January 13, 2011

The Can Can Sale: Easy Meals From Your Canned Goods Stock

Posted by

A friend of mine and I were recently talking about what draws us when we see photos of new homes.  We’re both city residents living in Baltimore row houses.  My family of four lives in a house that is over 100 years old, and while it has been renovated to update plumbing and add modern conveniences like central air, one thing it is definitely lacking is storage.  Some people drool over pools and fireplaces and kitchens with convection ovens.  My friend and I drool over closets.

 Since Shop-Rite’s 40th Annual Can Can Sale kicks off this month, the discussion turned to food storage. 

I can’t go too crazy when canned goods go on super sale, because I literally have no place to put it all.  She said she tends to not stock up on stuff anyway, because unless she buys an item with a specific purpose in mind, it ends up shoved to the back of the cabinet and forgotten, only to emerge ages later, dusty and possibly expired and ends up either tossed or donated to the food pantry.

When a box of ShopRite canned goods arrived earlier this week, my first thought was, “Wow!  This is amazing!”  My second was, “Oh my goodness, where am I going to put all this?” My third thought was about how the selection I received is a fantastic representation of what sort of canned goods to keep around at all times.  Things like coffee and bread crumbs are pretty easy to use up, but here are some ideas for the other items, so you never have to donate a dusty unused canned good again.


  • Dips—Rinse and drain and mash with a fork.  Mix with sour cream or yogurt or tahini and use as a dip, or add a squirt of lemon juice and use in place of fattening sandwich condiments.
  • Chili or other soups-Beans are a fantastic way to stretch a soup a little further, or a tasty and healthy star of chili.
  • Burritos-Fold rinsed and drained beans into a tortilla with leftover chicken or meat, cheese and sour cream for a quick meal.
  • In burgers or meatloaf-Try mixing mashed beans into your hamburgers or meatloaf as a filler.  This is a great way to add some fiber to your diet!


  • Smoothies–I’m not a breakfast person at all, but a smoothie sits better with me than eggs or fatty pastry.  Even better, they’re portable! 
  • Topper for cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese or ice cream.
  • Handheld pies-Mix canned fruit with sugar (if needed) and other spices, such as cinnamon.  Roll out refrigerated biscuits into circles or triangles, spoon fruit mixture onto dough and fold over to seal.  Brush dough with water and sprinkle with more sugar.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until pies are browned.
  • In stirfries or theme salads-One of my favorite stirfry recipes uses canned pineapple.  Try tossing mandarin oranges with lettuce, onions and almonds and dressing with vinegar and oil.
  • In marinades for pork or chicken–Canned fruit is great for marinating pork and chicken, or used as a sauce and topping.  Try this yummy recipe for Saucy Peach Chicken.
  • Use canned pumpkin or apples in place of oils in baked goods.


  • As a base for soups and stews, but also to cook potatoes or rice in for extra flavor. 
  • Use it to baste roasting turkeys or beef to keep meat moist.
  • Add to crockpots when slowcooking meats in place of water.  Not only does this keep your meat from drying out, but you can strain it and use it as a base for gravy.


  • In filling for pot pies.
  • To make soups and stews more hearty or to make small servings go further.
  • Green veggies, such as asparagus, are great mixed with cheese and sour cream or yogurt and used as a topper for chicken, or served with breadsticks as an appetizer. 


  • Probably one of the most versatile canned veggies.
  • Use to make fresh salsa or bruschetta.
  • Great in chilis or soups.
  • As pizza sauce.
  • On top of pasta with cheese for a quick meatless meal.

With my pile of canned goods, I threw together a delicious soup that  pleased my family on a chilly night.  This is just one variation on a meal made with very basic canned goods.  What are you waiting for?  Get to ShopRite and stock up!

Tasty and Flavorful Hamburger Soup

1/2 to 1 pound lean ground beef

1 stalk celery, chopped OR dash celery salt

1/2 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ShopRite olive oil

1 14-oz can ShopRite chicken broth

1 can ShopRite small new potatoes, drained

1 can ShopRite corn, drained

1 28-oz can ShopRite whole peeled tomatoes, undrained

1 handful stelline pasta (about 1/2 to  3/4 cup)

1  Tbsp sugar

shredded Parmesan cheese and croutons, optional

In a large stockpot, brown the ground beef, celery and onion until beef is cooked through and vegetables are soft.  Drain.  Add oil and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add broth, then fill the can twice with water and add to pot.  Add pasta, corn and potatoes.  Pour canned tomatoes into a bowl and mash coarsely with a fork or potato masher, then add to stock pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Simmer 10-15 minutes or until pasta is tender and vegetables are heated through.  Stir in sugar. 

Top with croutons and shredded cheese if desired.