7 Recipes From the Pantry for Buy Nothing Day

Chow on 11.23.12
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Photo: Lloyd Alter

Both of my kids work in retail right now, so I have mixed feelings about Buy Nothing Day, because I'd like them to continue to make a living. On the other hand as an antidote to the hysteria that surrounds Black Friday, it looks pretty good. It may be because my husband and I are at the time in our lives where we are divesting ourselves of things rather than acquiring, but I find the feeding frenzy surrounding this day rather unpalatable. I like to look in shops as much as anyone (okay, maybe not as much as my mother does), but the idea of being in a shopping mall with tens of thousands of "power shoppers" makes me want to go back to bed with a library book.

So I don't plan to make any purchases today. In fact, other than walking the dog, I don't plan to leave the house at all. That means cooking from the pantry and making do with what I already have on hand. I always keep a well stocked pantry and vegetable crisper and can make do for three or four days.

1. Turkey Melts

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

Of course, those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday (in Canada we celebrate in October), you probably have a few slices of turkey left over. Turkey melts are a great way to use some leftovers combined with pantry items. Cheese, cranberries, or maybe some hot mustard, or chutneys are great in these easy sandwiches.

2. Cumin Chickpea Salad


Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I loved this roasted cumin and chickpea salad. It's got a lovely bright, tangy flavour. If you don't have feta cheese, you can substitute whatever you have on hand. Or leave the cheese out altogether and have a vegan salad. On the subject of chickpeas, chickpea salad sandwiches are also a delicious pantry dish.

3. Miso Soup With Rice and Poached Egg

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

This miso soup with rice and a poached egg was a big hit with my husband. It's a perfect lunch for a dreary November day. I always have miso in my refrigerator and sometimes a spoonful of it in a soup gives a depth of flavour you wouldn't otherwise have.

4. Challah

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

Baking bread isn't hard at all, but it does require some time for rising, so baking on a day when I plan to stay home works just fine. I particularly enjoy making challah because the loaves are always so beautiful when you take them out of the oven. This lovely eggy bread makes great toast as well.

5. Maple Beans

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

If you have legumes in your pantry you will never go hungry. This easy recipe for maple baked beans cooks away by itself for the afternoon while you take a nap after the big dinner yesterday.

6. Asian Mushroom Soup

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

Dried Chinese noodles are another pantry staple for me. As a base for soups or stir-fries or underneath shoulder pole-carrying noodles, I use them a lot. I also always have carrots and celery in my refigerator, and usually mushrooms. This asian mushroom soup comes together quickly and is a nice light lunch.

7. Chickpea Tomato Pasta Sauce

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

What could be simpler and tastier than a pasta sauce made from chickpeas and canned tomatoes? If your kids like chickpeas they will love this healthy, easy and frugal recipe.

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