Meal Planning & Survival Mode Dinners

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Some days ya just feel like you’re in survival mode. Ya know what I’m talking about?

Yes, you could make fancy meals or keep a cleaner house or pinch the pennies a little tighter. But desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say.

Desperate times don’t really have to be desperate. Pregnancy, a newborn, illness, a busy season — all of those instances can prompt us to scale back and find an easier way to fly — for a season.

Burritos, Beans and Rice, Pasta, Crockpot Meals, Sandwiches — for me — these are survival mode dinners, not to mention the meals I’ve made in advance and frozen for us to eat throughout the month.

They are quick fixes that fill hungry tummies, taste great, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. Here’s our meal plan for the week, with a few survival dinners thrown in for good measure.

Grilled Chicken, Rice Pilaf, VegetablesChicken is marinated and frozen; Rice Pilaf is easy. Veggies will depend on what’s available.

Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breast, Potatoes, Veg – The chicken was from this month’s freezer cooking.

Pasta with Red Sauce, Veggies, Salad – We tend to carbo-load with the pasta, so this week I’m going to try to balance it with lots of vegetables and salad.

French Dip Sandwiches, Veggies – I precooked the meat and au jus during this month’s freezer cooking.

Beans and Rice with lots of Toppings – Beans are cooked and frozen already. The rice cooker will take care of the rice. (I usually omit the rice and have a big taco salad, like the one pictured.)

Pizza Night – Not the easiest meal in terms of cleanup, but a yummy weekend tradition.

White Chili, Cornbread, Veggies and Dip – Crockpot to the rescue!

What’s a Survival Dinner at YOUR house?

Don’t forget to visit Menu Plan Monday for more ideas!

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. Taco salad, grilled chicken salad, baked potato bar, yes- these are all things on my menu for this week.

  2. Burritos, quesadillas, chili…I almost always have the ingredients on hand.

  3. Denise C. says

    Homemade pizza or calzones w/salad.
    Pasta w/bread/salad.
    Hot dogs/mac-n-cheese/fruit.
    Breakfast for dinner.

    I am making a beans & rice recipe tonight for the very first time. I hope my family likes it! 🙂

  4. Marilyn K says

    I have lots of homemade spaghetti sauce frozen, which makes for a quick and easy meal! I realized I can’t eat it if I want a happy little 4 month old though! 🙂 I saw your French Dip Sandwiches on the menu. I discovered a delicious way to eat it – over mashed potatoes! I had some extra frozen from a few months ago and pulled it out and it was SO good over the mashed potatoes.

  5. Those fall-back recipes are life savers!

  6. Melissa says

    My rescue meal is mild Italian sausage (I pre cook it in the microwave with a little water), then finish cooking with green peppers and onions (and any other random veggies I have), season and serve over angel hair pasta (the boxed kind that cooks in 7 min). Dinner on the table in 20 min!

  7. We do Pasta with Pea Pesto a lot… I keep the pesto frozen in batches. It defrosts quickly and I can throw the pasta together in a snap!

    It’s actually on our menu for this week:

  8. I understand survival mode, that’s for sure! About every other month or so we hit a two week season of craziness. The last two weeks were filled with trips to the Florida State Fair for various competitions. You can’t live on fair food, that’s for sure! But we did live–and eat–quite well on sandwiches, pre-made meals and the slow cooker! Thank you for your lovely blog. I will be back!

  9. Melinda P says

    I feel like I’m always in survival mode… maybe that’s a bad sign… spaghetti is a easy quick one, I can pretty much make it blindfolded.

  10. Jessica….how did you do the au jus?? Is that just what was left in the crockpot after you cooked the roast?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @amy, I do it differently depending on when I make the roast. But, yes, it’s either strained and skimmed drippings, boiled down a bit or beef broth with some pepper and spices added.

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