Ever get to the point where payday is far off and you don't really have anything left in the fridge? You find yourself looking at the random items in the back of the pantry trying to figure out how to make a meal for dinner. I happens to everyone and you CAN make do with what you have in your pantry. If you are low on food and not getting paid soon get help when you run out of food. Get creative and try to make the meal fun. My Fridge Food is a great website that allows you to list things you have on hand and it will pull up recipes using what you have on hand. You instantly find great ideas to make your job so much easier. Aim to get as balanced of a meal as you can. While filling tummies is your top priority you still need to consider health while building your meal. Look to combine protein, fiber, and healthy fats together for a balanced meal that can keep your family strong and healthy. Canned meats and beans make for good proteins. Potatoes, rice, and pasta are staples nearly any pantry will have on hand. Combine things to create a filling meal. If you do not have enough of something get brave and mix similar things together like potatoes and rice to make a casserole. You can do the same with meats, gravy, stuffing flavors, nearly any type of food can be blended together to go further. Make a bland meal flavorful. Grab your spices and give your creation amazing flavor. Herbs are a staple both store-bought and fresh from our garden. I can use them to make anything shine with flavor. I can make the kids happy by cooking up pasta, adding in butter and plenty of herbs and spices with whatever meat I find. Not only do they enjoy this but, they even ask for it. When in doubt I pull out the classic and foolproof garlic, basil, and oregano combination. Surve bread with your meal to make it more filling. This filling element can be made from any baking mix in your pantry. I have made biscuits like pancakes before. You can mix 2 cups of flour, a bit of salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and enough milk or water to make a thick batter. Add in your favorite herbs for a bit of flavor and cook like a pancake. Serve with butter as a great side for any meal. Have yeast in your pantry? Try your hand at making homemade bread. Bulk it up with grains My husband loves Remon Noodles. While I am not a fan I have been known to pull them out, and toss in veggies and leftover or canned meat to create a meal when in a pinch. While high in fat and salt they are not a go-to but they can be a lifesaver when life happens and the occasional pack is not really a big deal. We often add pasta or rice to things like soup and chili to help bulk up the meal for a more filling option that helps to save money on food. You can even serve these on the side with butter and salt for a simple filling side dish. Have cheese in the house? Cheese makes for a whole new set of possibilities. Nearly anything can become a great cheesy flavor-filled casserole with a bit of cheese, sauce or melting cheese. I like to keep Velveeta-style cheese from Aldi in the pantry because you never know when you will need cheese. Build your pantry up for next time with these great tips on how to build a stockpile without a lot of money. Life is short and you don't need the stress of trying to balance meals out from very little selection.