What’s Your “Go To” Meal?

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on March 31, 2009

Ever had one of those days that included a really early morning appointment and a really late afternoon nap???  Like when you wake up from your nap at nearly 5 pm and dinner is usually on the stove by now.  But cooking is the last thing on your nap-induced foggy brain!  Got to toss that meal plan out the window because spaghetti and meatballs just sounds to difficult to make on a day like today. 

What to do…what to do???  Take out would be a nice option…for at least 4 times the cost of one of our regular dinners.  So let’s toss that idea out before it actually becomes a reality.  Tempting, it is!!!  (Notice: The title is “go to,” NOT “to go” meal!)

My “go to” meal (for today anyways)…breakfast for dinner.  I whipped out some scrambled eggs with toast and fruit.  Easily comes in under $5.

What is your “go to” meal???

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Candace April 2, 2009 at 10:18 am

I am another speghetti person! I cook my sauce and noodles together on the stove so it is only one pot to clean! I do use beef as well!!! It is yummy and easy! Actually it is what I am doing tonight on a yucky rainy day when cooking is not what I want to do. I’d rather a nap or curling up with a good book lol.

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Christy April 2, 2009 at 3:26 pm

My go to meal (other than the ever-popular Spaghetti!) is lemon chicken. Sprinkle boneless, skinless (frozen is fine) chicken thighs liberally w/S&P, oregano and thyme and place in greased skillet w/ a can of cream of mushroom soup and a splash of lemon juice. Simmer, covered, until done. Remove chicken and make a gravy w/flour and milk. Serve the chicken and gravy over rice or egg noodles. I make some sort of frozen green veggie with it. I always have a bag of frozen thighs and frozen veggies on hand, and the soup too, so it’s an easy meal for me that still tastes like I worked hard. :)

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Lois April 2, 2009 at 8:29 pm

My go to meal is fried rice. There’s a great recipe for it called “Fried Rice with Whatever” in one of my favorite cookbooks (Clueless in the Kitchen). I take whatever left over vegetables and meat I have in the fridge and/or freezer, chop them all up, add some rice, scrambled eggs, soy sauce and sesame oil (if I have some) and voila! Always a hit.

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Super April 3, 2009 at 11:27 am

1) Tuna casserole (pasta, tuna, mayo or sour cream) or bacon pasta (same thing, just with bacon instead of tuna). Can put cheese on top and broiler-ize it until you have a melt. Yum.
2) Tacos. I have the packs of spices (I use 1/3 or 1/2 at a time), hard taco shells, ground meat, and shredded cheese in the cabinet/freezer at all times. A little hot sauce or salsa, and voila! (I really need to learn what those spices are, can’t be that complicated)

I also try to put my meats in the freezer (in individual zip baggies, air sucked out) in easy-to-cook ways. Like I buy a big tray of chicken breasts, and then pound them flat and bag them individually. Or I buy ground meat and pre-form mini-meatballs, or meatloaf. Much easier to cook when it just involves grabbing and cooking (or defrosting, grabbing, and cooking as appropriate).

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Laurel April 3, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Our ‘go to’ meal is Goulash. I always have these ingredients on hand, it cooks in one pot and it takes less than 20 minutes. My kind of dinner!

1# ground beef, 1 can kidney beans (washed&drained), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, onion (dried or fresh), basil, salt & pepper.

Brown the meat with onion, add tomatoes, beans, noodles, spices and a little water. Cook until noodles are done! Hubby puts hot sauce on it (he puts hot sauce on everything) and our toddler loves this meal.

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Shannon April 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Chili or white chicken chili

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Anna April 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Salmon burgers are our go to meal. Ate it tonight, in fact. I buy packages of salmon when they are on sale (the canned stuff takes too long to fish out skin and bones IMO) and mix with oatmeal or breadcrumbs, egg and whatever seasonings are within closest reach. Throw them in a pan while I make a salad, or throw a veggie in the microwave. I can get this on the table in 10 minutes and we all love it.

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Heidi April 4, 2009 at 11:20 am

My go to meals are spaghetti carbonara, and anything with beans. Pop open a can of beans and sprinkle over a salad and you’ve got an instant meal.

Carbonara is simply a sauce made of eggs and milk/half & half/cream. It “cooks” when you put the spaghetti into it. CHEAP. I add whatever leftovers we have to it, like carrots or frozen peas or chunks of chicken or ground beef. Garnish with parmesan. Everybody loves it.

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LIberty April 4, 2009 at 12:37 pm

We are a salad family for really last minute times. I keep frozen cooked chicken on hand (diced, shredded and whole) for times like these. However, spaghetti is a great one and breakfast for dinner too :)

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Celia April 5, 2009 at 4:23 pm

We cook batches of our favorite foods on the weekend — most weekends, that is — and freeze half or more in serving size portions. So on those busy evenings, we grab a few packets of meat and veggies, whip up a quick salad and we have a complete meal.

Some of our favorite meats to have in the freezer are crock-pot turkey breast, oven barbecued spareribs, and grilled hamburgers. (ground chuck or sirloin.) Squash or green bean casseroles also freeze well and, with a light salad, will round out a quick meal. :-)

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Jennifer Bell April 5, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Chicken noodles. Take a bag of egg noddles (other noodles can be substituted), cook and drain. Add 1 family sized or 3 regular cans of Cream of chicken soup (undiluted) to them and mix. Salt and pepper to taste. You can also add leftover chicken. :)

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Victoria April 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Pizza and wonton soup are our “go to” meals. They’re cheap and quick. I always make sure that I have the ingredients for both in my fridge. For the wonton soup, I use frozen wontons which are 2 bags for $10. For each meal, you only need half of a bag. Then I use chicken broth and whatever frozen veggies I have in the freezer. For pizza instead of dough, I use either naan bread (10 for $1.99) or pita.

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