Don’t Let Your Pantry Items Go to Waste With These 15 Shelf Stable Food Recipes

pancakes made using shelf stable foods

Having a survival food stash on hand doesn’t mean you need to ignore the food that’s already in your normal pantry. 

Whether you’re managing a short-term emergency like a storm-based power outage or looking at the first few days of a long-term emergency, you want to go through your fresh food and shelf stable pantry items before breaking into a survival food kit.

Keep emergency meal ideas and shelf stable food recipes accessible, like the ones below, so you’re prepared for any crisis. These recipes cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner — and utilize grocery store items with a shorter shelf life: dried pasta, rice, bread, crackers, canned beans, frozen vegetables, etc. You can also use your 4Patriots survival foods like white rice, freeze-dried blueberries, freeze-dried meats, butter powder, and powdered eggs to make these delicious dishes.

Keep in mind that you can substitute many of the shelf stable ingredients with other shelf stable items depending on what you have on hand. Crushed crackers can alternately be used for bread crumbs, different vegetables can be used to clean out the fridge, and meat can be added to vegetarian meals or vice versa. 

These super easy survival food storage pantry recipes mean those everyday items that stock your pantry won’t go to waste! Plus, they’ll give you the strength, energy, and focus you need. Give them a try:

1. Easy Pancakes

Serves 4–6

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips (optional)
  • Powdered sugar, jam, or maple syrup (optional)

Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add in milk, egg, and oil, and stir until combined and mostly smooth (batter may be slightly lumpy). Feel free to add in fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips at this time.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium high heat and coat lightly with cooking spray or oil. Scoop about ¼ cup batter onto the griddle. When the batter begins to bubble, flip the pancake and finish cooking. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and/or fruit.

2. French Toast

Serves 2–3 

  • 1 egg 
  • ½ cup milk 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4–6 slices bread (better if slightly dried out or stale)
  • Powdered sugar or maple syrup
  • Fruit (optional)

Whisk liquid rehydrated egg mixture, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large, shallow dish. Place slices of bread into the egg mixture, flipping to coat both sides.

Grease a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place soaked bread carefully on the griddle and cook until browned, then flip and cook on the other side. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and/or fruit.

3. Loaded Nachos

Serves 2–3

  • 1 bag of tortilla chips
  • 1 can beans (black, pinto, refried or baked beans), rinsed and drained as necessary
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning 
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheese
  • 1 can Rotel, drained 
  • 1–2 avocados
  • Sour cream 

Alternate toppings:

  • Fresh diced tomatoes
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Guacamole 
  • Salsa

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cook ground beef on a stovetop with seasoning until browned. Remove from heat, drain excess liquid, and set aside.

Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. If using foil, spray with cooking spray. Spread out the tortilla chips. Top with beans (might want to spread onto chips to cover more evenly if using refried beans). Add ground beef, Rotel, and then cheese.

Bake for 10–15 minutes, until chips are crunchy and cheese is melted. Check occasionally to prevent burning. When done, remove from the oven and transfer chips to a large plate. Let cool for 5 minutes, then top with avocados, and sour cream—or whatever toppings you want. 

4. Homemade Mac & Cheese

Serves 6–8

  • 1 lb pasta (shells, elbow, bow-tie, penne, cavatappi or rigatoni)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard or Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

In a large pot on medium high heat, add butter until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook for about one minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Whisk in heavy cream, milk, mustard, pepper, and salt. Continue whisking until it starts to bubble, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce to low and sprinkle in white cheddar while stirring. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and stir until coated. Let it sit to cool and thicken before serving, about 5 minutes. 

5. Black Bean & Cheese Quesadillas

Serves 2–3

  • 6 tortillas 
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Salsa, guacamole, and/or sour cream (optional)

Mash the black beans in a mixing bowl, adding salt or other seasonings to taste. Spread onto 3 of the tortillas. Top each with about ⅓ cup shredded cheese. Cover each tortilla with another tortilla and press lightly to stick.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook quesadilla on both sides until beans are warm, cheese is melted, and tortillas are golden brown. Cut into quarters. Serve with your choice of condiment to dip. 

6. Tuna Casserole 

Serves 4–6

  • 12 oz egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • 2 (10.75 oz) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, defrosted 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 2 (5–6 oz) cans tuna, drained and flaked
  • ½ cup milk
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheese, divided
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or crushed club crackers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 3 qt baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. 

Mix melted butter and breadcrumbs or crushed crackers in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine noodles, soup, peas, onion, tuna, milk, and 1 cup of cheese in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the prepared baking dish. 

Top with breadcrumb mixture, then the remaining ½ cup of cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top. Cool before serving.

7. Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 4–6

  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 2 ½ cups canned veggies 
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press one of the pie crust layers into a greased 9×9 inch 2-quart baking dish. 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until just combined, then add onion, salt, and pepper. Cook until mixture is thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Stir in the broth and milk, then return to the stovetop and heat to bubbling, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute once the mixture bubbles, then remove from heat. Add in chicken and vegetables and stir to combine.

Fill the prepared baking dish with the mixture. Cover with the second layer of pie crust and pinch the edges closed. Poke several holes in the top to let the steam escape. Bake for 35–40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. 

8. Fried Rice

Serves 3–4

  • 1 chicken breast or pork loin, cut into small pieces 
  • ⅔ cup carrots, sliced 
  • ½ cup peas
  • 2 tablespoons green onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Place carrots and peas in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a low boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Carefully pour in vegetable oil, and cook the chicken. Set aside the cooked chicken. Add more oil to the pan if needed, then add eggs and cook quickly to scramble. Stir in carrots, snow peas, green onion and garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds. 

Stir in cooked rice and meat. Add soy sauce and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Get more recipes to spice up your rice here.

9. Chicken Tetrazzini 

Serves 6–8

  • 16 oz spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded 
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup club crackers, crushed
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. 

Combine the melted butter, cream of chicken soup, milk, broth, pepper, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the spaghetti, chicken, mushrooms, and onion. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Cover the top with the crushed crackers, then top with shredded cheese. Bake for about 25–30 minutes.

10. Thai Peanut Noodles

Serves 3–4

  • 8 oz rice noodles (or other noodle such as spaghetti or linguine)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2–3 carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 onion, sliced 
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup peanuts, crushed
  • 1 cup peanut sauce

For the peanut sauce:

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼  teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup water

Prepare the sauce first. Combine all ingredients in a jar and thoroughly combine. Refrigerate until ready to use. Cook noodles per package instructions and set aside.

Heat a large pot on the stovetop over medium heat. Add water, carrots, onion, bell pepper, salt, and pepper, then cook until soft. Turn heat to low. Add noodles and sauce and stir to combine. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in crushed peanuts and green onions. 

11. Classic Red Chili

Serves 6–8

  • 1 lb ground beef, cooked
  • 1 cup black beans, canned and drained or dried and rehydrated 
  • 1 cup kidney beans, canned and drained or dried and rehydrated 
  • 1 cup pinto beans, canned and drained or dried and rehydrated 
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1–2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder 
  • 2 tablespoons cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Add ½ cup water and diced onion to a pot and cook on stovetop over medium heat until soft. Add tomato paste and cook until it darkens, stirring constantly.

Add half of the stock and all the beans; stir to combine. Then add the cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, then heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Mash the beans, then add the beef and the rest of the stock. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Let simmer for 10-15 more minutes. Serve with cornbread.

12. Slow Cooker White Bean Chili

Serves 6–8

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2 cans Great Northern beans
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1 can Rotel 
  • 8 oz green chilies
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1–2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½–1 cup water
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

Add ½ cup water and diced onion to a pot and cook on stovetop over medium heat until soft. 

Add half of the stock and all the beans; stir to combine. Then add the cream of mushroom soup, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of pepper. Stir to combine, then heat for about 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Mash the beans, then add the Rotel, green chilies, chicken, and the rest of the stock. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Let simmer for 10–15 more minutes.

13. Spaghetti & Meatballs

Serves 2–4

16 oz spaghetti (or other pasta) 

For meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork
  • ½ cup bread crumbs 
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For homemade pasta sauce:

  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1–2 cloves garlic, minced (or substitute with 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Start with the meatballs. In a large bowl, combine the beef and water to rehydrate according to instructions. Meanwhile, whisk together milk, egg, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. 

Add dry ingredients to ground beef and mix thoroughly with a fork or your hands. Add wet ingredients and combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 20 minutes, up to 8 hours. 

Make the meatballs about the size of a golf ball and cook until warmed through. While the meatballs are heating, cook the spaghetti per instructions and make the pasta sauce. 

For the sauce, cook onion and garlic with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water or 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to low. Add tomato sauce, dried herbs, pepper flakes, and ground pepper. Stir and cook until heated through. Add salt to taste. 

Add cooked noodles to pasta sauce and stir to coat noodles. Continue to heat until the meatballs are ready. Serve together. Enjoy!

14. Red Beans & Rice

Serves 4–6

  • 3 cups white rice, cooked
  • 1 lb red kidney beans, canned and drained or dried and rehydrated
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

Heat ¼ cup water plus the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic in a pot over medium-high heat. When veggies are soft, reduce heat to low. Add tomatoes and beans and stir. Add herbs, pepper, and seasoning, then stir to combine. Stir in stock, then cover and let simmer for 1.5 hours, checking on them and stirring occasionally. Mash the beans in the pot. Salt to taste. Serve over white rice.

15. Goulash

  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth 
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes 
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning 
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta
  • 1–2 cups cheddar cheese (optional)

Add olive oil to a pot and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the ground beef until no longer pink, breaking up as it cooks. Carefully drain excess liquid and return to stove top. Add onions and garlic powder. Pour in the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add pasta and continue cooking until the pasta is al dente, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Let cool before serving.

Stock Your Emergency Food Supply with 4Patriots

Pantry food is great in the first few days of an emergency, but you’ll run out fast. Make sure you’re prepared for more long-term disasters by having tried-and-true emergency preparedness food recipes and by building an emergency food supply with 4Patriots. Shop survival food kits designed to feed you for three days, a week, or even a year!