The Pantry Primer: Making meals from pantry basics

Your pantry is only useful if you can make tasty, filling meals from it.  It is vital that you purchase “ingredients” rather than meals, so that you can make a wide variety of foods. Not only is this healthier, but it is also a much more cost-effective way to build a stockpile.

The ingredients that you buy or preserve are the basis of your future health should a situation arise in which you must rely on your pantry.  It is imperative that you have the ability to cook from scratch if you intend to use a pantry full of ingredients, so brush up on your skills by using these items now, and not just storing them away.

I have gotten a lot of requests for meal plans based on pantry items.  This is challenging because every family has different preferences and different items available to them at a good price.  So the following is simply a list of meals that we have at Chez Organic Prepper, heavily based on pantry items.


  • Granola with homemade yogurt and fruit
  • Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
  • Homemade muffins
  • Biscuits and gravy
  • Eggs and toast
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Cornbread with butter and jam
  • Breakfast cookies

Lunch box fillers

  • Sandwiches made from leftover meats
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Thermos of soup
  • Yogurt with fruit and granola
  • Pasta salad
  • Home-baked treats
  • Salad
  • Crackers with peanut butter
  • Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Homemade calzones
  • “Platters” – an assortment of meat, cheese, veggies and crackers in a divided container
  • Thermos full of leftovers


  • Potato soup
  • Onion soup
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Split pea soup
  • Spaghetti with meatballs
  • Salad with chicken and homemade vinaigrette
  • Beans and rice
  • Baked beans and biscuits
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Bean burritos
  • Curry with potatoes, chickpeas and cauliflower
  • Pasta with pesto sauce
  • Chili
  • Noodles with peanut sauce
  • Baked macaroni and cheese
  • Creamy rice with veggies (rice cooked in milk instead of water – it tastes similar to risotto)
  • Roasted meat with vegetables (a meal that creates lots of wonderful leftovers!)

Leftover Makeovers

If you only have one or two servings of a leftover and 4 people to feed, don’t despair.  Often the addition of grains or some broth can help you extend it to create a new dish to serve to your entire family.

  • Leftover chili baked with rice and cheese
  • Leftover spaghetti sauce baked with pasta and homemade cottage cheese
  • Leftover soup
  • Fried rice made with leftover meat
  • Pasta with whatever veggies and leftover meat are on hand, tossed with olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan
  • Stroganoff made with leftover beef
  • Baked potatoes topped with whatever you have left over
  • Biscuit crust atop leftovers to make a “pot pie”


Click HERE to learn more about repurposing leftovers.

What thrifty, pantry-based meals are the favorites in your household?


original article can be found here:

About the author:

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at

web statistics

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join the global off-grid community

Register for a better experiencE on this site!