Use-It-Up Pantry Challenge: 7 Ideas For Pantry Challenge Recipes

I will show you some meal prep, pantry cooking, and a pantry challenge. A pantry challenge uses things up around the kitchen to make meals. I will go through my kitchen to give you a few ideas for using up the pantry items you have.

Banana muffins

1. Banana muffins

I found a muffin mix in my pantry, and it is expiring soon, so I will make power cake muffins from it. I'm going to follow the instructions on the back of the box. I'm going to add all of the dry ingredients and wet ingredients to my bowl. I'll also add some bananas that I had in my freezer that needed to get used. 

When making muffins, make sure to grease your pan. You'll bake these muffins in the oven at 350 degrees for about 16 to 18 minutes. If you can't eat them immediately, pop them in your freezer. They taste great after thawing.

Spaghetti sauce

2. Spaghetti sauce recipe

I'm going to show you my family's favorite spaghetti sauce recipe. This one is easy to make, and you probably already have the ingredients. 

First, heat some olive oil in your pot, then add onion. I'm doubling this recipe, so I am using one large onion. Next, I'm going to add some salt and pepper to taste. Once all the other ingredients are added, I'll add more at the end to ensure it tastes perfect. 

Next, we're going to add spices. We will add two teaspoons of garlic powder, two tablespoons of dried parsley, one teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and about a teaspoon of basil. As I said, this is a double recipe.

Next, we will add two 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce and two six-ounce cans of tomato paste. I also added two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Next, I added two cups of water and two tablespoons of sugar to cut the acidity from the canned tomatoes. We will let this simmer on a very low heat setting for about a half hour. Stir occasionally so everything gets well combined and doesn't burn. What you can do once it has cooled down is put it in some freezer-safe Tupperware.

Pop them in the freezer and pull them out when you want some spaghetti sauce for an easy and quick dinner. 

Homemade pizza

3. Homemade pizza

I have some Pillsbury Pizza crust dough in my freezer. You can freeze the Pillsbury dough; pull it out about 24 hours before leaving it in the fridge. We're going to use that along with some of the pasta sauce we just made, and we're going to make homemade pizza. 

We had lots of cheese in the freezer and some pepperoni in the fridge. We will add sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, and pepperoni and then layer it with more cheese.

Bake it in the oven according to the package instructions on the pizza crust, and then we will have delicious homemade pizza. You can serve this with a salad or a veggie on the side. This used some things that we already had on hand. 

Instant Pot beans

4. Instant Pot beans

I have a ton of beans in my pantry that I've been trying to use up, and I had some soups that I wanted to make in the future. I made some great Northern or navy beans in the Instant Pot. This is way more cost-effective to make the beans from dry beans than to buy canned beans. 

We're going to add in the beans and cover them with water. I got it to the fill line and added four cups of beans. We will let this cook for 40 minutes and then release it naturally.

After about ten minutes, we'll get the rest of the steam out. I like to pop them in my freezer and pull them out as needed for future soup recipes or other things we plan on using these beans for. 

Pulled pork sandwiches

5. Pulled pork sandwiches

I am making pulled pork sandwiches with roasted veggies for this next one. We had some lone potatoes and half an onion, and a bag of carrots that needed to get used up, and we also had a little bit of barbecue sauce left in this one jar.

All I did to season the veggies was add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and Italian seasoning with olive oil. I mixed that and put it into the oven. 

I also heated the pulled pork according to the package instructions and made some corn from the freezer. Serve on hamburger buns.

Crockpot salsa chicken

6. Crockpot salsa chicken

We had some leftover salsa from our New Year's Eve party and some chicken in the freezer. I decided to make some crock pot salsa chicken. I put my chicken breast in the crock pot, salted and peppered it, and added the remaining salsa.

I cooked it on low for about 4 hours, then after 4 hours, I added some roasted corn from my freezer. I let this cook for an additional hour on low, and then once the chicken was fully cooked, I pulled it out of the crock pot, shredded it, and added it back in. I made tortillas and rice to use to make burritos or if we wanted to have a rice bowl. 

Teriyaki meatballs

7. Teriyaki meatballs

I had teriyaki pineapple meatballs in my freezer, so I thawed them and made rice. We will make some teriyaki sauce with our meatballs and rice. 

You will need 1/4 cup of brown sugar, one to two cups of soy sauce, and about a teaspoon of sesame oil. I'm adding about a teaspoon or so of fresh ginger and about a teaspoon and a half of honey. The final ingredients are a couple of cloves of garlic (minced), three tablespoons of Mirin (Japanese rice wine), and then 1/4 cup of water with a tablespoon of cornstarch over medium heat. 

We combined all of this and simmered until it started thickening, then we added our meatballs. We'll let this marinate together while the rice finishes cooking, and then we will eat. 

Use-it-up pantry challenge

Pantry challenges are a great way to use up small amounts of food or use things before expiration. How do you do your pantry challenge? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Linda Thomas Linda Thomas on Jun 12, 2023

    Spaghetti Sauce recipe calls for “ tomatoe sauce”. and “tomatoe paste “. Yet later refers to “canned tomatoes “.