Transform shelf-stable wheat foods into delicious meals and snacks

Life has changed. We are all living in ‘quarantine mode.’ Limited to the food supply we have on hand, we are challenged to make groceries last for a week or more at a time. Wheat ingredients and wheat-based foods are gaining attention because most are pantry shelf-stable making them a reliable “go-to” food option during the 2020 pandemic quarantine.

Whether you’re looking for a mealtime solution or an easy snack, let the wheat foods already on your pantry shelf provide inspiration. From boxed cereals, tortillas, packaged crackers and cookies, to pasta, even cake mixes already in your cupboard; these can all be transformed with simple ingredients into tasty quick-scratch creations.

Here are a few innovative ideas for you to bite-on:


Use this Granola recipe as a guide or personalize it to your own liking by substituting ingredients on you already have such as flax meal, sliced almonds, and wheat bran flakes cereal.

Cereal muffins

Try this Cereal Muffins recipe or use a raisin bran, shredded wheat, or hot wheat cereal. Visit cereal brand websites for a variety of recipe options.


Make your own with this Homemade Flour Tortilla recipe. Turn tortillas into Layered Enchilada Casserole with ground beef, baked tortilla chips, or invent flavorful quesadilla combinations; such as Fiesta-style with canned chicken, canned tomatoes and green chilies, and shredded cheese; Breakfast-style with eggs, ham and American cheese slices; BBQ-style with pulled pork, pickle relish, and BBQ sauce. Quesadillas come together quickly when warm fillings are wedged inside tortillas then cooked and flipped in a lightly greased skillet.

Snack mixes

This is a great way to use up already opened boxes of crackers, cereal, pretzels, nuts, bite-size chocolate candies, and dried fruit. Make them sweet or savory depending on what you have on-hand. Here is a sweet Holiday Crunch recipe. For savory, whisk together melted butter, a small amount of garlic powder and grated Parmesan cheese. For more flavor, add a teaspoon of Italian blend seasoning or other dried herbs and spices such as parsley, dill or smoked paprika. Toss with crackers-cereal-pretzel-nut mixture and bake at 250°F for 30 minutes, stirring gently every 10 minutes.

Cracker topping

Pulse ritz-style crackers with a small amount of butter in a food processor and sprinkle on top of casseroles just before baking to add a rich, crispy topping.


Crushed vanilla wafer cookies or graham crackers make delicious pie crusts. Graham crackers are the base for yummy desserts such as chocolate peanut butter bars, chocolate éclair dessert and addictive Peanut Brittle Grahams.


The possibilities are endless. Try Spaghetti Pizza for a fun way to use pasta. Cooked pasta pairs nicely with any sautéed chopped veggies (fresh or frozen). To add some protein, cook chopped bacon or smoked sausage with the veggies. Simply drizzle with olive oil, season with a spice blend and/or with black pepper.

Cake mixes

An economic staple for quick-scratch baking! Turn cake mixes into easy cookies; use a standard-size cake mix + ½ cup oil + 2 eggs. Add up to 1 cup of mix-ins, such as sprinkles, chocolate chips, bite-size chocolate candies or simply drop dough using an ice-cream scoop into confectioners’ sugar and roll to cover. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes. Raise the bar on basic cupcakes by adding a special filling. Check out Strawberry Cream Chocolate Cupcakes.

No-bake cookies

Stir together a bag of chow mein noodles with melted butterscotch chips and peanut butter to make quick Haystack cookies or use bite-size shredded wheat cereal as a substitute in Scotcheroo cookies.

Wheat foods are versatile and economical. They are a comfort food. It’s likely you have at least some of them already in your pantry. Get creative and enjoy.

by Julene DeRouchey, Kansas Wheat Nutrition Educator Assistant