An Eat Well, Spend Less Pantry Menu

A look at this month’s Eat Well, Spend Less series on emergency preparedness and making a menu from it.

This month we’re talking about emergency preparedness. Interestingly enough, I’m having my own bit of a faux emergency this week, trying to keep dinners as quick and simple as possible as I finish up work on my first book (more on that later).

I laid the groundwork for the beauty of whole grains with my post, looking at what a whole grain is, how to store it, cook it and recipes you could make with them. My current favorite is quinoa, which is not truly a cereal but a pseudocereal, only acting like one. It cooks up quick, and I love quinoa’s versatility in the kitchen at all times of day.

Five Ways with Lentils

Aimee shares five different ways to prepare lentils, as well as cover the nutritional information, their frugality and a gorgeous recipe for Green Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Curry from Super Natural Every Day, which I am a huge fan of.

Five Ways with Beans

Katie shares five ways to work with beans. Whether you’re buying canned or dry beans, they’re a great source of protein and an essential to keep in your pantry and have on hand.

Five Ways with Pasta

Closely related to whole grains (made from them, in fact) is pasta. Mandi shares her go-to meals, which are perfect when you’re snowed in or can make a campfire or use a camp stove to boil water.

Emergency Fund in Your Pantry

Amy over at Kingdom First Mom shares her essentials to keep on hand in the pantry at all times. Things like peanut butter, granola bars and nuts that pack plenty of protein, store well and can be snacked on while you wait for the power to come on are great to have on hand.

Make the Most of Your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer

Do you ever feel like you have nothing to eat even though your pantry, fridge and freezer are all full? I can admit to being there almost weekly. Jessica shares a few ways to make sure you’re eating the food you have on hand.

Five Basic Steps to Emergency Preparedness

It should be no surprise that Katie covered the basics in detail. This is a great where-to-start post if you’re thinking of how to make sure your basic needs are met if you find yourself without electricity, running water or a way to run to the store for a few days. A great reference for people who may be affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or snowstorms.

Creating and Using Long-Term and Short-Term Food Storage

Tammy covers the process of stocking up. If you’re looking to create a store of food in the pantry or freezer, she has tips to help you decide what to store, when to buy it and how to store it.

This week’s menu is inspired by our Eat Well, Spend Less series, and it’s all eating from the pantry, garden and freezer. No grocery shopping required if you’re well stocked.

Monday – Coconut Curried Green Lentil Soup

Tuesday – Pasta with Pesto and Grilled Chicken

Wednesday – Bean and Rice Burritos

Thursday – Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

Friday – Fried Rice

The Preparation Shortcuts:

1. Make a whole chicken to shred for Thursday’s soup on Tuesday.
2. If you’re making dry beans rather than canned, you can make your beans in advance for the white bean chicken chili and use the same variety in Wednesday’s burritos.
3. Make your own flour tortillas and fry or bake them crisp for chips to accompany Thursday’s soup.
4. Make extra rice on Wednesday for Friday’s fried rice meal.

Pantry, Garden and Freezer Items:
sweet potatoes
crushed tomatoes
diced tomatoes
chicken or vegetable broth
pesto (frozen)
corn (frozen)
coconut oil
olive oil
sesame oil
soy sauce
curry powder
bay leaves
hot sauce

Last week from Food for My Family:

Honey-Sesame Dressing and Asian Chicken Salad
Is Your Child Eating Their School Lunch?
Healthy Alternatives to Childhood Favorites
10 Cute and Creative School Snacks
10 Cocktails and What They Say About You
Tailgating with Barbecued Bloody Marys
Passing on Family Traditions Through Food
Kitchen Organization Means More Time for You

For more menu plans visit OrgJunkie


  1. Wow what useful information and to think you all worked together to coordinate all of this. I give you guys 5 stars for this post!

  2. I love menus that stretch into other days in the week. Great tips and yummy menu, Shaina!

  3. So much great information, I’m always looking for ways to make the most out of what I’ve got in my pantry.

  4. My pantry is calling your name. Its full of baking supplies. And one package of old spaghetti. Pathetic.

  5. What a nice resource – we just went through emergency preparation when Hurricane Irene came through our area. Love all the tips!

  6. Such great information all in one place! I will certainly be keeping all of these things in mind, especially over the next few months as I begin to stock my pantry/freezer for the coming winter months.

  7. Lots of great information Shaina! I’m ready to start getting my pantry ready for winter!

  8. Great way to jump start my organization of my pantry. Thanks 🙂

  9. I always feel like I’ve won the lottery when I can make up a weeks worth of menus and not have to make a trip to the store! Dry staples to the rescue!

  10. Holy crap, lady! I think you covered EVERYTHING – but that’s why you’re such an awesome, organized mom. Can I be you when I grow up?

  11. I can’t wait to hear more about this book, my dear! Yay! And I want to try your Monday, Wednesday and Thursday meals, mmm.

  12. well, the basic needs can sure be met without electricity, or even running water. katie puffed great stuff for those who do not have a regular reach to the basics on some odd days.

  13. What a loverly menu! And that lentil soup looks stunning!

  14. Great tips and suggestions. Love the pantry idea and being prepared. Thanks for this!

  15. Great suggestions! We almost always keep several types of cooked beans and rice in our freezer, as well as several soups, stews, chicken tenders, and casseroles. Somedays, it is the only reason we can resist takeout. We even keep a running tally on our freezer door of what we have on hand. I hate finding a lost casserole or bag of homemade waffles, six months later, subject to freezer burn.

  16. Loved this pot. You make staying prepared so easy. I am definitely going to take some of your tips and try to keep my pantry ready!

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