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Easy Recipes with What’s on Hand

While we’re limiting our exposure to public places like the grocery store, stocking our pantries and refrigerators with versatile foods that can be easily customizable is a great approach to feeding our families in fun and creative ways.

Here are a few easy recipe ideas to keep your family fed with just a few simple ingredients.

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Top your toast: Allow each member of the family to get a bit creative and express individual taste preferences and creative approach. Offer a variety of toppings including peanut butter (or allergy friendly alternative), jams and jellies, cream cheese, sliced fruit, avocado, hummus, bacon, cured meats, salmon, fried eggs, or seeds and dried fruit.

Scrambled egg bowls: Prepare a large batch of scrambled eggs and allow everyone to add their favorite mix ins from items on hand like bacon bits, diced ham or lunch meat, onions, mushrooms, diced veggies, assorted cheeses, herbs and spices, hot sauces, black or refried beans, or salsa.

Breakfast snack plates: Meals disguised as snacks are always a hit. Cut up some fruit, cheese, lunch meats, nuts, and maybe a bit of dry cereal for finger friendly options. Pairs perfectly with cartoons on the couch.

Breakfast meatballs: Breakfast meatballs are a great option to prepare for the week ahead. Starting with a base of ground breakfast sausage or ground Italian sausage, add your preferred mix ins like scrambled eggs, diced pepper, cheddar cheese, onions, or sage. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Sandwich Art: Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes with cheese, meats, and bread. Lay all available options on a cutting board and let each family member assemble their creation.

Skewers: Playing with food never gets old. Skewers are an easy way to allow kids (and the big kids at heart) to build their meal. Simple options include, cheese cubes, frozen meatballs, diced chicken, olives, tomatoes, and mini potatoes. Precook items like potatoes and meatballs and allow kids to assemble their own skewer.

Personal Pizza: Buy prepackaged mini pizza crusts or use bagels or English muffins. Top with marinara or pizza sauce, or get creative with a pesto or alfredo base. Add veggies, cured meats, and cheese. Pop in the oven or toaster oven for a simple yet personal lunchtime creation.

Personal Potatoes: Start with either sweet potatoes or russet potatoes. Poke a few holes and either pre bake in the oven or for a quicker approach microwave for 5-7 minutes depending on the size of the potato. Canned chili, broccoli and cheese, bacon and sour cream, butter and chives, spaghetti sauce, olive oil and roasted veggies, pesto, crumbled sausage, steak (frozen steakums) and cheese, black beans, corn and salsa, or taco meat are all great topping ideas.

Pasta Bar: Kids tend to be more open to eating items they can put together themselves. After cooking and draining pasta, offer a variety of sauces and mix ins. Simple options include, sautéed spinach, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, diced chicken, ham, pepperoni, olive oil, parmesan cheese, or tomato sauce.

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Rice Bowls:
Start with precooked brown, white, or long grain rice. Add things like cooked veggies, diced tomatoes, chicken, beef, shrimp, cheese, lettuce, soy sauce, hot sauce, salsa, quinoa, avocado, cucumber, carrot, tofu, sesame seeds, sour cream, or curry sauces. Rice bowls are a great way to use leftovers.

Mix in Mac and Cheese: What better way to enjoy a favorite comfort food than by filling it with even more goodness? Ham and peas, avocado and black beans, diced tomatoes, chicken and buffalo sauce, or steamed broccoli are great add-ins to this family favorite.

—Jillian Amodio

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