One-offs: the glue to hold together a meal plan

Typically, when we do our meal plan on Saturday (or Sunday morning, right before going grocery shopping), we plan as follows:

  • Sunday – some form of fresh fish
  • Monday – crock pot #1
  • Tuesday – crock pot #2
  • Wednesday – one-off
  • Thursday – crock pot #1 leftovers
  • Friday – crock pot #2 leftovers
  • Saturday – meal to be determined that day

It’s not that we can’t make something on Sunday that lasts into the week; we occasionally do that just to relieve some of the tedium that can set in from keeping to a fairly set routine. Still, this is our most common/standard meal plan template. We then fill in with these “one-off” meals (ones that are designed to fill a single night and are not expected to generate leftovers). DH and I had identified a bunch of these before we had kids, since leftovers were never really as big of a deal in our pre-kiddo days, and our list has had to change substantially in the last few years, to accommodate the toddler/preschooler palate.

Our typical go-to one-off meals these days are those that cost very little to prepare, can be made with items that are easy to stockpile/maintain on hand, and that typically take no more than about 30-40 mins to prepare (often with very little “active” cooking time).

The list includes:

  • Turkey tacos
  • “Brinner” (breakfast for dinner)
  • Fish and chips (where fish can be sticks/squares and chips can include fries or tater tots)
  • Pasta (dried pasta or ravioli/tortellini)
  • Homemade pizza
  • Quesadillas
  • Faux Chinese (assortment of frozen Chinese food items, like dumplings, Gen. Tso’s Chicken, and egg rolls)

I’m curious as to any other one-offs that work for others. Feel free to post any in the comments section. We’re always on the lookout for new ideas, especially those that may be kid-friendly.

The other thing I’d be interested in hearing is any tips on how to get a fast one-off that’s short on active time but that doesn’t lean heavily on prepared foods. I suppose that we could manage to get some of the prepared foods out of our diet (or at least reduce the reliance on them) if I made things in advance and either refrigerated or froze them for later reheating. It’s all a matter of planning. And, since our schedule is still fairly dependent upon meal planning, I’m fine with that.

We do lean on lower-sodium, lower-fat options, when available – but all of these meals rely on some measure of convenience/prepared items. Knowing that we may have no more than 30-40 minutes to prepare a meal, it feels so daunting trying to push these prepared items out of the pantry. Somehow, I doubt that we’re the only ones fighting this battle. Or at least I’d like to hope that we’re not alone out there.

6 thoughts on “One-offs: the glue to hold together a meal plan

  1. You have the same go-to meals as I do. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have wanted to try out freezer cooking, but it’s been hard to find a day devoted to making all the food to go into the freezer.

  2. Our one-offs include taco salad, rotisserie chicken (turned into something else for night #2), grilled cheese, stir fry (nuke froz veggies, brown chicken breast cut into pieces, add some type of bottled sauce preferably low in sodium (terikayi, orange/ginger) and combine, serve over rice. Good post, hope to see some new quick dinner ideas!

  3. Pingback: Roasted Summer Vegetables « local kitchen

  4. Pingback: Grill those beets! « CrunchyMetroMom

  5. Pingback: Grill those beets! | CrunchyMetroMom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *