5 Weeknight Meals Using What’s Already in My Kitchen

Grocery shopping is, by far, my favorite chore. Especially when I technically already have enough food at home, leaving me to browse the aisles purely for fun. However, it’s sadly not a hobby I can always indulge in. At the moment, my kitchen/pantry/fridge is nearing its capacity, and I’m trying to save some extra cash—all of which means that a big grocery trip is not in the cards this week. So, I decided that my goal for the next five days is to cook using ingredients I already have. The approach? I’ll definitely be leaning on pantry staples—like rice, beans, and potatoes—while also making use of some wildcard items that have been sitting on my shelves and require more creative solutions. With that in mind, here are five dinners that make use of the fresh produce, canned foods, and frozen items I have on hand.

1. Cabbage

I’ve got a giant, untouched green cabbage taking up too much space in my fridge. And while this recipe calls for Savoy or Napa cabbage, recipe developer EmilyC says that as long as you give it some extra time to simmer, green cabbage will work well, too.

2. Eggs

I love eating eggs and rice together, but I’ve never tried the combination in a biryani. This recipe isn’t necessarily the quickest on the list, but with a little bit of planning, it’s still totally doable on a weeknight. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve already got most of the ingredients—including all of the spices—in my pantry.

3. Fish Sticks

I love fish sticks—sue me. And while I’m perfectly happy with a dinner consisting of plain, ol’ fish sticks dipped in ketchup, the idea of pairing them with lap cheong, savory oyster sauce, sweet potatoes, and broccolini sounds too good to pass up.

4. Canned White Beans

I eat a lot of white beans, so I always keep a can or two on hand. I’m interested in how they—along with oyster mushrooms—will work in lieu of shrimp in this vegan take on scampi. However, since I am not vegan, it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll be using butter instead of coconut oil for a truer scampi flavor.

5. Tortillas

This technique from Ali Slagle’s cookbook, I Dream of Dinner, is impressively straightforward: Sprinkle a little pile of shredded potato and cheese in a nonstick skillet, make an indentation, crack an egg in, and let it cook through. Then, use a spatula to slide the whole thing onto a warm tortilla. I’ll be adding avocado to mine (assuming I can find one that’s perfectly ripe—otherwise, just hot sauce will do).

More of our Favorite Weeknight Meals

What are you cooking this week? Tell us in the comments!

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