Touch of Nectar

{March 18, 2011}   Two Easy Dinners from the Pantry

What’s in your pantry? Do you keep it well stocked so that you can make dinner in minutes?

Basic things I keep in my pantry are a wide variety herbs and spices, canned beans (garbanzo, white and kidney), chicken and beef broth, canned tuna, cream of xx soups, canned corn and tomatoes, dried pasta, rice, lentils, barley, quinoa, olives, sun dried tomatoes and jars of pasta sauce. In addition, I almost always have macaroni and cheese mixes, as well as Bisquick and corn muffin mix.

In the freezer is lots of frozen fruit and vegetables. I usually have a couple of pounds of hamburger and bacon as well has home made soups – especially chicken. We love the fish in marinades that I can find at Trader Joes.

What can I make from all this stuff? Here’s two ideas for you. Both use pantry items and take less than 30 minutes to make. Add some bread and salad or fruit and dinner is done in no time.

First, Chunky Beef Chili from my Eat Well Stay Well cookbook.

This serves 4 and has 443 calories per serving. I served it with some corn bread muffins and sliced oranges. I made the muffins first and let them bake while I assembled the rest of dinner.

Sauté 3 minced scallions, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and ½ teaspoon oregano in 2 teaspoons oil for one minute.

Add 1 pound of ground beef and stir until browned.

Add 1 cup of corn, a 16 oz can of red kidney beans and a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes.

Simmer for 5 minutes and serve.

Another good pantry meal is Fusilli with Tomatoes, Spinach and Prosciutto (Zaar Link).  Serve this with some crusty bread and fresh melon.

I have made lots of variations of this same dish, switching out the prosciutto for bacon or pancetta and the spinach for arugula or kale. Use whatever tomatoes you have on hand. I used canned and fresh this time around.

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