Let’s face it – sometimes there is more month at the end of the money than there is money at the end of month. But you still have to eat and you want to eat well. So unless you are really into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, these ideas for making good meals from your pantry should help! Your tummy will be full and your wallet will thank you!
Pizza Margherita – All you need for a quick simple pizza is pizza crust, oil, garlic, a can of tomatoes and some cheese. Make crust mix according to package directions and bake. Brush with a little olive oil and then rub with garlic (or crush garlic and spread evenly over crust). Drain crushed or diced tomatoes thoroughly, then spread over crust. Top with cheese – you can even use Parmesan cheese from the can for this! Bake until cheese is golden brown. You can also make pizza crust from yeast and flour as well.
Chicken pot pie – For easy chicken pot pie, you’ll need pie crust (either refrigerated or frozen; or make your own with flour and butter or shortening) or you can use a refrigerated biscuit for a topper too! You’ll also be using leftover chicken and canned or frozen mixed vegetables. You also can use a chowder type canned soup for your filling! Depending on how thick you like your sauce in your pie, you can use either a canned cream of chicken or mushroom soup or add a little bit of flour to your other canned soup to thicken the sauce. Place the mixture into the bottom of your baking dishes and top with a biscuit. If you do have the pie crust, just cut into rounds slightly smaller than the diameter of your baking dish. Bake until biscuit is golden brown and filling is bubbly. It’s really cute to do these in individual ramekins and everyone gets their own!
Omelets – What’s not to love about an omelet? Grab your favorite omelet pan and you can add literally anything to eggs and cheese to make a different dinner every day! Add tomatoes and black olives for a pizza omelet. Think beans (refried or black) and corn for a Tex-Mex type omelet. Here is where your spices can come into play as well. Season with crushed red pepper flakes or lemon pepper for a different flavor.
Chili – Beans, tomatoes, chili powder – that’s the basics. Then you can add anything else that you find in the pantry to make a delicious chili in no time. This recipe is so flexible and perfect for Meatless Monday. You can keep it vegetarian or add canned chicken to make a yummy chili. Chicken broth can also be used to make your chili more stew than soup; to make a white chili just use chicken and white or cannelloni beans. Personally, I prefer to make mine in a slow cooker, letting it simmer all day!
Fried Rice – Cook rice and drain. Add back to the pan and add canned or frozen peas. Keep warm. Brown onions and garlic in a pan with a little oil. Add canned shrimp or chicken – or use leftover chicken. Once almost warmed and brown, move to the side of the skillet and add an egg or 2. Scramble and cook, then mix everything together. Add rice mixture to onion/egg mixture, then toss with rice vinegar and/or soy sauce. Season with salt and red pepper flakes, if you have them.
There are five different ideas for eating well while pinching your pennies. You should have most of these ingredients in your pantry from cooking your regular meals, even if you aren’t using them all the time. Stocking a few things in your pantry when you do have the cash will help you eat better when you don’t!