No time to shop? Hit the pantry! - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

No time to shop? Hit the pantry!

© Jack Hollingsworth / Photodisc / Thinkstock © Jack Hollingsworth / Photodisc / Thinkstock

By Nicole Mydy
From Your Family Today 

Q: I usually do my grocery shopping on Thursdays, but sometimes I can't get to it until a few days later. What are some healthy, easy meals I can make with things I already have in my freezer and pantry?

A: There are many family-friendly, nutritious meal options you can make without freshly bought ingredients.

Frozen chicken breasts are versatile and a center for many different meals. They can be quickly thawed in the microwave or refrigerator overnight, lightly seasoned and then baked, grilled, or sliced and stir-fried.

Add a side of frozen vegetables along with some mashed potatoes, rice or pasta, and you have a balanced meal your whole family will enjoy.

Another idea is to create a do-it-yourself baked potato or macaroni and cheese bar.

Wash and bake (or microwave) midsize potatoes with the skins on or whip up your family's favorite type of macaroni and cheese. Serve with the toppings you have on hand, making sure you include several vegetable toppings and a source of protein.

A few good options are vegetables like peas and chopped broccoli (cooked or frozen), shredded cheese, diced ham or other sandwich meats, leftover taco meat or diced chicken, salsa, sour cream and black olives.

Lastly, here's a tip for quick salads: Uncut hearts of romaine will typically last in the refrigerator longer than other salad varieties or precut bags of salad. This is a great way to keep salad on hand long after your trip to the grocery store.

Nicole Mydy is a food science expert -- and mother of two -- specializing in product development.

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