What kind of lunch can you make out of your pantry? You may be surprised at some of the things that you can find to transform into something delicious to feed your children, or yourself, for lunch.
We ran out of cold cuts quickly, and since we’re trying to stay out of the store, that meant we had to think beyond the usual sandwiches. There’s only so many days that you can serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the children before they begin to complain. Food fatigue is a very real thing, so it’s important to switch things up.
For us, that meant chicken and tuna salad and canned beans have begun to feature prominently on our lunch menu alongside leftovers from the nights before. Here are some of the things we have been eating to keep our lunches interesting.
Soup makes a great lunch, either on it’s own, served with a piece of bread or crackers, or accompanying a sandwich or salad. The last post included recipes for 12 soups from the pantry, but if you’re able to go to the store, there are many other soup recipes on our site. If you’re trying to limit your calorie intake while sheltering in place, you might want to check out this list of soups under 250 calories per serving. If you’re vegan, here’s a list of “accidentally vegan” soups. The four ingredient black bean soup can be included on both lists. (It’s vegan (if you use vegetable broth/bouillon), and it’s low in calories.)
Tuna and Rice Salad is something I created one day when I found myself with only one can of tuna and more people to feed than that can would be able to manage. Mixing the tuna with rice before making the salad performed two functions. It extended the tuna, so I could feed everyone, and it diminished the fishy taste of the tuna. One person insisted that it was chicken salad instead of tuna. If you’re running low on tuna and still have rice, this is one way you can make it last longer.
Canned Chicken can also be extended with rice in this way to make a tasty lunch. Both types of salad are good on a salad, sandwich, or crackers. They’re also tasty stuffed into an avocado or tomato.
This might not be for everyone, but growing up, Hominy and Bacon was one of my favorite foods. Other neighborhood kids also enjoyed it. It’s another simple meal that uses canned ingredients.
This may seem odd, but Beans and Toast were a staple in my house growing up. Often I would eat them for breakfast, but I also loved them for lunch. The secret is to have well seasoned beans that you enjoy eating. Some people swear by cans of Heinz beans, others like baked beans. Whatever type of beans you like, give this a try.
I realize that this recipe for seafood salad is made with surimi from the meat department, but canned crab can be used in place of the fresh surimi. You will still need fresh celery and onion, but using canned crab or a combination of canned crab and canned shrimp allows you to prepare this delicious salad using some pantry items. Like the tuna salad above, this can be served in a variety of different ways.
This recipe for ceviche is a cheat. It’s starts with a jar of picante sauce. If you don’t have fresh or frozen crab and shrimp, you can substitute an equal amount of canned. If you don’t have green onions, cilantro, or tomato, this recipe is still good. I love ceviche served with chips, or on a tostada, for lunch, especially in the summer when I don’t want to turn on my stove.
Did you know that mixing two different types of canned beans makes the perfect bean side dish or filling for burritos? That’s the basis for my Easy Beans for Burritos. Adding taco seasoning to the beans or garlic and onion powder, can improve the flavor of canned beans. Give this a try. You’ll love it. These tortillas can be used for burritos or tostadas and make a great lunch, or dinner.
If you have leftover rice in the refrigerator, it’s simple to turn it into fried rice. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can substitute about 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger. Simply add it to the pan with the oil at the beginning of the cooking process to better infuse the flavor into the dish. Fried rice is a very versatile dish. You can use bits and pieces of leftover meats and vegetables that aren’t enough to feed a family, and use them to add flavor to this dish.
Why do I have a recipe for Quick and Easy Pizza Sauce listed under lunch? It’s because in our house, tortilla, or English muffin pizzas are a great lunch item, but what happens if you don’t have any pizza sauce? It’s simple. You whip up some of this because it’s quick and easy.
When I was growing up, canned salmon was something that my mother purchased and used often. Salmon Patties made a regular appearance on our dinner table. These can be served sandwich style, on a bun, for a simple and delicious lunch.
That’s our list of ten lunch ideas from the pantry. What do you think? Are there foods on the list that you would like to eat? Do you think your children or grandchildren would enjoy any of them? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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