The Pantry Meals Food Network Staffers Are Making Right Now
You’re never far away from hearty pastas, creamy soups and a great breakfast dish.
Sometimes, opening the pantry can lead to more questions than answers. You probably have a grain or two, some canned goods and a few other items — but what can you actually do with that? We asked Food Network staffers what they love to make with their pantry items and received a varied and versatile list in response. If you’re in need of inspiration, consider this list as your go-to pantry guide.
Risotto (image above) is one of my favorite foods to make—it’s cheap, always in my pantry and takes almost zero brain power to make. Sometimes I’ll top it with a fried egg or some shrimp scampi, but if I’m being honest I love it best on its own.
- Julie Hines, Managing Editor, Food Network Kitchen
Herby Chicken Cutlets
One of my go-to pantry meals is Tuscan Chicken Cutlets with White Beans. I almost always have frozen chicken cutlets or boneless skinless chicken thighs in my freezer, then I make a creamy and delicious side of white beans. The recipe calls for rosemary, but what’s great is that you can really use any herb or dried spice you have on hand.
- Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer
My husband’s birthday was last week and my daughter wanted to make him a “cake” (she’s four). I’m like, “I don’t have everything in house for a cake, but I definitely do for a brownie!” Together, we found this recipe and she was super excited to help me. I didn’t have the exact chocolate (only semi-sweet chocolate chips) but surprisingly had everything else! I even added a few more chips in the batter. They were perfectly fudgy – just how we like them! We are a family of four, so I’m thankful for all the leftovers too.
- Danielle Strain, Culinary
Breakfast for Dinner
There are two things that my family agrees on when it comes to mealtime: fragrant spices are always welcome, and nothing beats breakfast for dinner. Shakshuka has become one of our favorite pantry meals because it checks off both those boxes. Canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, dried spices – it only takes a handful of common ingredients to create a spiced tomato sauce so delicious that even my 9-year-old daughter fights for the last spoonful. We make Molly’s recipe all the time – it has incredible flavor and cooks up nice and saucy. (Serve with whatever bread you have on hand for sopping up all that spiced tomato goodness) If you don’t have the harissa that the recipe calls for you can still make shakshuka; Add a dash of your favorite hot sauce instead – it will give the dish a nice, tangy heat.
- Kristie Collado, Manager, Digital Programming
When I have no idea what to make and not sure what I’m craving I always look to breakfast! Breakfast food has become my go-to because it’s so easy to cook yet deliciously satisfying. This skillet recipe combines all your favorites staples (eggs, sausage, potatoes) into one pan with touches of fresh seasoning for taste. Breakfast all day for the win!
- Lauren Tom, Associate Content Producer
There’s Always Pasta
When it comes to pantry meals, my mom’s favorite saying is “There’s always pasta!” It’s a motto I now live by. My pantry is always stocked with pasta in all shapes, canned tomatoes and chickpeas. This Whole-Grain Pasta with Chickpeas and Escarole is something I’m pretty much always able to make whatever the circumstances. It comes together in under an hour and you have plenty of opportunities for swaps. Use a different pasta shape or use spinach or kale in place of escarole. This recipe is a really great base for experimentation. If you’re feeling really fancy, add some fresh cubed mozzarella at the end for even more cheesy goodness!
- T.K. Brady, Senior Editor
My go-to pasta dish is spaghetti and meatballs. But when I’m craving carbs and don’t have ground meat on hand, this spaghetti cacio e pepe recipe is my solid runner-up. It’s super easy to make, takes little to no time, and includes only a few ingredients – all of which, are pretty much staples in any kitchen. Plus, it’s deliciously cheesy without being overwhelming. Insert chef’s kiss here.
- Carissa Chesanek/Digital Content Producer
One of the most underrated pantry ingredients has got to be tinned sardines – they’re super affordable, ready to eat right out of the can, and packed with nutrients. I love serving the little fish with lemon wedges, fresh herbs, and crusty bread, or atop toast schmeared with cream cheese and sprinkled with chopped raw onion. The meaty fillets are also the base for one of my favorite weeknight pasta dishes: Sicilian Bucatini with Sardines. A riff on pasta con le sarde, it elevates the traditional sweet-and-savory combo of raisins, fennel, pine nuts, and bread crumbs with two ingenious twists: the bread crumbs are toasted with fennel seeds, and a pinch of turmeric is added for color and aroma.
- Frances Kim, digital programming manager
I love this recipe for Almost Instant Pancake Mix! You can mix up a big container of the dry mix and then all you need is some milk and an egg to turn it into pancakes. It has some ground oats and a touch of lemon so they are nutritious, extra filling and tasty. A pantry driven recipe that saves me time is a huge WIN!
- Melissa Gaman, Recipe Developer
“My husband and I are on a bit of a chickpea kick lately and this soup tops our list: it gets the majority of its flavor from a single onion, some garlic cloves, a bunch of dried spices that are otherwise languishing in our cabinet, plus canned diced tomatoes and canned chickpeas, which we always have on hand in our pantry. The last time we made it, we didn't have spinach in the fridge so we used kale and it tasted just as delicious — any leafy green would work! The key is to mash up some of the chickpeas — it helps release their starches and thicken the soup into a hearty and filling vegetarian meal.”
- Drew Anne Salvatore, Recipe Editor
I have been making Mushroom Carbonara over and over again! I always have spaghetti, an assortment of mushrooms, eggs and cheese in my kitchen so I pull it together into a quick meatless carbonara for lunch or dinner. Leftovers work as a great breakfast too since there’s egg in the sauce!
- Gabriela Rodiles, Social Media Manager
We plow through store-bought snack foods almost as soon as we buy them in my house. So when cravings strike for something small and snackable, we love these oven-baked crunchy chickpeas. They’re quick and easy (and can be adapted to cook on a stove-top if your oven’s occupied). The paprika makes them a bit smoky, which in turn makes them irresistible. If we can refrain from eating them in one fell swoop, they’re a wonderful garnish atop butternut squash soup or a grain bowl, and a fun finger food for my toddler.
-Erin Hartigan, Senior Managing Editor