6 Easy Meals That You Can Make Completely From Pantry Staples
Sometimes, the thought of stopping at the grocery store on the way home from work or school is just too much. You’ve had a long day, and the last thing you want to do is make a pit-stop that will prevent you from immediately racing home, changing into your pajamas, and watching TV. Despite the fact that you know you’ve got a barely-stocked refrigerator and no yummy leftovers to nibble on, the grocery store still feels like the most unappealing place on the face of the planet.
Look, I get it. Rather than poking aimlessly around your fridge only to eat a garbage meal or just deciding to go hungry, rely on these easy, pantry meals that you can whip up in a flash. From canned beans, to nut butters, to dried pasta, there’s plenty of creative, delicious ways to spin what you’ve got lurking in the corners of your cabinets into an exciting meal. And if these pantry staples aren’t what you’ve usually got on hand, perhaps they can serve as inspiration during your next trip to the supermarket. If there’s one huge takeaway here, it’s that you’d be surprised what you can do with the ingredients you already have.
Bucatini Aglio e Olio
Bucatini Aglio e Olio image Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Karen Rankin; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
The beauty of the bucatini noodles and their hollow shape is that they hold on to sauce like a beauty. However, if you don’t happen to have these on hand, any spaghetti will do. Packed with extra garlicky flavor, this last-minute pasta dinner is super versatile. Don’t have broccoli? Use whatever greens (frozen or not) that you might have lying around. And if your kitchen is completely clear of all veggies, don’t sweat it. Just be proud that you at least got something on the table tonight.
Red Beans and Rice with Fried Eggs
Red Beans and Rice with Fried Eggs image Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Karen Rankin; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Anyone that tells you that eggs are only for breakfast is a bad influence and someone that you should definitely cut ties with. Paired with canned beans and pre-cooked rice, this is the dinner that is guaranteed to save you next time you’re having One Of Those Days. Not into a runny yolk? Well, can’t relate. But also, feel free to cook your eggs to whatever doneness and however you like. It’s your pantry dinner, not mine.
Niçoise Gnocchi Salad
Niçoise Gnocchi Salad image Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Karen Rankin; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
If you thought salad was out of the question because you’re pulling from pantry items, think again. This hearty snack-style dinner incorporates canned tuna, jarred peppers, jarred olives, canned artichokes, frozen green beans and pre-packaged gnocchi. No, this is not laziness! This is a clever usage of all those cabinet essentials that would be collecting dust otherwise. If you happen to be an overachiever and have fresh greens or potatoes on hand, feel free to sub out the green beans or gnocchi, or add to your already delightful spread.
Salmon Croquettes with Succotash
Salmon Croquettes with Succotash image Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Karen Rankin; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Canned salmon is the star in these you-won’t-believe-it’s-all-from-the-pantry croquettes. Ultra crispy and satisfying, these little fritters are topped with a genius “fresh” concoction of frozen lima beans, frozen corn kernels, vinegar, oil and dried herbs. See, you really can put off that trip to the grocery store for one more day.
Satay Soba Noodle Bowl
mr-Satay Soba Noodle Bowl Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Karen Rankin; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Peanut butter lovers definitely have something to rejoice about with this flavor-packed dinner. Soba noodles paired with a creamy nut butter satay sauce and frozen edamame just so happen join forces to make the vegetarian dinner of your dreams. However, if you do happen to have an extra protein on hand, like chicken, steak, or tofu, that’d make for a great, hearty addition.
Vegetable Soup with Beer Bread
Vegetable Soup with Beer Bread image Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Karen Rankin; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Before you completely dismiss the idea of making bread on a night that you don’t even have the capacity to go to the store, let me offer you this—it’s only 4 ingredients and requires virtually no school! You can totally do this. Paired with a brothy vegetable soup and a couple spoonfuls of store bought pesto, this bread is going to soak up all these deceivingly fresh flavors in an instant. It really doesn’t get much cozier than this (assuming that you’re already in your pajamas and curled up on the couch).