Cooking with Canned Food: 4 Easy Recipes to Try at Home

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Canned foods are highly underrated. They truly deserve more attention and some reward for just being an option to create delicious meals. Curries can be made from tinned sardines, pasta bakes can be whipped up using tinned tuna, hummus is made from canned chickpeas, delicious pasta sauces or soups can be cooked using canned tomatoes – the list goes on!

I’ve made a pineapple upside down cake using tinned pineapple, which made me very happy. Have a look at your pantry and see if you can whip up any of the following meals!

1. Tuna Cutlets

There was a time during 2020 when we were in lockdown mode. I just couldn’t find a tin of tuna at my usual grocer. “Where has all the tuna gone?” I wondered, while adjusting to wearing a mask and avoiding other people.

The reason I wanted those tins was because they are so versatile. I could whip up a whole pasta meal with it, quick tuna sandwiches with melted cheese on top and fried rice, to name but a few dishes! 

Here, I’ve chosen to share my recipe for Tuna Cutlets with you. It is highly kid-friendly, but go ahead and throw in some diced chilli, if you wish. These are great to prepare as snacks (loaded with potatoes) or as part of our favourite combo – with some dhall and rice!

[In the recipe above, I shallow fry the cutlets; however, you may also bake them in the oven or air fry them. Best to Google and find out best temperatures and timing that suit your appliances]. 

2. Sardine Puffs

When I first bought frozen puff pastry sheets many years back and saw how gloriously they puffed up to a crisp golden brown in the oven, all my delicious, flaky dreams came true. These puffs are great for tea time, with a hot cup of coffee. 

Frozen puff pastry sheets are easily available in the frozen section of most supermarkets. Trust me, you will be amazed at how they puff up into a light, buttery, flaky pastry in a matter of minutes! Try this simple sardine recipe using some pantry staples: 

3. Mashed Baked Beans on Toast

My kids are not crazy over baked beans. I serve this to them sometimes for weekend breakfast, straight from the can. However, I find they prefer this version much more and I hope you give this a try with your kids for a quick breakfast or snack option:

4. Tuna Pasta Bake

Here’s another option with tuna, if you’re in the mood to try:

a) In an ovenproof dish, place 250g cooked pasta.

b) Flake 2 tins of drained tuna and mix with pasta and a small grated onion. Add in 1 tablespoon dried herbs of your choice and 100g cheddar cheese.

c) In a jug, crack in one egg, 200ml whipping cream and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Pour this onto the pasta and mix. Add greens like fresh spinach if using. Sprinkle some cheese on top. 

d) Pop into a preheated oven for 15 mins or until the cheese is golden and bubbling!

So the next time you’re trying to whip up something for the family, try looking into the pantry first for inspiration. If you’re searching for some breakfast ideas, get some inspiration here. And if you’re intentional about your kids helping in the kitchen, these recipes are great to start with – read more tips here.

Good luck, #makchicmumsquad!


By Hemala Devaraj

Hema loves spending time in the kitchen trying out new recipes. She also shares simple and easy recipes which have worked for her at her website, The Sudden Cook. Together with her hubby, she is parenting twins and living in beautiful chaos every day.

From our team of purposeful, multi-faceted mummies. For editorial or general enquiries, email to us at hello@makchic.com.