Healthy Mealtime Inspiration in Your Pantry

Family Features | 1/18/2019, 4:36 p.m.
One of the secrets to ordering less takeout and serving more nutritious homemade meals may be as simple as keeping ...
Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chili

One of the secrets to ordering less takeout and serving more nutritious homemade meals may be as simple as keeping a well-stocked pantry of canned foods. By cooking with canned foods, you can cut down prep time, meaning less time in the kitchen and more time with family.

Canned fruits, vegetables, proteins and soups can help you get through the week with creative meals you can feel good about serving your family like Panzanella Salad and Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chili. In addition, according to a study published in “Nutrients,” kids and adults who use six or more canned foods per week are more likely to have diets higher in 17 essential nutrients, including potassium, calcium and fiber.

Canned foods can also help reduce the amount of perishable fruits and vegetables purchased then thrown away. Consider how many times you’ve opened the fridge only to find the fresh produce you purchased only days ago has already spoiled. Because fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of ripeness and canned within four hours, sealing in their nutrition and flavor, your family can have access to seasonal, ready-to-use fruits and vegetables year-round. Simply reach in your pantry – or your “cantry” – and get cooking.

For more information about the benefits of cooking with canned foods and to find more flavorful recipes, visit

Panzanella Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad


1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper


1 pound day-old Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 ounces romaine lettuce, chopped

2 cans (10 ounces each) tomato wedges

1 can (15 1/2 ounces) garbanzo beans

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) artichoke hearts

1 can (3.8 ounces) olives

1 can (1 1/2 ounces) sliced radishes

To make dressing: In small bowl, stir together olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

To assemble salad: In large bowl, toss bread cubes, lettuce, tomato wedges, beans, artichoke hearts, olives and radishes; drizzle with dressing.

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chili

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 4-8 hours

Servings: 6-8

Nonstick cooking spray

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans (12 1/2 ounces each) white premium chunk chicken breast, drained

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained

3 tablespoons red curry paste, plus additional, to taste

1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 can (13 1/2 ounces) coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas, drained

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) whole potatoes, drained and cubed

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) sliced carrots, drained

3 tablespoons lime juice, plus additional, to taste

salt, to taste

brown rice, cooked according to package instructions (optional)

cilantro, for garnish

salted peanuts, for garnish

Grease slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add onion, garlic, chicken, tomatoes, red curry paste, peanut butter, brown sugar, ginger, coconut milk, fish sauce and soy sauce to slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours.

Uncover and stir in chickpeas, potatoes, carrots and lime juice. Taste and add lime juice and salt, to taste, if necessary.

Serve on top of brown rice, if desired, and garnish with cilantro and peanuts.