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Pantry Meals

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Chicken Risotto

Chicken Risotto

Linda Larsen
During the winter, I try to keep my pantry well stocked with staple ingredients so even if I can't get to the store, I can still pull together a hot and hearty meal. Pantry meals are an important part of anyone's budget. And I fall back on old favorites, including one I used to make a lot when I was just married and money was tight: Mac and cheese revved up with some sauteed onion and garlic, and a bit of Dijon mustard. Try it - it's really good!

When you store these items and keep a list of recipes you can make from them, you will never be caught off guard, whether your teenagers are 'starving' in the middle of a blizzard or you just don't want to venture out in the subzero cold. And while browsing through the foods, you'll come up with more ideas: adding sun dried tomatoes and olives to tomato sauce for pasta; mixing shrimp and canned fruits and their juices with some cooked pasta for a quick salad; grilling a mixture of ground ham, Parmesan cheese, olives, and mayonnaise on some cracked wheat bread. Here's my pantry staples list:

  • canned tomato products, including diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, and pasta sauces
  • an assortment of pastas, including whole wheat pasta and, yes, mac and cheese mix
  • basmati, arborio, long grain brown, and wild rice
  • canned meats, including crab, shrimp, chicken, and ham
  • canned broths and soups
  • potatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage
  • beans and legumes, including canned and dried varieties and mixes
  • dried herbs and spices
  • mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup (unopened)
  • canned fruits, including mandarin oranges, pears, and pineapple
  • canned vegetables, including corn, chilies, green beans, wax beans
  • peanut butter and other nut butters
  • jellies, jams, raisins, dates
  • nuts, including pecans, walnuts, pine nuts
  • olives, sun dried tomatoes, tapenade
  • flavored vinegars, olive oil
  • baking ingredients, including flour, sugar, baking powder, extracts, brown sugar, whole wheat flours, cornmeal, gelatin

If you make your own mixes, you'll have an even better collection of potential recipes on hand. And remember, if you can't find or don't want to buy convenience mixes like beans and pasta, you can substitute an equivalent quantity of pasta or canned beans or both, and use your own herbs and spices.

Now go to the next page to get all the recipes!

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