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The Honolulu Advertiser

By Judy Hevrdejs
Chicago Tribune

Posted on: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Raid your pantry for a quick, flavorful dinner

 • New year, new cookie

Assembling canned or frozen ingredients into a quick supper won't earn you "serious cook" credentials. Then again, a well-stocked pantry (with a little help from the freezer and produce bin) is a lifesaver for busy days. Here are a few ideas.

Veggie chili: Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot with 1 cup each: coarsely chopped onions, red pepper, green pepper and mushrooms. Add 2 cloves garlic, minced. Cook, stirring often, 2 minutes over medium heat. Add 1-2 (14.5 oz) cans drained pinto, kidney and/or black beans, a large can of crushed tomatoes and 1 cup each: water and frozen corn. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour; add water if needed. Top with shredded cheese and chopped green onions. Makes about 12 cups.

Corn chowder: Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot with 1/4 cup minced onion and 1 cup each: chopped mushrooms and zucchini; cook 2 minutes over medium heat. Add a can of creamed corn, 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup chopped, cooked chicken; season with salt and pepper. Simmer 30 minutes. Top with chopped green onions. Makes about 8 cups.

Mediterranean salad: Drain and flake a 7-ounce can of tuna; mix with 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon each: oregano and minced garlic. Divide 6 cups mixed greens between two plates. Spoon tuna mix on each. Top with 1/4 cup each: crumbled feta cheese and chopped tomatoes. Add sliced black olives and red onion rings. Makes 2 servings.