photo by Kathy Maister

photo by Kathy Maister

You forgot to take something out of the freezer.

Your husband forgot to buy one key ingredient for dinner.

You had a meeting at school that you overlooked.

It’s just you and the kids tonight.

Or you just don’t feel like cooking. In any case, you need a fallback meal.

A fallback meal is dinner you can get on the table with a minimum of prep, ingredients you have, and your kids will eat. It’s not fancy, but it works, and it keeps you out of the drive-thru lane. Here are some of mine:

  • Grilled cheese
    Add ham or tomato, if you have it, or heat up a side of soup. My friend Joyce calls it “soup & sandwich night.”
  • Frozen waffles
    We make extra on weekends and freeze. Pop in the toaster just like the ones in the box.
  • Spaghetti and meat sauce
    I probably make this once a week, so it’s mindless. I use ½ lb. of ground beef (I don’t even thaw first, just cover and cook on lower heat and scrape it off as it browns,) and Newman’s Own Cabernet Marinara. Sometimes I double the sauce and freeze it for next time.
  • Bean burritos
    One can of refried beans, tortillas, and sprinkle of shredded cheese.
  • Buttered noodles
    If you have them, add some frozen vegetables to the last 5 minutes of cooking and toss with a bit of garlic salt.
  • English muffin, bagel, or tortilla pizzas
    Depends on what we have on hand. Toast in the toaster oven with pizza sauce and shredded cheese.

Serve with a side of fruit or yogurt, and dinner is done!

What are some of your fallback meals?