Nine Recipes to Make with the Food You Bought for Self-Quarantine

Put those oats, beans, and frozen veggies to good use.

As Boston slowly shuts down and COVID-19 keeps us cooped up inside our homes, you’re probably wondering how to use the pantry and freezer staples that you stocked up on.

Social distancing may just be the excuse you need to brush up on your cooking creativity. Chances are you purchased some variation of beans, rice, oatmeal, flour, and pasta, and your freezer is full of vegetables, fruit, and meat. So how do you put all these things to good use? These pantry-friendly recipes give you options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and will help you create recipes your family will actually want to eat.


Photo via Live Well Bake Often

Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Cups

For a quick and easy breakfast that you can make ahead of time, these oatmeal cups are a great option. Apples tend to have a longer shelf life than other fruits, and when mixed with oats, cinnamon, eggs, and milk, they’re a healthy breakfast option. You can also freeze the cups for up to three months.

Photo via Blessed Simplicity

Whole Wheat Sheet Pan Pancakes

Forget about standing over a stove flipping pancakes, this sheet pan pancake recipe allows you to make enough pancakes to feed the whole family. If you like, you can add chocolate chips or nuts to the batter, or top with any frozen fruit that you have.

Photo via Asia Bradlee

Savory Oatmeal

If you’re sick of the traditional fruit-based oatmeal, this recipe is good for those who prefer savory flavors. The oats are mixed with pesto and topped with roasted tomatoes and an egg. Feel free to substitute the pesto for any sauce or spices you prefer and use any vegetables that you have. If you want more protein, you can top it with some turkey bacon or whatever meat you have on hand.


Photo via Wonky Wonderful

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Make use of the canned tuna you have, along with any canned artichokes or olives sitting in your pantry. This lunch salad is packed with protein from the tuna and is chock full of Mediterranean ingredients like cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, feta, artichokes olives, and spices. Serve between bread as a sandwich or over a bed of greens for a salad.

Photo via SkinnyMs

Black Bean and Lentil Soup

This recipe calls for black beans, but you can use whatever beans you have at home. Besides beans, all you need are lentils, a combination of spices, broth (or water), and carrots and onions if you have them. A one and a half cup serving provides 13 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber.

Photo via Yellow Thyme

Instant Pot Mushroom Parmesan Rice

This comforting rice dish can be made in your instant pot for a fast meal that takes only 20 minutes to cook. If you use brown rice, you may have to extend the cooking time slightly, but be sure to check on it after 10 minutes. Serve the rice by itself, with additional vegetables such as spinach, or topped with meat or eggs.


Photo via Two Peas and Their Pod

Pasta Primavera

If you’re someone who stocked up on pasta, this recipe lets you use your pasta while also getting a hearty helping of  vegetables. You can use whatever you have on hand or in the freezer, but peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus are all good options.

Photo via Savory Nothings

Easy Chicken Fried Rice

If you have chicken and a bag of vegetables in the freezer, along with some rice in the pantry, this meal can feed the whole family. Top the fried rice with sesame seeds and slice green onions if you have them.

Photo via Gimme Some Oven

Healthier Broccoli Chicken Casserole

For a comforting meal that tastes like mac and cheese but won’t leave you feeling as heavy, turn to this broccoli chicken casserole. The recipe calls for chicken, broccoli, and pasta as the main ingredients, but you can use whatever meat and vegetables you have. If vegan or vegetarian, leave out the meat and swap the butter for olive oil and cheese for vegan cheese.