Tilda Love
Sleeping Cap

Pantry Menu Of The Week


I confess, when I am the weakest and wanting to go out to dinner, instead of making it, is when I have been running all day. After a busy day away from home, cooking is the last thing I want to do. But I find having a full pantry helps me suck it up and cook dinner. I rely on my pantry when money is short. When I see some goody at Target (I really do not need) and use my last $10.00 of grocery money (shock), tell me I am not the only one who does that  ;-) Plus I find they are budget friendly recipes.

This menu of the week is based on pantry items. I love pasta con la sardine, but I find most recipes much more time consuming then I want to put into it. Also it has fennel bulbs, saffron, pine nuts, which are all a bit pricey. I decided to use ground fennel seeds to give me the flavor, leave out the saffron and splurged on the pine nuts. But I used less (I look for deals on them and then keep them in the freezer). I also simplified the recipe. I know currants, sardines and fennel may sound weird but it really is an amazing combo.

Since the winter is citrus season, I am making a lot of salads with them. I love this green onion vinaigrette, by pureeing it, it makes a creamy vinaigrette. The only drawback to this vinaigrette, is it does not do well sitting around for a long time. I think the honey cake would be delish served with some fresh citrus to, like grapefruit.

I hope this inspires you to look at your pantry and see what you can add to it, how you can use it better, to use it to make your life easier xoxoxo

PS. Photo of my mother's house

Pantry Pasta Con La Sardine

1 pound pasta

1/3 cup dried currants

1 can of sardine in oil, drained

1 lemon, zest grated, then juiced

2 garlic cloves finley chopped

1/2 a bunch of Italian parsley leaves, ruffly chopped

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, I use panko

1/4 cup pine-nuts

1 TBL fennel seeds, grind up to a powder (a coffee grind works best)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Start pasta to cook.

2. While pasta is cooking in a dry hot pan, toast pine nuts and put them in a large serving bowl. Now toast bread crumbs, BUT set them in a separate bowl and set aside. You will add them to the pasta when you are ready to serve.

3. To pine nuts add 1/8 of a cup (a big bloop) of olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, currants, ground fennel seeds, crumble or chop sardines, parsley, some salt and pepper.

4. Add cooked pasta, toss all together, taste and see what is needed. If pasta seem dry drizzle a bit more olive oil. When ready to serve toss in bread crumbs and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Romain salad w/ orange and green onion vinaigrette

Spears of romain set on a plate with slices of peeled orange on top, then dress with dressing. You could add a few chopped green onions, toasted nut, sliced avocado or parmesan shavings over the top.

Green Onion Vinaigrette *Note

1/2 cup olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon or to taste

3 green onions, trimmed of ends

1/2 small garlic, peeled

1 tsp. of Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a processor or blender and blend till smooth.

*note, feel free to adjust all these amounts to suit your palette. You can also use orange juice instead of lemon.

Honey Cake


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Clarice, I made the pasta con la sardine and the salad tonight. :) Thanks so much! I love the blend of flavors in the pasta--so refreshing for my taste buds! The salad was a great accompaniment. I'm trying a new recipe once a week (not desserts) this year, so I needed something different. My girls made homemade linguini, too, which turned out perfect except for a few too-thick strands.

Nancy Geaney

My husband LOVES sardines- I will give it a try. Maybe I will use my Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Paparadelle....


Oooh! That dressing sounds divine. I'll be trying that soon.


Hi Clarice,
I'm just catching up with your blog.
I am the same way about making dinner sometimes.
You have a nice evening,

Sharon D.

Hello Clarice :)

I have just finished re-oganizing my pantry and have an inventory list of what is in there :) I did this for the purpose of eating from the pantry and to keep from buying unnecessary items or thinking I have something when I don't :)

I have to admit, I don't care for sardines. Michael likes them however so maybe I will try to make that pasta recipe for him :)

Honey Cake and Citrus does sound good!

Have a wonderful evening!


Dear Clarice, I have a child who loves sardines and am wondering if this recipe would appeal to him! You are right, it does sound like an odd combo, but I love fennel, so it just might work around this house!

I love the picture. Also, in a previous picture, I love the little figurine of the lady holding the bird! It looks handmade.

Lynn :)

Susan Freeman

Hi Clarice,
I just found your blog while I was reading The Cozy Little House blog. First of all, your house is adorable. Your recipe for salad dressing sounds heavenly and I can confess that I too have used $10 of grocery money to buy something I want but really don't need. I will stop by your blog often. Come and visit me sometime too. I'll put the kettle on and we can discuss the current cozy mystery we are reading. Mine is "Blood Orange Brewing" by Laura Childs. And if you want to color I have a big box of crayons waiting and when the weather warms up we can use the colored chalk on the sidewalk.

Susan and Bentley


Hi Clarice,

I'm having problems getting my comment to post here today, but I'll give it another go.

I love honey cake, and your other recipes sound interesting too. I sometimes need inspiration when it comes to cooking. I think we all do from time to time. After so many years of thinking about what others are going to eat, I enjoy going out to dinner now and then. It's a real treat to just relax and enjoy the time together.

Thank you for sharing.


Your menu sounds delicious - especially the salad. It's so great to use up stuff in the pantry, isn't it?


Gumbo Lily

Did you make this meal AFTER a day of running errands? It sounds really good!



Dear Clarice,

I agree, having a full pantry does decrease temptation greatly :) !

Such wonderful recipes, and beautiful glassware, too.

I hope you are having great success with all your little projects this time of year.



The Pleasures of Homemaking

That is the worst! Running around all day and then having to cook something! That recipe sounds good - I actually have everything except the pine nuts. I have walnuts and pecans in my freezer. Do you think those would work? I think I'll make this for lunch tomorrow.

My go to for quick dinner is tortellini with pesto. I always keep some pesto in the freezer.


lisa mcilvain

Yummy! Boy you said it. My weak point of the day is 4pm. I'm tired, kids are cranky & I'm so sick of eating the same thing. I need to stock my pantry better. I am going to try your recipe this week. Lisa


Sardines are suppose to be really healthy too. I haven't had the nerve to try them. I guess I'll have to give this a try and see how I like sardines. The salad sounds interesting too. Great picture. Love, Mom


My menu for this week is based on what is in our pantry...our grocery budget for last month was out of control - yikes! Time to get back to basics!



Oh Yum. I'm totally into lemons this time of year. This menu sounds so satisfying. And I am a sardine lover, too. Thanks for the great ideas!

Love, Angie

ps-OOo- the honey cake looks intriguing. Hmmm. And I do have some of my dad's cognac hanging around waiting to be used...


What a DELICIOUS menu! And thank you so much for posting the fine recipes. I will definitely have to try this sometime. :) Sincerely, Theresa


That salad sounds great!


Love the glassware!

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