The Pantry Kitchen’s ‘Weeknight Challenge’ yields stuffed squash recipes and many unexpected gems

The goal with the first challenge of Season 2 of the Pantry Kitchen Challenge was to get everyone in an autumnal mood, and to introduce the new “wild card” rule designed to throw a different wrinkle into each round. Wellll …. perhaps we should have been more specific?

Round 1 was “The Weeknight Challenge” with a 30-minute prep time limit, and squash, apples, nutmeg and soda as the ingredients. We didn’t foresee that folks would interpret the 30-minute limit in two different ways: 30 minutes to prep the dish and get it ready for cooking or 30 minutes from prep to plating.


So to be fair, we selected the top three finishers in both categories. (And props to those of you who saw “30-minute prep” and decided this meant 30 minutes total!) You hustled and came up with some pretty impressive stuff. This challenge garnered 45 entries! Many of you saw the ingredients list and thought stuffed squash or butternut squash soup. So bonus points for those who went above and beyond those two staples.

In the “30-minutes from prep to plating” category, Paul Shapiro wins for butternutchos, turning butternut squash into tortilla chips for a unique plate of nachos. Runners-up: Darci Rogojin, whose autumn doughnut holes with nutmeg cream soda icing looked delectable, and Beth Cavalli, who combined Western ingredients with Mexican and Asian flavors — tamarind soda! — to create a tamarind stir-fry!

In the “30-minutes prep, then cook to your heart’s content” category, the mother-daughter tandem of Joan and Keri Segna wowed us with this gorgeous stuffed pumpkin dinner called Filled with Goodness. Runners-up: Thomas Finnegan transformed the ingredients into an interesting chicken curry with squash and apples, while Jeff Abrams also stuffed a pumpkin in spectacular fashion to produce pumpkin and apple English pudding with root beer glaze.

Here are the top 12 submissions! Thanks for playing. See below for details on Round 2.

Season 2 Round 2 “The Entreé Challenge”



  • You have to use all four ingredients, but you can use as many additional ingredients as you desire. 
  • Wild card rule for Round 2: You have to make an entrée. Defined as: more substantial than appetizers. You cannot make dessert for this round. Sorry dessert lovers!
  • Deadline: Create a dish, tell us how successful you were and email photos (JPG files!), your recipe and a description of your dish to food editor Stefanie Loh ([email protected]) by Friday, Oct. 16. 
  • Judging will be based on creativity, how well you incorporated the four ingredients, presentation and adherence to the wild card rule. We’ll name the top three entries and select several of the most interesting submissions to be published in a future edition of The Mix.

Pantry Kitchen Challenge Season 2 Round 1 Best Reader Submissions

*To download a PDF of recipes from this round, click here.

Butternuchos (30 minutes flat)

Paul Shapiro turned slices of butternut squash into tortilla chips for this plate of “butternuchos.”  (Courtesy of Paul Shapiro)
Paul Shapiro turned slices of butternut squash into tortilla chips for this plate of “butternuchos.” (Courtesy of Paul Shapiro)


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Kristin Cavallari’s New Kitchen Pantry Is Every Type-A Organizer’s Dream Come True

From Delish

Kristin Cavallari gave us a tour of her brand new home kitchen and her pantry, and the items she keeps around are perfect for cooking, baking, and snacking. The Very Cavallari star has plans to change some things around in her new space since she just moved in about three months ago, but so far everything looks like an absolute dream.

The main alteration Kristin hopes to make for her kitchen is turning the stovetop into a full stove range so she can have another oven in her space. She cooks every day, so the extra space would be helpful when she prepares meals. Kristin also makes it a point to leave some things out and about her space.

“I love when kitchens look lived in because that’s real life so I always kind of have stuff out,” she said as she showed off the countertop next to the stove. This is where she keeps olive oil, coconut oil, pink Himalayan salt, truffle salt, a copper tea kettle, and a her Dutch oven.

Her pantry is one of her favorite spots, though, and there’s even a ladder so she can reach the top of her shelves for whatever she needs. There’s a sweetener section where she keeps everything from maple syrup to real honeycomb (the latter of which she likes to add to charcuterie boards). Right beside that, Kristin keeps her vitamins and minerals, chickpea and buckwheat pasta, and black rice.

Things you’ll never find in her pantry include white salt, white sugar, and white flour Instead, she’ll cook with substitutes like oat or coconut flour and natural sweeteners. One of her favorite alternatives is the Birch Benders paleo banana pancakes. Kristin likes to cook with these sorts of ingredients and keeps a lot of her meals gluten-free, and thankfully she’s sharing some of her gluten-free comfort food recipes in her recently released cookbook True Comfort.

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Home Improvement: Simple ways to improve a kitchen pantry – Salisbury Post

Metro Creative

People have been spending more time at home in 2020 than in years past, and certain projects around the house have become a priority. One home improvement idea that serves the double benefit of creating organization and making cooking at home more efficient is to reimagine the kitchen pantry. A pantry is a room or closet where food, beverages and linens or dishes are stored. Pantries can be highly useful spaces that provide ancillary storage in kitchens. Many modern homes are equipped with pantries, but older homes may require some modification to create more useful pantries. Whether starting from scratch or modifying an existing pantry, these tips can help projects go more smoothly.

• Maximize vertical storage. Utilizing vertical areas can help increase storage capacity. Build in extra nooks by investing in undershelf storage baskets. These baskets can instantly create designated areas for different types of ingredients. Homeowners also can look for ways to use the inside of cabinet doors or add extra shelves on walls or in eaves.

• Consider your needs. Figure out which items you would like to store in the pantry and then shop for corresponding storage systems. For example, storage solutions may feature wine bottle racks, baskets for potatoes and other produce, shelving for small appliances, and even pull out racks for baking pans or cutting boards.

• Use clear storage. Put ingredients in clear, airtight containers of similar dimensions so that you can easily find items you need. Transfer bulky items, like cereals and baking supplies, to storage containers for uniformity.

• Store bulk items elsewhere. Bulk shopping can be cost-efficient, but bulk items can quickly eat up real estate in the pantry. Designate another area for non-perishable bulk products, like paper goods or canned items, such as in a garage or utility room.

• Pull out drawers are convenient. Pull-out drawers can reduce the need to seek and reach for items. These drawers conveniently roll out so items in the back can be accessed without disturbing foods in the front. Drawers can be custom built for any pantry space.

• Make it accessible. Think about who will be taking items from the pantry. Put children’s snacks on the bottom pantry shelf where they can reach them, and then organize other shelves for adults in the home. A pantry remodel can add valuable storage space and make one of the busiest rooms in the house operate more efficiently.

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The Pantry Kitchen Challenge is back! Take part in Round 1 of our fall season with these 4 ingredients

Stefanie Loh

We’re back! The beginning of fall brings a new season of The Seattle Times Pantry Kitchen Challenge — with a new twist!

The inaugural season of the challenge went five rounds and culminated in a champions round in July that Alea Abrams won with her shrimp and grits recipe.

Now, we’re starting over in Season 2 and hoping to inspire everyone to get creative with fall ingredients.

We’ll go another five rounds and the top three finishers in each round will be invited to participate in the champions round sometime in December. The winner of the champions round will receive a $50 gift card to a grocery store of their choice!

Rules are basically the same, with one new caveat, in the interest of keeping things fresh — think about all the different iterations of the long-lasting TV show “Survivor”! — we’ll add a new “wild card” rule to each round. This can be anything from a prep time limit, to a course (say: “dessert” or “entrees”), a dietary restriction (“vegan” or “gluten-free”) or something else our judges manage to concoct.

So, definitely read the rules before submitting.

And here we go!

The four ingredients for Round 1 (“The Weeknight Challenge”) of the fall season are:

  • Apples
  • Squash (of your choosing)
  • Soda
  • Nutmeg


  • You have to use all four ingredients, but you can use as many additional ingredients as you desire.
  • Wild card rule for Round 1: The prep time for your dish of choice cannot exceed 30 minutes!
  • Deadline: Create a dish, tell us how successful you were and email photos (JPG files preferred!), your recipe and a description of your dish to food editor Stefanie Loh ([email protected]) by Friday, Oct. 2.
  • Judging will be based on creativity, how well you incorporated the four ingredients, presentation and adherence to the wild card rule. We’ll name the top three and select several of the most interesting submissions to be published in a future edition of The Mix.

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This Popular Pantry Storage Set Is the $40 Trick To Organizing Your Kitchen, Once and For All

It doesn’t have to be spring cleaning season for us to get the itch to declutter, organize, and deep-clean any and everything that comes into our path, especially places that tend to get a little more lax as time goes on, like the kitchen. Specifically, the pantry. Why? Because you can hide a mess in the pantry with a quick close of the door. No one’s the wiser and those loose Cheerios scattered everywhere can keep on partying. 

a desktop computer sitting on top of a desk: Amazon

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But in a cleaning spree, even the pantry isn’t safe. First, throwing away expired or stale food products can offer a breath of fresh air. Once that’s all squared away, you can start thinking about how your family uses the pantry, which helps determine the best way to organize it. Turns out, there are almost zero scenarios that a set of pantry organizers won’t make grabbing what you need easier and your pantry more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. For that, one of Amazon’s top-selling pantry storage sets is just what Marie Kondo ordered. 

a group of items on display: Amazon

© Provided by Southern Living

The Chef’s Path Airtight Food Storage Container Set comes equipped with seven containers that vary in size: large, medium, small, and mini. The set is made from clear BPA-free plastic and comes with reusable chalkboard labels, which means you can always see and read what’s inside. The different-sized containers can be easily stacked and organized to fit any pantry, and many shoppers seem to use them mainly to store items like cereal, pasta, beans, rice, cookies, or basically any dry goods product. Some even mention that the mini containers make the cutest candy holders lined on the kitchen counter. The brand also claims that the no-slip, anti-breakage lids make this set compatible for holding liquids like soup, juice, and more in the refrigerator, as well. 

a desktop computer sitting on top of a desk: It has over 6,000 reviews on Amazon.

© Amazon
It has over 6,000 reviews on Amazon.

This stackable pantry organizer set can maximize your storage space and minimize kitchen clutter in one fell swoop, with some shoppers even purchasing an additional set of the brand’s popular extra large containers. If you’re looking to bring order to your kitchen, this set could prove a helpful ally. Shop the Chef’s Path Container Set: $39.97;

Get those Cheerios in line, once and for all. We can’t help but think that Marie Kondo would approve. 

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