Our life feels like it’s been flipped on it’s side a bit right now, but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our food! Use this guide to help you create easy, simple, and even healthy meals with pantry staples and tips for freezer friendly recipes!
Alright friends, we’re in this new situation together. Doing our part to flatten the curve. But the reality is, we all need to eat. Eating tasty food provides nourishment for the body and the soul. And while our current grocery situation doesn’t exactly give us a lot of flexibility in terms of what we are eating, we can be creative with what we have and make the most of it.
While putting together this post, I was also reminded that some of us still won’t have access to many of the ingredients needed. With that in mind, I have given notes to each of the recipes below with some adaptations.
Something else we can do, if we haven’t already? Organize the pantry! Although my pantry isn’t that pretty with labels and glass jars, I do go through it regularly and have spots for everything. Re-organizing also helps us to uncover more food we didn’t know we had!
Pantry style recipes:
My first recipe here is one that I don’t have a recipe for on the blog! It’s also one that we make often at my house: Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos. I simply add one jar of red salsa with one jar of green salsa.
You can use green enchilada sauce as a replacement, or even diced tomatoes in place of red salsa. Throw both jars into a slow cooker with about 2lbs of chicken breast or thighs (can also be frozen). Cook on low for 4 hours, shred with a fork and serve!
Here is a list of several other pantry style meals I know that you will love!
BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Soup: One of the easiest recipes ever, and one of my daughter’s favorites! We combine black beans with chicken, BBQ Sauce, and broth. You can stir in canned or frozen corn, and red onion if you have it. This one can also be made in the Instant Pot!
Cheesy Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Taco Skillet: most important recipes to use for this recipe are the black beans (can be subbed with kidney beans or northern white beans), quinoa (can sub with rice), taco seasoning (or simply throw together a mix of chili powder, cumin, and salt), diced tomatoes or any tomato sauce (fresh tomatoes can also work) and frozen corn (can omit). If you have cheese, great! If you don’t, don’t worry about it 😉
Slow Cooker Three Bean Chili with Quinoa: A great way to use some beans and quinoa! Feel free to mix up which beans you use (maybe you only have one type of bean and that is fine too), the quinoa can even be omitted. The poblano pepper can be omitted or swapped with bell pepper. A sweet potato can also be left out or you can add in another vegetable like butternut squash or carrots.
Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup: Any lentil will work, no worries if you don’t have fresh garlic or ginger, and use water in place of broth if you are out! Also, garam masala is a unique ingredient, and it’s fine to omit.
Three Bean Salad: This one has 3 types of beans (3 cans), use any three you have on hand! Even if it’s the same type of bean. The artichoke hearts and beets can be omitted. Any fresh veggies or herbs you have on hand works great (tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, etc). The only thing you really need for the dressing is an oil and red wine vinegar!
Slow Cooker Chipotle Black Bean Soup: This one uses up dried black beans and makes so much! You can adjust the spices (chili powder, cumin, coriander) and omit if you are missing any of these. Or use 3 tbsp of taco seasoning. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and you can omit the sweet potato! Celery, onion, carrots, bell pepper can all be thrown into this soup for some added nutritional value.
Nutty Sweet Potato Soup: You can swap out the sweet potatoes with butternut squash, carrots, canned pumpkin, or even a mix of veggies. Don’t worry about the jalapeño, you can omit or use a bell pepper. For the nut butter, use whatever you have on hand.
Instant Pot Coconut Cilantro Lime Chicken: As long as you have chicken, limes, and coconut milk, you are good to go! You don’t need cilantro or cumin for this recipe.
Instant Pot Sausage Pizza Soup: Feel free to swap out the sausage with ground beef or turkey. Pantry staples such as canned tomato sauce, red wine vinegar, artichoke hearts, and olives may need to be swapped out for alternatives (be sure to include something tomato even if it’s diced tomatoes).
Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Taco Soup: Ground beef, taco seasoning, canned tomatoes, and some broth is the base of this soup. Add in whatever else you have on hand! Canned beans, canned corn or frozen corn, bell peppers, frozen cauliflower rice, it all works well.
Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore: A family favorite! Use either chicken breast or thighs, any combination of Italian spices you have on hand(rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme), any color of bell pepper, and feel free to omit the marinated artichokes. Also, use broth, water, or wine!
Vegetable Garden Pasta: This vegetarian meal uses fresh produce for the sauce. I love this because it seems my grocery store has plenty of fresh produce (during this COVID-19 outbreak) and not as many meat options. You can easily use canned tomatoes for this sauce as well, or frozen veggies you have on hand.
Breakfast Recipes/Baked Goods:
Peanut Butter and Honey Banana Muffins: This kid friendly muffin recipe is one they will LOVE for breakfast! Substitute any milk (dairy-free or regular milk) if you are missing greek yogurt. You can also use a different type of nut butter in place of peanut butter. Chocolate chips are a yummy addition! Finally, feel free to use either honey or maple syrup (double one or the other), you won’t need both.
Pumpkin and Apple Breakfast Bake: I found a few cans of pumpkin in my pantry! It made me think of making this simple breakfast. You can try and sub any type of milk for the coconut milk. Any nut such as pecans, walnuts, or almonds will work in this recipe. Also add in a bit of maple syrup to make it sweeter.
Chia Pudding 3 ways: If you have some chia seeds and any kind of milk, so easy to whip up a nutritious breakfast or afternoon snack! 3 different flavors here that you can play with.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Paleo): If you stocked up on bananas like I did, you might be having several of them ripen before you can use them. Banana bread is a perfect way to use up those bananas that are ripening. Also, you may or may not have maple syrup or honey. Feel free to omit completely, the bread is sweetened enough with bananas.
Freezer Friendly Meals:
I had a request from a few readers on meals that would be easy to double, and then freeze one portion to eat a later time. I love this idea! Things that you can make this week, and maybe eat again in a few weeks or even a few months. Plenty of my recipes do well frozen, some do not. I prefer to freeze foods that are soups, stews, ethnic food, or those that are very saucy. Also, I have not included any baked goods on this list, it’s only main dishes. BUT, you can freeze any of my baked goods! In fact, that is normally how I store all of my baked good.
Here are some of my favorites:
What is everyone else doing this week with social distancing? Being productive? I want to say that I’ve been very productive, but the honest answer is that the coronavirus has completely distracted me! Let me know how you are all doing working from home and juggling kids school work!