3 Easy Shelf-Stable Meal Ideas Using Ingredients From the Cupboard

Rachel | Rachel Resets
by Rachel | Rachel Resets

I am sharing three shelf-stable meal ideas because I've been wondering what meals I can make that use only ingredients from the cupboard that are shelf stable. I've been thinking about these meals as hurricane season is upon us.

We've had some hurricanes hit us that have caused the power to go out and made us question whether or not the ingredients in our fridges and freezers are still good.

Shelf-stable meals

With that in mind, I decided to make three different recipes for meals that will use only shelf-stable ingredients from my cupboard.

Canned goods in a pantry

I also used a lot of canned goods, so if you needed to bring in meals on the go, you wouldn't have to worry about glass containers breaking or shattering as you moved from one place to the next. 

One of these meals is vegetarian, and the other two have the option to be vegetarian if you leave out the meat. I tried to use ingredients that would be both flavorful and have a lot of nutrition. 

Also, if you're trying to prepare these meals in advance in case of an emergency, you could take all the seasonings you would need for each recipe and put them into a little Ziploc container.

That way, you have all the seasonings measured out and mixed beforehand, and you could grab them and go.

If you need to grab things and leave your house for safety reasons, or if you were even taking these meals on a camping trip, this would be an excellent way to bring them without having to bring all of your seasoning containers. 

I got my ingredients for these meal ideas at Dollar Tree; the grocery list is as follows:

Grocery list:

  • 2 cans potatoes
  • 1 can sliced carrots
  • 1 can peas
  • 1 can peas and carrots
  • 1 can corn OR 1 can mixed veggies
  • 1 bag egg noodles
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup 
  • 1 box round crackers
  • 1 box elbow pasta (or you can use the other half of the egg noodles)
  • 1 can preferred chili
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes 

TOTAL = $16.25 ($1.81 a serving)

*Prices as of October 2022

Pan-roasted potatoes and veggies with herbs


  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) whole potatoes, drained and halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


I drained my two cans of potatoes.

Cooking canned potatoes

I added my potatoes into my skillet and let them cook in oil with the herbs and spices. 

Cooking canned vegetables

After they had gotten a little bit of a brown crust on the potatoes, I added the two cans of veggies, drained. I used carrots and peas in the recipe. 

The original recipe used just potatoes, but I liked the added color and the added nutrients that having more veggies added to the dish provided. 

Pan-roasted potatoes and veggies with herbs

This turned out delicious. 

One note is there is no salt listed in the recipe. I found this recipe definitely needs a little bit of salt, so add some salt to your taste. 

Tuna noodle skillet


  • 1/2 bag egg noodles (about 3 cups dried)
  • 1 can tuna (drained)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can peas and carrots
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped dried onions
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 box crackers (optional)


Next up is a tuna noodle skillet. 

Cooking noodles

Cook noodles until al dente (about 4 minutes), then drain.

We will use egg noodles not only because they cook quickly but also because they use eggs in them. They have much more protein than the average noodle that uses flour.

Adding canned tuna and vegetables

Next, we're adding a can of tuna, a can of peas and carrots, and a can of cream of mushroom soup. 

I mixed everything and added in my seasonings, then mixed well. You can crumble up some crackers on top for a little extra pizzazz. 

Tuna noodle skillet

I like the crackers because they add a little extra texture and a delicious flavor that compliments this dish well. 

If you don't care for canned tuna, you could use a can of drained chicken or leave it out and make this more of a vegetarian meal.

Chili mac 


  • 3 cups pasta (cooked and drained)
  • 1 can preferred chili
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (don't drain)
  • 1 can drained mixed veggies (or corn)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


The final recipe is chili mac. 

Cooking macaroni

We're using pasta noodles that cook in three minutes, which is pretty awesome. 

If you had something hooked up to your car, like a one-burner, and you were trying to use the power from your car to cook your meals, this would help save you some of that gas and time being hooked up to your car. 

Chili with mixed vegetables

After cooking and draining the pasta, I added my can of chili and my can of mixed veggies. 

You could also use corn, which I think would work better in this recipe.

Next, I added a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. I gave everything a good mix; then I added in the seasonings to bring the flavor out. 

I did use a chili that had beans in it. You could also use a chili that did not have beans in it or vegetarian chili. 

Chili mac

I enjoyed the flavors this chili had, and after everything is mixed and heated through, you can serve it just as it is. 

Even if you just need a fast, easy weeknight meal, it's one you can have in your cupboard without worrying about anything going bad in the fridge or the freezer. 

Shelf-stable meal ideas

Keeping plenty of canned items on hand is a good idea for emergencies. When the power goes out, you'll have shelf-stable meals that are easy to prepare. How do you prepare for bad weather? Share your tips in the comments below. 

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3 of 5 comments
  • Pamela Phillips Pamela Phillips on Jan 30, 2023

    I have found that Hormel Chili with beans has the best flavor, especially in recipes. Im going to try the Chili Mac for dinner one night this week.

  • Elo78214732 Elo78214732 on Mar 29, 2023

    How do you plan to cook your shelf-stable means if you have no power?

    • Debbie Donewar Debbie Donewar on Mar 29, 2023

      If you are hooked up to natural gas you can use your stove without electricity. Or you can cook on your propane grill or flat top. Living in hurricane area most folks have either or both options.