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Pandemic meal planning: 4 wholesome pantry recipes

Are you short on fresh produce? Unable to grocery shop? Trying to make use of the pantry and freezer staples you’ve stocked up on? No matter your pandemic situation, cooking during the COVID-19 pandemic can be a challenge — but you need not eat frozen pizzas on repeat!

Because you’ve likely got too much on your plate right now to peruse cookbooks, our team of Registered Dietitians have rounded up four creative recipes that are wholesome, delicious, kid friendly, and made with items you probably have on hand. The best part? These will come together nicely even if you’re missing a spice, a veggie, or two or three.

Try adding one to your weekly meal lineup (but don’t worry about throwing a frozen pizza in the oven now and then, either).


1. Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea and Rice Bowl

Recipe adapted from: https://pinchofyum.com/morrocan-spiced-chickpea-glow-bowl#tasty-recipes-42300



For the moroccan-spiced chickpeas:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon each – chili powder and cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each – turmeric and garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Dash of each — cinnamon and cayenne (to taste)
  • 2 14-ounce cans chickpeas
  • 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes (undrained)

For assembly:

  • 1 medium cucumber or zucchini diced, or 1/2 cup of canned or thawed frozen peas
  • 3-4 cups brown rice or couscous, cooked
  • Chopped mint, parsley, cilantro (optional)
  • Plain yogurt (enough for a large dollop on each serving, optional)
  • Lemon juice, for drizzling (optional)
  • Toasted pita wedges or other bread (optional)



  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and sauté until soft.
  • Add the garlic, spices, salt, and chickpeas and stir until very fragrant.
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Chop the cucumber or zucchini, or thaw the peas.
  • Cook the rice or couscous, and mince the herbs.
  • Arrange bowls with desired amounts of all ingredients.


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2. Sundried Tomato, Spinach, and Cheese Quiche

Recipe adapted from: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2016/03/11/goat-cheese-spinach-sun-dried-tomato-quiche/



  • 1 frozen pie shell (or make a homemade crust, if ingredients and time allow)
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 packed cups fresh spinach or kale, or 10 ounces of frozen spinach or kale, thawed and squeezed
  • 4-5 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped, or halved cherry tomatoes, or diced tomatoes
  • 4 ounces goat, feta or cheddar cheese crumbled or grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Prepare pie crust as per package directions.
  • While the pie crust is baking, whisk the eggs and milk together until combined.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, cheese, and spinach to the egg mixture.
  • Sprinkle mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the prepared pie crust from the oven and pour in the egg mixture.
  • If desired, sprinkle the top lightly with more salt and pepper.
  • Bake the quiche until golden brown on top, until the centre is no longer jiggly (about 45-55 minutes).
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tip: Baked quiche freezes very well for up to 2 months. To freeze, allow quiche to cool completely, then wrap in foil or plastic wrap and place in a large freezer bag and lay flat to freeze.

To reheat, thaw overnight and bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 25 minutes.


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3. Jazzed Up Tuna Melts

Recipe adapted from: https://www.marthastewart.com



  • 3 cans (5 ounces each) solid white tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, plus more for spreading
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons capers or chopped pickles, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled between your fingers
  • 4 slices of bread or 4 buns, lightly toasted
  • 8 thin slices tomato (optional)
  • 4 slices of provolone, cheddar, Monterey jack, or mozzarella cheese



  • Pre-heat broiler, with oven rack in highest position.
  • In a medium bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, onion, capers/pickles, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Arrange bread or buns on a baking sheet and spread a little mayonnaise or spicy mustard on each slice.
  • Divide tuna salad evenly among slices, then top each with 2 slices tomato and 1 slice of cheese.
  • Broil until cheese is golden brown and bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes.


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4. BBQ Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Recipe adapted from: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/bbq-chickenquinoa-casserole-recipe/


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (3 cups cooked quinoa is made from 1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked with 2 cups chicken or vegetables stock, or water)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese, divided (any type)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup whole-kernel corn, canned or thawed from frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce, plus extra for drizzling on top optional garnishes: chopped cilantro, finely-chopped red or green onions, diced avocado, sour cream, etc.



  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a large baking dish, stir together quinoa, 1 1/2 cups cheese, chicken, black beans, corn and BBQ sauce until combined.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly on top.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is warmed through.
  • Remove from the oven, and drizzle the top of the casserole with a little extra BBQ sauce, and top with your desired (optional) garnishes.