Life is a crazy roller-coaster sometimes. I love that scene from the original Parenthood movie where the grandma describes life as a roller-coaster and she talks about how some people like the calm merry-go round but she likes the roller coaster
Well, I sometimes think I might prefer a nice mix of the two.
Anyway, whoever you are I think sometimes despite planning and careful thought you just can't plan ahead for everything. Lots of people like to menu plan. It saves money and it makes life nice and easy. I have come to learn though that in my life plans come unstuck more often than not and we can easily be left trying to work out what dinner should be at the last minute as a result.
My family made a no take-out pact at the start of 2011 so I really try to avoid that. As a result I need to have foods we can have on nights when it's just my daughter and I at the last minute or when my husband who wasn't coming home announces he actually will be home for dinner or he'll be home at 9pm and would really like something then.
So I have an emergency stash. Tonight for example my daughter and I are having pre-made chicken schnitzels I got at the supermarket deli, add some cooked pasta (for her) and salad and some cooked veggies (for me) and it's a quick meal. At $3 for 2 schnitzels on sale it is also a whole lot cheaper than take out and we are eating veggies and salad.
Other things currently in my emergency stash include pre-made burger patties and buns for instant burgers and minute steaks for quick steak sandwiches. We can get both those meals on the table in under 20 minutes. Other things I sometimes buy include pre-made chicken kebabs and or a hot smoked salmon fillet which can go on a salad or through pasta with some green veggies.
I prefer to take time and plan my meals but sometimes you have to be ready for organised spontaneity.