Hey all, it’s Claire and I’m here to talk about pantry meals. It’s a strange thing to brag about, but I do keep a well stocked pantry. Not only for various recipes, but also for those times when I haven’t done a great job planning ahead. Whether it’s running out of time to go grocery shopping, or forgetting that the family needs to eat dinner. Every night. Sigh.
As busy moms, we juggle a lot of things. I find that having a system, plan, or routine in place for just about everything helps me stay on track for the most part. Enter the kids…best laid plans and all that. So I even plan for the unplanned by stocking my pantry and having a few favorite pantry meals at the ready. I’d love to share with you how I stock my pantry, and a couple of favorite recipes for you to keep in your back pocket.
- Pasta (various shapes, linguine, soba – or other thin noodles)
- Beans (black, white, garbanzo)
- Dried mushrooms
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Artichoke Hearts
- Tomatoes (crushed, diced, paste, sauce)
- Various Sauces and Dressings
- Specialty Oils (sesame)
- Peanut Butter
- Coconut Milk
I consider the freezer an extension of the pantry in that you can stock up and items last for quite some time. Even some fridge items fall into this category, like pickles, condiments, minced garlic, and long-lasting foods like carrots and eggs. I won’t include meat or anything that takes extensive time to defrost, since that defeats the purpose of a quick pantry meal. Though I have a great tip on this that I’ll write about soon.
My freezer staples:
- Ginger (Tip: Buy fresh ginger from the store, peel and cut into 1-inch chunks, then store double-bagged in the freezer. Take one chuck out as needed and grate. The frozen chunk makes it super easy to grate on a microplane.)
- Diced onion
- Bell Pepper
- Green Beans
- Individual cubes of garlic and herbs
What is a pantry meal anyway? My definition of a pantry meal is a recipe that is made without any fresh veggies or defrosted/fresh meat. Since fresh, whole foods are best, I use pantry meals sparingly. Like emergency use only. Even if you have a dinner emergency once a week, you’re still getting plenty of fresh veggies the other 6 nights. Just be careful with sodium when it comes to pantry meals!
Pantry meals are also very quick to prepare, another reason why they are ideal when you’re out of time or out of groceries! Here are two of my favorites:
Simple Sesame Noodles – adapted from the Pioneer Woman
- 12 oz soba noodles (or angel hair) – cooked to al dente and drained
- 1/4 c. Coconut Aminos (or low sodium Soy Sauce)
- 2 T. Agave (or any sweetener)
- 4 cloves of garlic (about 2 spoonfuls of the minced kind in the jar or equivalent frozen cubes)
- 2 T. Rice Vinegar
- 3 T. Sesame Oil
- 4 T. Oil (Avocado, Grapeseed, Canola)
- Sesame Seeds
- Whisk together all ingredients (except noodles).
- Poor over warm noodles and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Serve warm or cold.
Tuna Cakes – adapted from Simply Recipes
- 2 6-oz cans of shredded tuna (or crab or salmon)
- 1 T. mustard
- 1/2 c. torn bread or crushed crackers
- Juice and zest of half a lemon
- 2 T. parsley
- 2 T. chives
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 egg
- 2 T. oil
- Combine all ingredients except the oil.
- Form into patties. (To help patties stay together better, chill in the freezer for about 15 minutes.)
- Saute patties in oil on medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Serve over a bed of lettuce, on a roll, or over a pile of quickly sautéed frozen corn and peppers.
Hopefully the pantry shopping list and quick pantry recipes can help you plan for any emergency dinner situations, like it has for me. And remember, even during a dinner emergency you can still look good! Enjoy!XOXO -- Claire