How are you? Are you staying healthy? Happy? Sane?
Gosh I don’t even know where to begin. My thoughts are absolutely everywhere, as I’m sure yours are too. Lincoln and Cameron’s spring break began this week and we just found out that schools will be closed through mid-April at the earliest. To say that I, like many parents right now, am feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. As a family we have decided to stay at home as much as possible though I will leave to grocery shop and take care of other necessary errands. Today is Day 1 and this typical homebody is already massively sweating! That said, I’m trying to focus on the positives:
- It’s already mid-March and warmer weather IS coming to the Midwest. What if it was the middle of January and it was -10 degrees outside?
- Things could be so much worse. I’m reading Beneath a Scarlet Sky right now, based on real life events in Italy during WW2 and, well, ‘nuf said.
- This is 2020! The internet, cable, FaceTime, Disney+, and Amazon Prime exist in 2020. For that, I am incredibly thankful.
- My family is healthy and we are able to shelter and feed ourselves outside of a work or school environment. We are so lucky.
All that said, it’s still difficult to not feel incredibly anxious about the situation Coronavirus has put us in. Businesses are rapidly closing, and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around not being able to go where I want, when I want – especially with three kids who, like most kids, are not used to being homebound all day! – but, we’re taking it day by day (hell, hour by hour) and know we’ll eventually slip into a routine that doesn’t involve everyone crying before 9am.
Did I mention its Day 1 of social distancing?
What to Stock Up On
All that said, many of us will be cooking at home from fridge, freezer, and pantry staples more now than possibly ever before in our lives. So, I’ve rounded up over 75 recipes you can make using the food you probably already have in your home – I’ve even got you covered with dessert! Stock up on these fridge, freezer, and pantry staples to easily get meals on the table without having to leave your house:
- Pantry staples: canned beans, broth, marinara sauce, canned tomato products, dried herbs and spices, canned tuna and/or chicken, dried pasta, rice, gluten free flour, sugar, nuts, and seeds.
- Fridge staples: cheeses, meats, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, salsa, butter, and hearty vegetables like carrots, celery, and potatoes.
- Freezer staples: seafood, meats, cheeses, frozen vegetables and fruits, bread.
- Click here for an extensive list of pantry, fridge, and freezer staples >
Although I’m providing 75+ recipes here, I urge you to not over-complicate meal times right now. I personally will not be! Don’t forget about these easy family favorites which are made from kitchen staples, but no-recipe required:
- Meat + veg + starch: ie chicken breasts/burgers/roast pork + frozen vegetables (thawed) + roasted potatoes.
- Breakfast for Dinner: scrambled eggs, french toast fingers, and bacon or sausage
- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- Nachos made with chips. Nachos made with fries. Nachos made with tater tots! The theme here is nachos.
- Grilled Cheese, Hot Ham and Cheese, Hot Turkey and Cheese
- Kitchen Sink Salads
- Frozen Pizza
- Boxed Macaroni and Cheese (we like Annie’s GF White Cheddar Shells)
Life is getting complicated – no need to add to that feeling every evening!
- In case you didn’t know, my Recipe Index has a field called “Key Ingredient” in the left hand column where you can type in an ingredient you have on hand, and all recipes containing that ingredient will pop up. This is especially helpful if you have aging fresh food on hand that maybe you can’t freeze or something.
- If you don’t have an ingredient on hand to complete a recipe you’re looking at, or the grocery store is out of a particular ingredient, check out this amazing resource – 100+ Recipe Substitutes.
- If you have time to cook from scratch, consider stocking up on ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, heck even popcorn kernels, to leave more convenience type foods at the store for people who need it.
- You’ll see notes next to recipe links down below. FF indicates a freezer friendly recipe. FPF indicates a freezer pack friendly recipe, meaning you can add all the raw ingredients into a freezer bag then thaw and cook according to directions in the recipe.
A friend sent me this post from Humans of New York yesterday. It’s a great reminder that we all have a common enemy right now and we are in this together. Take care and be well, my friends! We got this!
75+ Recipes Using Fridge, Freezer and Pantry Staples
Soup, Stew and Chili Recipes
- Ham and Bean Soup > (FF, can use bacon or chopped chicken breast instead of ham)
- Italian Sausage, Spinach and Tomato Soup >
- Easy Chicken and Rice Soup >
- Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup > (FPF)
- Cheesy Taco Soup > (Can use ground turkey)
- Black Bean Soup > (FF)
- Signature Spicy, Smokey Sweet Chili > (FF, can use ground turkey or chopped chicken breast instead of ground beef)
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup >
- Ben’s Beef Stew > (FF)
- Pasta e Fajioli >
Crock Pot Recipes
- Crock Pot Black Bean and Rice Soup > (Can use any kind of rice you have)
- Crock Pot Mojo Pork with Cuban-Style Black Beans > (FF)
- Crock Pot BBQ Chicken > (FF, use leftovers in BBQ Chicken Quesadillas)
- Crock Pot Carnitas > (FF, use for sandwiches, tacos, nachos, etc.)
- Crock Pot Loose Meat Sandwiches > (FF, use for sandwiches, nachos, tacos, etc.)
- Crock Pot White Chicken Chili > (FPF)
- Crock Pot Ranchero Chicken > (FF, use in tacos, nachos, enchiladas, etc.)
- Crock Pot Shredded Beef Enchiladas > (FF, use leftovers in tacos, nachos, etc.)
- Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole > (Can be reheated all week)
- Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork > (FF, use leftovers in quesadillas)
One Pan Recipes
- One Pot Chicken and Rice >
- Cajun Shrimp > (Use any size shrimp you have in the freezer)
- One Pot Mac and Cheese > (Use any cheese you have on hand – block or pre-shredded)
- Italian Rice Ball Skillet >
- Chicken Fried Rice > (Can use any kind of chicken – we’ve used chopped cooked chicken nuggets before! – or really any type of cooked chopped or shredded meat.)
- Cheesy Chicken Burrito Skillet >
- Skillet Shepherd’s Pie > (Can use ground turkey)
- Cauliflower Fried Rice > (Can use frozen cauliflower rice)
- Cheesy Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice >
- Creamy Chicken and Herb Skillet >
- “Roasted” Garlic Chicken Skillet >
- BBQ Sausage, Beans and Greens >
- Skillet Chicken Parmesan >
- Chorizo, Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Rice Skillet > (Can use taco seasoned ground beef instead of chorizo)
- Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps > (Can use ground turkey)
- Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps > (Can use ground turkey or chicken)
- Homemade Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper > (Can use ground turkey)
- Shortcut Vegetable Ragu > (Great way to use up and and all fresh vegetables that are going bad!)
- Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chicken Enchilada Skillet > (Can use ground turkey or beef)
- Skillet Tater Tot Casserole > (Can use ground turkey or beef)
Various Entrees and Lunches
- Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs and Rice > (Can use boneless skinless chicken thighs)
- Pasta with Garlic Butter Caper Sauce > (Can use any kind of pasta)
- Incredible Italian Meatballs > (FF)
- Chicken Lo Mein >
- Cheese Enchiladas >
- Lazy Girl’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole >
- Skinny Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole >
- Mini Corn Dog Muffins > (FF)
- Chicken, Bacon and Rice Bowls > (Use any kind of rice)
- Garlic Herb Butter Pasta with Easy Roasted Shrimp > (Can use dried herbs – use 1/3 amount of fresh)
- Cheeseburger Quesadillas > (Can use ground turkey)
- BBQ Chicken quesadillas > (Can use pulled pork, shredded beef, or rotisserie chicken)
- Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves > (FF)
- Dill Pickle Tuna Salad >
- Mediterranean Tuna Salad >
Snack, Side Dish, and Drink Recipes
- Gluten Free Chex Mix >
- Grain Free Granola > (Use any mix of nuts and seeds you have)
- Homemade Chewy Granola Bars >
- Creamy Garlic Shells >
- Creamy Chicken Pasta >
- Seasoned Broiled Potatoes >
- Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate >
Homemade Dressing, Sauce, and Seasoning Recipes
- Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars > (FF)
- Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal Breakfast Bars > (FF)
- Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars > (FF + can use frozen blueberries)
- Green Smoothie Muffins > (FF)
- Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bars > (FF)
- Breakfast Pizza with Hash Brown Crust >
- Frozen Breakfast Burritos > (FF)
- Triple Berry Crumb Bars > (Can use frozen berries)
- Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies > (FF)
- Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls >
- Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies > (FF)
- Gluten Free Sugar Cookies > (FF)
- Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies >
Hi Kristen! Thanks so much for putting this list together! It was a rainy day here yesterday so it was a perfect day to make your chicken noodle soup. Always delicious! Thanks again for all your hard work especially when taking care of your little ones, too. They are just too cute, btw. Sending prayers for health and safety for your family.
Sandra Howard 03.19.2020
what to do with a jar of roasted red peppers?
I’m not sure if Kristin has any similar recipes, but I use them for Pioneer Woman’s 16 minute roasted red pepper pasta. Fast, easy, and delicious! The sauce is a little thin, but everyone in my family loves it.
Hi Sandra! I only have one recipe using roasted red peppers (honestly I don’t love them personally,) but it’s a good one! https://iowagirleats.com/mediterranean-tuna-salad/
JoEllen Travis 03.18.2020
Thank you so much for helping so many! You are just a doll! You are always ready with just the right recipe suggestion! And your recipes never disappoint-they are, without fail, FABULOUS1
I am SO glad to hear that, JoEllen!! Thank you so much for the encouraging note – I hope you and your family are well!!
Making skillet shepherds’ pie later this week, after I thaw the ground turkey. Since it’s just the two of us: after we have one meal with mashed potatoes on top, I freeze the filling in meal size packs so I can pull it out, heat and serve on top of a microwaved baked potato for us to split. When I make the big whammy of mashed the first meal, I save those mashers so I can make potato soup for the next day. Best, Kristin, to you and Ben and all the kids in this unprecedented unpredictable time we’re in. We will be ok, but it may take awhile.
Great idea to do that big batch cooking then freeze portions for later! Take care, Nancy!!
Karen Kile 03.17.2020
Hi Kristin – Our family is a big fan of your recipes on a regular basis but just love that you took the time to put this together for all of your readers. It’s just one less thing we have to stress about! Thank you for your usual enjoyable post and delicious recipes. Stay healthy and sane…. from our family to yours!
Thank you so much for the nice note, Karen! Wishing the exact same for you and your family! <3
Thank you for the encouraging post! I picked up some fresh fruits/veggies/rice/beans/frozen pizza dough and then made a list of all proteins / veggies / and supporting roles in our pantry and freezer. I’m making my meal plans off of that list for now. Currently, we are still going in to work and daycare as it isn’t so widespread here yet. But I feel like in the next day or two we will all be home.
Love the organization, Sarah – great idea to keep organized during this chaotic time.
Sara Burnette 03.17.2020
Thank you for this post! My favorite one pan recipe of yours isn’t in here, homemade cheeseburger helper. It’s soooo good. It’s my go to when I have a pound of ground beef. I probably make it twice a month ? I love that you included the no-recipe dinner ideas too!
Ooo, need to add that here – thanks for the reminder, Sara! I’m so glad you enjoy that recipe!
Thank you for compiling this list! It’s all so overwhelming right now. I cook every day, but 3 meals a day for my family of 5 seems like a lot, especially with social distancing and not trying to go to the store often. I appreciate the post! Thanks for being part of the solution.
I am right there with you!! We are definitely getting creative over here trying to make stuff last. Stay well, Alicia!