6 Comforting Pantry Recipes

Catherine Beaudoin
Co-founder ZestyKits

During difficult times, I turn to comforting dishes from my childhood. These classic dishes fill the house with nostalgic smells that bring me back in time, and for a moment, I feel the joy and peace of childhood. 

Growing up, my sisters and I spent countless hours in the apple orchard behind our house. I remember coming back home on cold spring afternoons after spending hours with my sisters in the apple orchard. As soon as we walked in, the smell of these dishes welcomed us home, as if to say – you are safe, you are loved.

These recipes use pantry ingredients and are easy to prepare. To learn how to fully stock your pantry check out the Ultimate Guide to Pantry Essentials.  These easy and comforting pantry recipes will help you get a delicious dinner on the table quickly using everyday pantry ingredients. I hope these classic recipes bring joy into your home as they do in mine.

Crusty White Bread

Raising time: 12 hours
Makes: 1 loaf
  • Prep Time 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time 60 Minutes


  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. dry yeast
  • 1 ¾ cups cold water
  • ¼ cup whole-wheat flour


  1. In a large pot, combine the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water. With a fork, stir until the flour is completely moistened, but not necessarily smooth. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, place the whole wheat flour. Set aside.
  3. With your hands, directly in the pot, fold the risen dough onto itself until smooth (about 6 times).
  4. Transfer the dough into the bowl with the whole wheat flour and turn to coat the entire surface of the dough. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes at room temperature or until it has doubled in volume.
  5. Meanwhile, with the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a 3 litre Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with its lid (not glass) in the oven, and heat for about 30 minutes.
  6. Drop the floured bread dough in the centre of the hot pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for 30 minutes.
  7. Let the bread cool on a wire rack or in the pot.

Tomato Soup

Serve with: Grilled cheese
  • Prep Time 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time 35 Minutes
  • Total Time 50 Minutes
  • Serves 6 People


  • 2 onions - diced
  • 2 cloves garlic - thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans (28oz, 796ml) whole tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • Sliced chorizo - optional
  • pesto - optional


  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, soften the onions and garlic in the oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes, broth, brown sugar and oregano. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
  3. With an immersion blender, purée until smooth. Garnish and serve with grilled cheese


Serve with: Mashed potatoes, green peas, salad
  • Prep Time 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time 90 Minutes
  • Total Time 100 Minutes
  • Serves 6 People


  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion - finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. relish
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. dry parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. dry mustard


  1. Turn on the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the egg, diced onion, relish, ketchup, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the ground beef and oats. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine.
  2. Place the meat in a loaf pan 23cm x 13cm x 6cm (9” x 5” x 3”).
  3. Combine all the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Place the topping evenly on top of the loaf.
  4. Bake about 1 hour 30 minutes or until fully cooked.

Beef Stew

Serve with: Bread
  • Prep Time 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time 120 Minutes
  • Total Time 135 Minutes
  • Serves 6 People


  • 2 lbs beef cubes
  • ⅓ cups flour
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 3 carrots - in 1 cm slices
  • 1 cup - rutabaga - dices
  • 2 cups - potatoes - diced
  • 12 oz - frozen peas
  • Fresh parsley


  1. Coat the beef cubes with flour.
  2. Add the oil to a large pot on medium-high heat. Roast the beef cubes about 4 minutes per side until browned. Do not over crowd the pot - ensure there is space between each cube to promote browning.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and tomato juice. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour. Stir a few times while cooking.
  4. Add the carrots, rutabaga and potatoes. Cover and let simmer an additional 50 minutes.
  5. Add the frozen peas and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with bread.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Serve with: Rice
  • Prep Time 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time 60 Minutes
  • Total Time 80 Minutes
  • Serves 6 People


  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 540 ml can pineapple - dice the pineapple
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin


  1. Turn on the oven to 350F. Cut the pork into bite size pieces.
  2. In a large pot that goes in the oven, add 1 tbsp. oil and pork. Cook about 4 minutes on each side to brown the meat. Add the diced onion.
  3. Combine the cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, in a small pot. Cook on medium heat, until the sauce is transparent. Add the sauce to the pork.
  4. Add the soy sauce, green pepper, pineapple and juice to the pork.
  5. Cover and bake at 350F for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Serve with rice.

Slow-Cooker Chicken-Tortilla Soup

Cook 4 hours on high OR 8 hours on low
  • Prep Time 20 Minutes
  • Serves 8 People


  • 2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion - diced
  • 2 red bell pepper - diced
  • 4 garlic clove - minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can (28oz, 796ml) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 200 gr green beans, halved
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • fresh cilantro - optional
  • sliced jalapenos - optional
  • sour cream - optional
  • tortilla chips - optional


  1. Combine chicken, onion, bell pepper, garlic, stock, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chiles, chili powder, brown sugar, oregano, and cumin in the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours. Add zucchini and green beans and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove chicken, shred meat; return to slow cooker. Stir in lime juice.
  3. Serve and garnish with cilantro, jalapeños, and sour cream, with tortilla chips.