If you’ve been watching the Food Network’s “The Next Food Network Star” on Sunday nights, you may have seen that last week’s challenge was to cook a meal of ingredients normally found in one’s pantry. Interesting concept, right?

Well, this morning I read an article about doing just that, called “5 Ingredient Pantry Recipes” from Cooking Light. Quick and easy meals are not only time-savers but cost-savers too, using ingredients you have on hand.

I plan to try a few of these recipes, including the Sauteed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce, Chicken with Cider and Bacon Sauce, and maybe even some Garlic Fries! Simple, delicious and cheap!

Speaking on pantries, while I don’t have a dedicated one (it’s more like a few drawers for food storage), it’s a great idea to go through the food you have on hand and conduct a clean-out every so often. Here are some tips:

  • Check food for expiration dates and toss any old items.
  • If you have non-perishables that you’re not planning to use, donate those items to a food bank. People are in need of food donations more than ever. You can find your closest food bank here.
  • Use the clean-out as a reminder of what you have on hand. It may save you a trip to the grocery store!

What’s your favorite “pantry” meal?