Cereal is Not Just for Breakfast: Repurposing Pantry Items for Other Meals

May 29, 2012

The simple question, "What's for dinner?" used to ignite a frenzy. I would panic. I was caught off guard. My mind would spin. I'd access my last mental image of the contents inside of our fridge, and quickly take inventory. I'd scramble to make a checklist, and I'd almost always forget to factor in all of the wonderful on-the-shelf items that quietly lie hidden behind closed cupboard doors. In our home, we buy many foods and associate them with a single purpose – like cereal and breakfast. In our rush to get through our busy day, it's easy to forget that a single food item can play more than one role in our lives.

For our family, the multi-purpose food or ingredient is a highly useful one, especially given that our family eats a specialty (low sodium) food diet. While there are a growing amount of low sodium food products available in the store, we are often constrained by space (or by budget). Multi-purpose ingredients come in handy. We've found that crispy rice cereals, in particular, are one of the best multipurpose foods in our household. They're light and crunchy. When ground in the food processor, they yield an incredibly consistent breadcrumb-like texture – we think the crispy rice cereals actually create a more superior "breadcrumb" base for both texture and flavor. Here are ways that we've incorporated ground crispy rice cereal into our recipes. The ground cereal can:

• add texture, as a crunchy exterior coating (i.e., the "breading" in Chicken Milanese),
• help control moisture in chicken burgers, meatloaf, or savory [roast] stuffing,
• act as a flavor compliment or garnish. Ground cereal works great as a crunchy topping on soups, casseroles, baked dishes and stuffed peppers.

Knowing that I can whip up a tasty and simple dinner using items I already own in my kitchen pantry has really helped to reduce the number of "what's for dinner?" fire drills. When asked the question, I still make the mental checklist of what's in our fridge, but now, I also remember to include the hidden pantry gems more commonly known as cereal, and the process of figuring out what's for dinner is much more calm. For me, having peace of mind is an invaluable gift.

Check out our recipe for Chicken Milanese on the Attune Foods' Website or our recipe for our tasty version of Beer Can Chicken. We've created a special recipe where succulent BBQ takes on a wonderfully savory, slightly spicy, and deliciously crispy crust at LowSodiumBlog.

Read more about our Guest Contributors from the Low Sodium Blog here.



Christy's picture

Wonderful idea! Dinner is a scramble for most, but on a low-sodium diet there's an added level of challenge. Off to check out your delicious sounding recipes. Thanks!

Amy Jeanroy's picture

Love this! What great ideas.

 I have a note on my desk that reads *Why do they want dinner every-single-night?* It certainly defines my feelings some days. :-)


Amy J