Small pantries need to be more organized than larger ones. I use stackable plastic bins to make the most of the top of my pantry. I'm only 5 feet tall so it's especially hard to make use of high spaces but I can pull these bins down without even using a chair. (remarkable, I know)
I also don't use a lot of processed foods which helps keep my pantry staples to a minimum. I have an exorbitant number of vinegar bottles, several different kinds of oils, a large number of tuna packets and at least three different kids of trail mixes to store in my pantry though. I also have a bread basket where I store all of our tortillas, sandwich bread, buns, etc. What I don't keep stocked in my pantry are excess canned vegetables and soups. Most of my sauces and soups get stored in Tupperware containers in the freezer instead of taking up valuable pantry space.
When I do have a recipe that calls for canned vegetables, I usually use them up within a week. And whenever possible, I use fresh produce over canned.
This recipe for Gazpacho came from my Cooking Light magazine. It is wonderful combination of fresh ingredients (and can of tomatoes). I had a gazpacho appetizer at Chez Francois back in May and ever since then, I've been anxious to make it at home.
Gazpacho with Lemon Garlic Shrimp
10 ounce container grape tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups sliced English cucumber
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup Valida onion, diced (I used a red onion instead)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
5/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic
28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic
20 medium shrimp (I used 2 pounds of colossal shrimp.)
(I also added a dash of Worcestershire sauce.)
Cut 8 tomatoes into quarters. Combine quartered tomatoes, 1/4 cup cucumber, 1/4 cup bell pepper and 1/4 cup onion in a small bowl.
Combine remaining tomatoes, 1 1/4 cups cucumber, 3/4 cup bell pepper, 1/2 cup onion, 2 Tablespoons oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 2 garlic cloves and canned tomatoes in food processor.
Pulse until nearly smooth. Refrigerate 25 minutes.
The longer that you let the Gazpacho sit in the refrigerator, the more the flavors will meld together.
Combine remaining 1 Tablespoon oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt and shrimp in a bowl.
Heat a large skillet. Add shrimp mixture and cook 3 minutes.
Ladle 1 cup of soup into each bowl.
Top with a serving of cucumber mixture.
Top each with shrimp.
I anticipated the kids being hesitant to jump on the gazpacho bandwagon so I served them a smaller version of the delicious soup.
Now for the my family's unscientific opinion of the gazpacho:
I loved it.
Ben liked it.
Courtney was very hesitant to even taste it. Not a fan.
Ryan wasn't had a hard time grasping the concept of cold soup. I finally convinced him to think of it as salsa, and I gave him some chips to eat with it. Surprisingly, at the end of the meal, his gazpacho bowl was empty and the chips were gone. From now on, I am calling it salsa in this house. (Shhh)