How Do You Create a Meal With What’s On Hand?

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I love this question and topic! Aren’t you always curious to hear how others pull together last-minute meals and use what they have on hand? I personally try to go grocery shopping once a week – that’s it. I feel the less I am shopping, the less I am spending. It’s very easy to go to the grocery store and purchase a few items I hadn’t planned on purchasing.

Oh this product sounds amazing… I’ve got to try it. It’s only $1.50. No biggie!

Yep… that’s what I say to myself at various times in the grocery store. And, well, that $1.50 quickly changes to an extra $10 to $20 added to my bill. Now I do try to shop with cash (& coupons!) – which does help, but not when you put back a product that’s on your list only to buy an amazing new product you’ve spotted. Oh Collin, you’ve got such self-control in the grocery store! ๐Ÿ˜‰

OK… so back to the point of this post. I would love to hear from all of you, some last-minute, let me pull together what’s left in my fridge and pantry, meal ideas!

And to start, here’s mine…

On almost a weekly basis, we have omelets for dinner. I love omelets because you can literally take all of the veggies you have on hand and even leftovers from a previous meal to make an incredibly delicious omelet. Tonight I used leftover ground chicken from a previous meal and miscellaneous veggies to create a “Taco-Style” omelet! I topped it with avocado and fresh cilantro. Super simple and oh so good!

(Not sure if this looks appetizing… but it was delicious! :D)

Now YOUR turn!

Join The Discussion

Comments 114

  1. kristen

    I stockpile ingredients for our favorite meals, so I can pretty much make anything that we really love anytime. I also grocery shop once a week. I go on Sunday Mornings as early as possible. Sunday is when the store’s new sales start…but it’s also incredibly crowded if you get there after 9am. So I try to aim for 7-8am. I plan the entire weeks meals based on what’s on sale in meat and produce and what we have in the house. Some things I can pretty much always make are Chicken Piccata, Coconut Curry Chicken Soup, Some sort of meat (pork chops, chicken, steak..whatevers on sale that week) with rice or cous cous or quinoa and a steamed veggie or salad. Black Bean Chili is also something I can pull together from ingredients in the house. Or if I’m really in a bind, I always have Ravioli and Jared sauce or Canned tomatoes to make my own sauce on hand.

    • Kim

      I would LOVE to hear the coconut curry soup recipe.

      • T

        Yea me too! Sounds delish! email ohsweetness2003 at =0)

  2. Maggie H

    My problem is having meat in the freezer but nothing thawed so I love this chicken recipe I got from a friend. I usually have all the ingredients on hand.

    You pour a half a jar of salsa in a crock pot. Add a bag of frozen corn and a can of rinsed and drained black beans. Next add 3 or 4 frozen chicken breasts and then the remaining salsa. Cook all day and then right before you serve it take the chicken out and mix a block of cream cheese into the crock pot until melted. Shred the chicken and mix it back into the pot. Serve with tortillas or (my favorite!) scoop with tortilla chips.

    • Kate

      I always have a hard time trying to thaw things in the 20 minutes between the time I get home from work and then my husband does because of my poor planning abilities ๐Ÿ™ This recipe sounds delicious and we might even try it tonight! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kim

      I have that same problem, always! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • kate

        this sounds awesome! i bet it would be delicious with some rice added in too! (im a carb-o-holic) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Erin

      I hear you! I have absolutely no excuse for not menu planning, and even when I do, I often forget to thaw the meat, marinade it, or do hours-in-advance prep work, so I have a few quick and easy go-to recipes for when I totally space. A favorite quick, easy, meatless one is Cooking Light’s Black Bean Burrito Bake:

  3. Sandy

    I am a great cook ONLY if I have a great recipe. I am not one who has been blessed with the ability to look in the fridge and pull a meal together on my own. That said, I always try to find recipes that take minutes to prepare and cook. It makes weeknight dinners so much easier for me and I save the more tedious recipes for the weekend.

    If you’re interested, here’s one of my great quickies!

    2 butterfly porkchops
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup apricot jam
    2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
    1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

    Spray a fry pan with cooking spray and turn burner on to medium-high. Cook the porkchops for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside.

    While cooking the porkchops, mince the onion. Add the onion to the pan once the porkchops are removed. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the apricot jam, minced garlic and soy sauce and cook until sauce thickens (1-2 minutes).

    Add pork chops back to pan to rewarm.

    I like to serve with rice but, I have served them with mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles as well. Add apricot halves and a salad or veggie and you have dinner in 20 minutes.

  4. Jill

    Yes that looks very good! And so simple and quick! LOVE the idea.Thanks!

  5. Hannah

    We almost always have macaroni and cheese, tomato sauce, and ground beef on hand, so one of my favorites is a quick layer casserole. I make the deluxe mac ‘n’ cheese and then mix in 16 oz of tomato sauce. Then I brown ground beef and add some onion and green pepper to cook, adding a little steak sauce, pepper, and basil at the end. In a 2-qt casserole dish, I layer half of the mac ‘n’ cheese mixture, then the ground beef mixture, then the rest of the pasta, and bake for 20 min. at 350 degrees. It’s so simple but so easy! You could do it with any pasta and cheese on hand if you wanted to use all fresh ingredients.

    • Hannah

      I meant so simple but so delicious…lol…

  6. Amanda LaBay

    This may not sound like much, but I cook a package of rice mix (that I stock up on when they are $1.00 or less with coupons) then add a can of soup (also a good buy) to the rice. It turns the soup into more of a stew. It is more filling than just plain soup, and makes it go a lot farther for very little money!

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