Creating the perfect dinner backup plan

Cooking Dinner: Love it or hate it? As busy moms, we usually fall into one of those categories when it comes to making healthy dinner recipes. Some moms are killin’ it with crockpot meals and we see the “look what I made for dinner tonight!” on Facebook every night, and yet others struggle just to come up with a quick and easy chicken recipe to feed their kids.

Which one are you?

You could be a meal planning beginner or you could’ve been meal planning for awhile. But there will ALWAYS be a time when you forget to defrost something, or someone eats the whole block of cheddar cheese you were planning on using, or you thought you had a carton of chicken broth in the pantry, but low and behold, it’s not there.

You need an emergency plan so you don’t have to order pizza at the last minute.

This is the first post in the series “Create the Perfect Dinner Backup Plan” – that will help you create that emergency plan! Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about 3 different ways to make sure you always have dinner on hand. When you add them all together, you will have a seriously solid back up plan!

You can find the rest of the series here:

  1. Creating a Dinner Backup Plan with Rescue Meals – this post!
  2. How to Solve the “What’s for Dinner” problem with Freezer Cooking
  3. How to Meal Plan Only 4 Times Per Year (part 1)
  4. The Capsule Pantry™: A Faster, Easier Way to Meal Plan (part 2)

First up on your backup plan is what I like to call Rescue Meals.

What is a Rescue Meal, you ask? Good question! It’s basically dinner that:

  • requires little to no prep
  • takes 30 minutes or less
  • you always have the ingredients for

I personally think the magic number of Rescue Meal recipes is 5. This gives you a few different options when it comes time to make one of your emergency meals.

Okay, let’s create your own Rescue Meal plan!

1 Download and print the Rescue Meals Planner

Free Rescue Meal Planner in a dinner emergency

2 Find recipes for your dinner backup plan

This probably seems like the most difficult part of this plan, but it’s really not. Once you have your handful of recipes, the hardest part is actually keeping the ingredients on hand! But don’t fret, I have tips for that below.

Here are a few places to start brainstorming. Think about:

  • dinners you can make with your eyes closed
  • family favorites that get requested time and time again
  • dinner “staples” like tacos and burgers and pasta (a box of pasta and a jar of sauce totally counts!)
  • recipes with a protein that’s already cooked or cooks fast (like sausage, shrimp, bacon, ham)

Some things you can search on Pinterest

  • quick soup recipes – soups are great for last minute dinners!
  • pantry challenge meals
  • quick and easy pasta recipes
  • 15 minute dinners

Bonus: I have a Pinterest board dedicated just to Rescue Meals for you to get ideas:

3 Always have the ingredients

Like I said, this is the part that gets lost in the shuffle. Here are some things you can do to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you!

  • a dedicated basket or bin in your pantry AND freezer only for Rescue Meal ingredients
  • a section of your grocery list devoted to only the ingredients you need
  • as soon as you “break the glass” and make it – actually before you make it – put the ingredients on your grocery list
  • set a reminder on your calendar to check the ingredients
  • keep your Rescue Meal planner in a place you’ll see it and use it: on the inside of your Pantry door, on the fridge, or in a meal planning binder.

There you have it, Step One in creating a fool-proof backup dinner plan!

And don’t forget your Rescue Meal Planner that will help you plan out some dinners so you don’t have a dinner emergency!
Free Rescue Meal Planner in a dinner emergency

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