A well stocked pantry is a mom’s best friend. It is filled with a variety of canned goods, spices, grains and sauces that will put dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
Have a good supply of chicken stock, milk, canned vegetables and pasta sauce on hand. Yogurt can substitute for sour cream in a pinch. A freezer full of vegetables, meat and poultry will give you many last-minute options.
Look for go-to recipes that work with pasta or rice, chicken or beef and you can improvise with what is in your pantry. This Pantry Meal checklist is a great guide.
Here are four quick recipes from your pantry that will provide meals in minutes for the busy mom!
Preserves and jams make quick and easy glazes for chicken, pork and fish. You start with a mild sauce for the kids and add more spice for the adults with Sriracha sauce, hot sauce or red pepper flakes.
Orange Glazed Chicken - Serves 4 – Ready in 15 Minutes
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper, 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/2 cup orange marmalade, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/2 cup mandarin oranges
Place olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on each side and remove to a plate. Place onion and garlic in the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add marmalade, soy sauce and mandarin oranges. Heat until the marmalade melts and stir. Place chicken in pan and cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice and almonds.
A box of pasta, canned tomatoes and frozen vegetables are the start of a tasty pasta dinner. The recipe is vegetarian but feel free to add grilled chicken or shrimp.
Southwestern Pasta – Ready in 20 Minutes
Ingredients: 8 oz. uncooked fusilli or penne pasta, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 onion, finely chopped, 1 cans (14.5 oz. each) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, 1 cup frozen corn, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. In heavy 10-inch skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and peppers and cook 3 minutes. Add cooked pasta, salt, pepper and cilantro. Toss well and top with cheese.
Tortilla pizzas are easy to customize for the picky eaters in your family.
Beef Enchilada Pizza – Ready in 20 Minutes
Ingredients: 1 lb. ground beef, salt and pepper, 1/2 red onion, minced, 2 teaspoons taco seasoning, 1 cup enchilada sauce, 1 cup refried beans, 1 tomato, seeded and chopped, 1 cup grated cheddar & jack cheese, 2 teaspoons cilantro, finely minced, 4 tortilla’s or refrigerated pizza dough
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown the ground beef. Remove to a bowl. Add red onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add taco seasoning, enchilada sauce and ground beef. Place tortillas on baking sheet lightly coated with oil. Top with refried beans. Place a layer of ground beef and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and top with tomatoes and cilantro. Serve with sour cream, salsa and extra cheese.
If you haven’t tried farro or quinoa, don’t wait another day to jump on the bandwagon. Farro has become a recent obsession. These ancient grains are hearty, full of protein and a great base for pantry meals. Use stock instead of water to give your dish a richer flavor.
Farro With Italian Tomato Sauce - Serves 4 – Ready in 30 Minutes
Ingredients: 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, grilled, 1 cup farro, 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, 1 onion, minced, 1 cup tomato sauce, zest of 1 lemon, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons basil, julienne, 2 ounces goat cheese (optional)
Place chicken stock and farro in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Farro should be tender but with a bite. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat combine the olive oil, onion and salt. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the tomato sauce and zest of one lemon. Stir in the farro and Parmesan cheese. Top with grilled chicken.
Before you shop: Put a reminder on your calendar every six months to check expiration dates on your pantry items.
Cheri Liefeld of Adventures in the Kitchen believes in celebrating life around the table. She is a recipe developer, cooking instructor and writer. She blogs over at Adventures In The Kitchen where she shares easy to make recipes, party inspiration and ideas for cooking with kids.
A native of Southern California her cooking is filled with fresh ingredients from local farmers markets and often served spicy. She fell in love with cooking as a little girl, playing in the kitchen after school. Trips to Italy and Australia have influenced her cooking and a love for simple, delicious meals.
As a cooking instructor she is passionate about inspiring kids to cook, along with encouraging the benefits of the family meal. Food tastes better when shared with family and friends.