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Use Up All Those Extra Canned Goods with These Easy Dinner Recipes

A stockpot full of chili, a chicken pot pie, and a plate of salmon pasta.

Busy schedules and rising costs can make what to have for dinner a complicated question. If you have a pantry or cabinet full of canned goods, though, a quick and yummy meal is probably only a saucepan and a simmer away!

If you’ve stocked up on canned foods during the pandemic, you can combine them with a few fresh ingredients and create a delicious meal. If you need a little inspiration, check your pantry and these recipes to see how you can save yourself some time and money.

Frito Pie

Freshly made Frito pie being scooped out with a spoon.

If Fritos are your all-time favorite snack, then why not have them for dinner? This tasty, oh-so-easy meal can be together in just five minutes. Then, you just let your oven do the rest.

You’ll need some ground beef, beans, cheese, and enchilada sauce to create the hearty base. Then, you just top this casserole-like dish with crunchy Fritos. Enjoy this with a heaping pile of homemade guacamole and pico de Gallo.

Easy Canned Tuna Pasta

Two bowls of tuna pasta.

Canned tuna is a great go-to when you don’t have a lot of time. Like most pasta meals, this one is filling, comforting, but also the perfect solution when you don’t have many ingredients on hand.

All you’ll need is a bit of tuna, garlic, and some lemon to create this crowd-pleasing meal. You can also add some cooked broccoli or spinach if you prefer your pasta with some greens.

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

Mexican Quinoa in a casserole dish.

This one-pan meal is so easy to put together, you’ll be surprised how yummy it tastes. You can also save money on fresh ingredients by using canned foods, like fire-roasted tomatoes, corn, and black beans.

Once you add some spicy jalapeño, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin, the Mexican flavors inevitably come to life. Enjoy this with some freshly sliced avocado and a side of tortilla chips.

Hearty Vegetable Soup

A bowl of vegetable soup.

You make this satisfying, yummy vegetable soup by dicing some fresh potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and squash. Then, you combine them with a few select canned goods, like navy beans, diced tomatoes, corn kernels, and green beans.

This soup is a sure way to meet your recommended daily serving of veggies without spending a ton of cash. Enjoy warm bowl with some crusty farmer’s bread.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Easy chicken pot pie with one slice missing, in a pale green pie dish.

Yes, there’s a pot pie recipe that mainly uses canned ingredients! You can also make it in under 10 minutes.

You’ll need some canned chicken (yes, that’s a thing), a can of mixed veggies, and some cream of chicken soup to throw together this yummy crowd pleaser. Serve it with your side salad of choice.

Five-Ingredient Chili

A ladle of five-ingredient chili being held over a stockpot full of it.

We found the ultimate easy chili recipe—you only need five humble ingredients. You cook your ground turkey or beef, and then add onions, beans, tomato, and chili powder. In under 30 minutes, you’ll have a simmered, filling, classic meal.

You can keep it at five ingredients, but we do recommend adding a bit of shredded cheese and sour cream on top, because, well, they’ll make it even more delicious!

Taco Bowls

A taco bowl, topped with shredded beef, avocado, sour cream, salsa, black beans, and sliced lime.

Taco bowls are easy to make and much easier to chow down on than crunchy tacos. These shredded beef bowls make a classic and tasty dish the family can enjoy anytime without spending too much or making a mess.

This recipe will also give you a chance to use that slow cooker, so you can prep it the night before, and then let it cook all day.

Easy Canned Salmon Alfredo

A bowl and plate of salmon pasta.

Using pre-cooked canned salmon, you can make a fantastic, budget-friendly meal the whole family will enjoy on a busy weeknight. This recipe only takes 15 minutes to whip up, and it’s a great way to get in all the omega-3 fatty acids salmon has to offer.

Enjoy this tasty salmon alfredo with garlic bread and a side Caesar salad. The recipe even includes tips for getting the kids involved with cooking it, too.


If you’ve gathered quite a collection of canned goods over the last few months, it’s time to start using them. Not only are these easy meals perfect for busy families on a budget, but they taste delicious, too!

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