There are plenty of times that I stand in my kitchen looking at the pantry staples available to me and think to myself, "What the heck am I going to make for dinner tonight?" Sometimes I need to make dinner in little time and with little fuss, other times I just don't have the luxury of hunting through cookbooks for an attractive idea. What do I do when I'm not sure what to make? I pull all the canned items out of my pantry and look at the recipes printed on the labels. Surprisingly, there are a lot of reliable back-of-the-can recipes.
One of the tricks to cooking from the back of the can is knowing which cans you should always have in your pantry. If your regular cooking routine involves a lot of onions, garlic, and cilantro, try keeping cans of beans on hand for a quick rice and beans dish; if your family loves pasta, stock creamy canned soups to make a variety of simple sauces; and if you regularly cook roasts in your oven or slow cooker, keep plenty of cans of chicken or vegetable stock and tomato paste. Stocking up on canned pantry staples that fit your family's taste and your cooking style will make cooking from the back of the can easier.
The other secret to easy back-of-the-can cooking is making substitutions when they make sense. If you're picking through your pantry for ingredients to make a quick, no-fuss dinner, and a back-of-the-can recipe calls for red onion but you only have yellow onions on hand, use them. If a recipe calls for garlic and you don't have any, just leave it out or substitute a few pinches of powdered garlic. These modifications will change the taste of a recipe slightly, but the dinner you make will still be delicious. And, most importantly, it will be convenient.
If you're looking for a few reliable back-of-the-can recipes to get you started, we've rounded up twelve of our favorites.
-Kristie Collado, The Daily Meal
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