Most of the "Meal Planning" suggestions we've discussed these past few months revolve around just that - planning. What happens, though, when there is no plan. Sometimes you just wake up and find yourself at meal time with no plan and no time to go to the grocery store. What do you do?
Think "everything but the kitchen sink"! We all may have used that expression. Apply it to meal prepping, too. Of course, we won't put everything imaginable in the meal but many wonderful meals for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner can be prepared with things you typically have on hand in any kitchen or pantry.
Consider applying the "everything but the kitchen sink" mentality to the following meal ideas:
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Burritos
Onions, garlic, potatoes, rice and canned beans are almost always on hand. With some large tortillas and any other embellishing ingredients you have on hand (such as avocado, lime, and various common seasonings) you can whip up an amazing burrito to work as any meal of the day. Serve it with an egg on the side and make it a breakfast or as is for lunch and dinner.
Saute onions until soft, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add potatoes, season with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you prefer (such as cumin, chili powder, turmeric, paprika, etc) and saute until tender (5-7 minutes). Add any other seasoning you may want to taste (such as lime juice) or any other ingredients you may have on hand (such as canned/frozen corn, beans, or rotisserie chicken) and let it heat through. Remove from heat.
Lay warmed tortilla and fill with mixture from pan. Use toppings based on availability, such as any cheese, fresh herbs if on hand, avocado, rice and chopped romaine or spinach.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Casserole
All you need for this is your casserole dish and everything in your fridge! This may be a good opportunity to clear leftovers out before your next supermarket trip.
If you don't have any cooked meat on hand, use whatever meat you have (tuna, chicken, breakfast sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, etc) and cook on medium high. Once meat is cooked, add whatever veggies you have on hand. Yes, any veggies - from kale, spinach, and other leafy greens to peppers, onions, tomatoes and potatoes. Cook until softened. Pour meat and veggies in a bowl. Whisk a few eggs seasoned with salt, pepper, and any other preferred seasoning that may work well with your available ingredients and add to your meat and veggie mixture. Pour meat, veggie, and egg mixture in baking dish. If you have any cheese leftover, top your casserole with some cheese. Bake at 375 degrees Farenheit. Bake for anywhere from 15-35 minutes, until cheese slightly bubbles and mixture slightly browns. Remove from heat.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Soup
For many, carrots and celery are equally important and always on hand like onions and garlic. Saute 2 cups of whichever you have on hand until fragrant. If you have ground meat on hand, add and cook it now. Add another veggie (preferably a starchy one like squash, sweet potato, or potato) and saute for another 3 minutes. Add 5 cups of liquid, such as water, stock, or broth and about 3 cups of any other veggies you'd like to include, such as cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, etc. You can boil separately and then add 1 cup of a cooked starch, such as quinoa, pasta, or rice. Wilt 2 cups of whatever leafy greens you can find in your fridge into your soup, such as spinach, kale, or lettuce. Check for seasoning before serving.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Quesadillas
This idea works great as long as you have tortillas on hand. Simply saute any veggies with any canned beans from your pantry to form a mixture. Warm tortilla on a pan and top with cheese, veggie/bean mixture, and an additional layer of cheese. Add a tortilla on top and flip when cheese is melted and gooey to briefly heat up other side of quesadilla. An alternative method is to fill only half the tortilla with the cheese mixture and fold it over. To make it more complete, serve with a side salad using any salad veggies you have on hand (and even a few squirts of lime juice if you have it). Also, you can top the quesadilla with some sour cream or avocado, if on hand.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Egg Cups
If you have some milk and eggs on hand, you've got yourself a breakfast. The foundation of this meal is eggs, milk, and any veggies on hand. Yes, any.
Preheat your oven to 350. Whisk eggs (you need about 1/2 cup of milk for 8 eggs). Season with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning of choice. Coat muffin pan. Add any chopped veggies, canned veggies or ingredients, cheese, and sauce (such as salsa) to each section and then fill and top each section with egg mix. Bake until slightly browned, about 20 minutes.
Your ingredients and quantities will vary depending on what you've already got in your house. Don't worry if they vary. Use these as a guide for a template or outline of what your quick kitchen sink meals can look like. The point is to use those whole, minimally processed foods you already have at home instead of relying on unhealthier options or skipping a meal.