Cooking From Your Pantry With Chef Donal Skehan


We are trying really hard to go to the grocery store as little as possible right now. That means we are working with what we got…kind of intimidating but also a good challenge. We shouldn’t be wasting what we have. This whole situation has put a lot in perspective for me, and I want to make changes now that will stick far after this is over. I was recently connected with Chef Donal Skehan and thought it would be great if he provided some quick tips and tricks for cooking from your pantry!

Donal Skehan has been cooking since age four when he flipped his first pancake! Inspired by a family of passionate foodies, cooking and eating hearty home cooked food has always been a way of life. Donal is the author of seven cookbooks; Fresh was named as one of Good Food magazine’s Top 10 cookbooks of the year. His new cookbook Super Food in Minutes, available on April 7th, is all about real, fast and delicious family food that just so happens to be good for you! Donal is the host of Saturday Kitchen, star of cookery shows on RTE and The Food Network, and has his own YouTube channel with over 880k subscribers. Donal was born and raised in Dublin and is currently living in LA.

Below you will find some great tips + recipes you can make from ingredients you may already have!




Tip and Tricks For Cooking From Your Pantry by Donal Skehan

Often pantry items can get lost and forgotten in a back corner or stacked on top of other items. A good tip is to take out each item one shelf at a time and lay them on your counter. You might end up finding that can of kidney beans or chickpeas you bought a year ago, or that package of rice noodles and that jar of sundried tomato pesto that’s collecting dust in the back. Let your imagination flourish and group items you find to get ideas on what you can make!

For a bit of fun with your kids, create a game and try to make a meal from fridge leftovers and what you have on hand!

Brazilian Brigadeiro

Some recipes only require a few ingredients that you probably have in your cupboards already, like my Brazilian Brigadeiro sweets! They are only 3 ingredients: condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter.

Brigadeiro are a Brazilian chocolate truffle, also known as negrinhos in some southern parts of Brazil. These little bites of heaven not only soothe all chocolate cravings but leave your house smelling bonkers delicious. They can be made in advance which makes them a real winner in my eyes. Don’t be afraid to get creative and roll them in whatever coatings you like, pistachios or coconut would work great here too! 30 minutes. Serves 10.


  • 1 x 397g tin condensed milk
  • 25g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 25g butter
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder


  • Add the condensed milk, cocoa and butter to a medium heavy based saucepan, bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and shiny and starts to pull away from the bottom and side of the saucepan when pan is tilted. Pour mixture into a wide, shallow dish (this will allow it to cool faster) and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Add the icing sugar to a small wide dish and add the the cocoa powder and espresso together in another small flat dish. Once the truffle mixture has chilled, use a melon baller to scoop out the truffles to give you 20 in total. Shape in your hands and as you go toss half through the icing sugar to coat and the other half into the cocoa espresso coating.
  • Store in a container with a tightly fitted lid, at room temperature up to 2 days or in the refrigerator up to 1 week
Cripsy Chicken with Chickpea Stew

Use that can of chickpeas, sundried tomato pesto, chicken stock & frozen chicken to make a 5-ingredients chicken dinner. You can use the packet of rice noodles, soy sauce and some szechuan pepper to make szechuan noodles. You might be surprised to find how much you actually have stored in your pantry.

Take the time to crisp these chicken thighs, I can assure you the extra effort will be worth it. The flavours of the chickpea stew work so well with the crispiness of the chicken skin. Heaven. Red pesto is a flavor powerhouse which brings this dish together, but you can also switch this for green pesto if preferred. 15 mins. Serves 4.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 8 oz chicken stock
  • 1 x 14 oz tin chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp sun dried tomato pesto
  • 3.5 oz baby spinach
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

You’ll need a large frying pan


  • Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Sprinkle the skin of the chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, skin side down. Cook 8-10 minutes or until skin is crispy, remove any excess fat. Turn the chicken thighs and add the stock, chickpeas, pesto and stir together. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the chicken has cooked.
  • Once the sauce has slightly reduced season to taste and stir through the spinach and serve

The instant in the title is no exaggeration. This sorbet can be made with minimum effort and serious results. Serve it as a light and refreshing dessert. Cook time 10 min + freezing. Serves 4.


  • 3 large mangoes
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes

What you’ll need

  • Tray
  • Food Processor
  • Individual serving glasses


  • Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh into chunks. Cut the banana into chunks and spread out on a tray. Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.
  • Place the frozen mango and banana into a food processor with the lime zest and juice. Blitz on high until the mixture is the consistency of a thick sorbet (you can add a couple of tablespoons of ice-cold water if the consistency looks too thick).
  • Transfer to individual serving glasses and eat straight away.
One Pan Chicken Fajitas

This is a great family recipe, perfect for getting the kids involved at dinner and building their own fajita at the table. I love that everyone can dig in and help themselves, it makes a regular mid week dinner a proper family event. You can of course make your own fajita mix here too. Cook time 35 mins. Serves 4.


  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 chicken fillets, thinly sliced
  • 2 red onions, sliced into wedges
  • 3 peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp fajita seasoning
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional extras:
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • Hot sauce
    • Handful coriander leaves
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges

What you’ll need:

  • Large baking tray
  • Griddle pan


  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  • Place the chicken on a large baking tray along with the onion and peppers, add three tablespoons of the oil and fajita seasoning and toss until evenly coated. Place in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and veggies are golden. Tossing halfway through so that everything is evenly cooked.
  • To warm the tortillas place a dry griddle pan over a high heat. When the tray of chicken is almost cooked, brush the tortillas with the remaining tablespoon of oil. One at a time, toast for 30 seconds either side, then divide between serving plates. Serve the tray to the table alongside the warmed tortillas, and the extra bits and pieces if you like.
Harissa Chicken with Potatoes, Tomatoes & Thyme

This one tray wonder is just what you need after a busy days work. Something you can bring to the table in under an hour, with minimal effort and that packs a punch, I’m all about! Harissa is a North African spice paste which can be found in most supermarkets now. Cook time 50mins. Serves 4.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 lb 2oz baby potatoes, sliced in half lengthways
  • 1 lb 2 oz plum cherry tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 6 tbsp harissa paste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

You’ll need a large roasting tray.


  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  • Place the chicken and baby potatoes in a large roasting tray along with the tomatoes and thyme, drizzle all over with olive oil and harissa paste and toss it all together so everything is evenly coated.
  • Place in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes. Season and then serve the tray direct to the table or onto individual plates.


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