whole foods

Yes! Using what we have in the house is more important than ever and being creative is the key. Learning how to make easy & fast meals from the pantry is such an important skill! Whether you are able to get to the grocery store or not, let’s use more of what you have. 

Tomatoes have tons of antioxidants, but what does that mean? Antioxidants help to fight cancer and tomatoes also protect your bones and support blood health. A can of tomatoes seems pretty boring but I have a few ideas!

Bake a Simple Egg Shakshuka

On a typical Sunday, as a family, we like to have brunch and often the dish that gets the most attention is Shakshuka. Simple, easy and flavorful, plus leftovers are good for just about any meal.  They even sell a frozen tomato base at Trader Joe’s, but since we are eating out of the pantry, a few cans and little else makes this amazing meal, Sunday Brunch Shakshuka .

Make gravy?

I live in Jersey and grew up eating “gravy” at my Aunt Rene’s house. She would be scooping it out of a deep pot over pasta. I can smell it just by thinking about those meals. Yes, I’m sure you have some store-bought bottle in your cabinet but if you have enough cans, this Gravy can change a girls’ world…..

This is our favorite Homemade Tomato Sauce recipe and we put it on everything from our favorite gluten-free pasta, to roasted veggies, and tofu.

  • 2- 28-ounce cans of tomatoes, whole peeled
  • 5tablespoons butter
  • 1onion, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt
  1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.
  3. Throw out the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

Note: If you think you should add herbs, DO NOT. Trust me.

Cashew, almond, pecan
Cashew, almond, pecan

A butter for every nut but not all nuts are nutritionally equal. Some have more fat and protein than others.  They come in all forms like butter, but now flours and powders too.

Add it all to the smoothie

Yes, I mean it! It will add good fats, fiber, and protein. I like to make a banana nut butter smoothie before a big work out. Take your favorite smoothie and drop in a spoonful of any nut butter, powder or even flours.

Indulge in a cup

I mean really, make dessert in the microwave that you don’t have to share? I have made this in a pie pan too, it honestly comes out great no matter what you do, no fool recipe. Just don’t tell the kids, they will ask you for it all the time.

Try this:

  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp coconut sugar, or your sugar choice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs almond flour
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  1. Melt coconut oil in a microwave-safe mug for 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in sugar, salt, vanilla until combined.
  3. Stir in egg then add almond flour, stir well.
  4. Mix in chocolate chips and microwave for 1 minute.
  5. Double recipes to make more servings.

Make Chicken with Peanut Butter 

From mommalew.com
From mommalew.com

Well, make the sauce for the chicken. Packed full of flavor plus super easy and only 20 minutes from pan to the table by MommaLew.com . If you like this one, nut butters and protein are a great paring. Google; “peanut butter and chicken cuisine” for a ton of recipes.

Bean salad is packed with protein and healthy fats and will keep you feeling full longer. This Warm Beans with Rosemary & Garlic is made just from ingredients that you likely have on hand. Don’t have fresh herbs? Dried ones work too. Use whichever beans & herbs you have on hand! You can add greens and grain of your choice for a complete meal!

Brownies, yup.

I made these for a big playdate once, I made a batch and brought them out to the kids. I left them on the table to get drinks and when I returned, the plate was empty.  I called all the moms, yes this was before texting, just to warn them of the impending gassiness…..lol. Try this recipe for Black Bean Brownies or add a can of black beans instead of oil in any boxed brownie mix.

A Bean Smoothie, WTF?

Yuck! NO, actually no flavor difference and packed full of healthy fats and tons of protein. You can even substitute frozen white beans for a banana. YES, YOU CAN! Try this smoothie recipe by Patricia Bannan, Creamy Chocolate, Cannellini Bean, and Cinnamon Smoothie .

Chickpeas, like black beans, are similar in protein, fiber, and fat! Really good at keeping you satisfied with the added bonus of calcium.

Great as is

Have you ever had roasted chickpeas? With just a few ingredients you can up-level a simple can of chickpeas also known as garbanzo beans. Try the Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas by @abeautifulplate . Key to this recipe is drying the beans really well so they CRISP up in the oven. It is one of my go-to snacks when I’m looking for something salty and crunchy.

No more tuna!

Don’t like Tuna? Well, a perfect option is this yummy fiber-packed chunky chickpea spread!  This spread is perfect on any sandwich or bread of your choice!  Take a peek @fullplateliving, they have an easy to prepare recipe. 

You can do it! Homemade Hummus

 As a family, we go through hummus like the kids are bathing in it. In my house, you better hid some if you want your own.  Hummus is easier than you think to make and it’s one of those recipes you’ll make over and over again.

Classic Hummus

One can of Chickpeas

¼ cup of good extra virgin olive oil

3 tbs lemon juice, fresh squeezed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add together in your Vitamix or food processor till smooth. You can add garlic, fresh/dried herbs and even some of those sauces you bought but never used. Check the pantry!


Have Mushrooms? Sautee them up with a little olive oil and some garlic. Top a bowl of warmed hummus with the hot mushrooms and serve. You can add some warm pita bread or sliced cucumber. 

Cocktails? Yes, it is time for a cocktail! IF you have been following along you know all about Clean Cocktails, if not check out a copy here.  All the recipes use nothing but naturally low-calorie spirits; fresh juices loaded with vitamins; gentle sweeteners like honey and maple syrup; and anti-inflammatory spices like cinnamon, cayenne, and turmeric―the perfect alternative to drinks that are typically loaded with refined sugars, artificial flavors, and dyes. 

It’s much more than a compendium of cocktails, our book provides recipes for “clean” syrups, we also highlight ingredients with health benefits, such as ginger (better digestion), cilantro (good for detox), and even vodka (metabolism booster, thanks very much).

Make a Marg!

We’re jamming Margarita 

2 ounces gin

2 ounces vodka

2 ounces lemon

½ ounce honey

1 tsp berry jam



Combine all into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake well. Strain into Margarita glasses and top off with soda water. Garnish with lemon slices.

BONUS: Thyme Margarita 

1-ounce fresh lime juice

2-3 ounces tequila  


Thyme, optional  

Combine all into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake well. Strain over ice into high ball jars and top off with soda water. Garnish with Thyme.


Choose one of these many options and get started. Please be sure to tag me @bluebarnkitchen so I can come along on your journey. If you have come up with a great pantry meal, please share it in the comments.