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Let’s face it, every one of us has gone through a tough time or two and needed to make meals from the pantry.

When the money runs out or the stores are out of supplies, we often head to our pantry to see how we can get by with what we have on hand.

We all want to feed our family wholesome and nutritious meals but when we can’t purchase anything else, we are often left feeling already defeated.

But let me tell you…you most likely already have on hand some great ingredients to make delicious meals!

That’s when making meals from the pantry is so important, not only to use up what’s in there but so that we don’t waste what’s in there either!

Because wasted food is wasted money! And no one likes to do that.

So let’s make meals to clean out the pantry so you can put delicious meals on the table today!

While these may be budget pantry meals, they surely will not lack in taste or in love!

So let’s get busy making meals from the pantry you’ll love!

meals from the pantry

1. See What You Have

If you’re going to eat meals from the pantry, you kinda need to know what’s in there!

First, start organizing your pantry. Throw out anything that is old, dented and may have gone bad.

Then, sort by like items and then add those items to your pantry inventory. You will want to keep your pantry organized so that this time of eating meals to clean out the pantry is easy and less stressful.

As you sort and put things back, put older items towards the front for easy access. Newer items should be toward the back and only used after the older ones have been consumed.

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If you have extra time, you can take a sharpie and write the expiration date to the top of the can, jar or box so you know what items will expire first. This bit of information can help when you go to make your meals too so nothing is wasted.

To keep things organized you may also want to label the shelves or spaces so that even your husband can find something!

Lastly, clean out the freezer and refrigerator. List what you have on your pantry inventory, then organize it as you put it back.

meals from the pantry

2. Find Inspiration

After you’ve cleaned out and sorted your food supply, and you know what you have to work with to make meals from the pantry, you’re going to need some idea on what to do with those ingredients!

That’s when you need to find inspiration for your budget pantry meals. Some people are so talented that they can take a few ingredients and make up a gourmet meal from their heads. Not me. I need help just so I don’t make the same meals over and over again.

Now, you can pick a protein and a starch and add it to a recipe app like Supercook or My Fridge Food.

This can help you find a recipe that fits your ingredients and suits your family’s tastes.

meals from the pantry

3. Make Simple Suppers

Think you don’t have enough food supplies to make meals from the pantry? You might surprise yourself with the ingredients you already have on hand.

Now that you have your food inventory, you can simply sort your supply list into sections: Starches, Proteins, and Sides.

That way your food inventory can be used to make hearty meals, soups, and casseroles.

You really don’t need the typical meat and two sides to make a complete meal. Soup is a great simple meal.

Even a pasta dish and a vegetable side can be very nutritious.

Keep your meals simple so you can quickly cross off the items you’ve used off your inventory.

Just take a look at this rich and hearty Lentil Soup. It doesn’t have meat in the recipe, yet it is filling and nutritious.

Items such as pasta, canned vegetables, condensed soup, and jars of sauce can be made into easy meals in a jiffy.

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meals from the pantry

4. Add Simple Stretchers

I know it’s hard not to eat protein rich meals. But limiting the amount of meat you add into a dish will save you money and stretch your pantry items farther.

Add some simple stretchers to stretch that meat to the max and make some budget pantry meals.

Start by adding a 1/2-3/4 cup of ground oats to a pound of ground beef to stretch it further. You can also add 8 oz of diced mushrooms when you fry your ground beef and your family won’t be the wiser.

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Also, if you have extra vegetables that are about to go bad, you can puree them and add them to your ground meats for extra stretching powers. Add pureed peppers, onions, carrots, and celery to stretch that sauce and meat.

If you don’t have enough meat for the main dish, use small strips of it, chop and dice it up evenly so everyone gets a good helping of it.

Other meat stretchers:

  • Rice
  • Barley
  • Homemade breadcrumbs
  • Cooked beans
  • Lentils
  • Potatoes
  • Grated Zucchini or Squash
meals from the pantry

5. Make ‘Em Love It

Okay so I never claim to be a gourmet chef or anything of the sort. I am a baker through and through.

I can whip up a homemade batch of cookies or a scrumptious pie in no time but please don’t ask me to make dinner.

One thing I realized is that food doesn’t have to be fancy or plated perfectly for my family to love it. As long as it tastes good, that what counts in the long run.

Your family will be more willing to eat something they have created themselves so get help in the kitchen!

If you have children, then let them help make some of the meals.

Keep it fun for the whole family by keeping a positive attitude and motivating each other to eat what is in front of them is the key to a successful dinner.

As you can see, making meals from the pantry is so important, not only to use up what’s in there but so that we don’t waste what’s in there either!

Because wasted food is wasted money! And no one likes to do that.

So let’s make meals to clean out the pantry so you can put delicious meals on the table today and tomorrow and the next day.

While these may be budget pantry meals, they surely will not lack in taste or in love!

 

YOUR TURN: What meals from the pantry do you like to make on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments below!

meals from the pantry
How To Make Meals From The Pantry You'll Love
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