HOUSTON – It's time to put that well-stocked pantry to good use!
Culinary instructor and owner of Smart in The Kitchen, Marcia Smart, sharea how to use those basic pantry ingredients to create a simple and delicious meal.
“To be better home cooks, we should always have a well-stocked pantry of dry goods. There’s no need to grocery shop every day. Canned and dry items, such as dried beans, rice and other grains, have a longer shelf life,” said Smart, who emphasizes that in this time we are living in, you don’t need to follow a recipe precisely.
“I don’t want people to stress out about having exact ingredients right now, because there’s so many variations you can use and use what you have,” said Smart.
“ For example, if a recipe calls for a yellow onion, most likely a red or white one will suffice as well. If you’re running low on vegetable oil but you’re really craving those brownies? Substitute half the oil with apple sauce. Making a simple homemade tomato sauce? You can interchangeably use crushed, chopped or whole peeled tomatoes,” said Smart.
According to Smart, you can use what you have in your pantry to create something basic, but important, like a salad dressing you can do in a jar.
“It’s healthier and less expensive to make at home and it will lasts for a couple weeks refrigerated,” said Smart, who wanted to share this recipe because you can use this dressing not only on salad greens, but also pasta salads, grain salads and a tasty and easy to prepare three bean salad.
“This is something my grandmother used to make for lunches when I would visit,” said Smart, who suggests you can add in canned and drained tuna if you want some protein.
To see Smart’s complete interview and steps for these recipes, see the video above.
• Shallot or garlic
• Dijon mustard, grainy mustard or dry mustard
• Apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
• Extra virgin olive oil. If not, regular olive oil, avocado oil or a combination of any of those would also work well
• Salt and pepper
1. Add a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup if you like a sweet salad dressing, I prefer mine without.
2. Extra olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator, let it come to room temp before tossing the salad.
Three Bean Salad
• 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
• 1/4 red onion, finely chopped, or a diced shallot or 3-4 thinly sliced green onions
• 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped flat-leaf parsley (or dill, cilantro, rosemary or whatever you have!)
• Salad dressing
• 1/4 cup cane or refined sugar, or honey or maple syrup to taste
• Maldon or kosher salt and pepper to taste
• Chopped celery
• Canned and rinsed green or wax beans
• Cherry tomatoes
• Minced shallots
• Fresh chopped herbs
In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Add any other chopped veggies you have on hand: diced bell pepper, diced cucumber, diced green beans or cherry tomatoes. Let come to room temp before serving, and taste for seasoning because you may need more salt or vinaigrette.
If you need a list of essential ingredients you must have in your pantry, Smart shared a list here.
For more pantry dinner ideas, click here.
And to see the complete recipes, you can click here.