I work for a food pantry, and one thing that new research has shown is that even when people have access to food staples, many of them don't know what to do with them. We're looking to create a trial program I'm calling "home ec in a bag." When people get their bags of groceries, we're looking at including something like a plastic bag with some ingredients along with a simple recipe in English and Spanish that they can make using those ingredients. We're trying to see if we can come up with a few options using ONLY shelf-stable items, but if it needs a little of a cheap, basic product, that may be an option as well. (Think some butter or an onion or a little milk, meat only in very small quantities.) Our pantry provides only shelf-stable foods, so we don't want to seem like jerks saying - "Here, make this great recipe, but only after you hit the grocery store and spend another $10."
Our standard shelf items are canned meats and fish, cereal, veggies, pasta, tomato sauce, soups, chili, canned pasta meals, dry pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly. However, we do get lots of random items, and there is no reason we can't allocate a portion of our spending to a particular item if we need it for some great recipe.
I'm happy to answer questions, but basically, any ideas?
My real name is Jennifer. Neither "Rosie" nor "Kat" have anything to do with my name. They are just there to confuse everyone. (Nah, just a forum name I came up with one time when all my other ideas were taken.)
This is a great idea! If you do a search for food pantry recipes, there are lots of links. How about looking at one of those 3 or 4 ingredient cookbooks? They probably use a lot of canned goods to save time.
I don't have any recipes per se, but is a meal I make from the pantry:
Chili Mac 1. Cook a package of shaped pasta. 2. Heat a can of chili and canned corn together. 3. Pour chili-corn mixture over pasta.
We usually add sour cream, grated cheese, chopped onions, and/or cilantro, but of course, none of them are necessary. If I want it more "soupy," I add a can of chopped tomatoes.
My friend used to make tuna spaghetti with canned tuna. I thought it was gross because I don't like tuna, but apparently, it is yummy. It did get me thinking outside of the usual spaghetti mix.
A favourite at my house is the classic Beans & Wieners. It's the contrast between the sweetness of the brown sugar and the onion that makes this so yummy. If you could provide an onion, all they would need to buy that's non-shelf stable is a pack of wieners. Here's how I make it and this fills a large casserole dish. We eat it with just toast.
3 - 14 oz. cans of pork and beans 1 onion, diced 1/2 - 3/4 cup brown sugar [molasses could also be used as a sweetener] 1-2 tblsp yellow mustard 1-2 tblsp green relish 6 or 7 wieners, par-boiled, cooled and sliced into "pennies"
Mix all ingredients in a large casserold dish. Bake uncovered at 350º for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and let stand for 1/2 hr. to thicken.
Every day is a new little life. Fill it with gladness if you can; with couraqe if you can't.
I have a few cookbooks (from the Healthy Exchanges line of cookbooks, by Joanna Lund) that utilize quite a few canned and/or shelf-stable ingredients. Like, a recipe will call for frozen vegetables, but also says you can use canned if you like, instead.
Here's one example that may fit your criteria-- let me know if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, and I can look through them for more. (This recipe is from a cookbook geared toward cooking in your RV)
Quick Tuna Tetrazzini
-- 1 (10.3/4 oz) can Cream of Mushroom soup -- 1 (9.25 oz) can white tuna, packed in water, drained and flaked -- 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes -- 1 (2 pz.) jar chopped pimiento, undrained -- 1/3 c. (1.5 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese -- 1/4 c. milk -- 2 c. hot cooked spaghetti, rinsed and drained
In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, combine mushroom soup, tuna, parsley flakes, undrained pimiento, Cheddar cheese, and milk. Add spaghetti. Mix well to combine. Cook over medium heat until mixture is heated through and cheese is melted, stirring often.
Makes four (1 cup) servings
--there used to be a website and a monthly newsletter, too, but the author died of breast cancer in 2006-- perhaps they discontinued both of those after her death.
There’s a cookbook I have call “In the bag”; you can put all the canned goods & most everything in the bag, some times they just add water or milk. Living in Alaska we utilize it a lot. I’ve made meal in a bag as gifts before too. The meals are pretty good as well. If that’s not the name it’s very similar.