In a perfect world, we’d shop for fresh ingredients every day and whip up artful meals according to thoughtful recipes, but let’s be real! When it comes to getting food on the table, some of the best meals of the week are our tried-and-true standbys that rely on pantry, fridge and freezer staples.
Ingredients as simple as canned beans, boxed broth, frozen veggies, pasta, and other kitchen mainstays easily come together in delicious ways. Add just a few fresh ingredients along with some herbs and spices and you get quick meals like a simple chili with frozen veggies, hummus wraps for a lunch on the go, peanut-butter-banana toast or stuffed baked potatoes.
To widen our pantry meal-time horizons, we polled our office mates to find out their go-to wholesome dish using pantry and freezer items.
See if any of these inspire you: Lindsey loves “steel cut oats with a big ol’ scoop of peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.” Beth says, “Thaw frozen tilapia, top with a garlic/lemon/dill/caper mix and bake.
Put over always-in-my-pantry couscous (tasty addition: cherry tomatoes mixed into couscous), and serve with steamed frozen Brussels sprouts on the side.” Natanya shares her recipe for chicken salad: “I make it with fat-free Greek yogurt (instead of mayo), grapes, celery and walnuts. You can use frozen chicken breasts and it works great with leftover rotisserie chicken.”
Betsy makes Ribollitta, “a yummy Italian-inspired soup that’s a great way to use up leftover veggies, bread and pantry staples like canned tomatoes, broth, cannellini beans and frozen greens.” We have a version called Tuscan Bread and Vegetable Soup that uses chicken along with the vegetables.
Paige stocks her freezer with tempeh (stay good longer in the freezer), frozen greens and frozen brown rice. She mixes up a quick dressing of tamari, mirin (rice cooking wine), Dijon mustard, garlic and ginger to dress the lightly browned tempeh served over the greens and rice. Sounds like a Mighty Bowl of Goodness!
Are you hungry yet? We bet you have some pantry staple-based meals of your own to share. Let’s hear ‘em. We’d love to add your ideas to our own!