Monday, October 5, 2015

Pantry Dinners

We eat dinner at home almost every night.  While I love eating out, we learned early on that it's not fun or relaxing with two little ones, and usually involves us eating as quickly as possible to end the experience.  On Saturday nights Jon usually takes the wheel and treats us to his famous pizza in the winter and something from the grill in the summer.  I meal plan for the week based on the specials for whatever store I'm shopping at, any recipes that have recently caught my eye, and one or two meals based on what is in our pantry and freezer.

Here are a couple of our favorite meals based on ingredients I keep on hand.

Salmon Cakes
One of my all time favorite dinners.
Ingredients to keep on hand:
Canned Salmon
Almond Meal or Breadcrumbs
Sweet Potatoes

Black Bean Burgers
Ingredients to keep on hand:
Black Beans (canned or dry)
Any fresh vegetable in the fridge (carrots, celery, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms)
Rolls (freezer)

Burrito Bowls
Ingredients to keep on hand:
Black Beans
Corn (freezer)
Chicken (freezer)
Rice or Quinoa

Steam rice or quinoa.  In the crock pot, cook chicken with salsa and shred. Heat black beans and corn with salsa until warmed through.  Create burritos or bowls and top as you like.  Leftovers are great for breakfast with an egg on top.
These can be easily customized with whatever you have on hand.  In the version pictured below, I used a bed of black beans and rice topped with kale, roasted delicata squash, fresh corn, salsa chicken and pickled jalapenos.  CSA veggies for the win. It's a good way to clean out the fridge, top it with cheese, and call it dinner.

Pan Seared Salmon
I always buy frozen wild salmon fillets when they are on sale.  As long as you remember to stick them in the fridge in the morning, they are ready to go for dinner.
I mix equal parts of soy sauce and maple syrup.  Heat a pan to medium heat with a little oil.  Sear salmon on both sides for a few minutes until cooked through.  Drizzle some of the sauce over the salmon while cooking, and also when serving.

Quinoa with Chickpeas, Apples, and Cranberries
Ingredients to keep on hand:
Dried Cranberries

BBQ Crockpot Chicken Sandwiches with Sweet Potato Fries
Chicken (freezer)
BBQ sauce
Rolls (freezer)
Sweet Potatoes

Frozen chicken breasts go into the crock pot with bbq sauce.  Cook on low all day until chicken shreds easily with a fork.  Serve on rolls, and top with pickles and lettuce if you have some.
Sweet Potato fries are a favorite in our house.  Sweet potatoes are cut into fry shapes or rounds, tossed with olive oil, and roasted at 425 for 30-40 minutes, flipping once.

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