Hack: Easy Meals Straight From Your Well-Stocked Pantry

Keep some easy pantry meals stocked to throw together for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a pinch.

Cheater’s Tom Kha (Thai coconut soup)

2 cans of coconut milk (full fat)
1 quart of broth (chicken or vegetable)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 box rice noodles
Juice from one lemon (or use vinegar in a pinch)
Cilantro and scallions, chopped, for garnish (optional)

  1. Put all ingredients except for noodles and lemon juice in a large pot and bring to a boil
  2. Add noodles and cook, about 9 minutes
  3. Add lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

This soup will last in the refrigerator for about five days. The cream rises to the top and looks a little funky, but fear not! Just shake or stir it up before reheating and it will be as good as new.

Better Marinara Sauce

Pasta with red sauce has a spot in the easy meal hall of fame. Jarred sauces are overpriced and can contain sugar, tomato paste and water instead of real tomatoes. The next time you want a quick pasta dish, start boiling your water for noodles and by the time they are finished you can whip this recipe up:

1 Tablespoon oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 28 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a medium pot
  2. Add garlic and oregano and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant
  3. Pour in tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and simmer until your pasta is ready.
  4. Get creative! Good add ins:
    1. Canned artichoke hearts.
    2. Any spice or herb that suits your fancy.
    3. If you like anchovies chop one or two up and add in with the garlic.
    4. Add a spoonful of chopped capers and/or chopped and pitted olives.
    5. Add in chopped vegetables (frozen or fresh) just before you add the tomatoes.
    6. Add leafy greens like spinach, chard or kale for the last few minutes of cooking.

Oat Groats

This is one example of a grain that you can make a big batch of and use for anything during the week. Cook out groats in boiling water as directed and use in the following ways:

  • Hot breakfast porridge: Heat oats with milk, dried fruit, sweetener (we like good maple syrup but anything will work), and chopped nuts.
  • Cold breakfast porridge: Use the same ingredients as above minus the dried fruit. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and cardamom. Try it, it’s surprisingly delicious and easy!
  • Side dish: Add some fat to a pan, sauté some onion and garlic, then add the oat groats and stir until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Add anything! (Scrambled egg, vegetables, soy sauce, greens, etc.).