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May 10, 2009 07:41 PM

Pantry dinner

Hi all,

Trying to be frugal and heading into a busy week (meaning, little time for grocery shopping). I'm looking for some good pantry meals. I'm fairly well stocked but seem to have an over abundance of canned tuna, various grains (barley, pasta, quinoa, couscous, rice), beans (various colors/types).

Does anyone have good, tried and true pantry meals they're willing to share. Looking through my pantry and freezer makes me wonder why I shop so much...

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  1. Have you made a tonnato sauce? Here's one recipe:,1715,...

    But I made one by blending tuna, capers, heavy cream, parmesan and garlic in a blender. I thought it was good! I served it with pasta. I'm sure someone will jump on here and skewer me for suggesting fish and cheese together...go for it!!! I can take it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: scuzzo

      I just made some - made mayonnaise, then added in a couple of ounces of tuna in oil that I mashed up in the mortar, and a little bit of water to thin it out (instead of the drippings from my pork loin last night that I accidentally threw out). It's now smeared on thin slices of pork loin, layered. And by the way - that pork loin is doing it's duty - dinner last night, the tonnato tonight, and a couple of slices left for a sandwich for tomorrow.

    2. Canned Tuna + white beans + lemon juice + olive oil + dried herbs (dill, lemon pepper, etc)

      Canned tuna + tomato sauce (or canned tomatoes + dried Italian seasoning) + olives + pasta

      Couscous or quinoa + salsa + black beans

      Leftover cooked rice + toasted sesame oil + soy sauce + frozen mixed vegetables = basic fried rice

      Do you keep frozen vegetables handy? I tend to throw a handful of frozen chopped spinach into lots of dishes that need a little color and nutrition. Frozen peas, too.

      These might seem too simple, but they're my late-night desperation dinners when I'm home from extended travel or a late night at the office and not willing to settle for a bowl of cereal. :)

      1. Do you use a slow cooker at all? Chefchicklet just posted a bean stew that sounds really great. That exact recipe might not work for you this week but something similar that you could put together the evening before would be nice to come home to. Whip up a quick corn bread or pot of rice to go with it, salad or carrot sticks and you're eating.

        oops, forgot to include the link,

        1. My mother used to make a casserole with tuna (2 cans) and cooked rice (2-3 cups). She made her own bechamel sauce with real cream & butter (sometimes a drop or two of sherry or white wine). Sauteed finely chopped shallots, fresh mushrooms and defrosted some peas. Seasoned it with s&p, a little garlic, some minced fresh parsley, a little paprika for taste & flavor (use Hungarian or Spanish). She would either bake it as is or add a crunchy topping of crushed cereal (corn flakes) mixed with some melted butter. This tasted so good, it bore little resemblance to the standard tuna noodle casserole.

          1. this is from the NYT>, good luck. Very quick and easy!

            Time: 10 minutes

            2 6-ounce cans or one 12-ounce can albacore tuna packed in water, squeezed to remove excess moisture

            1 tablespoon minced red onion, more for garnish

            2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

            1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish

            Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

            Crackers or Melba toast.

            1. Place tuna in a medium mixing bowl and break up with a fork. Add onion and mustard, and mix until tuna is broken into fine pieces.

            2. Add oil and mix with a fork into a paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix again. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with more black pepper and chopped onion, and drizzle with oil. Serve spread with crackers or Melba toast.

            Yield: 4 servings.