Quick Pantry Lunch Ideas

It’s lunch time and the kids are hungry. Take a look in your pantry for some quick and filling lunch ideas. You’ll be surprised with how many last minute meal ideas you can come up with using the various cans and bags of dry goods stashed away in your kitchen cupboards.

Macaroni and Cheese Plus

Grab a box of Mac & Cheese and mix and prepare it according to the package directions. To turn it into a full lunch meal, add some vegetables and meat. Here are some ideas…Add small chunks of steamed broccoli or a can of green beans or peas along with some chopped ham, hot dogs, or cubed cooked chicken. You can also brown some hamburger meat, ground turkey or sausage ahead of time and keep it in small containers in the fridge or freezer. Just reheat and add it to the cheesy noodle mixture.  The same basic idea also works well with spaghetti and tomato sauce.

Stuffing Soup

Here’s a quick pantry lunch: Grab a box of your favorite stuffing mix and a can of soup. Mix the two and add some chopped meat (leftover chicken or sandwich meat is perfect for this) and pour the mixture into a casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the top starts to brown.

Soup and a Sandwich

Since we’re talking about soup already, why not fix soup and a sandwich for lunch? Just about any combination goes well together and lunch is ready in a matter of minutes. Some personal favorites include tomato soup and grilled cheese, chicken noodle and tomato and lettuce sandwiches, and according to my kids peanut butter sandwiches go great with just about any soup.

Nacho Grande

Have a bag of corn chips in the pantry? Pour some in a microwavable dish, and top it with leftover chicken, diced ham, cooked sausage, veggies, olives and anything else you can find that might go well with chips. Top everything with plenty of cheese and microwave until the cheese is just melted. Serve with a side of mild salsa and sour cream for a filling lunch that only looks like a snack.

Go ahead, take a look in your pantry and see what fun and fast lunch ideas you can come up with. Your kids may even come up with some of their own.


About Mary Ann

Mary Ann Kelley has been creating meal plans online for over 15 years, first as part of TheHomeSchoolMom's cooking resources for busy moms and later on Menus4Moms, which has been highlighted by "Diner's Journal," The New York Times' Blog on Dining Out, and PBS Parents' "Kitchen Explorer."

Mary Ann loves cooking and she loves planning/organizing, so meal planning is a natural intersection of the two. She believes her mission for the meal plans is being fulfilled when visitors let her know that she has helped them save time and money by teaching them to plan ahead and become more efficient in the kitchen.

When Mary Ann is not cooking or publishing, she enjoys reading, researching genealogy, and traveling.

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