Brianne Britzius
December 22, 2010


With Christmas almost here and kids on winter break, many of us don't have a minute to spare (even if you don't have kids!) for a weeknight dinner. It's an elusive creature, almost killed out by the planning of extravagant holiday feasts.

So what can you do when the fridge is full of decadent holiday foods and you need a relatively healthy, quick meal? Make a pantry dinner! I pulled together this meal of soup and cornbread the other night when I didn't feel like spending an hour cooking, nor did I really want to make my umpteenth trip to the grocery store!

I always have canned tomatoes, onions, and beans on hand for easy meals and I used these as my soup base. I also usually have some Jiffy cornbread on hand, so I made a box for a side. You can add the chicken for a healthy serving of protein, or add in extra veggies if you want to go meatless.

Pantry Soup

You can get the cornbread started and cook the chicken as you wait for the onions to cook down. For a shortcut, I cook my chicken breasts in the microwave; place on a microwave-safe plate, wrap in plastic wrap and cook on high for 10 minutes (this time may vary depending on your microwave). When you pull out the chicken, be very careful, as the plate will be very hot, and make sure to check each breast to see that they've cooked through.

1 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded

1 medium onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 cans Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes (I use Del Monte brand)

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 can Great Northern beans (or any white bean), drained and rinsed

1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and cut into small pieces (I like Vigo brand)

1/2 - 1 can of large black olives (depends on your tastes)

Italian seasoning to taste

1. Cook onions and garlic in your soup pot over med-high heat until onions are softened.

2. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, beans, artichokes, and chicken to the pot and simmer until warmed through. Add extra Italian seasoning to your taste.

Makes 4-6 servings. Serve with cornbread.

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