Quick & Easy Meal Ideas Using Common Pantry & Freezer Ingredients

April 14, 2020 | Food Lion
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We get it - whether you have a family of one or a family of six (or more), nourishing your family with tasty, nutritious and affordable meals is important. That’s why we offer low prices in our stores on everything from family favorites to pantry and freezer staples. But, if you’re looking for ways to stretch your budget even further, we know a great way to do that!

In this blog, you’ll get some quick and easy meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And these ideas aren’t just simple to make, they will also help you utilize key ingredients you probably have on-hand in your pantry and freezer. After all, what better way to save money, than use what you already have, right?

Now, let’s take a look so you can take inventory of your ingredients and make something delicious for your loved ones!

Quick & Easy Meal Ideas for Breakfast

When it comes to breakfast, “quick” is definitely important when deciding what to whip up for yourself and your kiddos in the morning. But, luckily for you, these two breakfast ideas take very little time to put together. 

Frozen Berry Smoothies

Frozen Berry Smoothies

Do you have frozen strawberries, raspberries or blueberries? Maybe two of them or all three? Then, you already have the main ingredient needed to make a tasty smoothie for breakfast. Fruit juice and yogurt make great additions too, but if you don’t have those items, don’t worry! You can still blend up a smoothie with a little crushed ice, a splash of milk and honey for some added sweetness. 

Want to add some other fruit flavors? These are some tasty flavor combinations for your morning smoothie:

  • Strawberry mango
  • Blueberry peach
  • Raspberry pineapple
Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Chicken and Waffle Sliders

Frozen waffles, frozen chicken nuggets, syrup and toothpicks are all you’ll need for this quick and easy meal idea. So, check your freezer and pantry to see if you have these items to whip up this sweet and salty breakfast dish. We know your family will absolutely love these sliders!

Don’t have frozen waffles? Use your favorite waffle mix or whip up a batch of homemade waffles to craft these delicious chicken & waffle sliders.

Quick & Easy Meal Ideas for Lunch

Breakfast? Check! Now, let’s move on to lunchtime and look at a couple of easy meal ideas that utilize an ingredient many kids love - peanut butter!

Peanut Butter Granola Pinwheels

Peanut Butter Granola Pinwheels

Packed with protein and fiber, this quick & easy meal idea is simple to make and uses common pantry staples. These include flour tortillas, peanut butter, granola and dried fruit. That’s it! So, if you have these four ingredients, you’re ready to start rolling your Peanut Butter Granola Pinwheels for your family.

But, don’t limit your creativity (or your kiddos’). Let them craft their own peanut butter pinwheels with treats like cookie, crackers and baking items in your pantry that are easy to crumble and roll, things like:

  • Chocolate chips
  • Shredded coconut
  • Honey
  • Corn flakes
  • Crushed graham crackers
Fun Peanut Butter Teddy Bear Toast.

Fun Peanut Butter Teddy Bear Toast

Put a kid-friendly spin on the classic peanut butter sandwich! Just grab a couple of slices of toasted bread (or flour tortillas), peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter - like almond or cashew) and some fresh fruit and start assembling this cute Peanut Butter Teddy Bear Toast. Our recipe suggests using bananas and blueberries, but you can make some easy swaps if needed.

Fresh blueberry substitutions:

  • Frozen blueberries, thawed
  • Chocolate chips
  • Fruit snacks
  • Blackberries

Banana substitutions:

  • Jumbo marshmallows, cut into ½ inch slices
  • Dried banana chips
  • Sliced strawberries

Quick & Easy Meal Ideas for Dinner

You now have quick & easy meal ideas for both breakfast and lunch, but we can’t forget about dinner, right? The following two dinner ideas are filling, savory, nutritious and oh so tasty!

Vegetable Pasta Soup

Vegetable Pasta Soup

Who doesn’t love a simple soup for dinner? Although it’s a food item typically enjoyed in the wintertime, a vegetable pasta soup is light enough to enjoy on a brisk spring day too. To bring this quick & easy meal idea together, look in both your pantry and freezer.

Pantry ingredients:

  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  •  Canned kidney or white beans
  • Pasta - penne, rotini and cavatappi work great in soups
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Canned green beans
  • Canned corn

Freezer ingredients:

  • Frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • Frozen corn kernels
  • Frozen carrots
  • Frozen broccoli


Don’t worry - we’re not suggesting that you use all 10 ingredients in your soup. The idea here is to take a look at what you have on hand and go from there. But, if you want a suggestion, try combining vegetable broth, kidney beans, rotini pasta, diced tomatoes, spinach and carrots, plus some salt and pepper to taste. Simple and delicious!

Mexican Rice & Beans Bowl

Mexican Rice & Beans Bowls

For our last quick & easy meal idea, this one is probably the most filling dish we covered so far - Mexican Rice & Beans Bowls. To make these for your family at dinnertime, you’ll need rice, canned black beans and canned tomatoes, plus taco seasoning. It’s definitely a simple recipe, but packed with flavor!

Want to add more to your rice & beans bowl? Other tasty additions include:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Canned pinto beans
  • Meat - ground beef or chicken
  • Fresh avocado, cut into thin slices
  • Sour cream

Serve with a side of salsa and store-made tortilla chips from your local Food Lion and you have a real fiesta dinner on your hands.

Which of these recipes sound like something your family will love? Give it a try and make it your own with the ingredients you have in your pantry and freezer. But, if you’re missing a couple of things, you can still get the items you need at low prices from Food Lion and make the most of your monthly grocery budget. Sounds like a tasty win-win, right?

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