Pantry Meals

Since moving to a rural area, I’ve noticed a marked difference in dinner and meal planning. Just a year ago, I was able to “run” to the store to pick up a loaf of crusty bread or to pick up a forgotten item.

With prices at the local little store sky high and the nearest grocery store or farm stand nearly thirty minutes away, I’ve gotten into the habit of planning meals with pantry ingredients.

Tonight’s dinner was chicken thigh (from my freezer) combined with canned mushrooms in a sherry butter sauce over pasta. Technically, I combined sherry and marsala for the sauce as both bottles were nearly empty. The pasta was a mixture of shells and linguine, as both were open and neither contained enough for a meal. It was delicious, quick and affordable.

I like to see what kind of meal I can rustle up without going to the grocery store. On our meal roster lately: chili, grilled cheese sandwiches, butternut squash soup, potato skillets, waffles with frozen blueberries and chicken fajitas (with bell peppers I bought in bulk during a summer sale, cut in strips, and froze). If I make something labor intensive like lasagna, I’ll usually make two and freeze one for later.

Fresh herbs from summer are frozen in water or oil in ice cube trays, ensuring that nothing goes to waste. In my windowsill are green onions from the store than I simply put in a glass of water. They’re a nice addition to fried rice or to top off quesadillas!

With grocery prices rising, I’m glad that I have flexibility in my meals. I’ve found some great combinations that I wouldn’t have before when I would look up recipes and often ended up buying ingredients I would never use again.

I’d love some pantry meal ideas!

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