I told you I’d be completing two projects this month as part of National Preparedness Month.  The first was my powerless laundry experiment, and today I’d like to share the other project.

I’ve put together three quick meals that can be made in 15 minutes or less and have them sitting in my pantry.  The concept behind these is similar to freezer cooking: get most of the work done ahead of time so you can just pull out a meal and with minimal prep have it on the table for dinner shortly.

 

Jar Meals 3

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But there are a few benefits to these meals as opposed to freezer meals: (1) They don’t have to be kept in the freezer because they are shelf stable!  That saves precious freezer space. (2) There is no thaw time required.  You can “forget” about dinner all day, and then have a meal on the table in 15 minutes using these meals. (3)  There is very little prep time to put the meals together originally since all your freeze dried veggies/meat are prepped for you (plus, they are super healthy)!   Whooo Hooo!  No more spending hours prepping veggies and meat.  These meals took me a total of 10 minutes to put together (or just about 3 minutes per meal) and they are now just sitting on a shelf in my pantry ready to be made up for a quick dinner one night!

in Pantry

I’ve wanted to do this for some time for a lot of reasons:

1.  Crazy Nights

I try to avoid eating out for dinner for our family because of the cost.  I also feel that mealtime around the table is important for our family.  But truth be told, there are just some nights I do not feel like cooking.  Sometimes I’m sick.  Other times, I’m just tired or have had a bad day or am running late.  Maybe I’ve forgotten to thaw out meat.  Sound familiar to anyone?  I like having a few meals ready to go…no thinking required…just add water and heat, and we are eating yummy, healthy food in the same time it would have taken to go through the drive thru at McDonalds.

2. Easy Husband Meals

Another time I plan to use these “quick meals” is when I go out of town.  Occasionally, I am out of town for a day or two for business.  These are easy, healthy, but familiar meals that my husband can make in minutes with minimal instructions.  Or, if we go out of town together (which we tend to do once a year), I can leave these meals for the sitter (typically my Mom) to help save her sanity!

3. Date Nights

These meals would also work well for just an average date night.  I don’t usually want to cook up a big separate meal for my kids if my husband and I are going out to eat, but I don’t necessarily want to feed them cereal or pizza either (though that has happened more than once!).  With these meals, either I or the sitter can whip something tasty and healthy up without much effort.

4. Natural Disaster

If our family were to be faced with a serious natural disaster, I’d use these meals for the first few days.  I like these because they are REAL food, with REAL calories and REAL nutrients…all of which we’d need for extra energy in the cleanup effort following such an incident.  In addition, they are familiar meals for our family which would bring some comfort in a stressful situation like that.  Last, they are easy and quick!  Time will be valuable in a disaster situation, but with these meals I could use a variety of powerless cooking options, and we’d be eating in minutes.

 

For my meals, I chose three meals that we eat rather often at our house.  I can combine all the ingredients beforehand and just add water (and heat for two of them).  Here is what I chose:

Spaghetti

This is hands down our family’s all-time favorite meal.  All six of us love it…especially this particular sauce.  You could also just do a jar of prego with some noodles and maybe some freeze dried sausage or ground beef if you don’t want to make your own sauce!  Original recipe here: The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. 

Spaghetti

To Make Spaghetti Quick Meal:

Add the following ingredients to a jar (in the following order):

Place oxygen absorber in jar and seal lid as tightly as you can.  Add a note to the jar that says,

“Add 4 cups water.  Simmer until sausage is hydrated.  Serve over spaghetti noodles”

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup?   I think this is the only soup that everyone in our family really enjoys.  Much heartier and healthier than Campbells!  (-;  Original recipe here: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

To Make Chicken Noodle Soup Quick Meal:

Add the following ingredients to a jar (in the following order):

Place oxygen absorber in jar and seal lid as tightly as you can.  Add a note to the jar that says,

“Add 8 cups water.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add noodles and 1 cup water.  Simmer for 10 more minutes.”

 

Chicken Salad

This one would work well for lunch or dinner and doesn’t even require heat to eat it, so we could eat it even if we couldn’t find our powerless cooking options after a disaster.  Feel free to change up the veggies and fruit you add to your salad to suit your tastes.  Original Recipe Here:  10 Minute Chicken Salad

 Chicken Salad

To Make Chicken Salad Quick Meal:

Add the following ingredients to a jar:

Place oxygen absorber in jar and seal lid as tightly as you can.  Add a note to the jar that says,

” Add 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. cold water.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup mayo if desired.  Serve with bread or crackers.”

HoHow

How about you?  How do you feed your family on busy nights or when you are out of town?

 

Pin It Now For Later!

Meals in a jar have all the benefits of freezer meals without the time or space investment! Give these a try!

 

Want More Food Storage Recipes?

If you’d like more (family approved) 100% food storage recipes, I have a recipe book that you can find here or by clicking on the image below.