11 Pantry Staples That You Can Turn into Dinner

September 22, 2014

Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples -- or your seasonal produce -- every which way.

This post is brought to you by our friends at Weight Watchers, who celebrate gathering together around the table to enjoy wholesome, beautiful food.

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When the going gets tough -- when sun-kissed tomatoes and peaches are eclipsed at the market by behemoth cabbages and impenetrable squash -- the tough turn to their pantries.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are like your beautiful friends who stop by for the weekend, tear up your apartment, and drag you out to karaoke at 3 AM. Your go-to pantry items, on the other hand, are older and less glamorous, but they're reliable. When you're having a bad day and you want to wiggle into a pair of toe socks and watch television, you know who to call. (Hint: It's not Ghostbusters -- it's brown rice.)

Take a look in your pantry and see who's waiting at your beck and call to become a delicious dinner. Click through on each ingredient to find 5 dinner recipes that you can customize however you like.

Sriracha by Carey Nershi


Vegetable Stock by Heather Hands


Jar of Capers by Melina Hammer


Canned Tuna by Kristy Mucci


Eggs by Mimi Thorisson


Brown Rice by Erin (Naturally Ella)


Red Quinoa by Melina Hammer


Black-Eyed Peas by Cookie and Kate


Sack of Potatoes by Happyyolks


Oatmeal by Marta Greber


Canned Chiles in Adobo by Lara

This post was brought to you by Weight Watchers. Need ideas for dinner tomorrow? They've got you covered. Show us what you're cooking with the hashtag #biteintolife!

What pantry staples will you turn to when the weather takes a turn for the worse? Share with us in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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  • ATG117
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Julia M. January 5, 2016
Love this post! I am in the midst of making a master pantry/kitchen staples list, so I can keep my 2016 resolution to not eat takeout out of desperation after work any more. Thanks for the great ideas!
ChefJune September 23, 2014
Not a bummer. Sponsored posts help to finance the site without charging us contributors.
Christina S. May 6, 2015
lou September 22, 2014
Bummer it was brought to us by Weight Watchers.
ATG117 September 22, 2014
Agreed! What is with the sponsored posts all over these days?
Kenzi W. September 23, 2014
Thanks for asking about sponsored posts! Food52's approach to sponsored columns is that we never post anything with a sponsor that we wouldn't post without one. Turning pantry staples into complete dinners is something we do on a weekly basis, and we wanted to share our ideas with you -- in this case, with a sponsor.