After the historic blizzard that stormed through Amarillo this past week many Moms may be reevaluating how to stock their pantry so they can feed their families a nutrient-rich diet no matter what conditions may keep them from the grocery store.  A well-stocked pantry takes some thought and time to develop and perfect, but the end results will save you time, money and your health.

Many may just think of shelf-stable foods when they hear the word “pantry”; however, in this article I use it as a general term that encompasses all food storage areas including everything from your spice rack and canned goods down to the foods in your refrigerator and freezer.

We were in the mountains all weekend and returned home right after the storm passed through on Monday night. Of course, I had emptied out my refrigerator before leaving with the intention of restocking when we returned home. Unfortunately, due to the storm the grocery stores were closed. So, I thought it may be interesting to share what a dietitian feeds her family when there is no fresh food left in the house. Here is a run-down of our menu for our snow day at home.

Breakfast –  Frozen Jimmy Dean Delight French Toast Griddlers    (I topped my sandwich with frozen creamed spinach to add some flavor and additional nutrients) and Dole Mandarin Oranges on the side.
AM SnackActivia Mixed Berry Yogurt  This was left from our weekend trip. Actually I froze it before we left the mountains to assure it would stay fresh on the drive home. When we got home I put it in the fridge and it was a nice icy treat the next morning.
Lunch –  Creamy chicken and veggie soup with crackers. This is one of my countless famous concoctions I came up with using what I had.

Kilian, our 5 year old son, is not crazy about soup and having things mixed together. So, I had to be very crafty in verbally presenting this menu item to him. Luckily, “creamy chicken and veggie soup” was catchy enough to get him interested. He was not as excited when he saw it, but once I finally convinced him to try it he declared he loved it and said it tasted like ravioli! It reminded me more of a meaty chicken potpie without the crust, but either way I was relieved to have created a ‘masterpiece’ from some pantry staples in a matter of minutes!

Dr. Leheska
Dr. Leheska

Creamy Chicken and Veggie Soup Recipe:

1 can Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
6 oz leftover oven roasted chicken breast I had sliced and put in the freezer
1 box Green Giant Antioxidant Blend frozen veggies , rinsed and drained to remove any added fat or sodium.
Place medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add frozen vegetables and chopped cooked chicken breast. Sauté for a couple minutes until vegetables are defrosted and slightly tender.  Add 1 can Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup and 1/2 can of water. Stir well and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season with ground pepper as desired.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving had approximately 180 calories; 4 g Total Fat; 1 g Saturated Fat; 40 mg Cholesterol; 560 mg Sodium; 15 g Total Carbohydrate; 16 g Protein.

Dr. Leheska
Dr. Leheska

PM SnackReduced fat Sargento cheese sticks and Multigrain Cheerios
Supper –     Left over chili I made last week and froze. I modified the Four Bean Chili Recipe from for some added crunch we topped it with low-sodium Fritos we had left over from a birthday party.  And in mine I added the rest of the creamed spinach in order to have something green!

While this menu was not perfect it was balanced, nutrient-rich and heart healthy. Best of all was I had it all in my pantry and it was very easy to prepare. I included links to several of the food products that were in this menu to give a glimpse into my pantry. For more ideas on stocking a nutrient-rich pantry take a look at the  Perfect Pantry Checklists For Quick, Easy Recipes produced by the Canned Food Alliance.

So, I am curious…What do other moms stock their pantries with? Please share your ideas and comments below along with some of the recipes you have surprised you family with by simply throwing together what you have on hand.

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