A home-cooked meal can bring a sense of normalcy during times that feel nothing but normal. With a lot more time being spent at home, there’s a need for more meals to be cooked in the home – whether you’re cooking for one or a family of five.
For many, grocery store trips may be less frequent, forcing us to be mindful of our lists and ensuring we’re grabbing all the necessary ingredients in one trip. If you find yourself stuck with meal planning and wondering how you will come up with multiple meals a day, don’t sweat it. You’d be surprised to know you can create simple and healthy meals with some of your pantry’s staples. No need to limit your meals or compromise healthy eating.
By planning meals around what you already have at home, you can save money and time by limiting trips to the grocery store. A few tips to remember:
- Prioritize meals with perishable items first to avoid reaching expiration dates.
- Incorporate more whole foods for a balanced meal. Nutrition is one of the seven pillars of lifestyle medicine, which focuses on adding vegetables, beans, whole grains, and fruits into daily meals.
Here are five healthy recipes that use ingredients already in your pantry to get you started:
Prep Time: 75 minutes
Yield: 16 (½ cup) servings
- 8 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups pitted and chopped dates
- 2 ripe bananas, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 275°F.
- Add the oats to a large bowl and set aside. Line two 13 × 18-inch baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the dates in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add more water if needed to keep the dates from sticking to the pan.
- Remove from the heat and add the mixture to a blender with the bananas, almond extract, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
- Add the date mixture to the oats and mix well.Divide the granola between the two prepared baking sheets and spread out evenly.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring every 10minutes, until the granola is crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool before adding the slivered almonds (if using). (The cereal will get even crispier as it cools.)
- Store the granola in an airtight container.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 burgers
- 2 cups no-salt-added canned black beans, drained and liquid reserved
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- ½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 100% whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted
- 4 leaves leaf lettuce
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 red onion slices, separated
- In a food processor combine the first five ingredients (through chili powder). Cover; pulse until chunky but not pureed.Add a small amount of reserved bean liquid if mixture seems dry or isn’t sticking together. Mixture should be moist but not wet. Season with salt and pepper.
- With wet hands, shape mixture into four 3½-inch patties. Chill at least 20 minutes.
- In a large nonstick skillet cook burgers over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until burgers are lightly browned and cooked through, turning once.
- Serve burgers on hamburger buns with lettuce, tomato and onion slices, and desired condiments.
PrepTime: 45 minutes
Yield: 3 servings
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- ½ tablespoon organic garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon organic onion powder
- 1 dash freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dash ground turmeric
- Pinch of paprika
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Combine all ingredients except for the chickpeas in a small bowl. Mix well.
- Place the chickpeas in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Sprinkle some of the spice mixture over the chickpeas, reserving some to sprinkle over when turning the chickpeas. Bake for25 minutes, or until the chickpeas are lightly browned.
- Shake the baking sheet gently to turn the chickpeas over. Sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture and continue baking for 15 minutes more. Serve.
PrepTime: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 4 cups
- 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups low sugar barbecue sauce
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Combine the pinto beans and barbecue sauce in a large bowl and mix well. Transfer the beans to an 8 × 8-inch casserole dish.
- Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour. Let stand for 5minutes before serving.
Prep Time: 20 minutes / Ready In: 4 hours 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 cups dried pinto or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 1 1-ounce packet vegetarian chili seasoning, such as Simply Organic, or chili seasonings of your choice
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
- Toppings such as chopped bell pepper, sliced green onions, and/or snipped fresh cilantro
- In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, combine the beans, tomatoes, onion, seasoning, and garlic. Add the stock and water.
- Cover and cook on high heat for 4 to 5 hours; stir in the corn for the last 15 minutes. Serve with toppings.