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6 easy dishes using pantry staples

When it’s hard to get to the supermarket, you’re feeling unmotivated, or you’re just trying to use up what you have in the cupboards, these six simple meal ideas can be easily whipped up using items you’ll find in most pantries.

1 Beef tacos

onion, chopped
beef mince
can chilli beans
taco shells
lettuce, shredded and tomatoes, diced
grated cheese

Method In a non-stick pan over a medium heat, cook onion for 5 minutes, then add beef mince and cook till browned. Add chilli beans and stir till heated through. Meanwhile, heat taco shells according to packet instructions. Serve mince mix in taco shells with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.

2 Simple spaghetti and tomato sauce

(serves 4)

olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans chopped tomatoes
spaghetti or pasta of your choice
grated parmesan, to serve (optional)

Method Heat a little olive oil in medium saucepan over low. Add onion and gently cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add carrot and celery and cook till, stirring occasionally, until onion is very tender but not browned (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add canned tomatoes, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. While sauce simmers, bring large pot of water to the boil and cook pasta according to packet instructions. When pasta is cooked drain and return to pot. Season sauce to taste, and stir through pasta. Serve topped with parmesan, if using.

3 Beans and rice

(serves 4)

1 onion, chopped
mushrooms, sliced (optional)
carrot, sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can lite coconut milk
2 cans unflavoured beans of your choice (cannellini or kidney work well)
2 cups cooked brown rice, to serve

Method Heat a little oil in large pan over medium. Cook onion for about 5 minutes. Add spices, and veggies if using, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and coconut milk and stir to combine. Increase heat to bring sauce to the boil, then add beans, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste and serve on rice.

4 Scones

self-raising flour
reduced-fat spread
skim milk
plain yoghurt

Scones are a comforting and easy-to-make treat. You can have plain scones with your favourite topping or experiment with flavour variations from sweet to savoury. Try this basic recipe and check out the variations below it.

5 Banana pancakes


These 3-ingredient pancakes are such a tasty breakfast or snack and you don’t even need any flour to make them. They’re golden and fluffy and great on their own, with a little maple syrup or topped with your favourite fruit and youghurt.

6 Omelette

spray oil
skim milk or water
salt and pepper

Perfecting your omelette making is a great way to develop your cooking skills because it teaches you all about temperature, timing and seasoning. Plus, you can have a delicious, nutritious meal in a matter of minutes! Once you have the basic recipe down, it’s easy to add your favourite veggies and other fillings to take it to the next level.

Date modified: August 25 2021
First published: Aug 2021

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