It happens to all of us: You buy a few cans of chickpeas for a recipe that you never get to, stock up on stewed tomatoes when there’s a sale, or go through a black bean phase that ends in mountains of the stuff taking up space in your pantry. Before you know it, you’re out of shelf space. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of simple ingredient dinners that make use of many of the items people often end up with an abundance of, as well as some everyday staples already in your fridge. Begin by taking inventory and making a list of everything in your pantry. This will help you with meal planning by ingredients. Organize as you go, grouping like-ingredients together, so they’re easier to locate as you work through your recipes. Read on for our collection of fast, easy recipes with just a few ingredients. They’re organized by ingredients, so you can hone in on the items you most need to purge from your shelves.
Canned Tomatoes, Stale Bread, Garlic & Olive Oil
Tuscan Tomato Soup: This simple and delicious tomato soup gets its thickness from the bread rather than cream. Visit Epicurious for the full recipe. If this recipe speaks to you, consider collecting your bread scraps and ends throughout the next few weeks in the freezer for next time. The Epicurious recipe recommends removing the crusts, but if you run the soup through your blender after it cools, it will be just as delicious with crusts included and you may end up with an extra serving. This alternative from Simply Recipes also uses the blender method but calls for several more ingredients, including onions and a variety of spices. We suggest mixing and matching ingredients based on your tastes and the contents of your pantry.
Canned Tuna, Capers, Cheddar Cheese, Mayonnaise & Bread
Open-Faced Tuna Melt: Class up your sandwich act with this tasty, restaurant-quality fare. Check out Cooktoria for a quick recipe. Keep in mind that you don’t really need parsley, and capers can be replaced with diced pickles or relish. You can also use whatever bread you have on hand. Are you flush with leftover hot dog buns? They’ll make a delicious alternative to sliced bread.
Canned Beans, Canned Chickpeas, Canned Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic, Ground Beef (not required) & Various Spices
Pantry Chili: Good chili doesn’t have to take all day. This simple recipe from Sticky Kitchen will take you less than an hour to put together and uses up a variety of canned goods. You don’t need to have every ingredient on their list to turn out a delicious dinner. You might also consider adding a can of corn or the frozen kind if you have some on hand. Frozen or canned green beans might also make a tasty addition. Feel free to get creative!
Squash, Carrots, Green Beans, Onion, Garlic, Celery, Spinach, Rice or Quinoa & Meat – Really, Any Ingredient!
Everything Soup: Like the similarly named bagels, this recipe has a bit of everything. From Cotter Crunch, it’s designed to use up everything you have an excess of, while producing a tasty meal that won’t disappoint. Use all the listed ingredients or any combination of them with various substitutes. Other pantry items you might consider adding or swapping in could include canned corn, sweet and/or non-sweet potatoes, canned tomatoes, and black and/or white beans. The linked recipe uses bacon/pancetta, but you also might consider using any of the preserved meats that sometimes make their way into our stores, such as canned ham or Spam. Or just keep it vegetarian for an extra healthy meal.
We hope you found a recipe or two from our list that works for you. For more life hacks and tips on living large, visit the Alta Dairies blog.