As the last few weeks of the semester kick into high gear, finals and projects are on the brain, not to mention the stress of packing up everything into boxes and moving out for the summer.

With only a month left until finals week, to-do lists are continually growing and stress levels are high. Gourmet meals have likely fallen to the wayside, and pantries that didn’t seem so full in February are suddenly bursting at the seams.

Getting rid of the bags of chips, packages of candy bars and anything with an expiration date in the next few months is easy. Bulk items with long shelf lives and seemingly endless quantities, however, can be trickier. Like those three pound bags of rice at Costco that you just had to have.

Don’t deny it; we’re all guilty.

Some of the worst offenders are dry grains, most notably cereal, oats and rice. Large bags of nuts are also likely to be hiding in a dark corner somewhere, along with the ever-popular peanut butter, copious boxes of pasta and maybe a jug of maple syrup.


Photo by Ashley Seruya

Any of this sound familiar?

To get rid of some of these pantry items in a delicious pinch, here are some recipe ideas that are both easy and delicious.


Photo by Ashley Seruya

Kill a few birds with one stone and knock out your loose oats (likely bought on your quest to make healthy breakfast, only to have been forgotten for a few extra minutes on the pillow), syrup and nut butter in the same stroke with overnight oatmeal.

Rather than spend the time in the morning cooking your oats on the stove, stick them in tupperware overnight with some milk (likely to be a fridge staple), sweetener and a special topping or two. To get the proper consistency, combine an equal ratio of oats to milk, and add as much sweetener as you like.


Photo by Ashley Seruya

Personally, my choice is agave syrup and I add 1 tablespoon. Give it a big shake, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and in the morning top with a dollop of your nut butter of choice. Have it for a few mornings in a row, and get rid of all those ingredients in no time.

Moving onto some other staples, we have the pasta debacle.

My own pantry houses about four boxes of pasta at the moment, and a giant bag of walnuts. How to put the two together? Make pasta with pesto sauce, of course. Though classic versions uses pine nuts, give the recipe a twist by swapping them out for whatever nut you happen to have lying around. Check out a simple recipe here for countless nights of carb heaven.

And rice. Toss together those infamous bags of rice with whatever fresh or frozen veggies are hiding in the fridge and freezer and eggs with some soy sauce (another pantry staple). Wallah, homemade Chinese takeout. Check out a recipe here.

Try out some of these recipes, and you’ll use up those bulk items in no time.