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Snowed in? Your pantry may hold more than you think!

You probably have what you need to make soup right in your pantry.
You probably have what you need to make soup right in your pantry.
Eric Thayer/Getty images

Even if you didn’t have time to get out to the grocery store and stock up before the Big Chill hit this weekend, you probably have plenty of food in your pantry. Here are some warming foods to consider making:

  • Bake something: A potato or two, a cake or brownies (what are you saving that package for anyway?), cookies from scratch, or biscuits or muffins. Chances are you have all the ingredients you need for some variation of these things.
  • Make chili. Do you have ground beef or ground turkey in the freezer? Defrost it in the microwave as a basis for this dish. Or make meatless chili. Add chili seasonings to any kind of beans (mix and match them) and some canned tomatoes (diced are best, but even whole ones can be chopped up or mashed and added to the mixture).
  • Make soup. Start with a large pot of water, a quartered onion, and some salt and pepper. From there, it’s whatever you have in the fridge or the freezer: cut up carrots and celery, green beans and broccoli, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms, cabbage-- any vegetable in the fridge except for lettuce and its salad cousins (radicchio, endive, frise, etc.) is fair game. Do you have a piece of chicken or a sausage or some shrimp in the freezer? Toss it in-- you don’t even have to defrost it, because it will defrost and then cook as the soup simmers (But seafood should be added at the very end or it will get tough). Add dried beans if you have them; then add a starch-- potatoes or rice or barley or noodles. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and let it simmer for at least an hour. If it cooks down, add hot water from a kettle. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Make risotto or rice and red beans-- any kind of rice dish, cooked with broth or a jar of gravy, or some vegetables, can be the basis for a hearty meal.
  • Boil potatoes on the stove and use them to make potato salad. Or boil pasta and either open a can of sauce, or make some from scratch, using a can of tomatoes, or even a can of tomato juice, and some Italian spices. If you don’t have tomatoes, consider making a cheese sauce (or even macaroni and cheese).
  • If you have a can of tuna, some cooked pasta, and a can of cream soup (cream of mushroom, cream of celery, or cream of chicken), you can combine these with any chopped vegetable you like-- onion, celery, mushrooms, water chestnuts, even black olives. Add some seasonings if you like, then top it with bread crumbs or crushed potato chips or even crushed crackers and bake for half an hour or so at 350.

Use your imagination. There are probably all kinds of meals you can make with the things you have on hand.