Over 70 Pantry Recipes You Can Make This Week

Here are over 70 recipes you can make using common pantry and freezer ingredients this week. Perfect for when you can’t find what you need at the grocery store (or get there in the first place!)

Whether you’ve stocked your pantry or freezer thanks to a natural disaster, global pandemic or to just plain be prepared for ANY unforeseen event, there are tons of ways you can put your ingredients to good use without getting bored. Here are over 70 of my favorite recipes (from CaliGirl Cooking and beyond) that will help you get creative in the kitchen when you have limited supplies to work with.

Breakfast

A cooling rack of freshly baked Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal Cups.

The Easiest Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups (CaliGirl Cooking)

Weekend Hazelnut Sticky Buns with Date Caramel (CaliGirl Cooking)

Weekday Festive Funfetti Pancakes (CaliGirl Cooking)

Andy’s Fairfield Granola (CaliGirl Cooking)

Eggs in Purgatory (Pina Bresciani)

PB&J Quinoa Bowl (CaliGirl Cooking)

Oat Milk Chia Pudding with Blueberry Orange Compote (CaliGirl Cooking)

Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal (CaliGirl Cooking)

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies (CaliGirl Cooking)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats (Let’s Eat Cake)

Make-Ahead Freezer Oatmeal Cups with Maple and Brown Sugar (CaliGirl Cooking)

Chai Chia Oatmeal (CaliGirl Cooking)

Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls (CaliGirl Cooking)

Easy Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Muffins (CaliGirl Cooking)

Matcha Macadamia Latte (CaliGirl Cooking)

Bread

A plate of freshly baked hot cross buns with icing.

Hot Cross Buns (CaliGirl Cooking)

Chocolate Cherry Bread (CaliGirl Cooking)

Buttery Soft Pretzel Bites (Gimme Some Oven)

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread (CaliGirl Cooking)

Pumpkin Popovers (CaliGirl Cooking)

Soups

A pot of warming minestrone soup surrounded by a wooden spoon and chunk of Parmesan cheese.

Warming Minestrone Soup (CaliGirl Cooking)

French Onion Soup (CaliGirl Cooking)

20-Minute Tomato Soup (Gimme Some Oven)

Easy Indian-Style Yellow Curry (CaliGirl Cooking)

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup (Seasonal Cravings)

Caramelized Leek and Parsnip Soup with Mushrooms and Crispy Prosciutto (CaliGirl Cooking)

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili (Lemons and Zest)

Pasta

A bowl of cashew shrimp with chopsticks.

Cashew Shrimp (CaliGirl Cooking)

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Baby Broccoli (Entertaining with Beth)

Easy Pasta Sauce Recipe (The Foreign Fork)

Super Quick Mexican Baked Penne (Erica’s Recipes)

Tortellini Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes (Gimme Some Oven)

Other Mains (Casseroles and More!)

A serving dish of Spicy Beet Poke and an individual bowl of the poke with chopsticks.

Spicy Beet Poke (CaliGirl Cooking)

Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole (Savory Experiments)

Quick-and-Easy Tuna Salad Sandwiches (CaliGirl Cooking)

The BEST Falafel Recipe (Gimme Some Oven)

Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken (CaliGirl Cooking)

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls (Spoonful of Flavor)

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (CaliGirl Cooking)

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole (Small Farm Big Life)

Southern Salmon Croquettes (Grandbaby Cakes)

Side Dishes

A bowl of Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad surrounded by a green linen napkin and fresh cranberries.

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs (CaliGirl Cooking)

Smoky Slow Cooker Baked Beans (This Healthy Kitchen)

Herbed Grain Salad with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans (CaliGirl Cooking)

Socca Flatbreads (Emma Eats & Explores)

Snacks

A freshly cut batch of Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars.

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars (CaliGirl Cooking)

All-Dressed Party Mix (CaliGirl Cooking)

5-Minute Pumpkin Curry Hummus (CaliGirl Cooking)

“Nooch” (Nutritional Yeast) Popcorn (Gimme Some Oven)

Addicting S’mores Granola Clusters (CaliGirl Cooking)

Spiced Rosemary Bar Nuts (CaliGirl Cooking)

No-Bake Energy Bites (Salt & Baker)

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers – Two Ways! (CaliGirl Cooking)

Curry Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts (CaliGirl Cooking)

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates (CaliGirl Cooking)

Miso Furikake Hummus (CaliGirl Cooking)

Condiments

A dish of freshly made Three-Ingredient Calabrian Chili Spread.

The Easiest Three-Ingredient Calabrian Chili Sauce (CaliGirl Cooking)

Homemade BBQ Sauce (Gimme Some Oven)

Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil (CaliGirl Cooking)

The BEST Enchilada Sauce! (Gimme Some Oven)

Desserts

A stack of three Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.

Easy No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (CaliGirl Cooking)

5-Ingredient Indulgent Date Bites (CaliGirl Cooking)

Vegan Black Bean Brownies (Baked by Clo)

Tahini Blondies with Whiskey Date Caramel and Sea Salt (CaliGirl Cooking)

Dreamy Chocolate Lava Cakes (Gimme Some Oven)

Chocolate, Coconut and Butterscotch “Grutch” Bars (CaliGirl Cooking)

Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Fit Foodie Finds)

Butterscotch Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Bourbon Glaze (CaliGirl Cooking)

5-Ingredient Lemon Bars (Gimme Some Oven)

For a frequently updated list of pantry recipes including these ones and many more, check out my Pantry Recipes Pinterest board!

 

5 Easy Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms

These five meal planning tips are easy to implement and will save busy moms hours in the kitchen each week. Start using them today and make mealtimes stress-free and enjoyable for the entire family.

5 Easy Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms
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I’m the first to admit that meal planning doesn’t always come easy, but in my experience as a meal planning consultant and baby and toddler feeding expert, I can confidently say that I’ve uncovered the best hacks for making meal planning just a little bit more manageable, especially for us busy moms who NEVER seem to have enough hours in the day.

5 Easy Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms

Here are my top five meal planning tips for busy moms that you can implement today to save not only hours in the kitchen each week, but your sanity and peace of mind.

#1. USE PINTEREST TO GET ORGANIZED

If you’re one of the millions of mamas who mindlessly scrolls through Pinterest at least a few times a week, chances are you’ve already got a board or two devoted to your favorite recipe pins. So, put them to use!

Create three to four new boards on Pinterest and label them something like this: Meal Plan – Breakfast, Meal Plan – Lunch, Meal Plan – Dinner, Meal Plan – Snacks. To see an example of how this is done, check out my own personal meal plan Pinterest boards I’ve made here.

Next, go through all of the pins you’ve already saved to other boards, and re-pin those that you would realistically make on a regular basis to the appropriate Meal Plan board. Now, when you’re putting together a meal plan each week, you’ll have all of your recipes in one place for easy scrolling and selecting.

#2. SCHEDULE IT IN

Much like other menial tasks, meal planning can easily get pushed off for better, more exciting things. However, none of us can survive without eating, so us busy moms need to make meal planning a priority. That’s where physically scheduling in time to meal plan is essential. Whether you use a scheduling app, your Google calendar or a pen-and-paper planner, block off at least 30 minutes a week to devote to meal planning.  There are 168 hours in the week, so setting aside such a tiny portion of that will be completely worth it for all of the time you will save later on!

A busy mom working on her family meal plan for the week.

#3. IF YOU’RE COOKING ANYWAY, MAKE EXTRA

Whenever you’re whipping something up in the kitchen, take a moment to think if there’s any way you can make a little extra to save for later. Have a recipe that feeds six yet only have a family of three? Make the whole thing anyway and save the rest for another meal! Cooking some vegetables to throw into a salad? Cook some extra while you’re at it and use it in your kids’ lunches throughout the week. When you’re already taking time out of your day to prepare food, it will take much less time to make a little extra for later at the same time than it will for you to have a whole other cooking sesh later on.

#4. THE FREEZER IS YOUR MEAL PLANNING BFF

This simple meal planning hack is the one I have taken the most advantage of since becoming a mom, and it goes right along with the “making extra” tip mentioned above. Utilize your freezer!! When you make extra of something, freeze it up. If you have an hour or two on the weekend to meal prep some healthy snacks for your little one(s), freeze them for easy access throughout the busy week. Use resealable glass containers, Mason jars and/or Ziploc bags for freezer-friendly storage, and label them using blue painters’ tape and a Sharpie. It’s the best way to keep things organized!

Finally, if you don’t already have it, be sure to grab my Freezer Meal Cheat Sheet – part of my Ultimate Meal Planning Toolkit – to keep track of everything you’ve stashed and whatever you need to reheat and serve it when you’re ready.

A toddler helping her mom meal prep some healthy snacks.

#5. ORGANIZE YOUR SHOPPING LIST

Taking multiple trips to the grocery store – or running all over the store in one trip to grab everything you need – can be THE biggest time-suck. But it doesn’t have to be! Once you start devoting at least 30 minutes a week to meal planning, you’ll be able to make one big shopping list that should get you through most of the week. On top of that, if you organize your shopping list by section of the grocery store, you’ll be able to be the most efficient on this one trip, without bouncing back and forth from produce to dairy to meat to produce, etc. To grab your very own organized shopping list template, click here.

The goal of this tip is twofold, to (1) minimize the total number of times you’re having to go to the grocery store each week – something that takes at least 30 minutes per trip even if you’re just going for one item – and (2) to maximize your efficiency on that one trip.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to tackle some of these meal planning tips? If you give them a shot, I’d love to hear how they worked for you in the comments below.

If you still feel overwhelmed – that you still can’t fit these tips into your busy schedule, that you don’t even know where to start in the kitchen, or that you just plain don’t want to think about it – be sure to check out my personalized meal planning services, where I do all of this work for you 😉

Here’s to healthy, happy and stress-free cooking for all you busy mamas out there!

Creative Baby and Toddler Lunch Ideas

If you have your baby or toddler in daycare – or even have to prepare food for a babysitter or nanny to serve your little one at home – this list of Creative Baby and Toddler Lunch Ideas is for you!

A toddler having a lunch picnic on the beach. Creative lunch ideas are important for exposing your child to a wide variety of foods!

For many of us, between 6- and 24-months is often the age we begin sending our child to daycare, or having some sort of regular childcare schedule implemented in our own home. This is also THE most important time for our little ones to be introduced to a wide variety of foods, so it’s crucial that we parents are on top of our game when it comes to sending our babes off with a healthy, well-balanced and flavor-diverse lunch.

That being said, I know all too well how easy it is to get stuck in the rut of serving the same thing over and over again. So let’s first talk about some of the roadblocks I know we ALL face…

ROADBLOCK #1: I DON’T HAVE TIME TO GET CREATIVE

Well, you’re in luck! I’m taking the guesswork out of it for you today by providing some interesting, non-repetitive options. It’s not that hard if you’ll just open your mind to it!

Also, meal prep is a godsend for busy parents like you and me. One hour of planning and prepping can set you up for HUGE success the rest of the week. I urge you to take 20 minutes on a Saturday or Sunday and roughly plan out your meals for the week. Be sure to leave some flexibility for eating out once in a while and making good use of leftovers. Then, make a shopping list and head to the store!

I’ve found that since I’ve implemented meal planning into my life over the last six months or so, I’ve saved so much time by knowing exactly what I’ll make each night, taking just one trip to the grocery store each week, and also always having healthy, interesting leftovers on hand.

A basket of fresh produce. Meal planning and prepping is a huge help in making creative lunches your little one will love.

ROADBLOCK #2: MY CHILD ONLY LIKES CERTAIN THINGS

C’mon, mom and dad. Don’t give up that easily! Your child probably only likes certain things because (a) they’ve not been introduced to enough variety early on in life, or (b) you give in to them refusing certain things and offer to make them an alternative. I understand this may be controversial for some of you, but take a look at my healthy meal prep for your baby or toddler post to get a better idea of where I’m coming from.

Also, keep in mind that babies’ and toddlers’ palates are constantly changing and evolving. If they don’t like something the first time you give it to them, try again in a week or two with the food prepared in a different way. You might be surprised!

ROADBLOCK #3: MY CHILD DOESN’T GET EXCITED ABOUT THE FOOD I PACK THEM

Question for you: Do you get excited about the food you pack them? Does your child ever see you eating the same foods that you’re putting in their lunchbox? We often underestimate how much children learn by osmosis. If they see you getting excited about the different things you’re giving them, they’re more likely to get excited about it themselves.

Take, for example, the time I made posole but decided my little one probably wouldn’t like it, so I made her a quesadilla instead. NOPE! She saw mom and dad eating the yummy posole and wanted some of her own! Kids always surprise us – especially if you just give them a chance!

So, how’d I do? Did I squash all your fears or concerns? If there’s something else that’s holding you back, I want to know! Give me a chance to prove you wrong 😉

Now, let’s get to the good stuff!

Here are some ideas of creative lunches you can pack your baby or toddler (also note, many of these include snacks):

  • Lunch: Ground turkey, butternut squash zigzags, avocado; Dessert: Kiwi; Snack: Pumpkin-Carrot Muffin

A packed toddler lunch consisting of ground turkey, butternut squash zig zags, avocado, and sliced kiwi, with a healthy pumpkin muffin for snack.

  • Lunch: String cheese, sautéed mushrooms and cauliflower, Power Protein Bite; Dessert: Sliced pear; Snack: Pumpkin-Carrot Muffin
  • Lunch: Half a bagel with cream cheese and shredded zucchini, butternut squash zigzags, Power Protein Bite; Dessert/Snack: Orange

A packed toddler lunch consisting of half a bagel with cream cheese and shredded zucchini, butternut squash zig zags and a power protein bite, with an orange for dessert.

  • Lunch: Grilled chicken breast, butternut squash zigzags, Power Protein Bite; Dessert/Snack: Raspberries
  • Lunch: Sliced steak, avocado, roasted veggies (carrots, zucchini and broccoli), Power Protein Bite; Dessert: Freeze-dried strawberries; Snack: Happy Tot Fiber & Protein Granola Bar [*affiliate link]

A packed toddler lunch consisting of sliced steak and avocado, roasted vegetables, a power protein bite and dehydrated strawberries for dessert. There's also a fiber and protein bar for snack!

You get the gist…

In short, I try to offer a main protein, a vegetable, and either another protein or vegetable or whole grain as the main lunch, plus a fruit for dessert and a well-balanced snack. I love making healthy muffins for snack (as you can see) or sometimes I just end up throwing in a granola bar.

If you still need some more ideas, here are some other ideas in each category for you:

MAIN
  • Turkey sandwich with avocado on multigrain bread
  • Cheese quesadilla with hidden vegetables
  • Meatballs
  • Slider on a whole grain bun
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Shredded chicken with hummus
VEGETABLES
  • Zucchini noodles
  • Steamed green beans
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • Sauteed carrot dimes or sticks
  • Sliced roasted beets
  • Roasted asparagus
OTHER
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Peanut butter crackers (make your own, the store-bought ones have so much junk in them!)
  • Veggie straws
  • Rice cakes
  • Hidden Veggie Mac-and-Cheese Bites

Two toddlers enjoying an outdoor lunch at a kids' table.

Have I inspired you yet? I sure hope so! I’d also love to hear some of your ideas. What are your favorite lunches to pack your little ones?