Success StoryThe Power of your Pantry



The Power of your Pantry

Author: Angie York

Planning Unit: Lyon County CES

Major Program: Food Preparation and Preservation

Plan of Work: Increasing Knowledge about and Access to Fruits and Vegetables

Outcome: Intermediate Outcome

Early during the pandemic, many people found their grocery stores temporarily out of certain food products.  People were also concerned about contracting Covid-19 and tried to minimize trips to grocery store.  As a result, they stocked up on groceries for their pantries, refrigerator, and freezer.  A well-stocked pantry has benefits aside from emergency preparedness:  It can increase the likelihood to cook, decrease the amount of prep time, reduce the need to use a recipe, save money, and contribute to nutritious and balanced meals.   

To help consumers know what and how to stock their pantries, increase their skills for cooking without a recipe, and give them tools for cooking without meat, the Extension Agents for Family and Consumer Sciences in Lyon, Todd, and Trigg counties partnered to offer The Power of Your Pantry, a 3-part pantry cooking series taught on Zoom.  A total of 55 participants attended the classes.

During the first class, The Power of Your Pantry, agents taught participants the process for stocking their pantry, what type of items to stock, how to organize their pantry no matter what size, and demonstrated how to put together a quick, nutritious meal using supplies found in their pantry.

The second class, Getting Fancy with Your Pantry, focused on how to actually use what is in the pantry.   Participants were given a list of pantry staples to stock, a 30-day meal plan of meals that do not require recipes, and a formula for creating no recipe meals.  Each agent demonstrated no-recipe meals using items from their own pantries.

Meatless meals have become popular in recent years for ways to decrease the risk of chronic disease as well as save money.  The third class, Cooking Meatless from Your Pantry, focused on the building blocks of good nutrition; creating dishes using tomato products, beans, and different types of protein; and how to save money at the grocery store.


At the end of the third session, agents did an online evaluation of the series which showed:

92% increased their knowledge about safe storage and handling of pantry foods; 

100% are using pantry items to cook more healthy meals at home

71% can make dishes using pantry staples without the need for a recipe;

100% know how to use substitutions when cooking from their pantry;

100% know what the dates on foods mean and how to use them in stocking and using     their pantry.

They also reported putting their knowledge about safe storage and handling of pantry foods to good use by:  Going to their pantry first when planning meals (50%); ridding their pantry of old staples and canned goods or stocking their pantry with staples and canned goods they will use (40%); taking inventory of their pantry (36%); and reorganizing their pantry (36%).

After the classes, one of the participants sent an email that said, “Just wanted to let you know I did a no-recipe dinner last night.  Started with the idea that we wanted pasta.  Started the bowtie pasta to cooking.  Opened a can of flavored diced tomatoes & added some leftover Italian sausage.  Heated it all up & added it to the pasta.  Delicious.   No leftovers.   Thanks for these classes.”






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