Busy families often face the same weekday dilemma: eat out, or take another trip to the grocery store. But if you have a few basic ingredients on hand, your pantry is already stocked with possibilities.
Cooking with pantry essentials is a great way to cut down on food waste and cook dinner in a snap. Use Chef Lynn Michelle’s tips for making the most of what’s in your cabinets, fridge, or freezer.
- Take inventory. If you don’t know what you have, then you won’t know what to cook. Start by making a master list of all the items you have in your pantry, then cross them off as you use them.
- Get creative. Making recipes you know and love with similar substitutions is a great way to eat through your pantry. For example, you could pair meatballs with rice instead of spaghetti, or try making your own granola using oats, honey and dried fruit. On the other hand, cooking a new dish based on what you have will expand your repertoire. Need a little inspiration? Chef Lynn Michelle can show you how to craft gourmet meals from simple ingredients.
- Plan your menu. If you’re making multiple trips to the grocery store each week, it may be because you don’t know what you’re cooking until the day-of. Sit down on Sunday or Monday to draft a weekly meal plan. Base your recipes on items you already have, then purchase exactly what you need to complete each dish. Chef Lynn Michelle can help you plan (and prep) a menu that suits your taste and schedule.
- Don’t forget about fresh foods. Fruits and vegetables are a major part of our diets and should be incorporated into most meals. Don’t stop buying fresh foods, but limit your list to what you really need. You may have bags of vegetables stacking up in your freezer or canned fruit in the closet that would make a great cobbler.
Ditch the drive-thru for a home-cooked meal by using the pantry essentials you have on-hand. You might be surprised at how much food, time and energy you save. When you’re ready to start the challenge, ask Chef Lynn Michelle about her menu planning and cooking class services. Happy cooking!