Monday Menus: using staples from the pantry

I’m not the best at elaborate menu plans. Even when I try to keep it simple, I forget something important. So it’s been really important for me to figure out some nutritious meals for my family using what I always have on hand for those times that I didn’t make it to the store or when I’ve forgotten an ingredient.

I saw a recipe for enfrijoladas on Tasty Kitchen Blog today and I’m sure it’s something my family would love, with a green salad on the side. I’m always making burritos or tacos last minute, but I think this might be an interesting way to mix things up. I would probably end up going without the cilantro because, even though I love it, it’s one of those ingredients I frequently forget. I think we will be trying this in the next week or two.

One favorite that I usually have the ingredients for is chocolate sheet cake. It’s another recipe that is compatible with my last-minute lifestyle. My mom has always used a slightly modified version of the Lion House cookbook’s recipe, and that’s what I use as well. I love that I almost always have everything I need on hand, it only takes about 15-20 minutes to cook, I can frost it warm, and then it can be served warm or cold (I use a fudge frosting that uses granulated sugar instead of powdered, another plus because I don’t have to worry about lumpy frosting).  Or, if I don’t want to bother frosting it, I can cut up some sort of fruit to put on it (usually bananas or strawberries for me), then top it off with some whipped cream. That hint of cinnamon really holds a special place in my heart. Mmmm, maybe this will be dessert next Sunday.

Chocolate Sheet Cake:

  • 1 cube butter
  • 1 cube margarine (or you could use shortening, I usually double the butter, who said cake needs to be healthy?)
  • 4 T cocoa
  • 1 c water
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t salt

Lightly mix butter, margarine, cocoa and water in a large, microwave safe, mixing bowl.  Microwave 3-4 minutes, then stir.  Add all dry ingredients, buttermilk and vanilla and mix again.  Then add 2 eggs and mix well until there are no lumps in batter.  Pour into greased sheet pan (10 x 15 in.) and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cake tests done.  Frost with fudge frosting.

Fudge Frosting

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c milk (or 1/2 c for thinner frosting)
  • 5 T butter
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Melt butter with sugar and milk in small saucepan.  Bring to boil, then boil for 1 minute.  Pour in chocolate chips. Remove from heat.  Mix in chips until melted and frosting is smooth.  Quickly pour and spread on hot cake before frosting sets up.

I hope you find something here you enjoy.  Please let me know if you have any favorite go-to recipes for last minute, I think my family is getting sick of grilled cheese sandwiches.

-Lori Trauntvein



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