3 Emergency Dinners and Scenes from New York

My husband has been out of town for over a week.  He’s pretty much a homebody so this is definitely out of the ordinary for all of us.  He happens to be on the other side of the country working with utility crews from all over the nation getting New York City back in power.

Without him here every night for dinner, I’ve let mealtimes fall by the wayside–seriously.  At first, it  seemed like a vacation from the nightly stress of getting dinner on the table, but now, after a week of winging it, it’s rather tiresome. The most important lesson I’ve learned?

You have to plan ahead.

I know planning ahead for an emergency dinner seems counterintuitive.  But it isn’t.  Not really.

We rely heavily on a well stocked freezer and pantry staples so dinner comes together without too much fuss and bother.  Here are three of our favorites.

  1. Burritos  Beans and tortillas make the basis of this meal.  We always have cheese on hand, but if you don’t, it freezes well grated.  Fill them out with leftovers from the fridge: grains, meats, and/or vegetables.
  2. Breakfast   Eggs, any way you like ’em, cook up quickly.  Throw in some grated cheese and chopped spinach, olives or whatever’s tasty and available.  Whole grain toast with apple butter and breakfast sausage.
  3. Pizza  Using thawed pizza dough or pita rounds.  Top with your favorite jarred pasta sauce and grated cheese.  Add olives, ground meat, sliced tomatoes,or last night’s pan cooked broccoli and place under the broiler.

From the freezer:

  • tortillas
  • sliced whole grain bread
  • grated cheese
  • breakfast sausage (thaws quickly under running water)
  • pizza dough (taken out in the morning to thaw in the refrigerator)

From the cupboard:

  • canned beans (whole or refried)
  • olives
  • pasta sauce in a jar
  • apple butter

From the refrigerator:

  • leftover meats
  • last night’s vegetables
  • eggs
  • salad vegetables
  • fruit

Add a simple salad of greens or fruit to round things out.

Admittedly, these emergency dinners involve a working stove, refrigerator and plenty of light and heat.  So perhaps, strictly speaking, it’s not an emergency.  After Hurricane Sandy, an unplanned dinner is small potatoes to what the folks on the East Coast have endured.

        What are your favorite quick dinners?