KP COOKS

Easy Pantry Recipes

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Our daily lives are drastically changing as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the country. While hunkered down at home as our food supplies dwindle, the idea of grocery shopping can seem like navigating a minefield. This is the time to turn to your pantry.

These casserole recipes and soups are very forgiving as ingredients are interchangeable depending on what’s in your freezer or pantry.

Here are a few guidelines. Preheat your oven for 10 minutes at desired temperature. Save vegetable scraps and meat bones to make stock. Thaw frozen vegetables, drain canned ones and dice veggies uniformly. Use a greased 2-quart casserole dish unless otherwise noted. Create depth of flavor by marinating meats, deglazing with dry wine and adding flavor enhancers like Worcestershire sauce and sriracha.

Classic Chicken Soup: In a soup pot on medium heat, saute one medium onion, two celery stalks, three carrots and 2 tablespoons Italian dry herbs in 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook for 10 minutes. Next, add 2 cups cooked chicken and 6 cups chicken stock. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Got a box of Bisquick? Make dumplings with 2¼ cups Bisquick, ¾ cup milk, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Bring together and drop into simmering soup. Cook 10 minutes, then cover pot and cook another 15 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie: Use the same ingredients as soup but replace celery with frozen peas and reduce stock to 2 cups. Add a cup of stock to vegetables and with the remaining cup, make slurry with 3 tablespoons cornstarch and stir in to simmering pot. Cook on medium heat until gravy thickens. Put in a casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes or Bisquick biscuits. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup: Saute over medium heat one small onion and a bag of frozen broccoli in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Cook a few minutes, and then add 2 cups vegetable stock. Let simmer for 15 minutes and puree soup with an immersion blender or do batches in a regular blender when cooled down a bit, and return to pot. Make a slurry of 3 tablespoons cornstarch and 1 cup milk and stir into simmering soup. Add 1½ cups grated cheddar cheese and stir until melted.

Taco Soup: Cook 1 pound ground beef and remove extra fat. Add one clove of minced garlic, one medium onion, a half packet of taco seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook two minutes. Next, add 4 cups beef broth, one small can of diced green chilies, one can of beans, and one 16-ounce can of tomatoes with liquid. Cook 20 minutes on medium heat. Dish up and sprinkle with cheese.

Chili: Tweak the above recipe by omitting the broth. Add three more cans of beans, another can of tomatoes with liquid and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Change it up with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and half a cup of brewed coffee. Cook over medium low heat until thick. Add your favorite toppings.

Tamale Pie: Make like Taco Soup but use only ⅓ cup of stock. Cook 20 minutes, transfer to casserole dish. Make Jiffy Cornbread batter and pour on top of filling. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes.

Vegetable Pie: Cook 2 cups broccoli in microwave for 2 minutes. Put broccoli in a greased 10-inch pie pan. Add half a cup each chopped onion and bell pepper and 1 cup grated cheddar cheese. Make batter with 1½ cups milk, 3 eggs, ¾ cup Bisquick, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour over vegetables and bake at 400° for 35 minutes.

Lastly, Homemade Rice-a-Roni: A potluck favorite. Break up four servings of angel hair pasta into 1- to 2-inch pieces in a large pot with 2 tablespoons each of butter and oil. Brown 2 minutes over medium heat. Next, add 2 cups uncooked rice and several tablespoons of dry herbs like oregano and thyme. Continue browning for several more minutes. Add 4½ cups chicken stock, stir in and cover pot. Bring to a boil and then turn down to low and cook 20 minutes. Feel free to add chicken, onion and veggies to make it a one-pot meal.

We'd love to feature a dish from your KP kitchen that friends and family ask for. Email the details to editor@keypennews.org with your phone number; we'll be in touch.