(Family Features) Did you know that more than 86 percent of consumers said they threw away a percentage of their pantry items that have been opened but not completely finished? Why not use up those ingredients to come up with new and creative recipes?
According to a survey conducted by Hungry Jack(r), 37 percent of home cooks feel challenged when creating new recipes. Kelsey Nixon of The Cooking Channel's "Kelsey's Essentials," knows that when you have a wide selection of staple ingredients on hand, creative cooking is easy, fun and doesn't require an extra trip to the grocery store.
Here are some of her tips for keeping your pantry recipe-ready:
Take a pantry inventory. Post a list of your key pantry staples inside your pantry door and put items on a list as you start running low. Before you head to the grocery store, get in the habit of quickly glancing at your list to pick up any essentials you may need to replenish.
Think outside the box. Some of your pantry favorites can be put to more than one delicious use. Here are Kelsey's suggestions for quick, budget-friendly meals:
- Pancake mix is a great base for creating baked goods. Consider it your dry ingredient base and develop your own unique cake, cobbler and casserole recipes that will become your new signature dishes.
- In many cases, breakfast syrup can be substituted for sugar. An added bonus is the subtle maple flavor that adds a special touch to cookies, cakes and even whipped cream.
- You can use instant mashed potatoes just like breadcrumbs to coat meat, fish or vegetables with a delicious crunch.
Creativity in the Kitchen: Get your whole family involved in the kitchen by brainstorming ideas on how to work together with a "secret ingredient" from your pantry. Making mealtime into a creative challenge is fun for all ages.
"The great taste and versatility of Hungry Jack products offers so many ways to be creative in the kitchen," said Chef Nixon. "Try my recipe for Sausage Corndogs to make your hungry family a happy one."
For more information, tips, and recipes, find Hungry Jack on Facebook and visit www.useupthebox.com.
Makes: 14 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 package (12 ounces) maple or regular breakfast pork sausage links (14 links)
14 5-inch wooden skewers*
1 bottle (32 fl. oz.) Crisco Pure Canola Oil
1 1/4 cups Hungry Jack Complete Buttermilk Pa cake & Waffle Mix or 1 1/4 cups Hungry Jack Complete Extra Light & Fluffy Pancake & Waffle Mix
1/3 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
Hungry Jack Original Syrup
Cook sausages in large skillet as directed on package. Drain on paper towels. Cool. Insert skewer into each sausage from one end. Heat oil in four-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to 350°F.
Whisk pancake mix, corn meal mix and salt in large bowl. Add egg and milk. Whisk until smooth.
Dip each sausage in batter until fully coated. Cook three at a time in hot oil, 50 to 60 seconds or until golden brown, turning constantly. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining sausages. Serve immediately with syrup alongside.
*TIP: To make 5-inch skewers, cut 10-inch skewers in half.
(c)/(r) The J.M. Smucker Company