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What to Eat When The Pantry is Empty

Wondering what to eat when the pantry is empty? Hopefully, it’s not completely empty, just running low. Here are a few ideas for quick meals using ingredients you may find in the dregs in your pantry.

I was amused last week when I realized someone found my blog by googling “What to eat when the the pantry is empty.”

What to Eat When The Pantry is Empty

I pride myself on keeping a pretty stocked pantry. I have huge buckets that are normally full of beans, rice, wheat berries, sugar, oats, and popcorn. I try to keep butter in my freezer and oil in my cupboards. I use loss leaders to buy and freeze fresh produce for smoothies when things are at their rock-bottom prices (like avocados and pineapples).

But we’ve been eating all of that recently and my stash is actually quite low. I haven’t had any wheat berries for about 3 weeks now, for instance – something that is unheard of at my house. But, there’s still almost ALWAYS something in my pantry. So when I saw that someone found my blog by googling those few words, I started thinking hard about what TO EAT without going to the store.

It’s usually the less favorite choice. For instance:

  • Instead of grinding wheat berries for homemade bread, I could grind popcorn for corn bread. While I prefer corn bread with a bit of wheat flour, my mom makes pretty good corn bread with only corn meal.
  • Instead of making flour tortillas, I could make corn tortillas. Or, we could eat beans and rice instead of burritos.
  • Instead of using oil, I could use butter or apple sauce. Or, I could shred and use any number of veggies, if I remember correctly from the $3,000 pots & pans demonstration I saw last year.
  • Instead of pinto beans, we could eat black beans, or split peas.
  • Instead of maple syrup, I can make buttermilk syrup, or we could just use powdered sugar or jelly.
  • This list at Allrecipe is very chock full of common ingredient substitutions that has come in handy more than once for me!

These all use ingredients that are plentiful and free for the taking in a lot of areas! I have not been brave enough yet to try any of them, but I’m rolling the ideas around in my mind…

Bottom line for me: keeping a stocked pantry saves me money. And evidenced by our 3 meals out and countless little trips to the store the last couple of weeks, eating the less favorite option isn’t working so well for me right now. But it does sound good, eh? 🙂

Do share! What do YOU do when there’s no food in the pantry?

Michelle

Wednesday 4th of April 2012

Hi there - I have visited your blog many times. The concept of a completely empty pantry is foreign to me, but I can relate to feeling like I have nothing when I'm not properly prepared because cooking from scratch can be quite time consuming - usually because I've been too distracted or lazy to make things work out! Thanks for sharing your links and for visiting my blog.

Kimberlee

Wednesday 4th of April 2012

Love this post. Yup when the pantry gets bare we start eating the least favorite things, LOL! The last couple weeks I have been really working on only shopping every two weeks, and it has helped with the 'quick' stop that busts the budget. But that can also lead to some creative meals. Visiting from WFMW. ~Kimberlee, The Spunky Diva

Michelle

Wednesday 4th of April 2012

Thank you, Kimberlee!

erin @ from city to farm

Wednesday 4th of April 2012

We're lucky in that we have chickens, so at the very least, we have eggs to work with...and that ingredient can be spun into so many different variations!! But when we run out of onions, it's time for the store. That's the one ingredient we really HAVE to have. :)

Michelle

Wednesday 4th of April 2012

I made some eggless pancakes last week and they were pretty gross! I can't wait to get chickens.

Alissabeth

Tuesday 3rd of April 2012

Slightly off topic, but relating to pantry. Is the photo your own? Just curious about your storage methods. I see the sunflower seeds in a Ball jar vs the clasp lid container. Do you find certain things work better in one vs the other? I'm slowly moving toward airtight storage to preserve my dried items longer. Please share! :-)

Michelle

Tuesday 3rd of April 2012

Thanks for your comment. Yes, that is my photo. The clasp lid containers came from Ikea. I blogged a bit about them when I re-did my baking cupboard: https://simplifylivelove.com/2011/03/baking-cupboard-make-over.html I L.O.V.E them!!

Michelle

Tuesday 3rd of April 2012

Thanks for your comment. Yes, that it my photo. The clasp lid containers came from Ikea. I blogged a bit about them when I re-did my baking cupboard: https://simplifylivelove.com/2011/03/baking-cupboard-make-over.html I L.O.V.E them!!

Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable

Tuesday 3rd of April 2012

So this is pretty much an awesome post:) We're all about pantry talk this week, huh! I love it...I have to share it! Thank you so much for linking up to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Michelle

Tuesday 3rd of April 2012

Thanks so much, Andrea!

April

Tuesday 3rd of April 2012

I can't wait to try your dandelion pasta and wine!

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As an Amazon Associate Michelle Marine, SimplifyLiveLove, earns from qualifying purchases.