Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Home-Made Meals Strictly From the Pantry ~ Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series ~ Please Share!

"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.

- Black beans and Spanish rice burrito with homemade tortillas.

- 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.

 * Tip - Don't discard your chickpea liquid! You can use it as a sub for eggs! ~ Submitted by Lana


- 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:

A Cabin Full of Food Book by Marie Beausoleil - Submitted by Gill (more info here - great resource)

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). And for those of you asking about these PANTRY CANISTER LABELS, you can find them here! 💛


  1. You are such a dear :-) I like to make "gifts in a jar" for our personal use, from pancake mix to 6 bean soup. We have a freezer but if the power was out (long term), I would be canning meat like a crazy woman.
    Also, since reading it in your list, now taco soup sounds really good!

    1. Yes, the prepared mixes in jars are jewels for the homemaker! And canning like a crazy women is exactly right if that happened!!! Thanks for sharing and again for your kind help!

  2. Pantry stocking is so hard in our house. My husband has juvenile diabetes so almost every meal you list he cannot eat. The only things on your list that are ok for him is tuna with mayo, nuts, crustless quiche & dark chocolate chips.

    I store a lot of canned meat, pickles & green beans. He eats meat, fresh veggies & dairy plus nuts.

    1. Hi Jenny, thanks for sharing! I know that food restrictions in many households make this very challenging! I know I personally have foods I don't eat daily but in an emergency situation, I would (aka sugary muffins and white flour products, etc...)... but I don't have any allergies and medical condition in that area... I think the things you do store are very wise! And supplemented with any garden produce, etc., you have more options.

  3. 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.

    1. Your patties sound delicious Ginger! I will add the recipe to my list! Thanks for sharing ❤️

  4. Yesterday I found a pdf recipe book for food storage items only. It was on the blog "A year without the grocery store". https://ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/my-free-gift-to-you/ Some of the recipes call for things I hadn't heard of before such as dehydrated ground beef but it did give me some ideas that I'll be using such as chicken chili from canned chicken since I do buy and store that from Costco.

    1. Hi Kathryn! Thanks for sharing! I will include the link above for us to glean the recipes of foods that we do store in our pantry! :)

  5. The majority of the meals listed would be great for my son and myself when the Redneck is not at home. However, he won't touch a lot of the things you listed, so I have had to develop my pantry around his preferences. Although it took a long time to do so, it was worth it, as now I can whip up quick meals that we all enjoy. I know a lot of folks do meatless meals on occasion, and I do also, when the Redneck is not home. When we first got together, I told him that I occasionally made meatless meals, and would that be okay? His reply was, "As long as there's meat in them--no problem!" lol, and 23 years later, we're still having meat in our meatless meals!

    1. That's pretty funny! I know we all have our preferences... the idea in this post is in a worst case scenario... It is always good to have back up recipes. But this isn't something I would necessarily eat on a daily basis. And I think any hubby would be happy if we conjured something out of nothing in an emergency... :) Thanks for sharing Evelyn!

  6. Dear Jes,
    Thank you for the ideas. In the past I have made things from only my pantry and freezer when there has been a lot of snow and getting to the store is impractical.
    I always have a supply of canned goods and canned salmon or tuna plus crackers etc. We did have a stretch of 3 days without electricity once and I learned very quickly how to make no cook meals or meals cooked on my Volcano stove. It makes you tap into your pioneer/ Depression era spirit.
    While we are storing things I do like to make things pretty and I would love to know where you found the brown and cream flour and sugar labels you show.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Laura, thanks for sharing! :)

      Circumstances truly do encourage the pioneering spirit! I think the tuna and crackers is probably everyones favorite... protein and tasty and filling but healthy.

      As far as the labels go, thank you for inquiring. I actually have been preparing them myself this last few weeks or so to sell in an Etsy shop. For years I have been making them from home but they are always destroyed by water, spills, and handling, etc... Since I finished home education this year I thought it would be fun to do them up the right way in a custom waterproof vinyl sticker in the old fashioned style I love. Anyways, I am hoping to open the store within a week or two... I'm sort of shy about it so I am honored you asked about them! :)

  7. I have just moved to a house that has a cold storage pantry and I'm delighted! It is much easier to see what we have and what we need by walking in there then rummaging through cupboards. Thanks for all the great ideas for meals. I like to cook from scratch. I just bought the makings for salsa today and hope to can that up tomorrow. :) Something to add to the pantry for a great simple meal.

    1. Wow!!! That is always something I have dreamed about -- a cold storage pantry! :)

      Have fun preparing and organizing it!!!

  8. 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 😬 Love your blog! ❤️ Jenny T.

    1. Yum! You had me at cute casserole dish!! :) That sounds really good and something everyone would enjoy that will fill them up at the same time! Thank you for sharing -- I am going to add this to the list above! And funny about the Velveeta (We have a joke in our family that it is the dairy free cheese!)... Such a controversial topic 😱hee-hee

  9. I’d like to recommend a recipe book by Marie Beausoleil: A Cabin full of Food. She wrote it whilst raising her family in a cabin without electricity, running water or heat other than a wood stove. All kinds of foodstuffs are dealt with, not only how to preserve them, but also how to use them afterwards.

    1. Oh my goodness Gill -- I can't believe I forgot about this resource! I have it in PDF on my computer which is probably why I did (I tend to gravitate towards the physical book)... I even wrote about it a few years back! This is a senior moment for me indeed. But I will remedy it and include the book in the list above. It is an OUTSTANDING resource and quite normal in ingredients for the most part! Thank you :)

  10. Don't discard your chickpea liquid! You can use it as a sub for eggs!

    1. Oooh!!! Excellent tip! I will add that in Lana! Thanks for sharing! :)

  11. Besides tomato sauce, my son likes jar cheese sauces (Alfredo, cheddar, etc) so I always have them on hand for whole wheat pasta and sauce. We also have a Latino background, so we like arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas) with or without meat on the side. Since I have cut most of my carbs, I add some of whatever meat I'm having to his pasta (kind of like homemade Hamburger helper). I also like to make rice and use the leftovers for fried rice (if we don't have meat I'll scramble a few eggs). When friends that hunt or fish share there may be moose or cod next to the rice :-)
    Glad you are back to blogging and good to hear about the labels. I've printed a lot of your labels and just cover with clear tape - so far, no problems (other than running out of ink).


    1. Those are all great recipe ideas! Thanks for sharing! I forgot about the options of fried rice... but would you always add an egg or can you make without I wonder?

  12. Is the shelf stable cheese home made or bought from a brand?