dinner from the pantry
*Updated March 2020

Friends dropping in for an unexpected dinner?  Stuck at home in a blizzard?  Sunday night and the fridge is bare?  With these pantry essentials on hand, you can produce a simple but delicious dinner.

  • Cans of tomatoes, beans, and chickpeas
  • Can of tuna and/or salmon in water and in olive oil
  • Carton of chicken stock
  • Pasta (different kinds: spaghetti, penne, etc.)
  • Rice, basmati, couscous, quinoa
  • Sauces and pastes:  soy sauce, tomato and garlic pastes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, red-wine vinegar, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard
  • Herbs & flavorings:  pepper corns, sea salt, and red-pepper flakes, tarragon, oregano, basil
  • Anchovies, capers, and Parmesan cheese
  • Eggs

From Everyday Food comes this recipe for Pasta with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes:

Serves 4

  • 1 pound pasta
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or 1 T garlic paste
  • pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving



  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt water and return to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook, according to package directions, until al dente.
  2. Drain spaghetti, reserving 1⁄2 cup pasta-cooking liquid, and return pot to stove. Add olive oil, garlic or garlic paste, and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, 3 to 4 minutes. Add spaghetti and stir to coat. Add lemon juice and reserved cooking liquid, if desired. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  3. Remove garlic and discard. Divide pasta evenly between 4 serving plates; serve immediately with cheese and drizzle with olive oil, if desired.

Want some more ideas? These recipe apps will help. We love Dinner Spinner from Allrecipes.

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