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Try these easy pantry meals and recipes for snacks and treats made from ingredients already in your kitchen. Loaded up on canned beans? Fish in the freezer? Bananas turning brown on the counter? Here are some of my favorite Feel Good Foodie recipes for dishes that will feed the body and soothe the psyche while you are staying close to home.
I’ve selected a sample of pantry meals (and snacks) you can make from shelf stable items, frozen meat and fish along with frozen fruits and vegetables. I’ve added some ideas for how to substitute where necessary but feel free to get creative and change up ingredients based on what you have on-hand.
What is a pantry meal?
My Tuna Pasta is a prime example – something you can whip up from common, shelf-stable ingredients like canned tuna and dried pasta. A more modern definition includes frozen food and dishes lean heavily – but not completely – on shelf-stable ingredients. While we grapple with Corona virus, social distancing and cutting out unnecessary trips to the market means using what you have on hand and substituting when necessary. Be creative.
Shop your pantry to make:
Tuna Pasta: My Garlic Lemon Tuna Pasta stars shelf-stable canned tuna and boxed spaghetti. Different shapes of pasta work fine, too. No lemon? Sub a tiny splash of another acid like a white wine vinegar or some balsamic. Out of fresh garlic? Sprinkle on the garlic powder or add heat with dried pepper flakes. Bonus? Tuna has vitamin D – an immunity boaster!
Mediterranean White Bean Soup: This calls for three 15-ounce cans of any white bean and packaged vegetable (or chicken) broth. Regarding the mirepoix mix of onions, carrots, and celery: onions carry the heaviest load in this flavor combo, so even if you are out of carrots or celery, cook on. Adding the vitamin C-rich leafy greens at the end (fresh or frozen) provides vitamin C.
Protein Pancakes: Gluten-free Chocolate Protein Pancakes ask only for old-fashioned oats, cocoa powder, chocolate protein powder, eggs, and bananas, and they give so much back! P.S. you could use vanilla-flavored powder instead of chocolate.
Oatmeal Breakfast Bars: This is such a great snack idea that you can make with old-fashioned oats, almond milk, walnuts (or any nut) dried cranberries, sugar, and two eggs for homemade breakfast treats. You can also throw in some frozen berries. There are so many ways to customize this base recipe.
Raid the freezer for dinner:
Baked Cod: My Lemon Parsley Baked Cod uses a simple technique also appropriate for frozen salmon or swordfish fillets and is on the table in 15 minutes. Forgo the lemon if you are out.
Air Fryer Salmon: This recipe requires only the salmon (or any fish you have frozen), any spices, and olive oil. So easy! Serve rice and frozen veggies on the side. Experiment with different flavors on top, too. Try soy sauce mixed with a little honey and oil.
One Pot Chicken and Rice: Does it get better than one pot meals? This one takes skinless, boneless chicken breasts, frozen veggies, and rice (or quinoa) from blandly basic to hot and comforting. A well-balance pantry meal in one pot. My kids love it.
Peas Carrots Stew: This is a type of recipe we all yakhneh in Arabic that I make a couple times a month using different frozen vegetables and either frozen beef or chicken. Skips the trip to the produce section for fresh vegetables. You can make a satisfying stew using just frozen veggies or canned vegetables.
Rely on the freezer for smoothies and cool treats:
Date Shake: This os a great treat for anyone in your family to make use of dates that have a really long shelf life, frozen bananas, and pantry-stable protein staples, almond milk, chia seeds and peanut butter. Plus, that whirring blender always sounds like the start of something yummy and fun. I love these for dessert.
Nice Cream: Skip the ice cream parlor and make your own “nice cream” at home. This type of ice cream creates creamy vegan goodness simply from frozen bananas. I mix this one with with coffee and cocoa, but you could try all kinds of other subs here. Frozen peaches, almond milk and honey might be nice.
Smoothie Bowls: These are similar to smoothies but instead of drinking them, you can eat them with a spoon since they are thicker. Smoothie bowls are a great way to use up the ends of bags of frozen fruit cluttering up your freezer. Frozen fruit is packed with vitamins so you can stay healthy during the flu season.
Blueberry Banana Smoothie: This is one of those classic smoothies I always make. My twist includes almond butter, almond milk, and hemp seeds, for a nutty taste and a plant protein boast that staves off hunger. Blueberries pack immunity boaster vitamin C, and antioxidants to boot.
Make treats straight from the pantry:
No-Bake Energy Bites: With only six ingredients, No-Bake Energy Bites are entirely made from shelf-stable ingredients like peanut butter, oats, flax seed and coconut. The sweet reassurance we are all looking for right now comes from honey and chocolate chips.
Roasted Chickpeas: Use only canned chickpeas and spices to satisfy cravings if your taste is more salty than sweet. The bonus is a dose immunity boasting folate from the chickpeas. Who knew that was hiding in your pantry closet?
3-Ingredient Chia Pudding: The name says it all. Three ingredients: chia seeds + honey + the milk of your choice. The tiny, mighty chia seeds have fiber, protein, and calcium! Fruit toppings a bonus.
A healthy diet is one of the building blocks of a robust immune system and the ingredients for easy pantry meals are right in your kitchen. With COVID-19 on all our minds social distancing being emphasized, I hope that you all limit your exposure to going out as much as possible.
There are so many ways to get creative with your family at home with my pantry meals. And if you have any questions or need more suggestions, I’m available and free since I literally wiped clean my social calendar for the next month. Stay healthy and safe.
Be sure to check out these helpful resources:
- School Lunchbox Ideas – even if you’re home!
- Daily Breakfast Ideas to Stay Healthy
- 15 Easy No Bake Desserts
- 10 Recipes with Vegetable Broth
If you try any of these meals or have more suggestions for easy pantry meals, I’d love to hear from you! And if you snapped some shots, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!