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40 Healthy Foods to Make When Your Pantry Is Bare

Running low on groceries? That's OK. These simple, healthy food ideas rely on basic ingredients and pantry staples. Find tasty recipes for main dishes, sides and more.

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Skillet Pork Chops with Apples & Onion

Simple recipes that land on the table fast are lifesavers. I serve skillet pork chops with veggies and, when my husband lobbies, cornbread stuffing. —Tracey Karst, Ponderay, Idaho
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Air-Fryer Potato Chips

After I received an air fryer for Christmas, I discovered how simple it is to make potato chips in it. Good chips are an essential, crispy side for lunch. —Melissa Obernesser, Utica, New York
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Roasted Asparagus

Since asparagus is so abundant here in spring, I like to put it to use with this tasty roasted asparagus recipe. Not only does it come together quickly, but it calls for just a handful of items. We all look forward to this side dish each year. —Vikki Rebholz, West Chester, OH
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Vegetable Scrambled Eggs

I like to have friends and family over for a special Sunday brunch, especially when there's a "big game" on television. These colorful scrambled eggs with veggies go perfectly with sausage, toasted English muffins and fresh fruit. —Marilyn Ipson, Rogers, Arkansas
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Maple Mustard Chicken

My husband loves this chicken dish. It calls for only five ingredients, and we try to have them all on hand for a delicious and cozy dinner anytime. —Jennifer Seidel, Midland, Michigan
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Chorizo and Chickpea Soup

The chorizo sausage adds its own spice to the broth, creating delicious flavor without any extra seasonings. And while it's cooking, the whole house smells amazing. —Jaclyn McKewan, Lancaster, New York
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Simple Guacamole

Because avocados can brown quickly, it’s best to make this guacamole just before serving. If you have to make it a little in advance, place the avocado pit in the guacamole until ready to serve. —Heidi Main, Anchorage, AK
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Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

I created this recipe years ago after one of our farmers market customers, a chef, shared the idea of marinating chicken in buttermilk. The chicken is easy to prepare and always turns out moist and delicious! I bruise the thyme sprigs by twisting them before adding them to the buttermilk mixture; this tends to release the oils in the leaves and flavor the chicken better. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Seasoned Oven Fries

The next time you’re craving fries, opt for these speedy, health-conscious wedges that bake in the oven. They’re just as tasty as deep-fried versions and made with less mess. —Pat Fredericks, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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Quinoa with Peas and Onion

Even picky eaters will love this protein-packed dish. If you have freshly shelled peas on hand, substitute them for the frozen. —Lori Panarella, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
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Herbed Pork Chops

Herbs are a fast and flavorful way to dress up pork. Plus, they make the chops look so pretty on a platter. I prepare these year-round as a way to capture the taste of summer. —Dianne Esposite, New Middletown, Ohio
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Spinach Rice

I like to serve this Greek-style rice dish alongside steaks with mushrooms. It makes an elegant side that can be doubled for guests. —Jeanette Cakouros, Brunswick, Maine
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Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

The classic flavors of peanut butter and bananas come together in this yummy oatmeal. It’s a healthy recipe that fits in my diet and satisfies my husband’s taste buds at the same time. We enjoy it often. —Debbie Perdue, Westland, Michigan
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Cilantro Potatoes

Fresh cilantro gives exotic Syrian-style flavor to these easy skillet potatoes. They’re a great complement to Mom’s tangy kabobs. —Weda Mosellie, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
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Honey Garlic Green Beans

Green beans are a reliable standby, but they can seem ordinary on their own. Just a couple of extra ingredients give them a sweet and salty attitude. This is definitely my family's favorite way to enjoy them. —Shannon Dobos, Calgary, Alberta
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Easy Asian Beef and Noodles

I created this dish on a whim to feed my hungry teenagers. It's since become a dinnertime staple, and now two of my grandchildren make it in their own kitchens. —Judy Batson, Tampa, FL
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Homemade Peanut Butter

We eat a lot of peanut butter, so I decided to make my own. My homemade version is easier on my wallet, and I know what ingredients are in it. It's also a lot tastier! —Marge Austin, North Pole, Alaska
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Smoky White Beans & Ham

I had never made or eaten this dish before meeting my husband here in Kentucky. Now I make it at least once a week. I serve it with some homemade sweet cornbread. Delicious! —Christine Duffy, Sturgis, Kentucky
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Slow-Cooked Applesauce

My sweet and chunky applesauce is a perfect snack or side dish with your favorite entree. Because it's prepared in the slow cooker, you can fix it and forget it before you and the family head out for some fun. —Susanne Wasson, Montgomery, New York
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Honey Balsamic Chicken

This balsamic chicken is a recipe I adapted from a cookbook that featured quick and easy recipes. I adjusted the seasonings somewhat and added a bit more honey to better suit my tastes. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Hawaiian Pork Chops

Looking for a great last-minute meal when friends drop in? Hampton, Virginia's Michelle Cavalier recommends one of her husband's sweet-and-sour favorites. “This is so easy, tastes just like Hawaiian pizza, and I usually have all ingredients on hand.”
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Hard-Boiled Eggs

In the kitchen, it's important to start with something simple, like how to cook hard-boiled eggs. Use this egg recipe in plenty of dishes, or eat them plain for a quick protein fix. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Black Bean Burritos

My neighbor and I discovered these delicious low-fat burritos a few years ago. On nights my husband or I have a meeting, we can have a satisfying supper on the table in minutes. —Angela Studebaker, Goshen, Indiana
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Simple Pasta Sauce

This is a simple pasta sauce that you can use for more than just spaghetti. Puree this recipe for pizza sauce or a great dipping sauce. I also like to make a variation for bruschetta by omitting the olive oil, using fire-roasted diced tomatoes and simply combining the uncooked ingredients. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving on toasts. —Deborah Markwood, Chester, Virginia
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Onion-Garlic Hash Browns

Quick to assemble, this is a simple recipe I’ve cooked many times. Stir in hot sauce if you like a bit of heat. I also like to top the finished dish with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese. —Cindi Hayward-Boger, Ardmore, Alabama
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Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

Even picky families will change their minds about eating fish with this toasty, cheesy Parmesan-coated entree. I serve it with mashed cauliflower and a green salad for a low-carb meal everyone loves. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze

I was not a salmon lover until I tried this recipe. Now it is one of my favorite dishes to serve friends. —Rachel Garcia, Arlington, Virginia
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Brown Rice with Cranberries and Almonds

I'm always looking to switch things up during the holiday season. This brown rice with cranberries and almonds dish is just the ticket. It is on the lighter side and uses ingredients I always have on hand. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Curry Scramble

I have eggs every morning, and this is a delightful change from the classic scrambled egg meal. I like to add sliced peppers on top if I have them on hand. —Valerie Belley, St. Louis, Missouri
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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Make your next pizza night a little healthier with our cauliflower pizza crust recipe. The herbs and cheese add a ton of flavor! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Green Beans Amandine

It's hard to improve on the taste Mother Nature gives to fresh green beans, but Mom has done just that for years using this green beans amandine recipe. I have always thought the crunchy almonds were a super addition. —Brenda DuFresne, Midland, Michigan
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Open-Faced Egg Sandwiches

Open-Faced Egg Sandwiches

I always experiment with different herbs on my eggs, since I eat them every morning. This one became one of my favorites! —Valerie Belley, St. Louis, Missouri
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Potato Omelet

Even folks who don't care for eggs will enjoy this dish. The comforting tastes of potatoes, onions and garlic come through. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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Chicken Orzo Skillet

As a busy homemaker with a home-based business, I try to make quick dinners that are healthy for my husband and two young children. I combined two recipes to come up with this family favorite. —Kathleen Farrell, Rochester, New York
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Tender Salsa Beef

This is my Mexican-style twist on comfort food. To keep it kid-friendly, use mild salsa. —Stacie Stamper, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
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Vegetable Barley Saute

This wonderful side dish can easily be turned into a hearty entree by adding cooked chicken. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pressure Cooker Homemade Chicken Broth

There’s nothing better and more satisfying than making your own chicken broth. You can control the amount of seasoning and salt, so you can customize it for whatever recipes you’re using it in.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Peanut Butter, Honey & Pear Open-Faced Sandwiches

I work a 12-hour night shift at a hospital, and when I come home in the morning, I don't want to cook a big breakfast. I love these sandwiches because they're versatile; sometimes I use apples instead of pears and different cheeses, such as Brie or grated Parmesan. —L.J.Washington, Carpinteria, California
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Greens and Beans Turkey Soup

On winter evenings, we like nothing better than a piping hot bowl of soup. This one uses the turkey carcass to make a flavorful stock for the soup. —Susan Albert, Jonesburg, Missouri
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Hummus & Veggie Wrap-Up

I had a vegan wrap that was similar to this once when I stopped at a diner while on a long and arduous walk. I enjoyed it so much that I modified it to my own taste and now have it for lunch on a regular basis. Everyone at work wants to know how to make it. —Michael Steffens, Indianapolis, Indiana

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.
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