Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easy, No-Plan Dinners

I’m a meal planner, but lately, I haven’t been planning much. Yet, we’ve been eating healthy foods. I have found that the key to healthy meals without planning is a well stocked pantry and freezer and plenty of fresh veggies.

Here is what I always keep in my pantry:
  • Grains (quinoa, brown rice, “mixed ancient grains,” oatmeal)
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas, lentils)
  • Pasta (brown rice)
  • Canned wild salmon and tuna
  • Plenty of spices, different vinegars, and olive oils
And here is what’s always in my freezer:
  • Wild salmon
  • Veggies
  • Fruit (including plenty of frozen bananas, cut into small pieces, to make banana soft serve for dessert)
  • Alvarado St. Bread (I buy two loaves at Costco, and I always freeze one)
And here is what’s always in my fridge:
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Condiments and sauces (organic ketchup, different mustards, soy sauce, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)…)
  • Plenty of veggies and tofu (from our CSA box as well as from Farmers’ Market trips)
What have we been eating, you ask? I haven’t been taking a lot of pics of our food, but here are some recent meals, making use of what was in our pantry, freezer and fridge. No planning necessary! Smile

Brown rice with stir fried veggies (onions, carrots, kale, and celery) and tofu

Grilled salmon with lemon juice and dill with asparagus with lemon juice

Brown rice pasta with spinach, tomatoes, and leftover grassfed beef sausages

Questions: Are you a meal planner? I usually am, but I actually like that my non planning has been working out! What are some of your pantry/freezer/fridge staples? 

Be well,


  1. Thanks for the ideas. I usually don't plan things down to a T--but I do have an idea of what I am going to make during the week. I always love your meal plan posts!

  2. Your staples sound very much like mine! I use to be great a meal planning, but it' fallen by the wayside. That being said, I usually have a pretty good idea about what to make for dinner when I get up so I'm never really struggling to put a decent meal on the table.

  3. I'm very much a meal-planner, but since I'm moving this summer I'm starting to really try to use up all of my staples so I don't have to lug them to a new state. It's an interesting challenge!

  4. Great ideas and we have very similar staples. I'm a planner, but I plan based on what is on sale that week and what I've picked up. Have a great day Andrea!!

  5. I love it - you're like beyond meal planning and just know what works for you and your family!! Everything looks wonderful - and my staples are similar too although i'm intrigued by that paste you mentioned.

  6. Mmmm...I love brown rice and veggies!
    I STINK at meal planning, but when I do, life is much easier! I don't know why I can't make it stick!

  7. Anonymous3/29/2011

    no i am not a meal planner but like you i keep my kitchen stocked with good, healthy food!

  8. I just moved into a new house and i'm trying to budget for the first time in awhile. I'm realizing how much money I'm spending on food when I need to actually be more conscious about buying bulk and freezing. I love your pantry tips!

  9. Im working slowly slowly to be you.

    Babysteps to meal planning :)

  10. I am a meal planner but sadly revert to my staple recipes all too often. I am also terrible at putting things in the pantry and forgetting about them. Good ideas here, thank you.

  11. I am not a big planner, I usually wing it. My pantry is well stocked and it looks like we have similar tastes.

  12. Total meal planner - but I plan off of my grocery store flyer first and foremost, and build my menu from there.

    I always have chicken broth, good Italian canned tomatoes, rice and beans on hand though!

  13. Anonymous3/30/2011

    I am not a planner at all. I always decide what to eat just an hour before the meal time. I always have a variety of veggies, eggs, tofu, brown rice available at home.

  14. i'm not a planner but I try to semi-plan somethings that all work together and I keep a good stock much like yours!!

  15. It's so funny how I plan EVERYTHING except for dinner! I have co-workers who ask me what I'm having for dinner, almost every night, and I always say...I don't know! I do cook things ahead of time, such as chicken and beef, and of course vegetables, but then when I get home I sort of throw things together randomly. Stir frys, eggs, tacos, burritos, and pizzas are some of my "staples".

  16. I don't plan my meal except if there's special occasion or whatever or when I have guests over for dinner... only then I'll plan for my dinner. Yours look very healthy and filling. Sure your hubby going to sleep tight at night. ha...

  17. I always think that you and I eat very similar. I have all the same staples except for tofu and Korean red pepper paste. Although I do have a Thai red pepper paste...does that count!

    Yes, I am most definitely a meal planner. Rarely go a week without a "flexible" plan.