Making meals is hard and planning ahead when grocery shopping can feel really overwhelming. This a quick and easy one-pot meal that tastes delicious, costs minimal amounts while being made of mostly pantry staples, and is a relatively balanced meal. Let me know what your go to easy meal is!
- One box shell noodle Mac&Cheese (store brand: $1 per box)
- One can tuna fish (roughly $1.50)
- 1/2 a cup of frozen peas ($1.50 per package)
- 1-2 tbsp. Butter
- 1-2 tbsp. Mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp (2/3 shakes) dried Thyme
- Boil water for mac and cheese and cook noodles according to directions. With 5 minutes left on cooking time add the frozen peas to the pot.
- Strain noodles and peas into colander. Pour back into to pot add butter and coat noodles and peas.
- Add in tuna, mayo, and lemon juice and combine well.
- Pour in cheese packet from box, thyme, and add pepper to taste.
So, we like many in our area and country and world are stuck at home. We are only going food shopping every couple weeks and ordering what we can. Because of this we are relying a lot on non-perishables throwing in some other things when we can. I thought that I would throw-up some quick and easy recipes that we have been using to avoid just ramen noodles.
- Sausage Gravy Noodles
- This meal idea comes from my partner’s mom. All you need for this recipe is some sausage to brown or cook, vegetables (onions, bell pepper, whatever you have on hand) to saute, noodles, and a condensed soup like mushroom or cream of chicken.
- To assemble: cook noodles like normal; saute vegetables together with sausage if you want; when noodles are being drained cook condensed soup like a gravy or sauce (DO NOT add water); then combine ingredients. Season to preference.
- Loaded Nachos
- A lot of this just depends on what you have on hand besides tortilla chips and a cheese that melts well. Add beans. salsa, corn, cilantro, ground meat, shredded chicken, etc.
- To assemble: make nachos add ingredients.
- Tuna Salad
- What you need: canned tuna, mayo, pickle juice, salt and pepper. Optional ingredient: chopped pickles, celery, red onion.
- To assemble: mix ingredients, add to bread or eat with crackers.
- IF YOU HAVE THE CHEESE: make a tuna melt please for those of us who do not.
- Rice-based anything
- Yes, there are a million rice dishes from fried rice to risotto. For this I am also throwing in rice cakes, rice pudding, and rice crispy treats.
What are some of your favorite pantry meals?
Stay safe and healthy.
So for the past week I have been mostly off the grid on a family vacation in Anchorage, Alaska. It was amazing. I have wanted to go to Alaska for such a long time (yes, partially due to Son of Neptune, but it counts). It did not disappoint in beautiful scenery and adventuring time.
My favorite part of traveling anywhere new is the food. It is often slightly different that local fair, but something to make it special. In Alaska there were some very unique types of foods, elk meatballs, for example. One of my pizzas had reindeer fennel sausage. The sushi in Alaska was of such good quality because of the freshness of the fish, highly recommend at least once. One of my family’s places to go when traveling is to local dive restaurants it’s normally really good homey food where you get a sense of the local flavor.
Alaska is well-known for it’s wildlife and it is in fact recommended that you buy bear spray no matter where you hike. We luckily never needed it. We actually didn’t see a lot of wildlife except for a couple very cute harbor seals, a fat moose, and a lot of birds. Actually one of the highlights of my trip was explaining to a man from Hawaii that chipmunks were full grown and not just babies. (Apparently chipmunks do not occur in Hawaii). One of our best tourism stops was the the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where they rescue and rehabilitate or permanently home wildlife. We saw some amazing creatures there. Also, Santa’s reindeer were most likely girls.
As a PS there were two porcupines, this one is Kit-Kat (and missing a leg) and the other one is Snickers!
All family vacations are hard because it is 100% of your time is spent with the same people. Which fyi is hard no matter how much you like your family it is a lot of exposure! So that can become emotionally draining. As well as especially if you hard-core tourist like me either have a very long day of walking and/or driving in a car. So it can be physically wearing also versus the relax you may be expecting. We ended up averaging about 5-7 miles a day. It was absolutely incredible, except that time when we ended up getting lost down a bike trail on a mountain. No matter how taxing the views were always worth it.
Overall, Alaska is 100%, maybe 98% worth the journey, plus no sales tax.
So one of the hardest things coming into this summer is the idea of having to make 100% of my own meals, plus food shopping though I like that part. It’s been a lot more fun and easier to cook than expected. Meal planning has not been as such. I have lots of food but figuring out when to have what when, also packing for lunch at work.
So obviously I stocked up on the non-perishables at the beginning of the summer. A lot of soups and noodles and rice to fill the stomach at any time. The standout was however Stovetop stuffing. It is so cheap and delicious and easy to make that it’s become a huge staple for me. You can also eat or add a lot to the basic mixture or have it by itself.
The rough thing is protein. Meat is ridiculously expensive and I am on a shoestring budget. However, eggs are great and actually you can make a lot with them. Not going to lie I have been eating more french toast than I had previously expected. Tuna is also really good and really cheap (also keeps forever!). Sandwiches are good but what I really like to do is add it to leftover Mac&Cheese with a little bit of mayo, spices, and extra cheese. It’s kinda like a makeshift tuna casserole. Any suggestions for new ways to get protein in my diet would be suggested? (Do not suggest peanut butter I am eating that everyday for lunch at work.)
The hardest part is figuring out when to eat everything and how to have a “balanced diet.” But food is so good and sometimes it’s hard to decide if I want pasta or a grilled cheese. Adding non-bread based foods is also rough, produce is expensive! Spinach has been a blessing in disguise, but fruit is so expensive and does not last that long. Fresh frozen is good but the bags are so small that I don’t want to have to keep repurchasing them.
Looking forward to making myself more and better food in the future.