PSP when meals get tough

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Sometimes life comes at you fast. Spring of ‘24, I was plugging away preparing for upcoming strawberry season. Containers arrived on April 30. We had just uncovered the berries from the latest cold snap and Bam! May 7 we were picking strawberries in between what seemed like a never-ending weather pattern of downpours. Of course, it ended, but life was a tad bit chaotic in that stretch. In a perfect Insta-world, a totally stocked fridge and pantry, a meal list and maybe even some prepped meals would have been ready to go. Let’s just say 2024 has not be that year.

When things get crazy for your family and in times of the busy farming season, hurry up and eat can become our mantra. Attack the war-games during harvest, planting and every time in between like a 5-star general and be sure to PSP: Plan, Shop and Prepare so you are battle ready.

Old time-favorites as well as 5-ingredient and 30-minute meals are real go-tos when it is crunch-time for your family. Go with old-time favorites you can whip up with your eyes blindfolded and hands tied behind your back when time is scarce. Well, maybe untie your hands. Looking for something new, check Google, Pinterest or even Instagram with key words such as 5-Ingredients, 30-minute meals, quick and easy. Start with this PSP plan to get you through those times.

Planning

How many times have you opened your pantry and/or fridge to say I cannot make this, this or this because the ingredients aren’t there. Menu planning does not have to be rocket science but attack it like a 5-star general. You are the general and it can be as easy as a list of meals for the next week, two weeks or even a month. It’s time to get battle ready starting with those old-time quick and easy favorites and adding some new 5-ingredient or 30-minute meals as an element of surprise. Here are a few to get you started.

1. Mondays Mexican night. Tacos and Tex-Mex are some of my favorite 5-ingredient meals. Tortillas, Cheese, favorite salas with prepped shredded chicken, pork or beef, even precooked shrimp makes some fabulous and satisfying meals. Throw in some cilantro, onion and other toppings too for added variety.

2. Pizza night. I have a love affair with pizza and my pizza stone. I can usually whip up a pizza and have it on the table in less than 30 minutes using the recipe below. Add the toppings of your choice to go off rogue 5 ingredients. 

3. Friday fish night. If you haven’t figured out, I love alliterations so Friday and fish just go together. Get prepacked tilapia or salmon, throw in a salad or make a quick easy rice bowl with frozen veggies.

Shopping

By knowing the meals it makes the next step incredibly easy. Make a list of ingredients you need, choosing some quick and easy shortcuts. Generals have to make split-second decisions and so must you. Throw in some secret weapons on that list such a bagged salad, frozen or canned veggies, rotisserie chicken, eggs, canned tuna, yogurt, peanut butter, cheese, bread and microwaved rice/pasta. This will be a battle-changer when you are too tired to be in the kitchen and you haven’t prepped anything. 

Preparing

Prepping is the way to go. In the future we will talk more about meal prepping. Be prepared. Make recipes ahead and freeze like meatloaf and other casseroles. Prep ingredients ahead, especially cooked meats, and package them in the freezer for an easy grab. No matter how much you prepare sometimes you have to throw up an SOS. This is the time to pull out those secret weapon ingredients for a quick sandwich, scrambled eggs or even a yogurt to get you fueled up and ready to return to action. Or just maybe, some shuteye. 

Enjoy these 5-ingredient meals.

Eat well and Healthy!

Shelly

5-Ingredient Pizza Crust (Click here for recipe)
Shelly’s Notes: I have a love affair with my pizza stone. I heat the stone and oven to 450-475. I do not usually add the spices, but I do add 1 tsp. olive oil and only 2/3-¾ cup yogurt. Roll out the pizza crust on flour/cornmeal on a piece of parchment. Top the pizza and slide it on the hot stone. Bake for 5 minutes. Slide the pizza off the paper onto the stone and bake an additional 5 minutes. 

Honey-Glazed Salmon Bowls (Click here for recipe)

5-ingredient Chicken Enchiladas (Recipe below)
2 cups Rotisserie chicken shredded
1½ c shredded cheese
Flour tortillas
4.5 oz. can chiles
1 large Salsa Verde
½ onion chopped, optional
Cherry Tomatoes, halved, optional
Cilantro, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine chicken, cheese, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, optional onions and can of chilies.

Lightly spray a 9×9 inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 cup of the Salsa Verde onto the bottom of the dish.

Fill each flour tortilla with 1/2 cup of the chicken filling. Roll each one up and place them in the casserole dish, open side down.

Pour the rest of the Salas Verde over all of the tortillas. Top the sauce with the rest of the shredded cheese. 

Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately. Top if desired with cherry tomatoes, halved, cilantro and chopped onion.

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