March Menu: 15 Minute Meals Week 1

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If you’re a busy mom, you know that sometimes life comes at you fast, you get busy, and you have to adjust your plans and do things differently for a while. That time has come for me, and it’s messing with my meal planning system. I’ve got something in the works that is keeping me super busy. I mean like “busier than a one armed paper hanger” kind of busy. (My mom always said that. I have to admit, it’s a little curious, I’m not sure why anyone would need to hang paper. Maybe hand-made paper?  I need to call Mom and ask her. But you get the idea.) *Update: Several readers have been nice enough to tell me that it refers to wallpaper. I feel so dumb. I know how to wallpaper, I should have thought of that!

It's going to be a busy month so I'm planning 15- minute meals. Meals are healthy, easy and most are linked to a recipe.

In light of my sudden gust of business, I’m going to deviate from my monthly/seasonal meal plan just for a little while. Doesn’t that figure; just when I start to get this thing down pat and get it closer to “auto pilot” status, I have to put it on hold. But it will be worth it and we’ll get back to the seasonal planning/freezer cooking just as soon as we can.

I can’t tell you what it is just yet because some of our family and local friends don’t know yet! We wouldn’t want them to find out by reading my website! But I’ll give you a hint and say that when we’re all done being super busy, my food photos will be better. At least I hope they will.
… Hows that for a teaser?

Enough about my one-armed paper hanging. Let’s talk about food. 
For the next month or so, we’ll be in the “15 minute meals” mode. So if you’re looking for super quick meal ideas, you may want to stay tuned for the next few weeks. I’ll admit from the start that some of these meals will be simpler than my typical meals, some will not be as frugal due to taking advantage of help from the grocery store in the form of cooking less from scratch, and they may be a little less healthy, due to the same reason. But they’ll be as healthy as I can manage under the circumstances. And I’m OK with going a little more basic for a while for a good cause.

We’ve already started this week’s menu, I Just didn’t have time to get this post up. Here’s what we had/are having this week.

I shopped in my freezer first to see what I still had from my Winter Meal Plan. I found some good stuff out there. This week we’ll have the following from the freezer: (p.s. Please do me a favor and don’t pin the following images. If you want to pin the recipes–and I’d love for you to do so– please click the link and pin the larger photo from the recipe. If you want to pin this article, use the larger image above. Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!)
Now, back to the food…

It's going to be a busy month so I'm planning 15- minute meals. Meals are healthy, easy and most are linked to a recipe.

Pepper Steak-ready to defrost and toss in the Crock Pot

It's going to be a busy month so I'm planning 15- minute meals. Meals are healthy, easy and most are linked to a recipe.
Chicken & Peppers with Rice, Green Beans–In the freezer ready to cook the chicken & heat the rice.

It's going to be a busy month so I'm planning 15- minute meals. Meals are healthy, easy and most are linked to a recipe.
Nach-yo Mamas Chicken Soup–In the freezer, ready to defrost and toss in a soup pot on the stove.
Spaghetti (Remember I said it will be more simple? This time when I say “spaghetti” I really mean just spaghetti. No bread, no salad. No time for that.)I had the sauce all made and in the freezer so I just had to cook the pasta.
Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Shells (Cooked chicken, cooked broccoli, mac & cheese. Simple and doesn’t taste like mac& cheese at all!)
Easy Roast–haven’t decided on a recipe yet, when I do I’ll come back and update this part.
One dinner out–It just makes sense under the circumstances.

That’s it for dinner this week.

  • For lunches we’ll eat leftovers, tuna sandwiches, and tortellini salad. (This is a post I did for
  • Breakfast is usually a “good luck” kind of thing. We all just open the fridge and see what’s there. I did make some Blueberry Muffins today so that gets us through a few days.
  • Dessert? I just talked my daughter into making us some cookies. We baked a few and I took the rest of the dough and scooped it into balls and froze them. When we need a cookie fix we’ll just take a few out and pop them into the oven.

It's going to be a busy month so I'm planning 15- minute meals. Meals are healthy, easy and most are linked to a recipe.

So there it is; my OAPH (one armed paper hanger) menu. It’s mostly healthy,  not too boring, and totally doable even with my busy schedule. We’ll call that a win.

What are your favorite “go-to” meals for those super busy times?

(Really, share them below, I need some ideas for when my freezer gets empty!)


  1. Karin Owens says

    Tacos are always a quick go to at our house. Another of ours is also a favorite and very simple. It’s a meat a cabbage dish. We typically make it with smoked sausage sliced up, but just last night we made it with ground beef. They’re both tasty options. You brown the meat, add a whole chopped onion and sauté. Then add plenty of minced garlic and saute a bit more. Salt and pepper the meat mixture. Add a whole chopped green cabbage head and continue to cook and stir some until cabbage done. You’ll want to make this in a large pot. Serve with slotted spoon to drain off the liquid released by the cabbage. Oh, I forgot you’ll want to salt and pepper some more. Cabbage tends to require more salt than you think.

    • says

      Karin, thanks for that great suggestion. It sounds healthy, inexpensive and quick! I like it when we can hit all three! I’m nervous about the cabbage though. will it be slimy? How will I know when it’s “done”?

      • Karin Owens says

        No it won’t be slimy. Mine never is anyway. You don’t add any water though. We’re not boiling it here, sautéing it instead. As far as how to know when it’s done, it just takes a couple minutes depending on the quantity of total food and the size of cabbage pieces. I just grab a piece of the cabbage and eat it to see if it tastes done. I like mine fully cooked but still slightly crisp. Not mushy or anything. Cabbage is crazy good for you and cooked this way is completely different from boiling it. Hope that helps.

  2. Sally says

    Hi Beth. My family used the 1 armed paper hanger phrase too. It’s talking about wall paper:D. My grandma had some beautiful wall paper in her house. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  3. says

    One armed paper hanger=wall paper hanger :-) We hardly ever use wallpaper in anymore, but I can imagine it’d be hard to hang with one arm! :-)

    I love the easy, quick menu. Often I’m busy and flying by the seat of my pants, and I need some realistic ideas.

  4. Jeanne says

    Hi Beth! Am enjoying your blog! In regard to the one armed paper hanger-I believe this refers to someone putting up wallpaper with only the use of one hand/arm, meaning it would be very difficult to accomplish….exactly how we as moms often have to deal with life and family! Reminds me of the plate spinners on the old Ed Sullivan Show!!

  5. says

    Your OAPH meal plan sounds quick and delicious! A few things on my quick meal plan are crockpot pot roast (obviously plan ahead for this), stuffed shells (I mix the cheese filling while the shells are boiling. Then it really only takes 5-10 minutes to fill the shells and pop them into the oven), tacos, flatbread pizzas (I just buy whole wheat flatbread at the store, paint on the sauce, add toppings, cheese, and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes), soup and sandwich dinner, and sloppy joes. ☺️ Praying the next several weeks are reasonably stress free and smooth for you.

  6. Tnkmama says

    Something I love to do, is Beef and broccoli… My version is super quick and simple! I slice a some beef super thin (this can be any kind of beef, and will be easier to slice thinly if it is partially frozen, or semi thawed first). Now I grab 2 skillets, add a little oil to each, then saute the meat slices in one and saute a bag of frozen or fresh broccoli florets(I have done both depending on what I have) in the other. After both are cooked to desired doneness, I combine and season everything simply with garlic salt and soy sauce. You can eat over rice, but we often skip the rice at our house. (Slice the meat ahead, and throw back in the freezer for another day, or into the fridge for later that evening… Either way, when I am ready to make dinner it goes straight from the fridge or feezer into my skillet!)

  7. Deb says

    A super quick favorite in my house that can be made two ways is to get a package of a thin sliced meat, we use pork chops or chicken breats. Lightly brown in skillet with small amount of oil, when brown add in a can of Rotel tomatoes for a Mexican flair or stewed tomatoes for an Italian flair and simmer for about 15 minutes. We serve with rice or pasta and a veggie. You can garnish with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese. Takes about 25 minutes fridge to table.

  8. Amy B says

    In my freezer you can usually find cheese (and chicken) enchiladas, chicken chimichangas, stuffed bell peppers, marinated chicken breasts, taco meat pucks and chicken (noodle) soup… except the soup only has the broth and the veggies in it. The chicken is cooked and shredded in a separate bag and the noodles don’t get cooked till serving day. There is usually a couple of pasta dishes, and of course the meal starters: chicken broth, pasta sauce, meatballs, shredded chicken, bbq pulled pork and shredded beef. Freezer cooking has saved me on many occasions. I would be lost without it!

    • says

      Amy, we must be kindred spirits! It sounds like you go about freezer cooking a lot like I do. Not so many complete meals but a lot of partial meals that get finished with fresh ingredients (like Pasta) and meal starters. It’s amazing how much difference it makes to be able to take even part of a meal out of the freezer and just add the rest!
      thanks for visiting and for your comment. (I might write down your list and see what I could add to mine!)

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