Pantry Cooking: Round 2

Pantry Cooking: Round 2

Pantry Cooking: Round 2

If you cannot get to the grocery store or are trying to delay your next visit, this is the blog for you. Below are four simple yet tasty recipes that use ingredients most people already have on hand. Feel free to try my “Step It Up” options or add ingredients to these recipes as you see fit. Do not be afraid to get creative or step outside the box!


Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

  • 6 cups of whatever vegetables you have on hand, diced (canned/frozen would work too)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)

Step It Up Option: Add cooked beef tips or stew meat

Directions: Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 6 hours or longer if desired. Remove the bay leaves before serving.  Makes six servings. One serving contains around 150 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrates.


Baked Spaghetti

  • 1 box whole grain spaghetti (or whatever pasta you have on hand)
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Step It Up Option: Add cooked ground beef, turkey or chicken to sauce

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce by adding the remaining ingredients (except cheese) to a saucepan. Allow sauce to simmer over low to medium heat until the pasta is finished cooking or longer if desired. Combine the pasta with sauce and transfer to a large baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and contents are bubbling. Allow baking dish to cool for several minutes before serving.  Makes eight servings. One serving contains around 300 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrates.


Slow Cooker Many Bean Soup

  • 1 pound dried beans, whatever mix of varieties you like
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Step It Up Option: Add diced ham

Directions: The night before add the beans to a pot of water so that there is at least two inches of water covering the beans and bring them to a boil for fifteen minutes. Allow them to sit overnight in the water. The next morning add all ingredients except the tomatoes to the slow cooker, turn it on low and let it cook for several hours. Add the tomatoes before serving.  Makes six servings. One serving contains around 275 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrates.


Vegetable Fried Rice

  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen vegetables (if fresh, should be chopped)
  • Soy sauce to taste (optional)

Step It Up Option: Add cooked chicken, shrimp or beef

Directions: Prepare rice according to directions. Coat the bottom of large skillet with oil before placing it on a burner set at medium to high heat. Once pan is heated, add the eggs and scramble them. After eggs have cooked, add the garlic and vegetables and allow mixture to cook for three minutes while stirring. Add the rice and continue cooking/stirring for three additional minutes or longer if necessary. For reference, the rice should be golden brown and the vegetables cooked (and maybe a bit browned). Serve while hot.  Makes four servings. One serving contains around 300 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates.


If you have additional items in your pantry or fridge that you would like to use up, do not fret. There are websites that can help. List the ingredients you have on hand, and they will give you recipes using those ingredients.

Below are some of my favorites:

Happy cooking!




Jessica Meek, MS, RD, LD

Jessica Meek, MS, RD, LD, developed a passion for nutrition during her teenage years and strongly believes in the healing power food. After completing her undergraduate and master degree program at Ohio University, she became a registered dietitian in 2006. She has been practicing professionally for over 10 years in the tristate area. She uses her knowledge of nutrition to empower individuals living with diabetes to make positive lifestyle changes and lead healthier lives. Jessica is a dietitian with the Bruce Chertow Diabetes Center.

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