As you try to limit your trips to the grocery store, you are probably digging deeper into your pantry as you plan and prepare your meals.
You may have discovered some forgotten items in the back of your pantry, or the bottom drawer of your fridge. Or the timing of your grocery trips may mean that you need to use up things like eggs and milk to make room for new arrivals.
Or you chose a produce box from a local farm or restaurant to support a small business, and now you have some produce to use – pronto. Whatever the reason, you may find yourself looking for some pantry recipe ideas to use up food items. Here are some pantry recipe ideas to get you started:
Almost any seed or nut can be added to this granola recipe – feel free to be creative. Our last batch had sesame seeds and chia seeds in it, but you can use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, almonds – whatever you and your family prefer (and whatever is taking up space in the back of your pantry or fridge).
It has been difficult to find bread (though I did recently find this family bakery that makes shelf-stable, finish-at-home bread – what a game changer!), so it’s time for other vehicles – like celery, bananas, or even stir some into a dressing for noodles and/or lettuce.
You can also make a 3-ingredient cookie with this formula:
- 1 cup SMOOTH nut and/or seed butter (my last batch was part sunflower seed butter and part peanut butter), ¾ cup granulated sugar, and 1 egg.
- Beat all three ingredients together to form a soft dough. Chill briefly if dough is too soft to shape.
- Form into cookies on a greased or lined baking sheet, and press tops with a fork in a criss-cross pattern, if desired. (Bonus “4th” ingredient – sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt on each cookie.)
- Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the tops of the cookies no longer look shiny.
- Store in an airtight container, or freeze.
If you have had a takeout pizza in the last few months (and really, who hasn’t???) then you probably have acquired an even larger collection of those red chili flakes in your kitchen. While I do enjoy a pinch on a slice of pizza, I also find that our favorite pizza places give us way more than a pinch! What to do the extra? Consider this Thai-style sweet chili sauce recipe. It’s great with dumplings or spring rolls, on chicken, with noodles…
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon garlic minced or pressed from 5-6 cloves
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha (or more, to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Combine sugar, vinegar and 1/4 cup of water in a pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and reduce the heat; simmer for a few minutes, allowing flavors to meld. Add the sriracha.
- In a small measuring cup, combine cornstarch and cold water and stir until fully dissolved.
- Increase heat and add cornstarch/water mixture and salt. Stir constantly until sauce reaches desired consistency (typically like a loose honey).
- Allow to cool before serving with your favorite dippers.
If you stockpiled a bit too much milk, it can be a race to use it before it expires. One solution is to freeze the entire unopened container. Or you can make a batch of a favorite comfort food: chocolate pudding. While most recipes can be made with a variety – or a combination – of milk products, this one is specifically designed to use up that carton of oat milk that you bought because it was shelf-stable – but now you need to use it up.
This pickle recipe from Rachael Ray calls for cucumbers, but I have pickled plenty of crunchy vegetables that were in the back of my refrigerator a bit too long. You can use carrots, celery, onions, peppers…or try whatever is lurking in your produce drawer – it can’t hurt!
After making several comfort-food batches of these brownies and these cookies, you will have some extra egg whites on your hands. I stash them in the freezer and then defrost to add to these waffles or to make mini pavlovas with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
You may be able to get your hands on larger and larger quantities of berries right now, but without end of school year parties, graduation celebrations, and other big events, you may find it’s hard to keep up with the ones at the bottom of the box.
Enter this quick “jam” – a total “cheater” recipe – but one that works. In a wide non-stick skillet, combine a pint of sliced strawberries (or whole other berries) with a cup of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Simmer until the mixture thickens to desired consistency – which could range from a thin sauce (perfect for stirring into yogurt or drizzling over ice cream – or those pavlovas!) to a thicker spread, especially if you have some blueberries in the mix.
Combine about 1 cup of the above jam (strawberry and/or raspberries) with 1 bottle of rosé wine in your blender. Blend until smooth and freeze for several hours. Because of the wine, it won’t freeze solid, but you can serve with a splash of additional rosé, or berry soda or sparkling water.
What are your pantry recipe ideas? Share in the comments below.