An often overlooked aspect of living in London - whether for work or leisure - is planning your meals. You might be tempted to dine out or rely on takeaways from your favourite restaurant throughout your stay, but you might soon find yourself longing for a home-cooked meal.
It can be tricky to prepare meals using a pantry style kitchen setup, but with a bit of creativity and planned weekly grocery shops, you can conjure up truly mouthwatering, nutritious, home-cooked meals using the appliances and utensils at your disposal.
Some of our corporate apartments are fitted with pantry style kitchens, and this blog will help you discover at least five inspiring meal ideas that you can easily prepare during busy workweeks.
What is a pantry style kitchen?
Some of our studio apartments are fitted with a pantry style kitchen.
A pantry cupboard is a space-saving way of ensuring all your important kitchen appliances and utensils are stored in a safe and convenient manner.
A pantry style kitchen is smaller than a typical kitchen, and will usually only be fitted with a microwave and a mini-fridge as main appliances. Kettles are often included, too.
This type of kitchen layout is becoming more popular in London apartments, as a way to save on space while still allowing the tenant to enjoy the comfort of easy home-cooked meals. While the appliances may be limited, there are many innovative and easy recipes you can follow to make the most out of your pantry kitchen setup.
Pantry meal planning
Meal planning - including grocery shopping lists and a ‘menu’ for the week ahead - is the first consideration before trying out your culinary skills in a pantry style kitchen.
A great place to start is by narrowing down your menu to decide which meal you will prepare each day, and from that, creating a shopping list of fresh and non-perishable ingredients required to make the meal.
This is a great tool to help you find inspiration for meal ideas that will use the ingredients you already have.
Because you’re likely to be following a busy schedule, and may find you don’t always have the time to pop into the local grocery shop after work each day, it’s a good idea to stock up on non-perishable, or long-life ingredients. Tinned goods are a great essential ingredient to bulk up weekly meals, and you could save a lot on your weekly shop by choosing items with a longer shelf life.
Easy Pantry Meals
Our blog will aim to include recipes for popular dietary and lifestyle food requirements, with a focus on meal prep times under 30 minutes, using a smaller amount of ingredients, and cooking using only the appliances that come as standard in a pantry style kitchen.
If you’re in the mood for a great meal without needing to leave the building, our on-site bar and grill offers a great solution on the nights you’re just not up to cooking a homemade meal!
Pantry Vegan Meals Using a Pantry Style Kitchen
London is brimming with a variety of Vegan restaurants and takeaways, but making your own vegan meals from home is a great way to have full control over what goes into your dishes. What’s more, you can prepare enough to have leftovers, allowing you to enjoy more of your favourite meals, more often.
Below is our favourite Vegan meal that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home away from home, at our Dolphin Square corporate apartments:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Equivalent of 2 medium onions, caramelised (you can buy caramelised onions in the tinned food section of your favourite supermarket)
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Salt to taste
- Back pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 ounces (140-150g) tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 4 - 5 large oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 10 ounces (285g) spaghetti or linguine pasta
- Prepare your spaghetti or linguine in the microwave: using a microwave safe bowl, add pasta with enough water to cover it. Microwave on full power - using the suggested cooking time on the pasta packaging and adding three minutes to it. Once cooked al dente, drain the excess water (but keep it aside to add to your sauce later on)
- Combine the olive oil, caramelised onions, and seasoning into a microwave safe dish and heat on medium-high heat for around 3 minutes. This will allow the flavours to infuse into the oil.
- Combine your finely sliced garlic cloves into the oil mixture, and return to the microwave for another minute, stirring in between.
- Remove from the heat and add in your red pepper flakes and oregano, stirring to combine.
- Next, add your tomato paste and return to the microwave for a final minute, just to heat everything up before adding it to your pasta.
- Lastly, add the tamari, nutritional yeast, and chopped sundried tomatoes - and stir to combine.
- Ladle a few spoons of the reserved pasta water into your sauce. Transfer your cooked pasta to a serving bowl, and using a pair of tongs (or two forks in a pinch), combine the sauce slowly into your pasta, coating each strand with the delicious flavours.
- Leftovers stay good in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Five Ingredient Pantry Meals Using a Pantry Style Kitchen
When you’re in a hurry, using less ingredients often means you’re left with more time. This five ingredient dish will delight your senses and save you valuable time.
- Pre-cooked shrimp or prawns (1 ½ lbs. or 700g )
- 2 minced garlic cloves, or 2 tablespoons of pre-minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Combine all ingredients except the shrimp, and stir to combine.
- Thread shrimp onto skewers - cocktail sticks work, too.
- Brush one side of shrimp with glaze.
- Place on a microwave-safe dish in the centre of the microwave to heat thoroughly for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn shrimp, brush the other side with glaze, and return to the microwave for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Serve with a side salad, rice, or enjoy them on their own.
Low Carb Pantry Meals Using a Pantry Style Kitchen
For low carb, keto, banting and or Atkins enthusiasts, we share our favourite low carb meal idea below. Be sure to make an additional batch - you’ll be left wanting more of these!
- Cooking spray or olive oil
- 1 ½ cups shredded sweet potato (from about 1 medium potato)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 pre-cooked strips of sugar-free bacon, crumbled
- 10 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Using a microwave-safe muffin tray or ceramic ramekins, generously coat the inside of your preferred dish with cooking spray or olive oil.
- Divide the shredded sweet potato, cheese, and bacon evenly between the dishes.
- Place the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated. Pour into the dishes, filling each ½ to ¾ full
- Microwave on high until the muffins are set and start to slightly lift away from the dish's edge.
- Remove the dishes from your microwave and place aside to cool.
- Run a butter knife around each cup to loosen the muffins before removing them.
- Serve warm or cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating.
Healthy Pantry Meals Using a Pantry Style Kitchen
A garden salad is great, but it shouldn’t be the only healthy option when preparing meals from a pantry style kitchen. Our favourite low calorie, light and healthy meal is detailed below. Prep ahead of time to enjoy it on the go!
- 1 cup short grain white rice - pre-cooked or microwave rice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
For the beans:
- One can black beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup of water
- Juice of one lime
- Prepare one cup of short grain white rice in the microwave, using the package instructions for heating. When done, fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the cilantro and lime juice, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Drain and rinse black beans until the water runs clear. Add in one teaspoon of cumin, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of water.
- Stir, and add to your microwave on full heat for 3-4 minutes, until it reaches a boil.
- Remove, stir, and return for another 3-4 minute cycle, until the desired consistency is reached on the black beans.
- Use a potato masher or fork to mash the beans a few times, thickening the mixture, but leaving most of the beans intact.
- Stir in the lime juice and 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro, seasoning with more salt if necessary.
- Serve the beans on top of the rice as a side or meal.
Easy Pantry Meals in 30 Minutes or Less Using a Pantry Style Kitchen
A classic, quick, hearty meal in under 30 minutes? Prepare a bigger batch of the below recipe to savour leftovers the next day.
- Salt to taste
- 500g fettuccine
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus some for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, plus some for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Prepare your Fettucine in the microwave: using a microwave safe bowl, add pasta with enough water to cover it. Microwave on full power - using the suggested cooking time on the pasta packaging and adding three minutes to it. Once cooked al dente, drain the excess water and set aside.
- In a separate microwave safe dish, melt your butter and cream until it starts to bubble.
- Remove from the microwave and stir together. Return to the microwave on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add the cheese and toss until fully mixed. Adjust the consistency with additional cream if necessary.
- Stir in the chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Toss the Fettucine with the Alfredo sauce, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional chopped parsley.
Tasty meals - in your kitchen or ours
We hope the recipes we’ve shared have inspired you to whip up these delicious meals during your weekday stay at Dolphin Square.
We are dedicated to ensuring our residents and tenants alike make the most out of their stay in our corporate apartments. Whether you feel like indulging in some home cooking, or enjoying our on-site bar and grill, we look forward to welcoming you to your future home away from home.
Why not book a viewing today?