Pantry Cooking Tips From Aunt Nellie’s

Having a well-stocked pantry (and that’s including the refrigerator and freezer) makes it easy to prepare a meal, snack or even an impromptu cocktail party entirely with what’s on hand.

Rule #1 is to stock up on foods that you and your family enjoy, in addition to the basics. That means stocking the pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

Rule #2 is to learn to be flexible and creative.  Just because you don’t have an exact ingredient on hand does not mean that the recipe can’t be prepared. If a recipe calls for a red onion and the only one you have on hand is a yellow onion, try it; it will work just fine. No chicken broth? Try vegetable broth, or white wine, depending on the recipe.

Aunt Nellie’s vegetables and READ Salads are pantry basics that can pair up with numerous other ingredients to create dishes that don’t require a trip to the supermarket before you can prepare them.




OK let’s see what we can create. How about an appetizer…Baby Beets & Olives? Grab a jar of Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets and drain them. Then select some olives from the pantry or refrigerator. They can be assorted as the recipe calls for, or if you only have one kind on hand, use those. Add some orange zest…no oranges? Try lemon or another citrus zest. No citrus on hand? Get creative; toss in some fresh herbs or herb paste, or perhaps a no-salt seasoning blend. Add coarsely ground black pepper, and salt if needed. Pull out some nuts, cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine and you’ve got an impromptu cocktail party ready to go.




Need a quick dinner? Make Aunt Nellie’s Whole Onion and Fresh Tomato Sauce and toss it with spaghetti or angel hair pasta for a really quick and delicious meal. Drain a jar of Holland-Style Onions. Sauté some garlic and simmer with the onions and wine or broth. Add tomatoes and roasted bell peppers. No fresh tomatoes on hand? Then drain canned tomatoes and substitute them for the fresh. Pair with the pasta and dinner is served.



Need a salad‒no problem. Always keep a few cans of READ Salads in the fridge. Then, when you need a salad in a hurry, just open the can and serve chilled or room temperature is fine, too. They taste like homemade, so no embellishing needed. But…the experienced impromptu cook knows that these salads are also the springboard to a variety of other delicious dishes such as Bean & Vegetable Salad. Open a can of 3 or 4 Bean Salad and drain. Use 2 tablespoons of the drained liquid along with vinegar, olive oil and garlic to make a dressing. No olive oil? Use canola. No apple cider or wine vinegar? Use rice vinegar or balsamic for a change of pace. Slice up some on-hand vegetables and red onion (use green or yellow onions if red isn’t available in your pantry). Toss with the bean salad and homemade dressing. Or, skip making the dressing and use your favorite from the fridge!

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