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    I Made 7 Satisfying Weeknight Dinners Using Mostly Pantry Staples

    Stay home and cook dinner.

    Chances are, due to the spread of the coronavirus and restaurants shutting their doors, you're probably cooking more than usual these days. I know I am. In addition to trying to cook satisfying meals, I'm also trying to minimize my trips to the grocery store to once per week and be as cost-efficient as possible.

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    Here's how I cook dinner for a whole week, relying on mostly pantry staples and nonperishable items. These recipes have helped me reduce waste, minimize fridge space, and save money on my grocery shopping.

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    These are all the pantry items I bought for my week's worth of dinners. Aside from a few ingredients like eggs, Parmesan, and some produce, most of my meals were made up of mostly canned and nonperishable items.

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    But before we get cooking, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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    -All of these recipes come together in 30 minutes or less and require the most basic of cooking skills, so anyone can make them at home.

    -Each of the following recipes makes enough for two people or dinner for one with plenty of leftovers the next day.

    -All together, these groceries for seven meals cost me about $60. Since each meal yielded at least two servings, each serving cost an average of $4.28.

    -The following recipes are just guidelines, but if you want to follow along and try the meal plan at home, feel free to customize the meals to your personal preferences. Jazz things up with whatever spices you have in your pantry, get creative with condiments, crack an egg on just about anything, swap in your favorite grains, or add more protein when necessary.

    1.

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    Ingredients:

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    -8 oz spaghetti (or any pasta)

    -4 slices bacon or 1/2 cup pancetta

    -1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

    -2 eggs

    -4 cloves garlic

    -Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions:

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    Cook the pasta according to the package directions and simultaneously fry the bacon or pancetta in a frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and the Parmesan cheese.

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    Add the cooked pasta to the bacon or pancetta and garlic mixture. Add the egg and cheese mixture to the pan and quickly stir, removing the pan from the flame so the egg doesn't cook through. Top with salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and more Parmesan cheese.

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    If you're looking for a recipe to follow, check out this one from Damn Delicious.

    2.

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    Ingredients:

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    -2 cups rice

    -1 15 oz can black beans

    -1 15 oz can corn (can substitute frozen)

    -1/2 yellow onion, diced

    -1/2 avocado

    -Canned salsa to taste

    Instructions:

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    Cook rice according to package directions. Heat up corn according to package directions, and drain and rinse the black beans. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the onion. Sauté until fragrant. If you choose to use ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken), add that to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through.

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    Add the black beans, corn, and rice, and continue to sauté until heated. Mix in the salsa and top with diced avocado. You can also top your bowl with additional ingredients like jalapeños, olives, sour cream, or tortilla chips.

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    If you're looking for a recipe to follow, check out this one from Kim's Cravings.

    3.

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    Ingredients:

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    - 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

    - 2 tbsp tomato paste

    - 2 cloves garlic

    - 1/2 onion, diced

    - 1 bell pepper, diced

    - 2–4 eggs

    - Spices such as paprika, cumin, and cayenne (optional)

    - Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

    - Crusty bread for serving

    Instructions:

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    In a pan with a lid, heat olive oil and sauté garlic, onion, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes until soft and fragrant. Add the pepper and continue to cook until tender. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with whatever spices you are using.

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    With the back of a spoon, make small pockets in the tomato mixture and crack an egg into each. Season the eggs with salt and pepper, and cover the pan with a lid. Cook the eggs until they reach your desired doneness. Transfer the shakshuka to bowls, top with anything from cilantro to Feta cheese, and serve with bread for dunking.

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    If you're looking for a recipe to follow, check out this one from Feel Good Foodie.

    4.

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    Ingredients:

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    - 1 15-oz can cannelloni beans

    - 1 15-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

    - 1/2 onion, diced

    - Spinach, kale, or Swiss chard to taste

    - 2 cloves garlic, minced

    - Marinated artichoke hearts to taste

    - Sun-dried tomatoes to taste

    Olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste

    Crusty bread for serving

    Instructions:

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    Rinse and drain white beans, dice the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the artichoke hearts. Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the spinach or kale and cook until wilted. Add the beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts and mix until combined and warm. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if you have on hand. Serve with bread for sopping up the beans.

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    If you're looking for a recipe to follow, check out this one from Nourish and Fete.

    5.

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    Ingredients:

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    - 4–8 oz spaghetti

    - 1 can tuna fish

    - 2 cloves garlic, minced

    - Lemon juice to taste

    - Capers to taste

    - Olive oil to taste

    - Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions:

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    Make pasta according to the package instructions and set aside in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine minced garlic, tuna fish, lemon juice, capers, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix together. Add the tuna to the cooked spaghetti and season with more olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, or lemon zest, as desired. You can always add additional ingredients like sun-dried tomato, fried egg, spinach, or chopped parsley.

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    If you're looking for a recipe to follow, check out this one from Salt and Lavender.

    6.

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    Ingredients:

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    -2 14-oz cans coconut milk

    -3 tbsp green curry paste

    -1 bell pepper, sliced

    -1 sweet potato, cubed

    -1–2 heads broccoli florets

    -Salt and pepper to taste

    -2 cups rice or noodles for serving

    Instructions

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    Chop the vegetables then add the coconut milk, green curry paste, and sweet potato to a pot. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes until the sweet potato gets slightly tender. Then add the rest of the vegetables and simmer until the vegetables are fork tender. Serve with rice or noodles and garnish with lime and cilantro, if you have it. You can also serve with your favorite protein like chicken, frozen shrimp, beef or tofu.

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    If you're looking for a recipe to follow, check out this one from Pinch of Yum.

    7.

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    Ingredients:

    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    -2 cups cooked tortellini

    -1 32-oz carton chicken broth

    -1 cup spinach

    -Parmesan cheese to taste

    -Olive oil to taste

    -Lemon to taste

    -Salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions:

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    Cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a simmer and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked tortellini and transfer to a bowl. Season with olive oil, lemon, and Parmesan cheese. Add leftover chicken breast, a poached egg, or any extra vegetables on hand like chopped carrots, celery, or peas.

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    If you're looking for a recipe to follow, check out this one from Leite's Culinaria.

    Stay home, stay safe, stay calm, and happy cooking.

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