Meal Planning Monday ~ Declutter the Pantry

This week’s blog post is by Leah Kelley.

One of my favorite things to do is clean out my pantry. Once every two months, I do a “Clean the Pantry Week” meal plan. I only go to the store if I need milk, cheese, or eggs. This allows me to use up all those, “Hey, that was on sale and I’ll find something to make with it” items. For example, I picked up ten cans of black beans on sale, having no clue what I intended to do with them.  But they were so cheap, I couldn’t pass them up! “Clean the Pantry Week” also forces me get more creative with our meals. So I thought I would share some of the pantry staple meals that my family loves.

Baked Spaghetti ~ We always have some kind of noodles and pasta sauce in the kitchen cupboards. I wanted to try something different and came across a recipe for Baked Spaghetti. Honestly, I was a little leery of it at first since it called for cream cheese, but it was a hit!

 Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas ~ This is a simple and easy recipe to make for lunch or for dinner. All you need is a can of black beans (rinsed and drained), a can of corn (drained), some shredded cheese, and a little taco seasoning mixed together in a bowl. Top each tortilla with a scoop of the mixture of each then cook in a skillet. Sometimes, I just do cheese quesadillas for the kids.

Macaroni and Cheese with Hot Dogs ~ I can guarantee you we always have them on hand. My kids LOVE both mac & cheese and hot dogs, but put them together and voila!  I’m suddenly the best mom ever.

Chili ~ There’s nothing like a warm bowl of chili on a cool autumn day. This is a great way to make use of canned tomatoes and beans from the pantry.

Tacos ~ We always taco seasoning and tortillas in the cabinet and some form of meat in the freezer. I love tacos for a quick dinner.


Baked Spaghetti  from Just the Four of Us


  • 16 oz. thin spaghetti
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 (8oz) block cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water for 5 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine the marinara sauce, cream cheese and cottage cheese.  Put the spaghetti in a 9×13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Cover with marinara mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.