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12 Pantry Meals To Make on Busy Weeknights

Stock your pantry with basic ingredients—it'll give you a head start on these quick and easy weeknight meals you can pull off on any busy weeknight.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ana Kelly / Prop Styling by Shell Royster</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ana Kelly / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

I like to make weeknight dinners work with what I have on hand. So I always keep certain staples on hand, like canned tomatoes, beans, and rice. I’ll for sure keep bread around, and there are always onions and fresh garlic.

So what can I make with these staples? For me, I can make spaghetti, pizza, quesadillas, eggs, and sandwiches.

I’m sure my pantry differs from yours, but I hope this list of recipes inspires you to use what you already have in new ways. If you aren't sure what types of items to keep on hand for quick and tasty meals in minutes, then they'll help expand your staples for stress-free dinners.

Linguine With Tuna and Capers

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ana Kelly / Prop Styling by Shell Royster</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ana Kelly / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

Why drain the flavorful oil from the canned tuna when you can use it to make a pasta sauce?

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Get Recipe: Linguine With Tuna and Capers

5-Ingredient Ground Beef Dinner

<p>Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

Start the rice cooker when you walk in the door because you’ll be enjoying this sweet and spicy ground beef dinner in less than 30 minutes. Use a Microplane for the garlic and ginger to ensure the flavor infuses the whole dish.

Get Recipe: This 5-Ingredient Ground Beef Dinner Might Be the Best Thing I’ve Ever Made

5-Ingredient Pasta Bake

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

This baked pasta is reminiscent of baked ziti but without the hassle or extra ingredients. Jarred pasta sauce and cottage cheese are mixed with the pasta and shredded cheese and baked until bubbly and browned on the edges.

Get Recipe: The Budget-Friendly 5-Ingredient Pasta Bake My Family Asks Me For All the Time

Kai Jeow (Thai Omelet)

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

I turn to eggs when I need a quick meal and this Thai omelet packs a bold flavor without the added chopping that a Denver omelet does, Serve with rice and cucumber slices.

Get Recipe: Kai Jeow (Thai Omelet)

Skillet Cacio e Pepe Tortellini With Wilted Greens

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Save water (and time!) by sautéing cheese tortellini in a skillet instead of boiling it in a pot of water. You can use fresh or frozen tortellini and whatever dark, leafy greens you have in your crisper.

Get Recipe: Skillet Cacio e Pepe Tortellini With Wilted Greens

Spaghetti all'Assassina (Assassin's Spaghetti)

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

As unique as the name itself, this pasta cooks in tomato sauce until slightly charred. Make sure you use a pan that is large enough for the spaghetti to lay flat, such as a 12-inch cast iron skillet.

Get Recipe: Spaghetti all'Assassina (Assassin's Spaghetti)

The Ultimate Quesadilla

Sally Vargas
Sally Vargas

Simple, delicious, and the perfect weeknight meal to use up the ingredients you already have in your refrigerator. By slightly crisping the tortilla before adding the toppings, you ensure that the quesadilla stays crispy.

Get Recipe: The Ultimate Quesadilla

Marry Me Beans

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Beans so good that you’ll want to spend your life with the person who made them for you. This simple dish of white beans and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes come together to create a creamy, dreamy combination in under 20 minutes.

Get Recipe: Marry Me Beans

Kimchi and Spam Fried Rice

<p>Simply Recipes / Shilpa Iyer</p>

Simply Recipes / Shilpa Iyer

My husband talks fondly of the spam he ate growing up so I feel like I need to catch up on lost time. This fried rice uses refrigerator and pantry staples and is easy to adapt to the ingredients you have on hand.

Get Recipe: Kimchi and Spam Fried Rice

Ultimate French Bread Pizza

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Pizza bread is one of my family’s favorite meals. It’s easier than rolling out dough and can be made on a whim. You can use canned pizza sauce and choose whatever pizza toppings you have on hand.

Get Recipe: Ultimate French Bread Pizza

Pork Stir Fry With Green Onion

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Pork loin is a quick cooking protein that I use often on weeknights. A short marinating time of 10 minutes in soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch is a pantry-friendly way to tenderize the pork and keep it from drying out.

Get Recipe: Pork Stir Fry With Green Onion

Greens, Eggs, and Ham Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Sandwiches are a low effort, high reward dinner. Adding a fried egg and spinach makes this feel even more satisfying than a classic grilled cheese. Use whatever bread, cheese, and greens you have on hand.

Get Recipe: Greens, Eggs, and Ham Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.