7 pantry meals you can make with 5 ingredients or less

Mar 31 2020, 2:21 pm

As the days of self-isolation continue, many are taking this opportunity to hone their skills and hobbies at home. 

Among the most popular? Cooking. 

We’re seeing more and more amateur chefs popping up with fancy home-cooked meals (that many of us can’t or don’t know how to make). Because let’s face it, we were definitely going out and not in the kitchen cooking pre-pandemic.

With restaurants closing and limited stock at grocery stores, we’ve put together a list of almost-too-easy recipes you can make at home with ingredients you likely already have in the pantry. Plus, all the dishes look great on camera, so you too can show off your new-found cooking skills (without anyone knowing how easy it was).

Confetti egg cups


  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 12 slices thin ham (or deli meat)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper

These egg confetti cups by Gourmet Mom are perfect to make in batches and keep for multiple breakfasts. You’ll need red pepper (1/2 cup finely chopped), green pepper (1/4 cup finely chopped), 12 slices of ham, shredded cheese (1 cup), and 12 eggs. Preheat oven to 375° F. In a muffin or cupcake tin, press a slice of ham into each cup. Then, crack an egg on top of each ham slice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle the pepper on top. Bake for 10 minutes, add shredded cheese, and put back into the oven for five to 10 minutes until eggs are cooked. 

Banana pancakes

Banana pancakes/Shutterstock

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)

Get that last banana from your fruit basket and start the day with some banana pancakes, developed here by repeatdreaming. One ripe banana, two eggs, baking powder (1/8 tsp), and butter (2 tsp) is all you’ll need. Mash the banana in a bowl, add the eggs and baking powder (and cinnamon if you’re feeling it), and mix it into a batter. Heat the butter in a skillet on medium heat, scoop the batter into the hot butter, and cook until the edges are dry. Wait about two to three minutes until the bottom is browned, then flip and repeat for the other side. Quick and easy!

Pizza toast


  • 4-8 slices bread
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1-2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salami/toppings of your choice

This recipe by Simply Delicious is suitable for almost any time of the day and can be customized to your liking. You’ll need bread, pizza/marinara sauce (1 cup), mozzarella (1 cup grated), toppings of your choice, and oregano (1 tbsp). Once you’ve pre-heated your oven, place the slices of bread onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread the tomato sauce on top. Then, scatter grated mozzarella, cover with your favourite toppings, sprinkle some oregano, and place into the oven. Let this cook until the cheese has melted, then take it out of the oven to cool, and proceed to stuff yourself with ooey-gooey goodness.

Creamy pesto and kale pasta

Creamy pasta/Shutterstock

  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 300g kale
  • 300g pasta
  • 4 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto

Looking for something that won’t land you in a food coma? Try this tasty and nutritious pasta for dinner, created by Esther Clark. You’ll need two red onions, kale (300 g), wholemeal pasta (300 g), reduced-fat cream cheese (4 tbsp), and pesto (4 tbsp). Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat and fry thinly sliced onions for 10 mins until softened. Add the kale with 100 ml water, cover, and cook until kale has wilted. Cook the pasta following pack instructions, then drain and toss the pasta with the onion mixture, cream cheese, and pesto. Leftover chicken in the fridge? Add for an extra protein boost!

Breaded lemon chicken


  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Parsley and/or lemon, to garnish (optional)

How does easy, crisp, and tender sound? The set up for this dish by Host the Toast: two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lemon juice (1/3 cup), and seasoned breadcrumbs (1 1/2 cup). Slice chicken breasts into four thin pieces and evenly pound until each is about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Next, separate the lemon juice and breadcrumbs into shallow bowls. Rest each side of the chicken breast in lemon juice for two minutes before gently pressing into breadcrumbs. Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium and fry, two pieces at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Garnish with parsley and you’re ready to serve.

Pork and mash gratin


  • 800g potatoes
  • 400g piece of higher-welfare pork fillet
  • 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese

Jamie Oliver’s gratin might sound fancy, but it’s actually among the simplest dishes you can put together. All you need are potatoes (800 g), pork tenderloin (500 g), and about 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese. Cut the potatoes into chunks, then boil in a pot of water for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pork in a large skillet for 3 minutes, then remove.

Drain the cooked potatoes and pour them into the empty skillet, sprinkling half of the grated cheddar on top. Gently mash before adding the rest of the cheddar and the cooked pork on top. Pop it into the broiler for 10 minutes, et voila! The full recipe has tips for how to use prosciutto and sage to elevate the dish, if you have any on hand.

Nutella Brownie Mug Cake 


  • 2 cup and 2 tbsp Nutella
  • 1 large egg, gently whisked
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour

It doesn’t get simpler than three ingredients and a microwave. To make this brownie by Kirbie’s Cravings, all you’ll need is Nutella (1/2 cup and 2 tbsp), one large gently whisked egg, and all-purpose flour (4 tbsp). Split the whisked egg evenly into two microwave-safe mugs, add 1/4 cup and 1 tbsp of Nutella, and 2 tbsp of flour into each mug. Whisk until batter is smooth, then microwave each mug for 1 minute. Let it cool slightly before indulging in your chewy, fudgy reward.

Gone are the days where good meals meant complex steps and ingredients. Hopefully, the next time you open up your pantry, it won’t look as daunting.

Michelle MaMichelle Ma

+ Health & Fitness
+ Curated