Five Meals with Five Pantry Staples

Five Meals with Five Pantry Staples

These days, shopping for cooking ingredients, especially fresh ingredients, is getting more difficult, yet alone finding great recipes for staple ingredients! Just securing a grocery delivery time slot can feel a bit like winning the lottery! And who wants to take the risk of frequent trips to the supermarket? But don’t worry. You can still create delicious homecooked meals from just five shelf-stable pantry items that most people already have at home, or those you can have safely shipped to you through the regular mail.

These five pantry items are:

  1. White Rice. White rice is the perfect blank canvas for any ingredients or seasonings you want to add to it.
  2. Canned Chicken. Usually, canned chicken probably isn’t your first choice when it comes to protein, but it is easy to store and will last a long time. You can even find organic chicken in a can in some supermarkets!
  3. Canned Tomatoes. Cooks have known for a long time that canned tomatoes are better than fresh tomatoes in many recipes. Diced canned tomatoes are the most convenient for the recipes below.
  4. Chicken Stock. Yes, homemade is the best, but good-quality prepackaged chicken stock is available. Opt for a low-sodium version, if possible.
  5. Canned Ranch-style Black Beans. Ranch-style canned beans come in a tasty sauce that will add flavor to your meals without additional ingredients. If you have never tried a particular brand of ranch-style black beans before, you may want to buy the plain black beans, so you don’t end up with a large amount of something you don’t like.


At its most basic, congee is a rice-based porridge. Besides the ease of preparation, the beauty of congee is its versatility. Depending on which extra ingredients you add, you can create a sweet substitute for oatmeal or a savory dinner. To make the most basic version of the recipe, combine one part of rice with seven parts of water or chicken stock, cover, and simmer on low until it becomes smooth. You can top it with canned chicken and tomatoes.

Beans and Rice

Everyone knows eating beans and rice is healthy, but did you know it is also delicious and a snap to make? All it takes is cooking a batch of rice and heating a can of ranch-style black beans on the stove. Of course, you can give your beans and rice more flavor by adding a half-can of diced tomatoes or a bit of salt, and pepper, as well as any spices you have in your cabinet. If you want, you can go all out with this full recipe for Cuban Black Beans and Rice from

Chicken and Rice Soup

Everyone needs a bit of comfort now, and nothing is more comforting than chicken soup. Heat chicken stock in a saucepan until simmering then add cooked rice and chicken from a can to heat through. This is a great recipe to use up any extra vegetables you may have in your fridge. The Food Network provides a version of Chicken and Rice Soup that is a little more involved.

Chicken and Tomatoes over Rice

This dish is sure to please even the most finicky kids. Drain a can of diced tomatoes into a saute pan. Cook over medium-low heat until the tomatoes begin to color. Add canned chicken, heat through, and serve over rice. A few additional ingredients turn this dish into Chicken Cacciatore. Check out the recipe at Taste of Home for inspiration.

Black Bean Soup

Filling and healthy, black bean soup can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Pour two cans of ranch-style black beans and half as much chicken stock into a small saucepan and heat over low until the beans begin to fall apart, about 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper before serving. Cooks with more time and ingredients, or you may want to make this quick and easy version from All Recipes.

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