Pantry meals to the rescue! Don’t feel like leaving the house? Or maybe you can’t leave the house? Whether you are practicing social isolation or are just unwilling to go to the store, here are a few of my favorite dinners using the pantry, freezer, and long shelf life fresh items.
While I am writing this post during the global coronavirus pandemic, having both a well stocked pantry and knowing how to use it is a frequently useful need. Seasonal flu, storms which leave the power on but keep you close to home, or even just not wanting to leave the house all mean there are nights (or weeks) you will want to get creative with what you have on hand.
A Well Stocked Pantry
When talking about pantry meals, what you consider well stocked may not be same for others. Capers are must in my house, while miso may be the same in yours. The important thing is to think about what you eat and make sure you plenty in each category while filling in a holes of things you are out of.
What to stock?
- In the pantry: A variety of dried grains, beans (dried and canned), pastas, canned vegetables (tomatoes and artichokes are some favorites), canned fish, various nuts, along with cereals and basic baking/cooking supplies (oil, vinegar, flour, sugar). Also there are all sorts of jarred sauces, crackers, soups, and other convenient long storage items which can be incorporated into meals.
- In the freezer: Meats and seafood, fruits, and bagged veggies. This is also the perfect place to store leftover tomato sauce, pesto, and other freezer friendly items.
- In the cupboards/counter: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, onions, and garlic.
- In the refrigerator: The fridge is more perishable, but condiments, hard cheeses, yogurt, certain fruits and vegetables (carrots, apples, citrus, etc.) and some sauces (like soy sauce, sriracha, etc.) are great choices.
- In general: Pick up items you would normally eat and then practice first in/first out and rotate your stash.
Both chicken and chorizo freeze well and can be kept on hand for this meal! Add pasta and either jarred marinara or make your own from canned tomatoes and carrots and you have dinner. If you don’t have cream on hand, evaporated milk or coconut cream make great substitutions.
Chicken thighs, onions (any you have on hand will work), canned artichokes, canned tomatoes, and olives! All sorts of pantry/freezer items to make a flavorful and satisfying stew. Serve over the grain, potato, or pasta of your choice.
Stock up on ground meats and bagged frozen vegetables for this meal! The recipe calls for snap peas – either use frozen ones or switch another green vegetable you have on hand. I always have frozen baby peas so I would add them to the recipe.
Jarred roasted peppers, canned tomatoes, vegetable stock all come together for a pantry meal which is also delicious comfort food. And since this may be the perfect time to practice your bread making, the soup goes amazingly with my No Knead Olive Focaccia.
Sealed pesto lasts for a fair amount of time in the fridge and can be frozen if need be! Toss that pesto with canned beans and serve with the pasta of your choice in this fast and easy pantry meal.
Pull out your pressure cooker, thaw some frozen shrimp, grab rice and stock from the pantry. It’s time to make risotto! Add your favorite frozen veggies to the dish for a complete meal.
Potatoes, chorizo, onions, and bacon. (Freezes beautifully! Roll up each piece and freeze then take out a piece at a time.) If you happen to have some fresh herbs on hand, use them. If not, this soup will still be delicious!
Canned beans and stock along with some fresh vegetables (onions, carrots) make for a simple and tasty soup! Serve over brown rice and switch up the toppings based on what you have in the house. I usually have some sour cream on hand and it lasts for a long time, but also onions, tortilla chips, pickled jalapenos. It’s all good.
Frozen chicken (slice up breast if you don’t have tenders), canned artichokes, and evaporated milk all make for an easy and creamy pantry meal. Serve over the starch of your choice or how about some roasted winter squash? Yum!
Leftover chicken, buttermilk (which lasts FOREVER), carrots, onions (and leeks if you have them) along with other pantry items are what you need to make this classic comfort food. And what we need right now is comfort food, right?
– Stay Safe, Annemarie