Next Week's Meal Plan

A Week of Simple Pantry Dinners to Make with What You Have

updated Mar 29, 2022
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Credit: From Left to Right Top to Bottom: Joe Lingeman, Olive & Mango, Joe Lingeman, Shelly Westerhausen

This week I’m leaning hard on the pantry for super-versatile dinners that are easy to adapt using the ingredients that I have on hand. I’m a strong believer in keeping a well-stocked pantry, and this is why. When there’s an assortment of beans, canned goods, pasta, grains, flour, and condiments on hand, you’ve got the makings for a huge variety of dinners. You just have to get creative sometimes.

Here’s what I’m cooking in the week ahead and how I’m making my pantry work for me.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Monday: Four-Can Pantry Salad

The beauty of getting this salad on the table for dinner is that it doesn’t require a crisper-full of fresh veggies or a ton of chopping. You’ll start with some leafy vegetables (the recipe calls for arugula and radicchio, but go ahead and use whatever salad greens you have handy), while artichoke hearts, olives, chickpeas, and roasted red peppers make up the bulk of the salad. All pantry goods are fair game here, though. Try white beans in place of chickpeas if that’s what you have, and toss in sun-dried tomatoes, cooked grains, or canned tuna or salmon.

Get the recipe: Four-Can Pantry Salad

Credit: Olive & Mango

Tuesday: 3-Ingredient Baked Caesar Chicken

A bottle of Caesar dressing, a pack of chicken breasts, and some Parm are all you need to bring this dinner to life. If you have boneless thighs instead of breasts, they’ll work too, and in a pinch Italian dressing can be swapped for Caesar. Round out dinner with egg noodles, rice, or some crusty bread.

Get the recipe: 3-Ingredient Baked Caesar Chicken

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Wednesday: Pasta al Limone

I love this pasta for a midweek meal because it’s quick, easy, comforting, and a departure from a jar of marinara. You’ll need a couple lemons, cream, Parm, and ideally a long, strandy pasta (although whatever is in the pantry will get the job done; I plan to use bucatini).

Get the recipe: Pasta al Limone

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Thursday: 2-Ingredient Broccoli Fritters

These veggie fritters are the number-one reason I keep a bag of chickpea flour in the pantry. This version, made with broccoli, is super simple and endlessly adaptable. I like to top the fritters with yogurt and a fried egg, but you could also use hummus or any other dip.

Get the recipe: 2-Ingredient Broccoli Fritters

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Friday: Cheesy Chickpea Melts

I’m ending the week with something saucy and cheesy. While I love building these melts on sourdough and using a combo of chickpeas, baby spinach, and provolone, there’s so much leeway with the ingredients here. Any kind of hearty bread (or even English muffins!) will work, and the same goes for the leafy greens, cheese, and seasonings.

Get the recipe: Cheesy Chickpea Melts

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Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But we’re firm believers that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. We want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking one or a family of four or five. Every week we share a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor, for Next Week’s Meal Plan!