Pasta is a pantry staple in most households. Our home is no different. I had multiple packages of pasta in my kitchen when I took an inventory of what I had on hand. Knowing that I had pasta on hand was comforting when the store shelves were empty.
Pasta is one of our go-to ingredients. We tend to eat it at least twice per month, and often, I serve it once per week. Pasta is versatile. It’s simple to prepare, and it can be combined with a variety of ingredients to create a completely different flavor profile.
At it’s simplest, a pound of pasta can be cooked and tossed with a tomato based sauce, a jar of Alfredo, or even some basil pesto. To each of these sauce variations, additional meat and vegetables can be added to create something different. I have been known to mix equal parts red spaghetti sauce and Alfredo to create a simple, creamy sauce. Even if the only noodle you have in your house is spaghetti, you can easily prepare a different pasta dish for every week of the month simply by varying your sauce.
Here’s our list of pasta dishes. Some of them are made entirely from shelf stable ingredients, and other’s are a combination of pantry staples combined with refrigerated or frozen ingredients.
This vegan dish is made entirely from shelf stable ingredients. It’s not technically a pasta dish, but it’s delicious over pasta. It’s quick and easy, but don’t let that fool you. Cannellini Beans and Tomatoes is a recipe that’s loaded with flavor. The flavor is even better on those occasions when there are leftovers. When you serve it over pasta, it’s sure to become a pasta fasul that you won’t forget. (Fasul, like fagiole, is Italian for Beans.)
In my opinion, macaroni and cheese is a comfort food. This recipe for Baked, No Boil, Macaroni and Cheese is delicious, and it scores extra points because it’s a time saver. Combine all of the ingredients in a baking dish, and pop it into the oven, and in about an hour, you have a pan full of delicious macaroni and cheese. It uses canned milk, too. The best part is that while it’s baking, you can help your children with their school work, or do laundry, or whatever requires your attention.
This recipe is Vegan, but you can make some substitutions if you’re not vegan. This dish is prepared from completely shelf stable ingredients. If you don’t like coconut milk, you can use canned evaporated milk instead. (Of course, using canned milk makes it vegetarian instead of vegan.) We love this creamy tomato sauce over pasta.
I was fifteen before I ever tasted a tuna sandwich, and I had never tasted a tuna casserole before this. Berta’s Tuna Casserole is made completely out of pantry staples (unless you add freshly grated cheese to the top), and it allows you to use up those crumbs that are always left in the bottom of your potato chip bags. Crushed potato chips make the perfect topping for this one.
I have been making this recipe for many years, and I love the simplicity. Canned clams, garlic, lemon juice, and yogurt make the sauce that is tossed with pasta. Linguine with White Clam Sauce is one of Baker’s Man’s favorites, and it’s made from about 50% canned and shelf stable ingredients.
Canned chicken and canned evaporated milk are the basis for this recipe for Chicken Linguine Alfredo. Combined with a few other spices and seasonings, you have the perfect combination of flavors. One word or warning: Because you’re using canned chicken, there are no large chunks of chicken in this dish. If your family likes large chunks of chicken in their Alfredo sauce, they might complain. My family doesn’t complain when I make this, so I’m sharing it with you.
This recipe was given to me by an Octogenarian who was also an Italian grandmother. This was something she would make for her family when money was tight. Eggs were inexpensive, and topping spaghetti noodles with eggs poached in marinara sauce was a good way to fill her family’s stomachs without breaking the bank. She didn’t really have a name for the recipe, so we named it Poached Eggs a la Italiana.
This sauce for this recipe was prepared with shelf stable ground beef, canned mushrooms, and canned spaghetti sauce as well as some fresh onion and garlic. Spaghetti Bolognese with Mushrooms is a delicious entree that my family is always happy to see on the menu.
Baked Ravioli Casserole isn’t made entirely from canned foods, but it’s a simple recipe for stressful times, and it does use a 24 ounce can of spaghetti sauce. It’s simple to assemble, and it’s one of my family’s favorites. I wonder if it’s possible to prepare a ravioli lasagna or baked ravioli casserole from canned ravioli. Check back tomorrow, and I’ll let you know. I’m pretty sure that I saw three cans of beef ravioli in my pantry.
That concludes our list of pasta dishes from the pantry. Since we have been practicing social distancing, pasta has probably appeared on our dinner table at least once a week. It’s a great frugal meal, and there are many possible flavor combinations. That helps us to avoid food fatigue.
I know that someone is going to complain that these dishes aren’t gluten free, so they can’t eat any of these pasta dishes. I just want to let you know that I have friends that are gluten free, and for most of these recipes, all I have to do to make the meal safe for them is to switch out the type of pasta for something that’s gluten free. Obviously, I can’t do this with the frozen ravioli, and Berta’s Tuna Casserole is made with canned soups that contain gluten, but it works for the other seven pasta dishes on this list.
Does your family eat pasta often? What are your favorite recipes? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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