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Pantry Raid: 5 Quick and Easy Recipes to Cook From Your Pantry — an article on the Smart Living Network
June 15, 2012 at 12:13 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Pantry Raid: 5 Quick and Easy Recipes to Cook From Your Pantry


It’s been a busy week.

Just starting a full time job after years of being an entrepreneur has been an adjustment. It certainly has its rewards - like a regular schedule and regular pay checks. The downside however, I can no longer squeeze in personal errands and tasks between a conference call or appointments. That means when I get home at 6p cooking dinner needs to be a more efficient process.

But then, I know I’m not alone. There are thousands of working parents with the same time crunch issues. Many fall victims of fast food temptation. If you are one of them and think that you are saving time and money by grabbing a quick bite on the way home. Read on.

You DO Actually Have Something To Eat

You know those times when you open your fridge looking for some form of protein to cook up and there’s nothing there except maybe a bottle of ketchup, a can of beer and something way in the back that scares you and decide to leave it for the next unsuspecting victim?

In my case, I found a couple lumps of gouda cheese, a log of goat cheese, a few slices of lunch meat and fresh basil leaves and a ½ used carton of chicken stock. In the pantry I found a can of fire roasted tomatoes and loaf of bread. Call it a moment of creative genius or a simple coincidence that all of these ingredients made for the most delicious week night meal. The tomato goat cheese and chicken stock became the infamous Tomato Basil Soup and with the leftover gouda and lunch meat, the perfect accompaniment, an adult grilled cheese sandwich.

Your pantry at home may very well already have all the ingredients you need to make a quick, easy meal in minutes and you may not even know it! In fact, one of my favorite recipes, “Tomato Basil Soup” was created out of necessity and has become a staple at our dinner table!

In This Chef's Kitchen: Stock For Endless Meal Options

There are so many great pantry style meals that I have compiled a list of must have ingredients to keep on hand at all times. With this well stocked pantry and the following corresponding recipes you will never need to order pizza again.

Yes you can have it all. A career and a healthy well fed happy family.


  • Low-Fat Milk or Soy Milk
  • Low-Fat or Nonfat Plain Yogurt and/or Vanilla Yogurt
  • Reduced-Fat Sour Cream
  • Good-Quality Parmesan Cheese and/or Romano Cheese
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Butter, preferably unsalted. (Store in the freezer if you use infrequently.)
  • Eggs (large).
  • Orange Juice
  • Dry White Wine or Non-Alcoholic Wine if you wish
  • Water-Packed Tofu
  • Mayo
  • Olives: Kalamata Olives and Green Olives
  • Capers
  • Anchovies or Anchovy Paste (for flavoring pasta sauces and salad dressings)


  • Fruit Juice Concentrates: Orange, Apple, Pineapple
  • Frozen Vegetables: Edamame (soybeans), Peas, Spinach, Broccoli, Bell Pepper and Onion Mix, Corn, Chopped Onions, Small Whole Onions, Uncooked Hash Browns
  • Frozen Berries
  • Italian Turkey Sausage and Sliced Prosciutto (to flavor fast pasta sauces)
  • Shrimp
  • Low-Fat Vanilla Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt

Oils, Vinegars & Condiments

  • Oils: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (for cooking and salad dressings) and Canola Oil (for cooking and baking)
  • Vinegars: Balsamic, Red-Wine, White-Wine, Rice, Cider
  • Flavorful Nut and Seed Oils: Toasted Sesame Oil, Walnut Oil (for salad dressings and stir-fry seasonings)
  • Asian Condiments and Flavorings: Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Hoisin Sauce, Mirin, Oyster Sauce, Chile-Garlic Sauce, Curry Paste
  • Asian condiments and flavorings: reduced-sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, chile-garlic sauce, curry paste
  • Dijon mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salsa

The Spice Cabinet

  • Kosher Salt: Coarse Sea Salt and Fine Salt
  • Black peppercorns
  • Dried Herbs: Bay Leaves, Dill, Crumbled Dried Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Tarragon, Italian Seasoning Blend
  • Spices: Allspice (whole berries or ground), Caraway Seeds, Chili Powder, Cinnamon Sticks, Ground Cinnamon, Coriander Seeds, Ground Coriander, Cumin Seeds, Ground Cumin, Curry Powder, Ground Ginger, Dry Mustard, Nutmeg, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper, Turmeric
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, natural and/or Dutch-processed
  • Bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips

Canned Goods & Bottled Items

  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth, Beef Broth and/or Vegetable Broth
  • Clam Juice
  • Canned Clams
  • “Lite” Coconut Milk (for Asian curries and soups)
  • Canned Beans: Cannellini Beans, Great Northern Beans, Chickpeas, Black Beans, Red Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans
  • Canned Lentils
  • Chunk Light Tuna, Salmon and Sardines

Grains & Legumes

(Store opened packages in the refrigerator or freezer.)

  • Whole-Wheat Flour
  • Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Assorted Whole-Wheat Pastas
  • Brown Rice and Instant Brown Rice
  • Pearl Barley and Quick-Cooking Barley
  • Rolled Oats
  • Whole-Wheat Couscous
  • Bulgur
  • Dried Lentils
  • Yellow Cornmeal
  • Plain Dry Breadcrumbs
  • Wild Rice
  • Corn or Flour Tortillas

Nuts, Seeds, Fruits and Veggies

(Store opened packages of nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.)

  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Dry-Roasted Unsalted Peanuts
  • Pine Nuts
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Tahini
  • Assorted Dried Fruits: Apricots, Prunes, Cherries, Cranberries, Dates, Figs, Raisin
  • Citrus: Lemons, Limes, Oranges. (The zest is as valuable as the juice. Organic fruit is recommended when you use a lot of zest.)
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger

Pantry Recipes

Photo Credit: Auntie P

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