The other night it was 4:30, we had no more leftovers, we were long overdue a trip to the grocery store, and there was no way I was going to drag the boys to Safeway. I’m really bad a cooking from the pantry. I’d rather just throw in the towel and go out for dinner. But, we’ve been making a concerted effort to stick to our budget and I knew we’d spent enough money in restaurants for the week. So, I started digging in the pantry.
No more canned salmon left, so I couldn’t make my go-to pantry meal of salmon cakes. No good cheese or salami, so I couldn’t do a charcuterie plate, another go-to meal for us. I did have frozen ground beef, a few cans of diced tomatoes, and a bag of pasta. With that, I decided to have a go at spaghetti and meatballs. Smitten Kitchen has a great recipe for homemade pizza sauce I thought would suffice, and I found an easy meatball recipe on the site as well.
I just subbed the pizza sauce recipe for the one in her meatball recipe and voila! Spaghetti and meatballs in less than half an hour. We all loved that meal, and it tasted even better as leftovers. I’d probably make the sauce a bit soupier in the future by not draining the tomatoes for as long. But, the finished product was just too good and easy to not pass along.
So, if you find yourself needing a quick, delicious meal, give this one a go!
Here are a few other summer meals we’ve been enjoying the past couple months:
We just pull out any cheese, crackers, bread, cured meats, pickles, olives, etc…we have in the fridge and dig in. It’s been hot this summer, so it’s nice to not have to add any heat into the mix. Sometimes I’ll mix a can of salmon with some mayo and cream cheese (if we have it) into a “salmon dip” and the boys go crazy for it. Add a salad and a glass of wine and you’re set. Hither and Thither gave some other great no-0ven options that I want to try out – especially that shaved summer squash salad.
I watched this documentary a couple weeks ago and it’s inspired (scared) me to shift our diet to be more plant based. I’ve made this Greek quinoa salad a couple times and Seth and I love it. It super easy, makes a lot, and is even better the longer it marinates.
TJ’s Channa Masala
Since I’m on a plant-based meal kick, I decided to give some of Trader Joe’s frozen vegetarian foods a try. The chick pea Channa Masala is so good! I could eat it for lunch everyday. It’s great with a nice big salad, some TJ’s naan, and a glass of rose (OK, maybe only have wine with it at dinner…)
Chicken and Salad
This meal isn’t plant-based, so I have to try to forget about the horrors of the meat industry to make it…but this is another easy meal using Trader Joe’s frozen foods. Just pop these breaded chicken tenderloins in the oven and serve them over a big salad. The dressing in this recipe is a favorite I usually have on hand, but any dressing will do. The boys devour the chicken, so everyone is happy!
How about you? Any favorite, easy summer recipes you’ve been relying on these past couple months? I’m always looking for more.
Have a great weekend!