According to StatCounter, one of the searches that has brought the most people to my blog in the past few weeks is "What to cook when there's no food in the house." It leads people to my previous post about stocking a pantry.
I know having a stocked pantry is a great philosophy and it really does work to always be able to pull a meal together, but I've been thinking...what do you cook if your pantry isn't stocked and you can't manage a trip to the market? What can you whip up when you're scanning the cupboards and the fridge for whatever remnants you can find that can be turned into something tasty (and hopefully filling and nutritious too!)? In this economy, I think there will be days when supplies are lower than we're used to and we still need to pull off something to feed the family.
I know a lot of people do breakfast for dinner--eggs, pancakes, french toast. I'm not a hot cereal fan, but there is a returning interest in oatmeal--an oatmeal bar with various toppings could be fun...brown sugar, butter, cinnamon sugar, raisins or other dried fruit (apples, berries, dates, etc) nuts...other suggestions?
If you learn to make a basic white sauce from scratch (butter, flour, milk), you can always throw together something to serve over pasta or rice. For a pasta sauce, you can add garlic and/or herbs, or melt a couple of ounces of any bits of cheese. To make it a meal, you can add leftover chicken and/or veggies. My mom would make creamed tuna or creamed chipped beef on toast, both with the same basic sauce. Here's a link to a 5-star version on Allrecipes.com; if you read the comments, you'll get lots of ideas of ways to use this sauce.
In one famous story of "what to cook when there's no food in the house," in the midst of a famine, a widow had just enough for flour and oil for one final meal for herself and her son. In fact, she encountered Elijah when she was gathering sticks to use to cook what she expected to be her final meal. Elijah told her to use her meager supplies to make bread to share with him. God blessed her faithfulness and she had enough for the three of them until rain returned to the land and the famine was over.
Times can seem (or actually be) very bleak right now, but as we follow His leading to share what we have with others in need, God will be faithful to meet our needs as well.
So, what do YOU cook when there's "no food in the house?" Can you make a great soup from odds and ends? Do you have a formula for a casserole to feed a family? What's your go-to meal when the cupboards are bare? Where do you find ideas or inspiration?
Here are a couple of sites that might be helpful:
- Kraft Foods site--lets you type in ingredients you have (and don't have) and it will suggest recipes
- The Betty Crocker website does the same thing--list ingredients you have and what meal you're trying to prepare.
- Recipeland--I typed in 'kidney beans, tomato sauce, cheese' and it came up with 195 recipes. 48,000 recipes in their database. There's a good chance you can find something to make with whatever odds and ends you have.