When I have a little time on my hands I organize and clean out our pantry.
Spring cleaning and Fall stock-up are my 2 big pantry cleanout times.
In the spring, I lighten the number of stored foods, because we are barely home.
Conversely in the Fall, I prep for baking season, so there are ingredients wall-to-wall.
Today, cleaning out my pantry is part of my routine as I am looking for a lost can of an ingredient I need for a different recipe and I KNOW It is in here.
Cleaning out my pantry serves as inspiration for meals and creative recipes.
Eye-spying pasta, and packets of other ingredients, I am stirred up to create a pantry cleanout recipe.
I am about to unveil my cheddar ranch pasta which is actually a very popular pantry cleanout recipe in ur home.
Being honest, I think my kid’s plant packages of my secret cheddar sauce that makes this meal outstanding.
While they will neither confirm nor deny this notion, I’d lay odds I’m right!
You figured out that this pasta dish is fantastic and super easy to create, right?
Cheddar Ranch Pasta uses minimal ingredients and proffers a big taste!
Do I have to Use What You Used For Cheddar Ranch Pasta?
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The short answer is NO, you do not have to use exactly what I used.
However, the taste may be vastly different.
Since you have never sampled this meal, whatever you use, makes it your very own version of my recipe!
Trust me, yours will taste great!
Let the Pantry Purging Begin!
Here’s the thing, the products I am about to share with you are items you SHOULD have in your pantry.
I consider each item the ‘catch-all’ when it comes to needing a boost of flavor or a change in texture in my recipes.
One thing you need to understand is that when you clean out your pantry it is like you are consuming a FREE MEAL.
You do not need the same brand as I have, just some form of it.
We are cleaning pantry stock out, not buying more.
Keep these items in mind for your next stock up sopping trip and you could then have the exact ingredients if you so desire!
There’s no grocery trip involved and you are using up ingredients that may otherwise go to waste.
The Long Answer for Cheddar Ranch Pasta then goes like this!
Having a well-stocked pantry is not necessarily about big bulky items, rather items that can balance out a recipe.
For instance, I have talked about Xanthan Gum endlessly in my homemade BBQ post (which I need to publish, lol).
It’s a miracle product that should be in your pantry.
Another item, you want to have inside your pantry shelves are powdered cheese mixes.
They are versatile, not bulky and have a great shelf life!
Use this in one recipe and you will be creating others with the same powdered cheese mix, it’s that good!
As an example and one element in my recipe is a packet of Cheddar cheese powdered mix is a great item to stock.
TIP: For All Pantry Stocking
You can find a bunch of different clear recipe boxes here.
However, make certain that the recipe box is clear so you can see that it contains packets of dry mixes.
Try to put them in alphabetical order if that does not stress you out too terribly and then you will know what you have in dry mix packets.
Back to the Cheddar Ranch Pasta Recipe
As I mentioned, a staple you always should stock if a cheddar cheese powdered mix.
It’s versatile and can be used as a cheddar cheese for pasta or atop popcorn
Use this on baked potatoes, veggies, or anywhere you want an incredible zip of cheese flavor.
The brand I keep on hand at all times is Riega White Cheddar Cheese Sauce.
I buy it by the dozen and I use it mainly from September through April.
If you opened a mac and cheese package and used the noodles for soup in a pinch, then you have this packet available.
Some people just stock dry cheddar cheese powder as a staple, you should too!
In the end, any cheddar cheese powder you have will do just fine!
Remember we are cleaning out the pantry, not buying stuff!
Seasoning In A Packet For A Boost Of Flavor
Another item I purchase by the dozen is Good Seasons Salad Garlic and Herb Dressing.
Sometimes I use this useful packet to actually create the dressing.
In that dressing, I might marinate meat or veggies.
However, other times, I use the garlic and herb dressing to enhance butter mixed with onions and garlic.
Really, you have to experience this flavor!
Moreover, if you have Italian flavor dressing, try that too, you really can’t go wrong!
Pasta In the Pantry & The Cheddar Ranch Pasta Recipe
While I won’t steer you to my favorite pasta brand, I will tell you any pasta will work.
If you have a few boxes of open pasta that are close in size, like a mostaccioli and a penne, you can mix them.
Therefore, only mix pasta that is pretty close in size due to cooking times.
We had a box of linguine begging to be used.
I had originally purchased it for a small lobster dinner gathering that never came to fruition.
Linguine presents so well in this dish and the sauce will cling!
Keep in mind that any pasta, any brand, any cut, it all works, keep scrounging for the ingredients, you got this!
Other oddities in the pantry cleanout that you will use.
Behold, as that last onion and few cloves of garlic are about to enhance and kick up the flavor of this dish.
Now it is time to get busy taking the skin off the garlic and slicing it up.
Chop up that onion.
Last, are bacon crumbles.
Ultimately, this is one item most have in their pantry and one that often goes to waste!
Bacon crumbles can be bits, pieces, dry, moist, whatever you have.
Our bacon pieces were actually unopened in a shelf-stable bag until I opened them for the recipe.
I can’t believe my boys had not found the bacon crumbles earlier and used them up for baked potatoes or by the handful or atop pizza.
It would seem that boys seem to eat anything they can find!
Finally, for the last ingredient, it’s either in the pantry unused or it’s in the refrigerator 1/2 used and left to die.
Moreover, what I’ve come to learn is that ranch dressing is either over-used or under-used.
Maybe you bought it for a recipe and never used it, then it’s in the pantry.
Or perhaps the kids opened it and decided it was not the right brand and left the rest to go bad in the fridge.
Either way, I’m sure you have this in your home!
Additionally, you might want to check your freezer for a bag of peas (totally optional, but it adds another texture and a veggie!)
The recipe is really that easy.
Here’s the How To Make Cheddar Ranch Pasta an Easy Pantry Cleanout Recipe
- A pound of pasta (whatever is in your pantry: penne, ziti, rigatoni, linguine, etc) boiled and drained.
- 1/2 C of Butter (sorry not a pantry item)
- 2 cloves of garlic (sliced)
- 1/2 Large Onion (yellow, white, whatever you have)
- A packet of cheddar Cheese powder mix (from Mac and cheese)
- 1 Good Season Garlic and Herb Salad Dressing Seasoning
- 1/4 C Water
- 1/4 C Ranch Dressing
- 4-5 Tablespoons of Bacon Crumbles
- Optional 1/4 C Cooked Peas (if you have some left in the freezer)
Prepare pasta according to directions.
In a 3 or 4-quart saucepan, place butter, garlic, and onion.
Cover, and allow butter to melt while the garlic and onion will soften and enhance the flavor.
Once the butter melts, add in water.
Next, add in garlic and herb seasoning mix.
Mix well. Continue to stir on medium-low heat.
Add Cheddar cheese mixture and stir well.
Turn off heat and allow ingredients to combine and sit for about 2 minutes.
You will notice it thickens a bit.
By this time, the pasta should be cooked.
Drain, and place in large serving bowl.
Add the ranch dressing to the pasta.
Then add in the stovetop cheese garlic herb blend.
Top with bacon crumbles.
Optional (add cooked Peas)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 637mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g