Here are some simple dishes that can be made mostly with what you have on hand.
There’s no doubt about it: It’s an uncertain and scary time, but you and your loved ones still need to eat, and the act of preparing and serving a meal — even a simple one — can bring great comfort to the cook as well as to the diner. If you have a decently stocked pantry, you can make a wonderful meal out of a few staples. And if you are able to safely get to the store or have groceries delivered to you, your choices are even greater.
There’s something about starting the day with a full belly that makes everything seem like it’s going to be OK. Pancakes, waffles, a Dutch baby, biscuits and muffins are cozy options, and leftovers can be frozen for later. Granola, too. (Top your evening ice cream sundae with it later.) And if you really have some time on your hands, make breakfast an event and whip up a dish typically meant for a weekend, like eggs Benedict, English muffin casserole or biscuits with sausage gravy.
If you’re working from home, take this opportunity to make something delicious. (And maybe don’t eat it stooped over your laptop or scrolling through Twitter?) Melissa Clark’s sardine toasts with tomato and sweet onion or grilled cheese with apples and apple butter come together in a flash. If soup is what you’re craving, Alexa Weibel’s easiest chicken noodle soup or Colu Henry’s pasta e ceci will soothe your soul. Or transform that pasta in your pantry into spaghetti with fried eggs or midnight pasta, a bright and briny dish made with capers, anchovies and garlic.
For dinner, check out our collection of pantry staple recipes for dishes that require just a quick trip to your cabinet. If you have a can of tuna, try Sam Sifton’s Japanese-style tuna noodle salad or Melissa Clark’s tuna and white bean gratin. Ali Slagle is a genius when it comes to transforming a can of beans: Her one-pot rice and beans is unbelievably smart, as are her two cheesy bean bakes, white bean or black bean. If you’ve stockpiled dried beans, cook up a big pot of Melissa Clark’s herbed white bean and sausage soup or Julia Moskin’s best black bean soup. And if pasta is what you’re craving, Alexa Weibel’s creamy chickpea pasta with spinach and rosemary (use frozen spinach and dried rosemary if you don’t have fresh), and Sue Li’s creamy turmeric pasta come together in a snap. Finally, if you’ve uncovered a pound of ground beef in the back of your freezer, we suggest sloppy Joes.