I feel pretty fortunate to have a pantry in my house. It's small- it's just an old coat closet in the entry hall/former laundry room that the former owners put shelves in, but it works well for us and I like having the storage for extras that don't fit in the kitchen. However, said pantry is completely overloaded right now, as evidenced by these photos:
I am slightly embarrassed to have shown that to you all, given the fact that we have so much stuff and you, readers, can't even see to the bottom. And honestly, this isn't even all of it. We have a "snack cabinet" in our kitchen/dining room that houses baking goods, some extras, and, of course, snacks. It was during a trip to this cabinet for a granola bar that I realized that I had six boxes of various granola and cereal bars in there, and I knew that there were at least two more (all open, by the way) in the pantry. This, and the pursuit of canned black eyed peas, is what led me to actually find out what was in the pantry before I make yet another trip to the grocery store.
Sadly, there were no black eyed peas, just black beans, kidney beans, cannelini beans, and not one, not two, but three cans of chick peas. Can you tell I had no idea what was in there? And then I had an a-ha moment! I know what I can do with the chick peas (which was actually the reason I bought them in the first place)- roast them! I found this great recipe a long time ago in either Better Homes or Good Housekeeping magazine, the one with the section where they give 3-5 uses for some random item, for roasting chick peas for a quick snack. They are so good I cannot even tell you. I made a can one time and I swear I ate the whole thing before the day was out. They get kind of crispy on the outside, and no, they don't end up tasting anything like hummus. If you generally like solid chick peas, then you will love these.
Roasted Chick Peas
Rinse and drain well one 14.5 ounce can of chick peas. Toss in a bowl with one tablespoon canola oil. Spread out over a cookie sheet (I line mine in foil) in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and a generous pinch of pepper (I do it the other way around- more salt). Cook in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through, until brown and slightly crispy. Cool and enjoy.
That's it! They will come out looking almost shiny and translucent when they are done. I have eaten them both hot and once they are cooled, and I do actually think that cooled is better- more crispy.
As for the pantry, once we move on from our bedroom and bathroom renovations, which are going slowly but surely (we are now in the painfully expensive ordering-of-stuff portion of the program), we will eventually be resurrecting the pantry in another spot which will hopefully help me reorganize all the stuff and give us a layout that might work a little better. One thing I did notice- if I place things in front of other stuff, then I never know it's there anymore, so I'm going to try and not do that. Stacking on top seems like it would work better.
What have you lost in your pantry lately?