Here's a list of 50+ recipes that can be made with pantry and frozen ingredients for times when you are stuck at home due to weather, sickness or an emergency. These pantry recipes are easy to make using your Instant Pot, Air fryer or stove, and can be adapted to available ingredients, and most of all, they are healthy and tasty.
A well stocked pantry and freezer can really come in handy at times when you are stuck at home for any reason and cannot do a grocery run for a few weeks.
The idea is to stock shelf-stable foods with common frozen ingredients, and use them efficiently. If you are wondering what all you should buy, here's a post that will help:
The recipes in this collection can be made with pantry and freezer ingredients, and offer easy substitutes so you can adapt and customize them based on availability of ingredients.
The key idea is that if you run out of an ingredient or two, you can get creative and substitute with what you have on hand and still enjoy a healthy and balanced meal. On that note, let's get started!
Here are some base sauces that can be made-ahead, doubled or tripled, and frozen for later use. Freeze in 1-meal portions in ziplock bags to optimize space. To reuse, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, and heat as per recipe directions. Alternatively, you can stock store-ready substitutes in your pantry.
Tips for Making healthy and Tasty Meals out of the Pantry & Freezer
- Aromatics and Flavor Base: Frozen aromatics like ginger, garlic and onions, and other flavoring vegetables, such as celery, carrots and peppers are great for adding flavor to your meals. You can buy frozen aromatics from the store, or freeze them yourself. These frozen veggies stay good in the freezer for a month.
- For onions, peppers, carrots and celery, chop or pulse them in a food processor and store them in 1-meal portions and freeze.
- or ginger and garlic, blend or mince, add to ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a ziplock bag to save space.
- Vegetables: Use frozen vegetables to add vitamins, minerals and fiber to your meals. Common examples are: spinach, broccoli, stir-fry medleys, soycutash, peas, corn, edamame (good source of protein), green beans, squash and peppers. Check here for a list of long lasting vegetables and fresh foods.
- Protein: Tofu and Cheese stay good in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Cheese can also be frozen for later use. Stock up your freezer with lean ground meats, chicken, shrimp or similar proteins that can help stretch a meal for a family. Beans and lentils are a great way to add plant based protein and fiber to your meals. Keep dry or canned beans and use them in soups, quesadillas, curries and more.
- Pasta, Bread & Grains: Pick whole-grain pasta, bread, noodles and tortillas to increase the fiber content in meals. Buy tortillas and bread with a longer shelf life. Both of these can also be frozen for up to a month.
- Spices and Seasonings: Most spices and sauces have a long shelf-life (months). Keep your pantry stocked with your commonly used one. Sauces like soy sauce, hoisin, Thai curry pastes, sriracha, chili garlic paste, pasta sauce, salsa add a ton of flavor to meals.
Notes and Tips About These Recipes
- Beans: If using canned beans, use any kind you have on hand for the following recipes. Pressure cooking time remains the same.
- Lentils: Dal Tadka recipe or Lentil Soup recipe can be used for the following lentils with adjusted pressure cooking times:
- Red lentils: same time
- Green Lentils: 10 mins pressure cook (high), NPR
- Brown Lentils: 12 mins pressure cook (high), NPR
- Black eyed peas (Lobiya): 15 mins pressure cook (high), NPR
- Split chickpeas (chana Dal): 12 mins pressure cook (high), NPR
- Veggies: Customize with what you have in stock. Carrots, celery, peppers can be added to any or all recipes. Canned baby corn, water-chestnuts, bamboo shoots are a great addition to Asian recipes. Frozen spinach, broccoli, peas, corn, edamame, soycutash are great source of nutrients. Frozen riced cauliflower can be added to soups and curries to bump up the fiber content (you can't taste it).
- Aromatics- Ginger, Garlic, Onions: Once you run out, use dry onion flakes, garlic and ginger powder. Here are easy substitutes based on trusted resources:
- Onion: 1 tablespoon of dried minced onion equals 1/2 cup finely chopped onion.
- Garlic: 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder for each clove of garlic
- Ginger: 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger for 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- Paneer & Tofu can be used interchangeably. Most chicken recipes in this list can be substituted with either.
- Chickpeas & Beans: Good to add to any rice pilaf to add protein and fiber to the dish.
- Spaghetti noodles can be used for asian noodles recipes too, like in Lo Mein.
- Full fat coconut milk is a good dairy-free 'canned' substitute for heavy whipping cream for curries and pasta.
These recipes are easy to put together with the following pantry and freezer items that can be stocked up for 3-4 weeks.
- Pantry: Canned or dried Beans, Lentils, Canned Tomato (paste and diced), Jarred salsa, Jarred Pasta sauce, Jarred Roasted Red Peppers, Coconut milk, Thai curry paste, Cashews (can substitute with almond flour), Rice, Bread, Pasta, Tortillas and Quinoa.
- Freezer: Frozen Paneer, Assorted Veggies (including spinach, green beans, carrots, peas, corn, peppers, celery, onion, ginger and garlic), Ravioli, Soy Meatballs.
Chicken & Meat Recipes
Stock up your freezer with ground meats, chicken or similar proteins that can help stretch a meal for a family and are also economical. Most of the recipes using chicken can be made with tofu or paneer, and vice versa. Here's what you need from your pantry and freezer:
- Pantry: Canned tomato, rice, pasta (noodles), coconut milk, Thai curry paste, canned baby corn, cashews (can substitute with almond flour).
- Freezer: Frozen chicken, ground turkey (or any ground meat), veggies (including spinach, stir-fry medley, corn, peppers, celery, onion, ginger and garlic), fish (salmon/ mahi-mahi/ cod).
Rice and Sides
I hope you find these recipes useful and easy to stock for. With a little bit of planning and organizing, you can make healthy and delicious meals for your family from a well-stocked pantry and freezer.
For stocking tips, read this article on How to Stock Your Pantry and Freezer. If you have any suggestions and tips, or need substitution ideas, please comment below and let us know! Stay healthy my friends!