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I love to cook as much as the next foodie, but sometimes I get bored. You know the drill – you’ve planned meals, gone food shopping with a list and as you get to the end of your perishables, you find you’ve lost the love for the lonely broccoli in your fridge or frozen sausage you bought on sale.

I like to have some backup food in my pantry for those less-inspired, less hungry, too-busy nights. A can of beets can become a quick salad with oil, vinegar and sliced onions. Pasta with some marinara in a jar can be a filling meal, especially if you mix in some defrosted chop meat.

Prepared food in a box is usually so filled with preservatives, corn syrup and unrecognizable words that I try to avoid them. I will admit, though, that Trader Joe’s has some good prepared options with a limited list of ingredients. If I can pronounce them all, I’ll try it out. Their canned chicken noodle soup is good to have on hand when you get the sniffles and don’t have the energy to make yourself Mom’s recipe. Their microwaveable Indian specialties are really flavorful, quick and tasty with whatever rice you have in the pantry or backup frozen Trader Joe’s naan.

The key to this is having back-up food in the freezer or pantry. I love shopping and stocking up when there’s a good sale or coupon.

We have some frozen (Michigan made!) pirogues that will probably find their way out of the freezer tonight. Boiled and then quickly fried in olive oil with some sliced onions, we’ll be filled up and quickly cleaned up, too.

What are your favorite quick meals?

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