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11 simple dinners you can make with standard pantry staples


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We really cannot emphasize enough the importance of storing your pantry. And no, not just because of all the coronavirus news you can't escape right now (although that certainly drove it home). Every night when you need a quick and easy dinner, you can take inspiration from your well-stocked pantry and whip up a treat.

Make sure the pantry is well packed with both basic essentials (for example, your canned beans and tomatoes) and high impact seasonings (capers, anchovies, etc.) and it doesn't even matter if you're not in the shop (let alone at the farmers market). Because you can still make a fantastic homemade meal with pantry staples – and it doesn't have to be boring. A few tricks, like using fresh citrus and herbs, enliven even the simplest of ingredients.

Here are some of our favorite easy pantry meals for every night:

1. Indian chickpea curry

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With a few inventive uses of spices, you can easily turn pantry staples like chickpeas and canned tomatoes into a memorable meal. This curry relies on garlic, onion, cumin, paprika, ginger, and cilantro to add bold and bright flavors to the modest canned chickpeas. Get Chowhound's Indian chickpea curry recipe.

2. Creamy Tomato Soup

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Canned tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients in our kitchen. This recipe turns them into a fantastic soup with a little cream for richness (but if you don't have any dairy, make Chowhound's spicy tomato soup recipe instead). The fresh basil chiffonade is a great garnish, but when you run out of spices, sprinkle over croutons or crackers for a finishing touch. Hard cheese like parmesan will stay in the fridge forever, so make sure you always have it too (and don't throw out the crust if you've grated everything, add it to the stockpot to flavor it). Get Chowhound's creamy tomato soup recipe.

3. Bucatini all & # 39; Amatriciana

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<p>  Pasta is the saving grace of an unprepared cook. Even if you haven't been to the grocery store or planned a meal, you can still make an excellent dinner with things you have on hand. This classic Italian pasta is solidly made with the addition of salty pancetta, and best of all, it doesn't cost too much from prep to plate. Get Chowhound's bucatini all & # 39; Amatriciana recipe. (No pork products? This butter, tomato and onion sauce rigatoni is even simpler – and inspired by Marcella Hazan.) </p>
<h2>  4. Braised white beans with chard </h2>
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A filling and delicious meal made with simple pantry staples: put this on your list of things to make. Smothering cannellini beans in broth with some aromatics gives them a deep, savory flavor. A splash of white wine vinegar adds some complexity and brightens up the dish. Use chard to put in your veggies, or swap chard for another hearty leafy vegetable (including frozen spinach if that's all you have on hand). Get stewed Chowhound white beans with chard recipe.

5. Desperation spaghetti carbonara

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You are hungry and long for something warm and comforting, but you forgot to shop. The refrigerator is empty and you start to panic. Enter spaghetti carbonara. This brilliant recipe uses only dried pasta, cheese, garlic, eggs and butter. Every time we make it, we are surprised by how a few simple ingredients can make for such a sophisticated tasting dish. Master it now and never be hungry again! Get Chowhound's desperate spaghetti carbonara recipe.

6. Basic scrambled eggs

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Scrambled eggs cannot be matched for a meal that is easy and inexpensive and does not require fancy ingredients. This is our go-to recipe for when the fridge feels empty and we don't have the energy to yell at more complicated dishes. If you want to dress it up a bit, use what you have on hand such as cheese or bacon or mushrooms. Get the basic scrambled eggs recipe from Chowhound.

7. Vegan scramble

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<p>  If you don't eat eggs (or are just fresh), you can also make a mean vegan struggle with chickpeas – grinding some of them in a food processor is key to texture. If you don't have leeks, swap onions, shallots, or even spring onions for a slightly different flavor in the same vein – and keep a jar of roasted red peppers in your pantry, as they can be used in many recipes that call for peppers that are cooked soft (like this one). If you're missing that distinctly egg-like flavor, consider including Indian black salt in your spice shops. Get the vegan scramble recipe. </p>
<h2>  8. Green pea soup </h2>
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This pea soup is a winner in every season and relies on lemon juice to brighten up the otherwise simple file of ingredients. If there are fresh peas in season, use them to give the soup a full flavor. In winter (or when fresh produce is otherwise scarce), frozen peas work wonderfully. Get the Chowhound Green Pea Soup recipe.

9. Pantry chicken puttanesca with one pan per week

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This single pan dish is packed with flavor thanks to the stable holders such as olives, anchovies, capers, tomatoes and garlic. The rice soaks up the sauce (and yes, it really cooks in the same pan), but can be skipped if you prefer to serve with bread or pasta. Keep chicken thighs in the freezer and you can do this very quickly. Get the one-pan weekday pantry chicken puttanesca recipe. (Or keep it classic … ish, and make Chowhound's spaghetti puttanesca recipe with a non-traditional twist.)

10. Chorizo ​​and Olive Flatbread

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<p>  Cured meats last surprisingly long in the utility room (or refrigerator), so keep Spanish chorizo ​​somewhere in the house and you can always make this simple pizza alternative. The base can be prepared from any type of pizza crust or flatbread, which you can keep in the freezer until you need it. Stonefire naan and Trader Joe & # 39; s Middle East flatbread are both worthy options. Other oil specialists include oil-hardened olives, diced tomatoes, harissa and lightly caramelized onions. Get Chowhound's chorizo ​​and olive flatbread recipe. </p>
<h2>  11. Baked Potatoes </h2>
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Store potatoes in a cool, dark and dry place and they will be good for a while – and they are good for so much. An easy way to take advantage of the modest pudding is to just bake and cover it with any combination of pantry staples you want. If you're a fan of some fish preserves, try sardines with tomato sauce and satay onions. Find the recipe in Chowhound's overview of things to do with canned sardines.

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