Whether you’ve been urged to stay home during a blizzard or refuse to go outside due to the polar vortex, you’re going to be hungry, and depending on how long the storm lasts, you’re going to get bored with what you have to eat.
If you aren't among the nervous-Nellie types who clear out the shelves before the storm (and then smugly Instagram things like braised pork shoulder or bechamel lasagna), don't despair. Luckily, there are dozens of dishes you can make with simple ingredients that you've probably already got in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry. With the creative options below, you'll never complain that "There's nothing to eat in the house!" again. And you might even be inspired to humble-brag a few of them.
Pasta with olive oil, lemon and Parmesan: Health-focused celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis shared one of her favorite go-to pasta preparations with TODAY, made with three things that nearly everyone keeps on hand. Depending on what else you uncover in your cupboards, you can also mix in breadcrumbs, capers, olives or a canned fish such as tuna packed in olive oil or skinless, boneless wild salmon.
Ceviche-inspired tuna: Humble canned tuna gets a Latin-inspired makeover when you mix fresh lime juice, red onion, cilantro (fresh if you happen to have it, dried if you don't), cumin, and a hot sauce like Tabasco. And if you find a ripe avocado to mash in, you've just hit the Snowpocalypse jackpot.
Pantry chili: This one-pot meal is practically required eating for a blizzard. Make a quick-and-easy version by sautéeing onions or garlic in a large pot and adding canned beans and tomatoes as well as frozen or canned corn. Season with hot sauce or jarred salsa and garnish with shredded cheese and Greek yogurt, a worthy (and healthy) alternative to sour cream.
Canned split pea soup with ham: Use up leftover deli meat while giving store-bought soup a richer, more savory flavor. Start by sautéeing ham (or prosciutto) in a high-sided pot with olive oil until crispy, then pour in soup and warm gently over low heat. Top with shaved Parmesan or crumbled cheese crackers and congratulate yourself on a hack well done. Or, try one of these other ways to amp up store-bought soup.
Crustless quiche: Not only is this low-carb egg dish easy to make, it cooks more quickly than one with a crust. Start by buttering a pie dish and sprinkling in bread crumbs (panko ones work well, thanks to their fine texture). In a large bowl, whisk together four eggs, two cups of milk and a cup of shredded cheese. Depending on your preferences and what you have around, you can also add one cup's worth of your favorite fresh (or defrosted frozen) vegetable, such as broccoli or spinach. Pour mixture into pie dish and bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese bubbles and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
No-frills quesadilla: You'll never go hungry if you keep tortillas and a tasty, versatile cheese like cheddar or Monterey Jack on hand at all times. This easy method will work best if your tortillas and saucepan are close in size. Start by covering only one half of a tortilla with shredded cheese (if you have it, you can first spread a thin layer of canned refried beans and add cheese on top). Leave the other half empty. Melt about a tablespoon of butter over medium heat; when the bubbling starts to subside (don't let it brown), place the open tortilla in the saucepan, cheese side up. Just as the cheese begins to melt, close the tortilla so you're left with a half-circle shape. After about 15 seconds, flip the closed tortilla over and let it cook for about another half a minute. Slice into triangles and serve with jarred salsa and sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Five-ingredient lemon chicken: It's true that not everyone necessarily has chicken ready to go, but this elegant yet easy recipe might give you a reason to always have a package of boneless, skinless breasts waiting in the freezer. Cook the chicken on a grill pan indoors, and If you don't have fresh rosemary, use dried — just use only a teaspoon of dried as opposed to the tablespoon called for in the recipe.
Stir-fry with scrambled eggs: Need some protein to make your basic stir-fry more filling? Look no further than that trusty cardboard carton sitting in the fridge. After sautéeing fresh or frozen vegetables in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add one or two whisked eggs to the mixture. The pan should be hot enough so the egg cooks fairly quickly; use a nonstick spatula to move it around with the vegetables and break it into bits. If you're also cooking rice, you can either serve the egg-vegetable mixture on top or mix the grains in and heat it for another one to two minutes for a fried-rice effect.