't overcook), then freeze.
Lots of things freeze well that you could portion into a freezer/microwaveable steamer bag and cook later. Parcooked pasta/rice/noodles are an example. Bag it up with a separate pouch of raw mix of veggies & thinly sliced meat or seafood of choice and you could have dinner in 10 minutes, which could be stir fried, steamed in the microwave or dropped in a pot of boiling water.
Meat loaf, stuffed pasta (i.e. shells, etc), partially cooked & frozen chicken, which could be finished in the oven are some other possibilities. I don't pre-cook the meatballs...they only take about 10-15 minutes in a hot oven anyway. Cooked chicken/pork, shredded & portioned could easily be turned into enchiladas, wraps, salads, etc. Boiled eggs, baked potatoes for a dinner hash, bacon, cooked ham, etc.. added to an omlette. Frozen pizza dough is something I always keep on hand.
I love stir fry so I will often cut up zucchini, carrots and onions, store them in a zip lock bag and that way I get a headstart. I usually have a plan so these veggies work nicely. Also have my herbs ready, clean and fresh. I'll start the marinade in the morning, or even dry season the meat to hang out in the fridge. Some desserts can be made early in the morning if you're willing to get up a half hour early.
I have a kit for won ton soup. I make the won tons and freeze them individually. The veggies are chopped and ready in a baggie. Homemade broth ready. When I get home I boil the broth add the won tons and veggies, and it all comes together for a nice bowl of soup. The pork won tons cook in the soup, no need to cook the pork ahead of time. You can do the same thing with shu mei, just individually freeze them, and steam them later.
Pasta carbonara comes to mind as my favorite quick meal: pasta, eggs, bacon/pancetta, and parmesan cheese (and some of the pasta cooking water). I've always got those items in the pantry/fridge and the meal comes together in minutes.
I've also taken to freezing individual portions of lasagna. They're easy to reheat in the microwave, then top with sauce from a jar if you like (and we never eat the whole thing anyhow).
Other quick items include:
cous cous with whatever veggies you have on hand,
frozen cooked shrimp (thaw in a bowl of tap water while you mix up the cocktail sauce and open a bottle of wine),
canned tuna with canned white beans tossed with oil and garlic over pasta,
omelets filled with leftover whatever and.or cheese,
any kind of "breakfast for dinner" items like pancakes from a mix with frozen blueberries thrown in (even better if you keep real maple syrup and bacon on hand).
I also love a bowl of yogurt topped with mounds of dried fruit, granola, honey, and whatever fresh fruit I've got on hand.