"The wise store up choice food and olive oil..."
~ Proverbs 21:20a
(Note: It is amazing how life goes. When I reopened this blog, I perused the old articles I had prepared for future posts and the Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series had this entry next in line in the queue. I know that many people were interested in this very topic months ago! I am kind of upset with myself for not being able to post this prior to all the chaos but we will remedy this now. So, keep in mind that I typed many of the sentences prior to where we are today and I am just shaking my head that events already occurred (worldwide) that required the use of a Proverbs 31 Pantry! Our efforts dear ladies, are not in vain!)
We see that the proverbial woman laughs at the time to come or even rejoices, depending on the translation (Proverbs 31:25). I think this must be because -- instead of worrying about the future, she is proactive in the present time. Those who have been with me for awhile know I have been writing about pantries and encouraging you to put love into them for many years. This is all good and helpful! But, in order to be completely productive, I'm learning it is just as important that we learn how to make meals using food strictly from our pantry!
When we think of pantries, we often think of grains, legumes and other random foods instead of potential menus. However, a well stocked pantry can provide the means to make a complete meal if we are creative. We try and maintain a decent inventory of pantry products (aka food storage) for many reasons (here are 10).
Recently we saw many things disappearing from the store shelves. Fresh food is something we take for granted unless we live on a farm or have a productive garden at the time. Grocery stores may not always offer what we need to produce the meals we currently enjoy. This is where I think a recipe book of STRICTLY pantry derived ingredients would be most helpful! I know there are freeze-dried meals and already prepared foods you can store but I am interested in maintaining foods we currently enjoy in our pantry (and not investing in items we wouldn't normally eat or buy). Can we make a proper or decent meal and/or snacks from scratch, from our pantry, that is somewhat healthy from "clean" ingredients, without all the food preservatives found in the pre-packaged meals?
I am interested in and developing recipes which require nothing from the refrigerator or freezer (as that may not be available at one point or another for various reasons).
Some easy ideas come to mind such as a jar of pasta sauce + spaghetti + shelf-stable parmesan cheese = pasta marinara.
Here are some other ideas for meals that I brainstormed up which you can make in a pinch from the pantry:
- Pasta Salad with dried pasta, canned olives, a jar of artichokes, drained canned diced tomatoes & Italian dressing (make your own from pantry ingredients here).
- Tostada shells (or dip the following with tortilla chips) layered with canned refried beans, jar of salsa, canned jalapeños, diced green chilis, canned olives and anything else from the pantry that sounds good with this combination.
- Italian Pizza (the original pizza from Italy doesn't necessarily include cheese as a topping!) using a pizza dough recipe (ingredients easily found in the pantry), top with pizza sauce (or tomato sauce with herbs), shelf stable parmesan cheese, dried herbs, olives and anything else you have stored away that sounds good.
- Homemade granola.
- Oatmeal topped with dried fruit, coconut, nuts and seeds.
- Beans and rice.
- Beans and rice burrito with homemade tortillas.
- Beans mixed with canned veggies and tomato sauce and spices and poured over pasta.
- Flatbread with quick hummus (Blend together in food processor the following ingredients: 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 cups chickpeas - drained and rinsed*, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 6 drops food-grade lemon essential oil, and salt/pepper to taste). Recipe courtesy of Young Living Essentials Oils.
- Basic white bread (ingredients are all in the pantry) with nut butters and/or jam/jelly.
- Tuna mixed with mayo (we keep the individual packets of mayo in the pantry for on-the-go trips) and relish and served on homemade bread or serve with chips or crackers.
- Popcorn with melted coconut oil (or your favorite oil) drizzled on top. You can also sprinkle nutritional yeast on top (very healthy addition), shelf-stable parmesan cheese or any other seasoning combination for a hearty snack.
- Trail mix with nuts, dried fruits, cereals or any type of chocolate you have.
- Bean salad with drained and rinsed beans, drained and rinsed canned, diced tomatoes, drained canned corn, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, dried garlic and any other dried herbs to make a tasty combination.
- Pie/quiche crust (this recipe uses strictly pantry ingredients which you can be creative with using canned fruits or going the savory route with canned veggies).
- The same pie/quiche crust can be made into individual turnovers (hand pies) and filled with canned fruits and any savory combination of vegetables and grains that you can concoct.
- Chocolate chips or bars can be melted down and mixed with a variety of things such as dried fruits, nuts, coconut, seeds and cereals (and dropped onto a cookie sheet and cooled down) to make easy desserts.
- Easy rocky road with 2 cups of melted chocolate chips mixed with 3/4 cups of peanut butter. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of nuts. Allow to cool and stir in 3 cups of mini marshmallows. Spread in (greased or lined) square pan and refrigerate until firm.
Seasoning Mixes to make your meals more flavorful.
- I also keep a good supply of collagen in my pantry which is a great source of protein. This can be mixed into many meals to get a boost.
Meal Ideas From Our Readers:
“I make bean burgers using mashed beans, some type of tomato product, dehydrated onions, oatmeal or crackers crumbs etc fry or bake. I just add flavors that work together. The tomato sauce, ketchup or other adds some moisture and flavor the crumbs or oats help it stick together. Or look up Vegan Loaf most can be made using pantry ingredients.” - Submitted by Ginger
"In a pinch I take from my pantry a can of beans, a can of mixed veggies, a can of corn, a can of Rotel or tomato sauce, season with taco seasoning. Mix together and pour into a cute casserole dish 🥰 make a batch of cornbread dumplings (no eggs needed, use canned milk) dollop on top of bean mixture and bake until golden. I’ve heard of people keeping this thing called Velveeta in their pantry 😱 I suppose, if you must, can use as cheese 😬." - Submitted by Jenny T.
"My standard vegan chili could be adapted for your "pantry only purposes". Usually I would start by sautéing green or red peppers, onions, and garlic, but it would be easy enough to omit those and sub with granulated onion (or whatever you happen to have in your spice rack). Basically, I add corn masa as a thickener and use chili powder and cumin with a hint of cocoa, paprika, and oregano. I then add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water or broth, kidney beans and black beans. Lentils and TVP are another good choice. Speaking of which, TVP (texturized vegetable protein) would be an excellent item for every one to have in their pantries, in terms of preparedness....it is very inexpensive, high in protein, and able to be re-hydrated with boiling or very hot water. We prefer our chili with mashed potatoes, but over rice or spaghetti noodles is a good option....or just served with some bread. Note: salt to taste and can thicken with anything you have on hand, like corn starch." - Submitted by Veggie Mom
Here are some tried and true recipes from other websites which feature normal pantry ingredients and don't require eggs, milks, cheeses and so forth (and don't include things I wouldn't normally buy such as freeze-dried eggs, etc.):
Resources Shared by Readers:
16 Food Storage Meals with 6 Bonus Recipes - Submitted by Kathryn
Now it's your turn! What ideas do you have? What recipes do you have?
If you have a link to a recipe, I will add it to my list above, just leave it in the comments.
If you have a recipe you can share (and have no online link), please type out the recipe in the comments and I will copy and paste it into this list. I will place your name after it if you choose to leave it.
Afterwords, my goal is to compile all these recipes and include them in my Preparedness Notebook under the "tab" Pantry Meals. Won't that be useful and give peace of mind that you can prepare for your family a decently delicious meal with what you have on hand? If I am really ambitious, I will try and share a printable of our collaborative effort that we can all print out for our notebooks.
Let's challenge ourselves to see if we can prepare some healthy and tasty meals for our families. This is such a nice preparedness skill to have on hand in these uncertain times -- to be able to make meals based strictly off of your food storage!
There are many "ordinary" homemakers like ourselves who feel this importance and are sharing their ideas and experiences that you may also appreciate such as Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting and Patsy at A Working Pantry. I also glean much from the Preparedness Mama (though her blog is solely preparedness tips) and The Prudent Homemaker.
On a side note, I think my comments work again with thanks to The Locust Blossom for her kind help (she also is a supporter of pantry building)! Also, this post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).