Cooking from the pantry is an excellent way to get meals on the table when time is short and you can’t get to the store, when dinner ideas have dwindled or if an unexpected supper has to be whipped together.
Of course, an organized, well-stocked pantry is the first step, but once that’s established, creative, delicious dinners are just minutes away. Unleash the power of your pantry using any of these inspirational ideas.
Pasta is a great building block for delicious dinners. Of course spaghetti and meatballs is one option but there are other avenues to explore:
Make a place in the pantry for an assortment of grains and rice. Here are a few ways to use them:
With a few cans of beans and a bag of lentils at your fingertips, you have several delicious, quick-cooking options.
Staples like canned and jarred ingredients are the hub of any pantry, and you’ll find yourself turning to them for all kinds of cooking situations.
Stock & Broth: A container or two of Swanson® Chicken or Beef stock or broth is indispensible for making soups and stews, but it’s also great for using as a base for a quick pan sauce for sautéed meats. Simply brown steak, chicken, fish or pork chops in a skillet, remove them from the pan then pour a ½ cup or so of stock or broth into the skillet, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Return the meat to the pan, simmer it in the sauce until cooked through then finish the sauce with a bit of butter, heavy cream or sour cream and a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh herbs.
Soups: Campbell’s® Condensed soups are a must-have pantry item for everything from meatloaf to enchiladas and side dishes, but you can also turn to them to use in salads and dips. Keep in mind that many soups can be used interchangeably, so if a recipe calls for Cream of Chicken and all you have is Cream of Mushroom, don’t worry—it’ll work great!
Proteins: With a few cans of tuna or Swanson® Chunk Chicken Breast on hand, you’re never far from quick sandwiches, pasta salads, skillets or baked dishes.
Italian Sauces: Prepared sauces from Prego® are a must for pantry shelves—of course they’re great on pasta but you can also use them for pizza, to simmer pork chops or bake chicken. A jar or two of purchased pesto is also terrific for tossing with pasta, spreading on a sandwich or stirring into a dip for a hit of fresh flavor.
Prepared Salsa: A jar of Pace® Chunky salsa or Picante sauce is a must-have for tacos or burritos, but also makes a zesty simmer sauce for chicken and chops or marinating steaks for the grill. You can also use it in pasta dishes and stir-fries!
Other staples to have on hand include olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, capers, sweet and dill pickles—add them to pasta, sandwiches, pizzas or salads. Vegetables, like green beans and corn, are a quick and easy way to boost the veggie power of soups and stews, and fruit (pineapple chunks, peaches, mandarin oranges, etc.) can be added to skillets, meat sauces and salads. And while peanut butter is a given for sandwiches, it also adds a wonderfully savory dimension to salad dressings, stir-fries and soup.
Dried herbs and spices can add a pop of flavor to all kinds of dishes. Instead of buying spice blends, why not make your own combos with the herbs and spices you already have on hand? Let your imagination and taste buds inspire you to create new flavor combinations!
As a rule of thumb, seasoning blends can be made with equal parts of dried herbs and milder tasting spices, like paprika. Since cayenne and pepper are hot, they should be added to taste.
Every pantry should have flour and sugar on hand, but other recommended dry goods include:
Peruse your pantry because you probably already have the majority of ingredients on hand for these quick dishes
Fast, easy and fabulous—these recipes have it all! Five ingredients and a few simple steps are all you need to have these recipes on the table in no time.
All these recipes have one thing in common: you’ll need six or fewer ingredients to make dinner happen!
It’s hard to believe that so much flavor can come from just a handful of ingredients, but it is possible—and easy! Get dinner on the table in no time with these cool ideas!