Tired of Dinner Time Stress? Check Out This Easy 5-Day Pantry Meal Plan!

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writing on easy pantry meal challenge

Ready to save money with a smart meal plan that the whole family will love?

Planning dinners with easy-to-find ingredients and common pantry and freezer staples is a great way to save BIG! Eating at home truly is one of the best and simplest ways to save on a daily basis, especially when you start comparing the cost of your homemade meal to what you’d pay for a similar meal out.

If you’ve got a large family, eating out can sure add up fast!

Take the stress out of dinner time this week, and make easy meals the whole family will love using ingredients you may already have on hand.

easy meal ingredients on the counter for pantry meal challenge

We’ve done all the heavy lifting for this pantry meal plan by putting together 5 super easy-to-make family dinner ideas. We’ve even included a FREE printable meal plan grocery list for your convenience! All 5 of these dinner recipes taste delicious and require simple ingredients you may already have on hand. Better yet, no more wondering what’s for dinner!

holding 5-day easy pantry meal plan

Check through the list to source what you already have on hand in your pantry, fridge, or freezer, then take the remaining list to the store to pick up any ingredients still required.

Here are the 5 family-fave dinner ideas you’ll be making –

1.) 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Meatballs

bowl with slow cooker cranberry meatballs and broccoli

A bag of frozen meatballs gets slow-cooked with canned cranberry and chili sauce, for a delicious and easy pantry meal! Warm up some frozen broccoli and white rice to serve up a sweet and sour meatball bowl that’ll please every family member. Kids LOVE this meal!

Meal Plan Tip: If homemade meatballs are preferred, make a batch of those and freeze them in a freezer-safe bag for this simple freezer meal idea!

2.) Easy Chicken Zucchini Casserole

using a spatula to dish up chicken zucchini casserole
This could easily be one of my favorite tasting casseroles and it has just 7 simple ingredients, including a boxed stuffing mix from the pantry for convenience. The leftovers are just as delicious and it’s such a comforting warm meal all will LOVE!

Consider using pre-cooked chicken or breaking down a rotisserie chicken for an easy and inexpensive way to throw this dish together.

Meal Plan Tip: You could always make this a freezer meal by first compiling the casserole, then store it with an air-tight lid in the freezer, and pop it in the oven when ready to cook. Easy peasy!

3.) Ground Beef & Potatoes Slow Cooker Cowboy Supper

slow cooker cowboy supper meal

This ground beef and cheesy potato meal is simple to make using canned pantry staples like beans, corn, and diced tomatoes for a delicious comfort food type meal. On busy weeknights, I love low-effort slow cooker dinners like this to make life easier, and this one is yummy!

4.) Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

pot of stuffed pepper soup

All the flavors of stuffed peppers in an easy to make soup with pantry staples like diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and white rice. We love this soup as it’s very comforting and hearty with ground beef.

Meal Plan Tip: Instead of fresh peppers and onion, you could always substitute a bag of fajita-style veggies from the freezer section if desired as a convenient and budget-friendly option.

5.) Pesto Chicken and Veggie Sheet Pan Meal 

sheet pan with roasted pesto chicken and veggies

Sheet pan meals are the best for easy clean-up and this pesto chicken version is an absolute winner! Cut up a few chicken breasts and veggies and coat them with prepared refrigerated or canned pesto sauce.

Meal Plan Tip: You can substitute other fresh or frozen veggies you have on hand to roast with your chicken!

Woman looking for food items in pantry and holding a can

If you’re ready to take meal planning to the next level, check out these 5 Crock-Pot Freezer Bag Meals That Take Just 1 Hour to Make!

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 13

  1. Busy Mom

    These look great and so simple with the list! Would love to see more of these! Thank you!!

  2. Karen

    Would love to get emails from you ! Thanks for the free printable ingredients list.

  3. Ihearthip

    Bless you guys! I always love these meal planning helpers- and theyโ€™re free! Thanks. My family has cut out all take out a restaurants and have been saving soooo much $. But, it can get a little ho-hum with the planning!!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh thanks for commenting! I agree itโ€™s nice to have some new meal inspo!

  4. Marie

    Please keep these coming. Iโ€™m struggling through a difficult early pregnancy and handing these to my husband after placing a Walmart pickup is saving our family right now!

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Our thoughts are with you, Marie!

      • Marie


  5. Juliee

    Yes! Love this, hoping for more!! Thanks for the great ideas ๐Ÿ’•

  6. Jw206

    That chicken zucchini casserole looks like a winner! Gotta try that soon!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes thatโ€™s so yum -and simple to make!

  7. Evie

    Dinner time stress for me is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a bowl of cereal!
    I usually keep steamed veggies, beans and rice for heat ups all week!

  8. Mary

    Love this post! Please keep them coming. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for this feedback Mary!

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