Easy Meal Ideas From The Pantry
Whether we're sheltering in place, locked down, or simply avoiding people, most of us are now cooking at home.
If you're in a quandary on what to make, I've put together a few ideas for meals that you can make from ingredients most of us have in our pantries and freezers.
- Oatmeal, but not just any oatmeal. Splurge on steel cut oats. It's really head and shoulders above the other mush.
- Pancakes/Waffles: Check out my easy recipe for pancakes from scratch.
- Omelette: Get creative with eggs. Since we can't run to the store like before, we can't afford to waste food. You can make something as simple as a cheese omelette to something more filling like ham and cheese, spinach, mushroom, asparagus, or sausage. I snip a few veggies of whatever is in the garden, or use up the last of the sliced ham or sausage. Add a little cheese and you're instantly sainted by your family.
- Toast/English muffins/Bagels: Don't feel you have to go all out every morning. It's okay to serve everyone some toast with jelly, butter, or cream cheese.
- French toast: Has your bread gone stale? Turn it into French toast.
- Fruit: Produce bins are one of the few things that are rarely emptied. Don't ask me why. Take advantage and stock up.
- Breakfast burritos: Scramble eggs and spicy ground beef or sausage, add jalapenos (if you like it spicy) stuff a tortilla and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Fold tightly then grill it in a hot oiled skillet.
If you're cooking for a brood, don't make it complicated. Simple is best.
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Macaroni and cheese
- Ham sandwiches
- Avocado sandwiches
- Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches
- Soup for two: Take 32 ounces of chicken broth (homemade is best), add chopped spinach, kale, or chard, one can of Great Northern beans, and season to taste. I made this the other day and there wasn't a drop leftover.
- Extra poor? Take ramen noodles, add thinly sliced chicken, beef or pork and simmer until cooked. Add scallions, bok choy (any green or cabbage), and a dash of lemon or hot pepper sauce.
- Bean burritos: This one is totally easy. Open a can of refried beans, heat, and slather it in a hot tortilla. Top with cheese and fold tightly.
- Chicken hot wings
- Sausage and pepper casserole
- Frozen pizza (No one says you can't take shortcuts.)
- Skillet supper: Super simple: Take one pound of ground beef, cook and season. Add 12-16 ounces of pasta shells, a can of crushed tomatoes and sauce, or just use a jar of spaghetti sauce. Season, then simmer until pasta is al dente.
- Baked fish
- Mexican lasagna
- Spaghetti with traditional tomato sauce, or jazz it up with garlic butter and shrimp. Yum!
- Hot dogs
- Steak and country fries
For the freezer buy:
- Ground beef
- Whole chicken, wings, or thighs
- Pot roast
- Frozen veggies
- Frozen fruit
- Ham (buy the whole ham and slice to fit meal-sized containers)
- Baking powder
- Peanut butter
- Pasta (noodles and shells)
- Sweet potatoes
- Canned tomatoes
- Pasta sauce
- Canned beans
- Canned corn
- Canned salmon
- Canned tuna
- Canned soup
- Snacks (candy, popcorn, chips, cookies, nuts, and dried fruit)
For the refrigerator buy:
- Cheese (shredded and sliced)
- Milk (or powdered milk)
And now for a little round table discussion while we're sequestered. What are you doing while in isolation? Do you have to go in to work? What seems different to you now?
I notice I'm more likely to strike up conversations with my neighbors when they go past our property on their walks. I read a lot more. Greg and I have longer conversations. Oh, and I'm much more careful if I do anything where I might hurt myself. I don't want to take the chance of having to need a doctor.
Currently, I've been fighting a sore throat for weeks. Pollen-induced, mostly. But it's been making me ill-tempered to feel so achy. I called my doctor today and she prescribed some antibiotics. Dear husband is fetching it now.
So tell me how it is in your neighborhood? Do you see anyone out and about? Are you longing for conversation from someone who's not living in your house? What do you like best about the "new normal"?