7 Clever Recipes That Will Help Empty Your Pantry


Fall provides another one of the year’s natural reset buttons. Long summer days end, school begins and we somehow start to notice everything in our lives that could use a spruce — and we suggest you start with your pantry.

Even though shelf-stable cans, jars, boxes and bags can last a long time, it feels good to empty things out and start fresh (plus, you’ll be proud of yourself for finally cashing in on all those two-for-one deals that grabbed you at the grocery store). These easy meal ideas will get you on your way to more a organized kitchen in no time.

Mexican Bean Rice and Corn (pictured above)

Inspired by chilaquiles, this dish is the perfect “use up whatever you’ve got” dinner. With ingredients like tortilla chips, canned black beans, canned corn, canned tomatoes and rice, you might not even have to shop at all to make it.

Lentil-Mushroom Meatballs

Instead of soup, turn that bag of lentils (plus a can of tomatoes, a couple pieces of bread and some spices) into a surprisingly hearty vegan riff on a Sunday supper classic.


Pantry Pasta with Romesco Sauce

Jarred red peppers, a bunch of almonds and Italian breadcrumbs come together in a pesto-like sauce for this 30-minute dinner.

7-Can Soup

Aiming for an empty pantry in one fell swoop? Ree Drummond can make it happen. Round up all your cans (beans, tomatoes, chili), heat in a big pot and boom! You’ve got a great soup and a tidier kitchen.

Tuna, White Bean and Olive Flatbread Pitas

A can of white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and olives do a much better job of jazzing up canned tuna than mayo and celery bits.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola

Need a break from your morning oatmeal? Turn what’s left of your container of rolled oats, dried cranberries (perhaps from leftover from a salad you made that one time?) and honey-roasted peanuts into an indulgent granola to sprinkle over yogurt or ice cream.


Key-Lime Pie with Butter Cracker Crust

OK, this one’s a bit of a wild of card — but might just be the tastiest use for a languishing box of crackers that never quite made it to a party platter. Crispy, buttery crackers make for a super-tasty pie crust when paired with tangy key lime.