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Here’s a collection of healthy family pantry meals to help feed your loved ones well when you are not able to make frequent visits to the grocery store or when the resources are scarce. These are all recipes and meal ideas that you can make with pantry or freezer staples.

I’m writing this during a time when we as a nation are encouraged to stay inside the safety of our homes and limit outside contact as much as possible for the greater good. Schools are canceled, many are working from home, and we are all desperately trying to find our grounding in this unprecedented, untrodden territory. 

A day feels like an eternity. If you’re a parent, you’re stretched so thin parenting, teaching, entertaining, homemaking, working all while trying your hardest to maintain peace and joy. And while things are hard for us adults, I can only imagine how challenging it must be for our children who can’t comprehend why the world that they know feels so different. 

And so we put on a brave happy face in the midst of holy moly chaos because that’s what we do. There’s nothing we wouldn’t do to keep our children safe, happy, and healthy, right?

I’m also learning to become more resourceful and creative with the ingredients I have on hand. Most of all, I’m realizing just how blessed I have been all these years and continue to be. What an incredible privilege it is to be able to go grocery shopping every week and get everything I need to feed my family well! To have the luxury to choose organic vs. conventional, fresh vs. canned, etc. May I remember this heart of gratitude when we make it to the other side. 

Game Plan

We’ve done our best to stock up on our pantry, fridge, and freezer essentials (can find our inventory here), and now we’re going to try our best to stretch them for as long as we can. I will not be doing more grocery shopping at this point not only bc we’re advised to stay in but also so that what little is available will go to the families who really really need it.

Today, I’m sharing some easy and healthy pantry meals we’ve been enjoying.  There will be a lot more to come in the upcoming days, weeks…

I will be sure to continue updating this post with more recipes and meal ideas in hopes that it will help feeding your family less stressful and more doable. So definitely bookmark this page for a quick reference!

The Magic Formula

This is my formula for coming up with healthy, balanced meal ideas while keeping things interesting for our tastebuds. 

Protein of choice (meat, chicken, eggs, fish, beans, tofu, lentils etc.) + pasta/grain/bread/starchy vegetable + vegetables and or fruits + dressing/sauce (or liquids for soups) + seasonings

For instance, had beans for dinner two nights in a row? Let’s do some chicken. Instead of pasta, we’ll have sandwiches. 

Healthy Kid-Friendly Meals on a Budget

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Baked Potatoes

a large baked potatoes with meat, broccoli, and cheese served on a plate laid on top of folded kitchen towel
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Potatoes are cheap, versatile, filling, and has a long shelf-life. Load them up with whatever fillings your heart desires and you’ve got a super easy and perfectly satisfying pantry meal!

To prepare the potatoes, you can either roast in the oven or microwave. I tend to gravitate towards the latter because it’s much quicker.

Pictured: added the butter immediately once the potatoes were done and topped with baby-friendly bulgogi, broccoli, and cheese!

Buttered Pasta

a big bowl of buttered pasta with broccoli, black beans, and peas with a spoon and gray towel on the side

This is soo simple and comforting!

  1. Cook pasta of choice 
  2. In the meanwhile, cook whatever veggies you have on hand (pictured: frozen peas, corn, and broccoli). Also prepare a protein of choice (pictured: black beans). Feel free to use up whatever leftovers you have or if pressed for time, throw in some canned beans or fish  
  3. Drain reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water. Add pasta back to the pot. Throw in butter and cheese of choice (parmesan or mozzarella are esp. good!)  and toss with tongs. Add some of the reserved pasta water to moisten. Then combine with the veggies and lots of black pepper.  You can also top with some salsa. Endless options! 

Lo-Mein

a big bowl of spaghetti noodles with green beans, carrots, pork and fork with white and red striped napkin on the side
  1. Cook veggies and protein of choice (pictured: pork, onion, garlic, carrots, frozen green beans).
  2. Toss with cooked pasta of choice (pictured: spaghetti).
  3. Toss with sauce. Can use whatever Asian sauce you prefer.
    • here’s what we use: 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos) + 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup + 2 teaspoons sesame oil + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/2 teaspoon black pepper + sriracha or chili flakes if you want a kick. 

Note: if serving to a baby, set a portion aside and simply drizzle with some sesame oil.  Stir in the sauce for the rest of the family.

Korean Beef and Broccoli Quinoa

ground beef, carrots, broccoli, and scallion in a brown bowl with a spoon laid on top of folded blue and white striped napkin

Cook ground beef with onion, carrots, and frozen broccoli. Add quinoa, broth, and baby-friendly bulgogi sauce. Cook until quinoa is cooked through. Doesn’t get any easier than this! You can find the full recipe here.

Vegan African Peanut Stew

a green plate of peanut stew and rice with a spoon

This one pot stew is a busy mom’s dream! It requires minimal prep work, loaded with protein, healthy fats, veggies and contains no added salt or sugar. Its thick texture also makes it easy for your little one to scoop with their hands or practice using their spoons.  Serve over rice, pasta, bread, tortilla…It’s seriously the perfect baby led weaning recipe! I introduced this dish to my son when he was 9 months old, and it was a HUGE hit! It’s a great way to introduce peanuts too. 

Fried Rice

fried rice in a green bowl with spoon laid on top of blue and white kitchen towel with kimchi and seaweed served in separate bowls
  1. Cook veggies of choice in oil or butter (recommended!) The frozen stir fry veggies work great! Remove from pan
  2. Cook meat of choice or scramble eggs in a large pan in oil or butter. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Increase heat to high, add oil/butter, COLD cooked rice (day old rice is best) and sauce to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes until rice starts to brown. add the veggies and protein back into the pan and stir together. Drizzling in some toasted sesame oil at the end is always a lovely touch!

Sauce suggestions:

  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce/coconut aminos, 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Mango teriyaki sauce is our go to from my 3rd ecookbook – One Pot Meals
  • Any store-bought sauce will work. Just watch for the sodium level if serving to your baby
  • low sodium teriyaki sauce

Serving to babies: (Pictured) For C, I like to stir in a beaten egg at the end and cook for several more minutes until egg is cooked through. This makes the fried rice more porridge-like, which he prefers. Try this trick for babies. And the rest of the family gets to enjoy crispy fried rice. Win Win!

One Pot Vegetarian Mexican Lentils

A close up look at the Mexican lentils in a skillet with a large wooden spoon

A hearty meatless meal that you’ll find yourself making over and over again! Made with simple ingredients, the only equipment you’ll need is a large skillet or a pot. Enjoy on a bed of salad greens or as a filling for tacos, burritos, burgers, potatoes….ooh and nachos!!

Cream of Mushroom Pasta

cooked creamy mushroom pasta in a large skillet with an orange spatula

Here’s a super creamy mushroom pasta made with canned coconut milk instead of heavy cream. This healthy baby and toddler pasta sauce uses simple ingredients and will be ready in 30 minutes or less.

Pasta Stir-Fry with Peanut Butter Sauce

Pasta Stir-Fry with carrots and zucchini on a blue bowl
  1. Cook veggies of choice in oil (pictured: zucchini, onion, carrots, peas)
  2. Add protein of choice (pictured: canned salmon)
  3. Toss in pasta/noodles of choice (pictured: Korean wheat flour noodles)
  4. Pour in peanut butter sauce (amount depends on your preference. We normally add about 1/2 and reserve the rest for another meal).
  5. Combine. Can add more water to thin out the sauce if need be.

PB sauce: 1/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter (can use almond butter also), 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce), 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional), 1/4-1/3 cup warm water to thin out the sauce

Baked Vegetable Fries with Chili

roasted root vegetables topped with chili on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cilantro

Root vegetables have a long shelf-life, making them the perfect pantry/fridge staples! Roast them and top with your favorite chili recipe! I’ve got some in my Kid-Friendly One Pot Meals ecookbook. Here’s a BBQ beef chili recipe that I shared on Food Network blog.   

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi with peas served in a light blue plate with a fork
  1. In a large skillet, cook onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes in olive oil. Add shrimp and cook about a minute per side and remove from pan.
  2. Pour in stock/water and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add butter and additional olive oil and return shrimp to pan along with peas. 
  3. Add cooked pasta and toss all ingredients to coat with sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lots of pepper!

You can add whatever veggies you hav on hand. To give you an idea of how much butter sauce to make – for 1 pound of pasta, use 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup stock of choice or water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

a half eaten dish on a white plate with a fork and a baby portion served on a mini bowl above with a side of broccoli

Looking for an easy one pot comfort meal that the entire family can enjoy? This healthy baby and toddler friendly pasta is made with ground beef, veggies, and staple pantry items and guaranteed to be on the table in 30 minutes or less! 

Vegetable Beef Soup with Cabbage

vegetable beef soup served in a white spoon with a spoon and a side of buttered toast

Here’s a soul-warming meal using whatever fresh or frozen produce you’ve stocked up in the fridge. It’s also a delicious way to incorporate more vegetables into your baby or kid’s diet. I’ve included tips for how to serve soups like this to picky eaters as well as serving suggestions.

Tofu Veggie Scramble

tofu veggie scramble plated in two white bowls with toast, bagel, and hash browns

Vegetarian breakfast of champions – tofu veggie scramble! It’s a hearty and delicious plant-based alternative to scrambled eggs that your family can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Instant Pot Pot Roast

beef roast with potatoes and carrots served on a large white plate with quinoa on the side

This is my first time making pot roast in my Instant Pot and boy was it delicious! We enjoyed it with quinoa.

I’ve had my IP for about half a year now, and I shared in this post – Instant Pot Korean Chicken and Potatoes (one of the most popular recipes on the blog) about my thoughts on this coveted kitchen equipment.

More Baby-Friendly One Pot Meals

a collage of chowder, enchilada pasta, beef stroganoff, and turmeric curry

Pictured: Potato Corn Chowder, Enchilada Pasta, Beef Stroganoff, Vegan Turmeric with couscous

Included in my third Ecookbook, Kid-Friendly One Pot Meals, are SO many recipes that we’ve been enjoying since my son was a baby. They are super easy to make with simple, healthy ingredients. No added sugar or salt but plenty flavorful!

cover page of One Pot Meals and table of contents

About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

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4 Comments

  1. These all sound amazing! Just wondering if the One pot Mexican lentils recipe is missing? Or where else can I find it?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi! Oops I thought I saved it as a draft! I’m updating this post on a weekly basis and I accidentally posted a day earlier looks like. Recipe coming tomorrow!!! If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you’ll received it in your mailbox. If not, stay tuned ;). Thank you!