28 Cheap and Easy Recipes From Canned Foods

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CAN DO

Today's canned products tend to be healthier than they were a generation ago. And while a diet relying wholly on canned and processed foods still isn't good, there's no denying cans' ability to help create quick, tasty, and often money-saving meals. With canned products, a little creativity can yield delicious and sometimes surprising results. From soup to nuts -- and every course in between -- here are ways to get out of the drive-through lane and back into the kitchen for National Canned Food Month and beyond.

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BLOODY MARY

The classic brunch tipple relies on canned tomato juice as its main ingredient. Step up to the bar with "The Only Bloody Mary Recipe You'll Ever Need."

Recipe: Eater

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SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

Save the trip to the diner. Substitute canned sweet potatoes for fresh and combine with healthy cottage cheese, oats, and maple syrup.

Recipe: Daily Burn

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MANGO-GINGER SMOOTHIE

Canned, diced mango, and canned evaporated milk -- plus ginger, honey, and ice -- and less than five minutes are all it takes to whip up this sweet, frothy treat from a program of the Can Manufacturers Institute. If a mango smoothie doesn't sound good, use canned peaches instead.

Recipe: Cans Get You Cooking

Photo credit: Anna Hoychuk/shutterstock

CRABMEAT BITES

Start any party off on a tasty note with an appetizer made from a small can of crabmeat combined with cheese spread and butter, spread onto English muffins, and baked. Cut into quarters for finger food.

Recipe: How Sweet Eats

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CANDIED ALMONDS

Everyone knows bars serve salty snacks to keep patrons ordering drinks. Since that's hardly the goal at a house party, mix it up with a sweet snack. Any canned nut can substitute for the suggested almonds.

Recipe: Allrecipes

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CARROT COCONUT SOUP

Winter afternoons call for steaming soup. Thus one uses canned carrots and canned coconut milk, further enlivened with butter, thyme, curry powder, onion, and garlic.

Recipe: The Hungry Housewife

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WINTER MINESTRONE

The hearty Winter Minestrone soup includes canned cannellini bean as well as bacon, carrots, onion, kale, and pasta. This 30-minute version can also be tailored to vegetarians.

Recipe: Stop & Shop's Recipe Center

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CHICKPEA-BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH PARMESAN AND WALNUTS

A 15-ounce can of chickpeas is the key to this earthy offering pitched as an alternative to those suddenly ubiquitous kale salads.

Recipe: Prevention

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SPICY TUNA ROLL BOWL

Simulate a sushi restaurant experience in your home. A quick-to-make version of this popular dish features solid white albacore in water, veggies, and more, all smothered in sauce with a mayo-sriracha base that promises plenty of kick.

Recipe: Show Me the Yummy

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GRILLED CHICKEN AND APPLE SANDWICH

For a tasty Saturday lunch -- or a hot snack for the kids after school -- try a creative sandwich. Expect a little crunch from that apple and another thrifty ingredient, celery.

Recipe: The Spruce

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EASY CHILI

Think canned beans and you think of homemade chili. Red kidney beans and diced tomatoes are key -- just load the ingredients into a slow cooker for a carefree bowl of spicy goodness, maybe substituting ground turkey for the ground beef.

Recipe: Southern Living

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GOLDEN SWEET CORNBREAD

For the cornbread novice -- or those with little time -- try a tasty recipe that takes just four ingredients (including two kinds of canned corn) and five minutes of prep. It can be baked into squares or muffins to serve alone or alongside chili or stews. Add cheese or bacon for a more complex taste.

Recipe: Del Monte

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TOMATO-CREAM SAUCE

Anyone can open a jar of prepared spaghetti sauce and call it a day. But take a can of Italian-style diced tomatoes and add spices, sugar, heavy cream, and butter and get credit for home cooking that dresses pasta in style.

Recipe: Allrecipes

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PUTTANESCA SAUCE

Pitted olives and canned plum tomatoes, capers, garlic and a few more easy (and inexpensive) ingredients make a classic Italian sauce.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

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PEA RISOTTO

A no-fuss recipe uses canned chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if serving vegetarians) and takes only 30 minutes in a microwave for a palate-pleasing risotto.

Recipe: Good Housekeeping

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MAPLE BARBECUE CANNED HAM

Turn a boring old canned ham into savory ham steaks. Maple syrup, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and barbecue seasoning turn the everyday into something pretty darned tasty.

Recipe: Plumrose USA

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CHICKEN BURRITO SKILLET

Enjoy one-pot-meal ease with a recipe that adds canned black beans and a diced tomato/green chilies combo to chicken, brown rice, and more for a zippy main course that can be on the table in a half-hour.

Recipe: ReadySetEat

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PORK CHOPS WITH MUSHROOMS

Canned mushroom soup and canned mushrooms add a double-dose of flavor to a quick skillet dish.

Recipe: The Spruce

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SIZZLING BURGERS WITH SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

Get ready to be the neighborhood barbecue star with juicy burgers that grill up with canned water chestnuts as a main ingredient.

Recipe: Ready Set Eat

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BAKED ARTICHOKE HEARTS

Stock up on canned artichoke hearts and anchovies next time they're on sale and have the key ingredients ready to make a casserole that's so quick and easy it was on TV's "30 Minute Meals."

Recipe: Rachael Ray

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ORANGE CRANBERRY SAUCE

Cranberry sauce isn't just for Thanksgiving. It's a year-round accent that, with an orange for juice, adds zest to pork and chicken.

Recipe: Down Home with the Neelys

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CREAMED SPINACH

Using three ingredients and five minutes of prep, this casserole-style side dish could not be easier to make. It's just canned spinach, sour cream, and fried onions -- which also come in a can -- and is called "The Solution to Canned Spinach."

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

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BRILLIANT POTATOES WITH PAPRIKA AND CARMELIZED ONIONS

Canned whole new potatoes are joined by Vidalia onions, butter, and plenty of spices in a dish that takes just 10 minutes to prep, then an hour in the oven.

Recipe: Allrecipes

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CHERRY CLAFOUTI

Add a French accent to a sweet with drained, canned Bing cherries -- though this classic French dessert is also often served for breakfast.

Recipe: What’s Cooking America

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JIM'S PINEAPPLE CHEESE PIE

Canned crushed pineapple is the signature flavor in an easy, tasty no-bake fluffy delight. With a taste like pineapple cheesecake, it might be served mousse-style by skipping the ready-made pie shell.

Recipe: Allrecipes

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AMBROSIA FRUIT SALAD

A tour-de-force of canned fruits: Canned fruit cocktail, Mandarin oranges, and pineapple chunks go with shredded coconut, whipped cream, and marshmallows to be combined in a bowl and refrigerated.

Recipe: Allrecipes

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PEACH COBBLER

Trisha Yearwood may be quite the country singer, but she's also made a name for herself on the culinary front. This dessert of hers uses two cans of sliced peaches in syrup as its starting point. Yearwood suggests serving it warm, with fresh whipped cream.

Recipe: Food Network

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COCOA PUMPKIN BROWNIES

Canned pumpkin adds an unexpected dash of flavor and nutrition to brownies, substituting for half the butter in a recipe that takes just 15 minutes to prep and 16 minutes to cook.

Recipe: Nestle