One thing that helps us make delicious, healthy meals on the fly is a freezer full of portioned homemade stock of all kinds - vegetable, crab, chicken, beef, etc.
Stock can be portioned in small plastic freezer containers or in freezer-safe plastic bags. There are many uses for stock; making mashed potatoes (boiling potatoes in stock instead of water gives them more flavor), sauces, or quick soups. One easy weeknight meal that we love to make is to dump some stock in a pot, warm it up, and add some egg noodles and some shredded leftover chicken and chopped veggies.
Stocks can also be used to cook rice or couscous (in place of water,) to reheat leftover stir-fries, moisten casseroles before reheating, and as a replacement for oil and butter - meats and vegetables can be sauteed in stock.
Stock is quite easy to make and is one of our favorite weekend projects. We like a big pot of stock simmering on the stove all day while we relax and read a book or catch up on the house chores - it makes the house smell warm and cozy. We plan ahead for stock by saving up chicken bones, beef or veal marrow bones, and crab shells in the freezer, along with some onions, carrots, and celery. Stock can be made on the stovetop or in a crockpot.
(Image: Kathryn Hill)