Cans: Your Cheap, Ever-Reliable Pantry Staples

By Catherine Lamb

Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Catherine Lamb shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety.

Today: We're opening up a can of whoop-ass on dinnertime boredom.

Grab your can opener! Open your pantry! Reach back into its dark depths -- past the spider webs and forgotten Halloween candy -- and pull out whatever cans have been hiding back there, quietly biding their time. Because tonight's dinner -- and every dinner from now until you feel like taking off your slippers and doing things like small talk again -- is brought to you by our old standby...the pantry players we turn to again and again...your kitchen's version of Old Faithful...cans!

In this time of winter stagnation, when you should be eating all those leafy green vegetables at the farmers market and practicing your downward dog, but all you want to do is eat spaghetti and meatballs with a glass of wine and an episode (or twelve) of Friends, cans are your greatest enabler. They'll help you make a meal you can feel good about without having to go through the ordeal of a grocery store. They'll help you become a hermit -- but a healthy hermit, one that eats balanced meals. Here are a few of my go-to canned goods -- some are old hat, others, I think, might surprise you -- and my favorite ways to use them.

Check out the slideshow above to discover Catherine's go-to canned goods and her favorite ways to use them.

This article originally appeared on Cans: Your Cheap, Ever-Reliable Pantry Staples.

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