I struggle with meal planning.
That is a fact.

I’m working on it–I really ambut I’m also really grateful to have some amazing foodie friends on speed dial.  Poor Jenna and Sarah receive texts such as…

I have some avocados, and I’m craving Israeli couscous.  What do I do?


I thawed some tilapia, but don’t like the recipe I have pulled up–any other ideas?

It was this last plea for help that I sent needing to feeding my family something that night.  Thanks to Jenna, it ended up being a new family favorite!  The best part?  It is so versatile and so simple–definitely a way to simplify your planning and pantry!

So.  Here is what I’m learning:  if I plan meals too specifically–if I don’t allow for any slight changes depending on what the day holds–I shoot myself in the foot.

I guess I’m realizing that I don’t like being “boxed in.”

So when I made this last meal, I realized that meals that allow for creativity within their parts make me a happy mama.

Jenna’s original recipe called for catfish and pecans: I had neither.  It was also raining, and cold, and well, quite miserable outside.  So I had to work with what I had, but with the options comes simplicity in that you don’t need exactly what the recipe calls for!

I used tilapia instead of catfish, but chicken would be amazing as well!


I also happen to have a husband who loves walnuts, so we always have them on hand.

pecans-or-walnuts IMG_5436

Here is where the fun starts–the sides.  I love changing up the vegetables and grains that accompany our main dish. For this meal, I used Land O  Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil in our rice.  It was so easy to use–and I was pleasantly surprised with the great flavor it brought to the rice.


Don’t have any rice in the pantry?  Land O’Lakes would be a perfect addition to mashed potatoes as well.  What I couldn’t believe is how easy it was to use this butter right out of the fridge–I always forget to take out a new stick of butter when I need one.


This recipe and this recipe are a few of my favorite recipes for meals similar to this one.  Don’t have buttermilk?  Use 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar instead–it’s using tips like these that help me keep my pantry manageable and simple.

What are your kitchen tips?  How do you simplify your kitchen–my pantry would take over if I let it!



The author was compensated by Land O’Lakes for this post. All opinions are my own.


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