Pantry Staple Dinners in Under 30 Minutes

With many of us practicing social distancing, it can be overwhelming to be meal planning with limited grocery store trips. When we think about how to use up food that we have in our freezers and pantries, it’s easy to be unsure how to proceed! The goal is to provide nourishing meals for yourself and your families that don’t require a lot of prep or cooking time and will help you use what you already have on hand. The recipes below can easily be modified with whatever you have in the pantry or fridge. But first, let’s go over a list of staples to rely on.

Pantry Staples

Use this as a handy guide when swapping ingredients in the recipes below or just pick one from each category and build your own meal without a recipe! (You don’t always need to include grains or beans if you are following a Paleo or lower carb diet.) One example might be: 1 cup sautéed spinach + 1/2 cup sautéed mushrooms + 1/4 cup quinoa + 1 organic, uncured chickens sausage + 1/2 cup kidney beans + Drizzle of cholula or Sriracha

Proteins – Fresh or frozen chicken, turkey, beef, hard boiled/scrambled eggs, baked tofu/tempeh, canned tuna/salmon/chicken, Uncured chicken sausage, Uncured bacon

Beans – Kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, red beans, lentils

Grains – Quick cook organic rice (brown or wild), quinoa, lentil/chickpea/quinoa pasta

Vegetables – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Spinach, Kale, Asparagus, Garlic, Onions, Sweet Potato, Butternut or Spaghetti squash, Bok choy, Artichokes, Mushrooms

**Vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned! We LOVE using frozen riced cauliflower/broccoli/butternut squash in stir fries or nourish bowls. Trader Joe’s makes frozen cauliflower gnocchi that makes an amazing freezer staple to keep on hand.

Fats/Oils – Butter, Olive oil, Coconut oil, Avocado oil, Avocado, Ghee, Coconut milk

Other/Flavor Enhancers: Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios), Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, sesame, pumpkin), No sugar added nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew), Tahini, No sugar added salad dressings, Canned tomatoes, pickles, No sugar added ketchup, No sugar added salsa, Hummus, Cholula, Sriracha, Coconut aminos or Tamari, No sugar added marinara

Brands for sauces/condiments that we love: Primal Kitchen, Saucy Lips, JUST, Yo Mama, Tessemae’s KC Natural, Merf’s Condiments

30 Minute and Under Meals

These dinners can be made from staples on hand or thought out in advance when planning your meals for the week.  These dinners take 15-20 minutes to prep and cook (not including crock pot cooking time). However, the very first time may take you slightly longer as you get used to the ingredients and cooking them together.

1) Scrambled Eggs


4-6 large eggs

Fresh or frozen diced peppers, onions and mushrooms

Fresh spinach (2 large handfuls or more)

Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil. Once it’s warm, add in a bag of frozen diced peppers and onions.  Cook for several minutes until they begin to thaw.  Add a dash of salt and pepper.
  2. While the diced peppers and onions are cooking, prep your egg scramble.
  3. Add your eggs to the skillet and cook for approximately 1 minute. Add a dash of pepper & salt, if needed.
  4. Add 2 large handfuls of raw spinach. Stir together.  The dish is ready when the eggs are done and the spinach is wilted.

2) Quick Chicken Wraps


Rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken breast

2 avocados

Butter or Boston lettuce (for wrap) OR Siete Brand Cassava Flour Tortillas

Sugar free salsa or hummus


  1. Rinse the lettuce and separate the leaves.
  2. Shred some chicken from the rotisserie chicken.
  3. Slice the avocados. Place a few sliced in each leaf.  Top with chicken.  Add on some salsa.
  4. Wrap and enjoy!

3) Dinner Salad


1 medium bag of organic spring mix or organic spinach

1 BPA-free can of chickpeas or beans of choice

2 tbsp sesame or pumpkin seeds

Shredded carrots

Diced tomatoes

1 can wild caught salmon

Balsamic vinegar & olive oil to taste (If using store bought, look for low sugar options and avoid options made from canola oil or soybean oil)


  1. Place the salad in a large bowl. Add toppings.  Add in dressing and mix well.
  2. Enjoy!

4) Crockpot Chicken


1 whole chicken (organic preferably) or 1-2 lbs. organic, free range chicken thighs

1 jar no sugar added salsa or black bean dip


  1. Place the chicken and the salsa in the crockpot.
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  3. Enjoy with a side salad or other vegetables!

5) Sweet Potato Surprise


4 sweet potatoes (or enough to feed the family)

1-2 BPA free cans of chickpeas

1 lemon

Diced grape tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained

Fresh cilantro


  1. Wash and prick the sweet potato with a fork. Microwave for about 5 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. While the potatoes cook, heat the chickpeas in a pot over low to medium heat.
  3. Dice grape tomatoes and chop cilantro.
  4. Slice the lemon into wedges
  5. When the potatoes are done, slice an opening and give it a squeeze to make it open wider
  6. Add in some chickpeas, tomatoes, and cilantro. Squeeze a lemon wedge over top and enjoy.

6) Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl


1 bags frozen quinoa or cauliflower rice

1 cucumber

1 red bell pepper

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

1 jar artichoke hearts

1 package of hummus

½ lemon

*Add protein of choice – beans, tofu or chicken


  1. Cook quinoa in the microwave according to the package instructions.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, dice the cucumber, bell pepper, and tomatoes.
  3. Place bowls on the counter and add ½ to 1 cup of quinoa to each bowl. Evenly disperse the vegetables in each bowl.  Add in some artichoke hearts and 1-2 scoops of hummus. Add chicken if desired.
  4. Top with fresh lemon juice and enjoy!

7) Black Bean Tortillas


1-2 BPA-free cans of black beans

1 BPA-free can diced tomatoes (w/ or w/o green chilies)

1 tsp chili powder

1 white or yellow onion

1 bell pepper

1-2 green onions

Fresh Cilantro

Tortilla Chips or Siete Brand Cassava Flour Tortilla

*You can also add grass fed ground beef or another protein in


  1. Drain and rinse the beans and place them in a bowl. Add in the can of diced tomatoes and mix well.  Add in the seasonings and mix well.
  2. Dice the onion and bell pepper. Add to the bowl and mix well.  Top with fresh chopped cilantro and sliced green onion.
  3. Serve with a handful of tortilla chips to scoop or a warmed whole wheat tortilla.

8) Quick Peanut Stir-Fry


½ cup no sugar added peanut butter

2 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 tbsp honey

1-2 bell pepper

1 white or yellow onion

1 cup cremini mushrooms

1 zucchini

1 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional: can of beans, shredded chicken or browned turkey (cooked in advance or rotisserie)


  1. Wash all the vegetables
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Dice the onion. Place in the pan.  Add a dash of salt.  Stir well and allow to cook for 2-4 min.
  4. Slice the bell pepper and cremini mushrooms. Dice the zucchini.
  5. Add in the remaining veg and a dash of pepper and salt. Allow to cook.
  6. While cooking, mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, and honey in a bowl. Mix well.
  7. Add to the pan and allow the peanut sauce to coat the vegetables.
  8. Add your optional items and enjoy!


9) Tuna Stuffed Avocadoes


1 avocado

1 can wild caught tuna, drained

¼ cup red pepper, diced

¼ cup cilantro (if desired)

1 T lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste


Scoop out avocadoes into a bowl and combine with tuna and all other ingredients. Scoop into bowls, onto rice cakes or back into avocado shells and enjoy!


10) Chicken, Asparagus and Tomatoes


1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes

2 T. olive oil

1 lb. chicken thighs or breasts

¼ t. salt

½ t. paprika

1 bunch asparagus (or whatever veggies you have on hand!)


Chop sundried tomatoes and heat half of them with the olive oil in skillet on medium high heat. Slice thighs or breasts into small pieces and add to skillet. Add seasonings as it’s cooking. Cook until cooked through and remove from skillet. Add asparagus cut into bite sized pieces and the rest of the sun dried tomatoes to skillet and season with salt to taste. Cook asparagus until bright green and soft, but not mushy. Add chicken back to skillet and mix everything together. Enjoy!


11) Easy chili


2 pounds grass fed ground beef or ground turkey, browned

1 large onion, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

3-4 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

2 cans diced tomatoes (28 oz. total)


Brown the ground beef in a skillet and drain. Add to crockpot with spices, onions and tomatoes and mix together. Cook on a high setting for 4 hours, or on low for 6. Keep it paleo, or add a sprinkle of your favorite cheese.


12) Gluten Free Quinoa Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash


1 lb. grass fed beef

1/4 cup shredded zucchini

1/4 cup shredded carrot

1/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup cooked quinoa

1 egg, beaten

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon Gluten Free Tamari  or Coconut Aminos

2 tablespoons ketchup (I like this recipe for an easy DIY version. If you choose a store bought version make sure it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS))


Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking stone or dish with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Mix all ingredients together and form meatballs from the mixture. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the meat is golden brown. Yields around 15-16 meatballs. While meatballs are cooking, slice a spaghetti squash lengthwise. Place face down in a baking dish with an inch of water in the bottom. Microwave for 10-15 minutes, until a knife slides into the shell without resistance. Let cool until easy to handle and use a fork to scrape the flesh out. Serve the meatballs with pasta sauce over cooked spaghetti squash.



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