I got the idea of coming up with a list of pantry staples that I can make from my mom. She always had a list of meals she can make from what was in the pantry. I didn’t understand it then, but when I got married and had kids of my own, I appreciated it a whole lot.
I used to struggle a lot with meal times. As a Mom, I did not have a meal time table for every day of the week. Not that it is bad or anything, I just like being free to eat what I want to eat without feeling guilty or having to wait till a certain day of the week.
Ever since I came up with a list of meals I can make from my pantry, my life is so much easier. It has saved me lots of time and money. Any time I have to make lunch or dinner I just look at the list and decide on what we will have. I no longer rack my brain trying to figure it out. I also don’t buy take out food as much as I used to.
The best thing about it is that my grocery shopping is way easier than it used to be. I only buy what I actually need.
I stick to simple recipes. I only use the necessary ingredients to prepare my pantry meals. Eliminating unnecessary ingredients from my recipes has saved me a lot of money.
Some of my favorite pantry staples include canned tuna, beans, rice, canned tomato products, and spices. They are affordable and they do not require any refrigeration. This makes them quite easy to keep on hand.
I stock up on pantry staples like pasta and rice. To spend less, I always buy them in bulk. Buying in bulk has saved me a lot of money in the long run.
In case you have any trouble coming up with the list, here are a few pantry meals that will save you lots of time and money.
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Pantry meals to help you save time and money
Rice and beans
Rice and beans are one of my favorite meals. I don’t struggle to make it because the recipe is quite straightforward and the ingredients are not complex. My family enjoys this meal. I sometimes add toppings like fresh salsa to make it a bit tastier. You should try it, it tastes even better. You’ll probably never pay 8 bucks for it at Chipotle again.
I like using Mexican rice because for some weird reason, I usually feel like it tastes better than the normal white or brown rice.
Pepperoni pasta salad
The pepperoni pasta salad is a fun twist to your classic pasta. You can make this salad in 30 minutes or less. The ingredients you will need are common and can be found easily. To make it, you will need pasta, salt, grape tomatoes, baby spinach, kidney beans, pepperoni, grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parmesan, freshly cracked pepper, and Italian dressing,
My favorite thing about the pepperoni pasta salad is its versatility. You can experiment with what you have in your pantry to get the flavor you desire.
Making pepperoni pasta salad is as easy as cooking the pasta, tossing the other ingredients together and adding them to your cooked pasta. It is a delightful meal that everyone will love.
Who doesn’t love pizza? I know I do, and so does everyone in a family. Homemade pizza is a great meal, especially for the weekends when the family can sit down and enjoy a meal together.
I know that when you look inside your pantry, there is no way you can just decide to make pizza. However, as long as there is flour, cheese, and yeast, you can make homemade pizza.
You can make pizza toppings from anything you have in your fridge, be it bacon, chicken or beef.
Sliced baked potatoes with cheese
I am a great potato lover so there is no way baked potatoes with cheese would miss from my cheap pantry meals list.
This has got to be one of the easiest pantry meals you can make. Potatoes usually go with a lot of different types of seasoning so the seasoning you will use depends on your desired flavor. I tend to use different seasonings each time just so that my family doesn’t get bored with the meal.
You know how kids are, one day they love it and the next they just don’t. I serve these baked potatoes with cheese for lunch or dinner but sometimes I serve it for breakfast as well.
I always have tuna in my pantry. My kids love it so once in a while I include it in our meals. Sometimes I make tuna salad and other times I simply make tuna sandwiches. Tuna sandwiches are a great budget meal.
Depending on my mood, I either add some other extra ingredients to make it a bit fancy or keep it simple. You can never go wrong with tuna sandwiches.
Skillet meatballs with marinara sauce
Contrary to what you think, marinara sauce is not hard to make. I discovered a recipe for making the best marinara sauce and since then I have never gone to the grocery store to buy eat.
On the other hand, the ingredients I use to prepare meatballs usually come together pretty quickly. You just need to cook the meatballs and then add the sauce. I serve these meatballs with rice because the combination is just perfect. This delicious meal deserves a spot on your list.
I have loved fried rice for as long as I can remember. When I was just a little girl, I would constantly pester my mom just because I wanted fried rice for dinner.
Fried rice is a delicious filling meal. Considering how amazing it tastes, it should be so easy to whip it up, but it is.
As long as you have cooked rice and a few mix-ins, you are more than ready to prepare your fried rice. It is a versatile meal and you can use the mix-ins you want to get the flavor you desire.
I love tacos but since I am transitioning to eating healthy meals, I had to find a healthier way to enjoy them. This is where the taco salad comes in.
Taco salad is probably one of the most delicious salads I have ever made or tasted. It is very easy to make and the ingredients are not that expensive. Besides, you can always vary the taco salad ingredients if you want it to be even cheaper.
As I said, I always have tuna in my pantry. Macaroni and tuna are a great combination, especially if you are making a salad.
Whipping up a tuna mac is as easy as tossing together cooked macaroni, vegetables, and tuna and then seasoning it. Your cheap pantry meal would be ready in under 30 minutes.
Blackened shrimp pasta
Shrimp and pasta are a match made in heaven. Every time I make blackened shrimp pasta there is none that is left over. While buying shrimp for this recipe, I always go for small shrimp.
They are cheap and it is easier to cook with them. My family loves this meal because it is quite delicious.
Having a breakfast meal for dinner once in a while is acceptable. I enjoy them a lot and if it were up to me I would have them more often.
Breakfast burritos are always a winner because they contain some meat, eggs, and cheese. They are quite filling so they are perfect for dinner.
Vegetable soup is a healthy pantry meal that you can whip up with just a few vegetables, a can of beans and a tin of tomato sauce. It will take you just a few minutes to prepare it.
I usually serve it with crackers and my children actually enjoy it. I recommend serving vegetable soup with buttered crackers for the perfect flavor.
Snacky lunch/ dinner
Snacky lunches and dinners are always a winner. I use different snacks that my family enjoys to make this pantry meal, and I add some fruits and veggies just so that we don’t end up eating too much junk. This a great way to clear out the pantry when you have snacks leftover.
My kids definitely enjoy this meal more than my partner and I, so we let them have it once a month, just before I go for grocery shopping.
Teriyaki chicken and broccoli
If you have fast food cravings, this teriyaki chicken and broccoli meal will satisfy it completely. The cheap ingredients are a plus, so you definitely won’t spend as much money as you would when buying fast food.
The teriyaki chicken is delicious and the broccoli compliments it perfectly. Besides, this meal is a healthier option. The chicken is best served with rice.