10 Ways to Eat Your Pantry All the Way to the End

updated Jun 8, 2019
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(Image credit: Dana Velden)

With the end of the year comes a time of reflection on many parts of our home. Maybe you’ve acquired too many T-shirts this year, or possibly one too many garden gnomes. I tend to get myself into trouble in the pantry. The year is nearly over, but there are all sorts of miscellaneous odds and ends in there.

Here’s how to make the most of those cans and boxes that are wrecking your New Year’s chi.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

1. Soup that business: There is very little that can’t be turned into a soup of some sort. Salsa mix? No biggie, there’s chicken tortilla in your future! Heavy on beans or lentils? Come on, son — give us something harder! Try these tips!

2. Fritter mania: I love a fritter of any kind. There’s very little in the way of canned goods that can’t be ground, mushed, or covered in pancake batter with a few veggies to make amazing fritters. Griddled or fried, the choice is yours! Try this recipe!

3. Mentally commit: Often, what’s left in my pantry is stuff that I know I should have, but I’d rather have something else. Suck it up, eat a week of chili or pasta, and get back to life. Try them together with this recipe!

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

4. Creative casseroles: You can combine just about any mix of vegetable, carb (rice or noodles), meat, and cream-of-something soup, and come out with a pretty tasty meal. Add some cheese, don a retro apron, and call it a day. Try this recipe!

5. When I dip you dip we dip: Cans of beans and veggies are easy enough to blend and mix with a little yogurt, spices, or smoked fish from your favorite grocer. Throw a party, make the dip, people will come. Trust me. Try these recipes!

(Image credit: Nealy Dozier)

6. Serious salads: You know those gourmet salads you see all across the Internet? Beans, meats, and pastas can all be tossed into an amazing salad and consumed while calling yourself fancy and on top of life.

Try these recipes!

7. Frittata city: Like many of the options above, there isn’t any pantry staple (seriously, I just checked) that can’t go into a frittata. Just follow your favorite recipe and add in what you’re heavy on. People will call you gourmet, but only you will know you’re just thrifty. Try this recipe!

8. Give it away, give it away, give it away now: Although you purchased the items in your pantry with purpose, sometimes you just know, deep down, you’ll never use those items. Don’t worry, donate them to a local shelter or food bank and get on, gettin’ on!

(Image credit: Emily Han)

9. Savory pies FTW: It doesn’t matter if you turn your goods into hand pies, pot pies, shepherd’s pies — if the word pie is involved, tasty is sure to follow. Try these recipes!

10. Be okay with letting it roll: Sure, that can of seasoned refried beans has been in the back of your pantry since well, we don’t really know. As long as it’s still in date, who cares? Don’t let it make you feel like less of an adult. It’s called food storage for a reason. Store it! Don’t be caught without these!