If you’ve got piles of pantry staples and lots of free time on your hands right now, you’re not alone. A small silver lining to this age of self-quarantine is that bit of extra time for experimenting in the kitchen. We’ve got some ideas for recipes to elevate your mundane canned, frozen, and otherwise shelf-stable foods—including plenty of cheesy goodness, naturally.
This traditional Middle Eastern dish is filled with pantry ingredients you probably already have on-hand (think: canned beans and chickpeas with lots of seasoning). Opt for frozen onions if you’re low on fresh, and sprinkle whatever white crumbly cheese is available on top. These bright flavors will carry you through even the longest gaps between grocery trips.
With a long shelf life, short cook time, and versatile applications, instant polenta is a no-brainer. It also happens to be the perfect companion for cheeses like Taleggio (or even aged cheeses like Parmigiano). Serve with a hearty protein like bacon and throw a few mushrooms on top for balance, because vegetables.
Pasta’s one of those staples that’s been flying off supermarket shelves lately. If you don’t have orecchiette on hand for this dish, you can use any short pasta (or other grain, if that’s what you’re into). The recipe also calls for fresh beets and peas, which can be subbed for frozen if need be. Just don’t forget the goat cheese!
This creamy, starchy recipe screams stay-at-home comfort food. And with ingredients like frozen spinach and russet potatoes, it won’t be a challenge to put together with ingredients you already have.
Meals like this one are ideal in times of trouble because they stick to the basics, but damn are they tasty. In this case, young Gouda is responsible for taking things from basic to gourmet. This recipe calls for fresh ears of sweet corn, but canned corn makes a great quarantine-friendly substitute if that’s all that’s in your pantry.
This meal has a date-night, out-on-the-town vibe that you can achieve from the comfort of your kitchen (social distancing!!). Feel free to swap out fettuccine for spaghetti or another long pasta, and use stale bread to make DIY breadcrumbs. The toasted walnuts and aged goat cheese are what make this dish so delicious, so don’t be afraid to pile them on.