You’ve spent time and money stocking your pantry with dry goods and shelf-stable items. Now what? We’ve compiled these 5 essential tips to make meal planning from your pantry a breeze.
Keep the fridge and freezer stocked with staples. (Just remember that refrigerated items should be long-lasting to prevent spoilage.) Create a list of your own ideas, or get inspired by a few of our favourites:
For the Fridge:
• hard aged cheeses, such as cheddar, Asiago and Parmesan
• cold-storage fruit, such as apples and pears
• long-lasting vegetables like celery, carrots, parsnips and cabbage
• eggs (Did you know you can also freeze beaten whole eggs and egg whites in an airtight container for up to 2 months?)
• a good selection of condiments and pickles
For the Freezer:
• kabobs, burgers and other pre-portioned meats
• vegetarian patties
• a variety of frozen vegetable blends and frozen cubed avocados
• frozen bananas and fruit blends
• puréed herb cubes
When you start with a well-stocked pantry, fridge AND freezer, you're well on your way to a delicious meal.
Use up pantry staples in a new way. Is your flour bin full? Maybe you have the makings for a delicious pancake mix. For a fully pantry-friendly version, replace 1 fresh egg with either 1/4 cup thawed liquid eggs OR 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 2 Tbsp. water. (Let stand 10 minutes before using.) Try a shelf-stable milk or milk alternative sold in cartons or rehydrated from a powdered form. Top your pancakes with syrup and thawed frozen fruit as part of a hearty breakfast or breakfast-for-dinner option. Not a pancake person? Homemade scones, cookies and muffins are other fun family recipes that use up pantry staples.
Begin with beans. When it comes to versatility, canned beans are in a class of their own. Transform them into chili, soup or baked beans on toast for a savoury and satisfying dish.
Pass the pasta please. When you combine cooked pasta with a jar of sauce and some frozen veggies or dried herbs, dinner can be underway in just a matter of minutes. Try this easy pantry-friendly pasta dish when fresh items are running low. Short on cleanup time? With pasta, you can even cook all your ingredients in the same pan for a quick and easy one-pan dish. And last, but certainly not least, check out our version of the tried-and-true pantry classic: tuna casserole!
Rotating trays can be used to hold things such as oils, vinegars, spices, even vitamins or medications. Try them in your refrigerator too! One for beverages, so nothing ever hides in the back to spoil or freeze, and another for leftovers or small jars of pickles and other small food items.
Get the rice ready. In the mood for Mediterranean? Have a craving for curry? A taste for Tex-Mex? Or maybe something creamy? No matter what, rice has your back. See our collection of one-pot rice meals for some recipe inspiration. In true pantry style, use what you have on hand, substituting frozen or canned vegetables and dried herbs as needed. Clear up the clutter and make the most of your countertops by using a cake stand to hold olive oil, salt, pepper, and other seasonings. The stand makes ingredients easy to find and use while you cook, and gives you space to arrange other herbs and spices around the base of the pedestal.