Ent Scoop’s Back Of The Pantry Recipes
By: Becky Root
So you stocked up on the basics to be able to survive the month with limited access to the outside world. You can work backwards from the back of your pantry, before you break in to your fresh supply. This spring, clean your kitchen up a bit and make sure you use food before it goes stale or scary. These aren’t exactly recipes because we can’t get picky about ingredients here. These are more like mood boards that a designer would use to guide culinary ideas.
You stream, I stream, we’re all slumped on our couch snacking. Emptying a new snack bag during a quarantine is sad; it feels like supplies are running low. Start with half full bags of snacks from the back of the pantry.
You bought it to feel good about yourself, but it was yucky and quickly got forgotten.
1. Of course add cinnamon to hunks of dried apples that didn’t taste as great as expected.
2. Chop up bigger pieces to be “little buddies” to something you do like in your trail mix. Think the Skipper and Gilligan, who would you rather have to eat? Of course you choose “Little Buddy” over gnawing on a big old Skipper.
3. Add chili powder to spice up and cover up the taste you didn’t like about the dried fruit. Chowhound and their readers have tips for adding chili.
4. Add savory flare with soy sauce or worcestershire sauce. You can shake up dried fruit pieces with the sauce and lay out on a cookie sheet to dry.
5. Finely chop dried apricots and make a baklava snack mix with cinnamon, orange zest, nuts, and honey. Bake at 200 degrees for 10 -15 minutes, checking frequently so it doesn’t burn.
Chips, crackers, and pretzels bought for a party and long forgotten in the dark recesses of the cabinet can be brought into the light to shine again. On their own, they can be crumby and sad, but as a group they can reach new snacking heights.
- Modified Chex Mix – the basics of Chex Mix are crispy carb, crunchy protein, and savory sauce. Chex Mix sauce is just soy sauce, worcestershire, and seasoned salt or garlic salt stirred into melted butter. If you don’t have Chex use any crispy carb (potato chips, tortilla chips, Corn Flakes, pretzels, Ritz Cracker pieces, Cheez-its) and mix them with any protein (Dry roasted peanuts, honey roasted peanuts, almonds, macadamias, cheese nibs, Moon Cheese, chickpea snacks, or Corn Nuts). Pour melted butter and seasonings all over the mix, stir well, pour onto a baking sheet and bake at 250 for 10 – 12 minutes, checking frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Popcorn- Pop doesn’t mix well into snack mixes because it goes stale quickly. But on its own, you can get rid of spices that are almost gone or not used frequently. Live Eat Learn can get you started with fun popcorn seasonings and then you really can lose an afternoon down that rabbit hole. Popcorn Balls are not just the stuff of Halloween nostalgia, they taste awesome are easy to make and don’t keep very well. They are the perfect way to use up that dribble of Karo syrup sticking to the back of your pantry.
Dried ramen is not amazing, but it will do in a pinch on day 19 of social distancing.
- Pair the ramen with the “meat flavor” on the packaging. Even finely chopping beef jerky can help along beef ramen or topping chicken ramen with scrambled egg can give that certain essence of chicken. Cook the scrambled egg in a small pan, so you can get a disk of scrambled egg cooked, that can then be finely sliced to top your ramen.
- Stir-fry scallions or green onions to top your ramen. Add hot sauce and oil to create a nice “sauce” to top the ramen with the green onions. Also, since we are rationing food here, green onions can propagate again indoors if you plant the root and bulb tip. So you can enjoy this recipe 19 days later with no need to shop!
- Stir fry frozen veggies of your choice in soy sauce, hot sauce and oil until they are fully thawed and lightly caramelized. Finely chop and sprinkle over ramen with sprinkled sesame seeds.
- Not just ramen, but any packaged carb in your pantry (Far East rice side dishes, Knorr packaged side dishes, Uncle Ben side dishes) have tons of salt and flavoring. Not judging we all need it in times like these, but these packaged foods can mix well with veggies to cut the saltiness. Use that bagged salad going bad, pick the slimeys out, rinse and finely chop the remaining greens to add to a packaged side dish.
- Use up dregs of cereal by mixing them with other cereal, get creative with your combinations.
- You can use up dried fruit leftovers by finely chopping the fruit and pairing it with a cereal that will compliment it.
- You can use up dregs of cookies or sweetened crackers in a bowl of cereal. You’re safe, nobody is around to question why you had Teddy Grahams in your cabinet.
- You can use up dregs of drinks on cereal. Starbucks or Dunkin’ bottled coffees compliment breakfast cereals well. Strawberry Quick or combine the non-dairy milks you bought but didn’t like in a cereal you do like.
Don’t forget to taste all along your journey through your pantry. There is no shame in making something that doesn’t taste too good, if it was dregs from the back of the pantry they were going to waste anyway. But making a HUGE bowl or pan of gross tasting food is a bummer to throw out during these trying times.