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101 Dinner Ideas Using What You Have on Hand

Dinner Ideas Using What You Have on Hand
Just like grocery stores rotate the oldest items to the front before stocking with new, you should plan dinners using what’s hanging around in the back of your pantry and fridge. It’s a smart way to prevent food waste, and with all of these recipe ideas that all start with common pantry staples, it couldn’t be easier! MORE+ LESS-

Betty Crocker is embarking on a campaign to #tastenotwaste. As a global food company, General Mills recognizes food waste is a major social, environmental, and economic challenge and is invested in change. We are continuously working to improve production processes that eliminate waste and are partnering with Feeding America to make sure uneaten food gets from stores and restaurants to people, not garbage cans. But there is one place we need help—at home, where 40% of food waste happens. The stats about consumer food waste at home might surprise you.

It’s 4:00 p.m. and you don’t have a dinner plan, so you swing by the grocery store on the way home, load up what’s fresh, what looks good and what’s easy—even when you have a mini grocery store stocked in your pantry at home. Don’t worry; we’ve all been there.

The trouble is that without a plan, a lot of those in-the-moment purchases end up half-used or forgotten and then in the trash, contributing to America’s food waste situation. So before you hit the grocery store for ideas and ingredients, consider what’s in your pantry. If you have one of these eight staple ingredients, we’re betting you can skip that trip and make dinner with what’s on hand.

 

Bisquick Mix

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

Everyone knows that Bisquick makes fast and delicious pancakes, but did you know that it can do so much more? Think Skillet Chicken Parmesan, easy dumplings and shortcut chicken pot pie—and that’s just for starters! One of our 12 One-Pan Wonders Made with Bisquick just might be the dinner answer you’re looking for tonight.

 

Black Beans

Spicy Skillet Chicken

Inexpensive and good source of protein, black beans are another go-to pantry staple we can’t get enough of. Case in point? These 16 Brilliant Black Bean Dinners. Pay extra attention to the Spicy Skillet Chicken, with more than 350 ratings, it’s become a star recipe on our site.

 

Pasta

One-Pot Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Pasta

Pasta is the ultimate throw-together dinner. There are endless possibilities when combining shape, sauce and add-ins like proteins, vegetables and cheese. Riff based on what’s in your fridge, or try one of our 16 Irresistible Pasta Dinners. If we had to pick a favorite, we’d choose the One-Pot Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Pasta. One bite and you’ll see why.

 

Canned Tomatoes

Skillet Chicken Thighs with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Smashed White Beans

If you have a can of tomatoes in your pantry, you’re closer to dinner than you think! Take this Skillet Chicken Thighs With Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Smashed White Beans recipe for example, it’s ready in just 45 minutes, with only 5 ingredients. Plus, we have 11 More Dinners Made with Canned Tomatoes where that came from.

 

Refried Beans

Beef and Bean Taco Casserole

They’re often overlooked as an ingredient to build a meal around, but these 12 Surprising Dinners that Start with Refried Beans prove they shouldn’t be! This Beef and Bean Taco Casserole is a favorite that’s great at using up the last of the tortilla chips, too!

 

Canned Tuna

Tuna Noodle Skillet Supper

Canned tuna is a lot more versatile than it gets credit for being. And comforting! From this 25-minute Tuna-Noodle Skillet Supper to classic tuna melts, it can feel like a warm hug at the end of a long day. Don’t miss our Top 10 Canned Tuna Dinners that come together in a snap.

 

Panko Breadcrumbs

Dinner Ideas Using What You Have on Hand

We like to think of Progresso panko crispy bread crumbs https://www.progresso.com/products as our secret weapon against boring dinners. They add surprising crunch and flavor to every recipe they meet, including this Italian Pork Chop Sheet-Pan Dinner. Sold on the idea? Here are 13 More Dinners that Make the Most of Breadcrumbs.

 

Tortilla Chips

Nacho Pot Pie

Tortilla chips might be the most surprising pantry staple on our list, but not when you consider this Nacho Pot Pie and the 11 Other Recipes That Put Tortilla Chips Front and Center on You Dinner Plate. With these recipes up your sleeve, a half-eaten bag chips will never go stale and to waste again. All of these recipes work great with broken up taco shells, too.

Planning dinner with what you have on hand is just one of many small ways that you can make a big difference when it comes to food waste at home. What other tips and tricks do you use to #tastenotwaste your food? Tell us in the comments below or use our hashtag on Facebook and Instagram.



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