Monday, April 6, 2020

Around the Kitchen Table: Recipes from our Pantry + book #giveaway

LUCY BURDETTE: We were going to write about dieting tips today, but yikes! We need to eat right now to stay healthy and face the anxious times ahead of us. We wondered what we have to offer our readers and came up with two things. Cozy mysteries, of course, because comfort reads can whisk us away from a difficult time. And easy recipes that might use what you already have in your pantry or fridge. Most people probably have a bag of carrots in their vegetable bin, right? My glazed carrots are so easy, I hesitate to call this a recipe!


MADDIE DAY: Good call, Lucy. When life is stressful, who needs a diet? What you might need - I mean, want - is chocolate chocolate chip muffins. I always have flour, oil, eggs, milk, and cocoa around, and pretty much always have chocolate chips around, too. These muffins are as easy as they come. The Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder blog presented the recipe last summer after it appeared in Strangled Eggs and Ham (their picture).


Daryl Wood Gerber:  It's definitely stressful, so I've made another chocolate banana coffee cake, which I shared a couple of weeks ago, some protein bites, and a batch of macaroons. I always have baking items in the pantry.  And the macaroons don't require eggs -- just in case those become short on supply.
Plus, I've bought lots of bananas that have definitely aged, so they need to be cooked. PS  You can always freeze bananas and use them in a recipe later on. Great in protein shakes, by the way.  


LESLIE: A few Januaries ago, we did a week or two of posts on the theme of "A Clean Sweep," cleaning out our fridges and freezers after the annual holiday splurges, and some of those posts might be helpful now. Mine -- Spiced Roasted Chickpeas and Other Surprises -- included those yummy chickpeas, making croutons, and tips for using up bits of cheese and the last lonely teaspoon of jam. Find my blog sisters' posts by using the older and newer post buttons at the bottom of mine. 

If it's still cool where you are, I'm guessing you'll warm up to this easy Vegetarian Chili and Green Chile Cornbread, using pantry staples and a few fresh vegetables that are easily changed, depending on what you have. Or maybe you'd rather pair your chili with these Pumpkin Spice Drop Scones, using canned pumpkin -- you can change the spices based on what you have. With all these recipes, the leftovers are easily freezed, a real plus these days. 


My mom's recipes are generally both comforting and use ingredients most people have in their pantries. Last month I posted her Five Cup salad recipe. 
It's basically 1 cup of mandarin oranges, 1 cup of pineapple chunks, 1 cup of coconut, 1 cup of marshmallows, and 1 cup of sour cream all dumped in a bowl and stirred together. It's a great side dish or even can be used for a light dessert.

CLEO COYLE: Breads and buns are not easy to find here in locked-down Queens, NYC, which is why our take on this popular pantry recipe for Easy 7 UP Slab Biscuits may come in handy for you. It certainly has for me and Marc (my husband and partner in culinary crime-writing). 

Click the photo for Cleo's Easy
7 Up Slab Biscuits recipe.

Hang in there, everyone. We don’t say that lightly. Do whatever you can to keep your stress level low and your spirits up. These easy slab biscuits are fun to make and give us joy to eat. We hope they’ll do the same for you. With much love, Cleo.


PEG: Almost everyone has pasta in their cupboard, right? It keeps forever and can be used in so many ways--as is, added to soups or stews, turned into a salad, etc.  But you do need something to put on it.  You can stock up on jarred sauces--that's easy enough and those will keep as well--but it's so easy to make your own simple tomato sauce like this recipe here.  Chances are, you may not have fresh basil on hand at the moment, but the sauce will be delicious anyway.  If you have flour, water, yeast and some cheese, you can top a pizza with it for something different!  And if you want something for dessert but don't want to use your supply of milk, eggs or butter, there's always Depression Cake, which doesn't require any!

VICKI: This is most definitely NOT the time to be dieting. You don't want to let go and have twenty pounds to lose when you come out of isolation either. Just eat sensibly, try to get what exercise you can, and hang in there. Having said that, I find baking to be a huge relaxation. I'm making cookies to pop in the freezer, and I have everything at hand in the cupboard. Hopefully we'll have friends dropping in again soon. Here's my recipe for Molasses Spice Cookies. I usually make these at Christmas, but we need some festivity in our lives right now, don't we? 

KRISTA: Of course, the big problem is running out of little things. I love fluffy American pancakes, but Oma's German Pancakes are definitely easier and only require eggs, flour, milk, and oil. Eat them with thawed or cooked frozen fruit. 

But first I'm going to make more of these chocolate chip cookies. I posted this recipe recently. They come out very flat, but oh my, are they delicious!

Here's the really bad news. They're just as delicious frozen. Store them in a freezer bag with wax paper between the layers. When you want to eat them, take out as many as you want and let them come to room temperature on the counter, which takes about half an hour. Yum!


MAYAIt's hard to beat cookies and chocolate for comfort food. I recently posted a couple of easy and delicious cookie recipes. Grasmere gingerbread is a bar cookie. You don't have to roll out the dough. You just pat it down in the pan. I've frozen these cookies the way Krista recommends, and they've turned out great, ready to eat after 10 minutes out of the freezer. 

For another easy cookie, try the recipe for five-ingredient chocolate chunk cookies that I posted last week.

There's still time to enter a drawing for a free Five-Ingredient Mystery by COMMENTING on that post.


Don't forget to leave a comment
on this post for a chance to win SIX books!

Do you have any easy "pantry recipes" to share?

Leave a comment on this post with
your email address and you'll be entered
to win this terrific collection of books...


The Diva Spices It Up, by Krista Davis
Nacho Average Murder, by Maddie Day
Sifting through Clues, by Daryl Wood Gerber
Death on the Menu, by Lucy Burdette 
Berried in the Past, by Peg Cochran
Body on Baker Street, by Vicki Delany


  1. The goodies look delicious. Fabulous bundle of books. Thanks for the chance.

  2. Lots of yummy stuff. The food looks good too.

  3. I make chicken and rice casserole with pantry ingredients. Cooked shredded chicken, cooked rice, a can of cream of chicken, and lots of Mrs. Dash. Mix together and bake until rice sets. Simple and yummy. Wendy- clarksrfun at gmail dot com

    1. A timely pantry recipe, thank you, MamaHen. Be well and stay safe, and that goes for everyone! Love,

      ~ Cleo

    2. I'm coming for dinner too! stay safe all... xox

  4. Happy Monday! Thank you for inspiring ideas. Have a blessed day! ❤️📚❤️🍫❤️✉️🌈🍧🌺🍓🌸💐🍱💌🍜🎊🐭

  5. Wow! All those recipes look delicious! I'm hungry already!

  6. Wow! All of these recipes sound delicious! I recently made a banana choc chip bread. Especially now, we're doing our best not to waste any food. I had one, large very ripe banana. With my recipe, I need at least two. So I got creative and used a very ripe pear that I removed the skin and mashed up. It worked great! Thanks for being here for us and thanks for the chance! Renee -

  7. Mouth watering. Love cozy mysteries and recipes

  8. I love to cook and read cooking mysteries. Thanks for a great giveaway

  9. Yum! I have two kids and a husband that are picky eaters. One meal they all agree is a basic chicken noodle soup. Frozen chicken breasts I cook in the instant pot, egg noodles, cream of chicken soup and chicken broth, salt a pepper afterwards to taste. Served with yeast rolls. It makes them all happy. Lol. aellis534(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. Although it might look as if not easy, my favorite muffin recipe is very easy and has all those yummy good for you things – like protein, veggies, eggs, and dairy. It’s a throw together, spoon in the pan, bake kind of deliciousness too. I call it my leftover muffins because I usually make it when I have little dabs of the ingredients on hand leftover from other dishes.

    See several new recipes to add to my cookbook in this post.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a fabulous and generous giveaway! Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.

    Here’s my recipe:
    All In One Breakfast Muffin
    1 ¾ cup flour
    1 cup 3 minute oats
    ¼ cup sugar
    1 tsp. baking powder
    ¼ tsp salt
    1 egg, slightly beaten
    1 cup milk
    1/3 cup oil
    ½ pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
    ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1/3 cup onion - finely chopped
    1/3 cup bell pepper – finely chopped
    In bowl combine the dry ingredients (first 5) and set aside. Mix milk, egg and oil.
    Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients all at once. Stir only until moistened.
    Stir in bacon, cheese, onion and bell pepper.
    Fill greased muffin pan 2/3 full.
    Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes
    Makes 1 dozen muffins
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Now that is an "all in one" breakfast muffin! A great use of odds and ends ingredients for a morning meal that looks tasty and filling to keep us going. Thank you for sharing, Kay. Be well and stay safe, and that goes for everyone! Love,

      ~ Cleo

    2. Wow, that really is a breakfast muffin. I'm copying and going to see if I can do it gluten-free (with no peppers. :) Thanks! ~ Daryl

  11. Wow,great looking recipes. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Thanks to all for sharing these great recipes! My husband is a big fan of Stouffer's Grandma's Rice Bake, but we can't find it in the store, so I will make it for him from scratch - thanks MamaHen for the suggestion. I also think Cleo's 7 Up Slab Biscuits would go great with the casserole!

    1. Cheers, Celia, I hope you enjoy our 7 Up Slab Biscuits and thanks again to MamaHen for sharing her recipe. I know what you mean about not finding things in the stores. Here in NYC, we are scrambling for provisions (as I'm sure many people are around the country). We'll get through, I have no doubt. Be well and stay safe, and that goes for everyone! Love,

      ~ Cleo

  13. Thanks for the yummy inspiration. This is a great giveaway! Katherinestamps at msn dot com.

  14. How Wonderful! Thanks for the opportunity. cheers (at) MarjimManor (dot) com

  15. I usually have the ingredients for the iced chocolate brownies I make but th is a are the only items guaranteed to be in the pantry. Thanks for the chance.

  16. Thanks for these enticing recipes and the lovely giveaway. Each Spring I make lemon biscuits which are delectable and popular.tasty and easy to make. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  17. Great post. So needed right now. Comfort food and good reads. Reads and recipes look fabulous. Thanks for the chance to do some reading and baking. bessdeepotter84 at gmail dot com

  18. Thanks for the recipes. They sound yummy. When I was a little girl back in the '60's my mom made Salmon Loaf. A can of salmon (drained), a slice or two of bread crumbled up to make 1 cup, 2 eggs, a teaspoon of salt and about a half cup of milk. Mix it all up and bake at 350 for 30 or 35 minutes uncovered. She served this with scalloped potatoes and it was wonderful. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Riley - Your mom's Salmon Loaf sounds delicious. I don't have canned salmon, but I do have tuna, and I'm thinking a little sriracha (or any hot sauce, really) added would make for a nice spicy tuna casserole with your mom's basic recipe. Thank you for sharing! Be well and stay safe, and that goes for everyone. Love,

      ~ Cleo

  19. These recipes sound out of this world delicious. Thank you for doing this, especially now when everyone is shut in, scared and vulnerable!

    1. JeanneK - It is a tense time for all of us. As Lisa said in the comment below, we are stronger together. Thank you for stopping by the Kitchen today. Be well, stay safe, keep in touch...and that goes for everyone! Love,

      ~ Cleo