So how’s life in “lockdown”? I imagine many of you are cooking a lot more than ever before and looking for quick and easy meals to make from all that food you stockpiled in your pantry, no? So I thought I’d offer up a Pantry Raid Menu this month. But first, a story…
You all know how I like to pun. Well, one of my puns actually made it into print, as the title of a cookbook no less. Back in 2002, a friend was telling me that his friend, Dana McCauley, was writing a cookbook. It was about cooking from the pantry so I joked that she should call it Pantry Raid. As it turned out, she thought it was pretty funny and asked me if she could use it as the title.
Just so you know I am not making this up, I have attached a photo of both the book cover and the section of the Acknowledgments page where Dana kindly credits me.
So I’m hoping Dana won’t mind me borrowing the title back.
Now let’s serve up this month’s menu. My Pantry Raid Menu makes liberal use of pantry (and frozen) staples, is leftover-friendly and embraces both simplicity and the beauty of the one-pot meal. While these are not Dana’s recipes, they are similar in spirit. And I recommend you check out her book for further inspiration as well.
Pantry Raid Menu
Breakfast: Peanut Butter Breakfast Quinoa (if you are finding oats in short supply, consider quinoa for breakfast – it is higher in protein and super delicious – top with bananas and crumbled bacon if you want the Elvis-approved version)
Lunch: Spring Salad (use frozen peas here, feel free to swap in soon-to-be-in-season asparagus for the snap peas or canned wild salmon in place of tuna and don’t hesitate to use any leafy green in place of spinach)
Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: Cinnamon Ginger Energy Balls (awesome with a cup of tea, the cinnamon helps with blood sugar metabolism and ginger does wonders for digestion)
Dinner: One Pot Taco Pasta (taco night was a blast when I was a kid, and still is, especially when margaritas are involved – this is a much healthier take on it which works better for leftovers)
Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)! And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few foods featured in the recipes…
A few featured foods
Rather than discuss specific foods this month, I thought I would highlight the benefits of frozen vegetables and canned beans. With these staples on hand, all you need to do is some creative combining and add canned tomatoes and/or other seasonings to have a nutritious meal ready in minutes!
Frozen peas and corn are featured in this month’s menu. But don’t forget how time-saving frozen cauliflower rice, butternut squash and edamame can be. Even frozen leafy greens like kale and spinach work beautifully in soups, stews, smoothies and omelettes. Frozen veggies are just as (or sometimes more) nutritious than fresh.
I also like to buy and freeze herb pestos (like these basil and cilantro pestos from Sunflower Kitchen). As long as you defrost them in the fridge, you can take them to and from the freezer as you need them. They are amazing for amping up the flavour of any savoury food (veggies, legumes, eggs, fish, meat you name it)!
I delved into the benefits of beans in my post Beans, Beans, They’re Good for Your Heart! So I won’t say too much here other than to encourage you to look for new ways to incorporate beans and legumes into your meals. Anywhere you use ground or chopped meat is an opportunity to replace half, or even all, with beans, lentils, chickpeas and so on. Sure, they are fab in soups and stews but also in tacos, pasta dishes, burgers and even desserts! Baking without guilt…what a treat!
To illustrate my opening point in this section, give this a try:
- rinse and drain canned white beans (I like Eden Organic but any, preferably organic, brand will do)
- warm them over medium heat along with some canned tomatoes and (optional) a little chopped garlic and simmer for 10 -15 minutes
- toss in a heaping helping of frozen kale and stir until heated through
- dollop with basil pesto and, if you want to kick things up, some spicy peppers from Terroni (I am addicted)
- top with some feta or grated Parmesan if you wish.
Presto – perfecto Pantry Raid!
Cooking your own food is the single most impactful step you can take to improve your health and energy!
I hope you enjoy the recipes in my Pantry Raid Menu. Sign up here to receive the download link for this latest Menu of the Month. And if you want to cook more of your own food but don’t know what to make or have the time to organize your own menus and shopping lists, The Nutritional Reset offers a meal planning service. It makes preparing tasty, nutritious meals a snap. Click here to find out more.