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A can, a pan, a plan: Quick and easy recipes to make with canned meats

(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

One thing I’ve learned so far from this crisis is that we don’t all cope the same way. Some of us will garden. Some will do Zumba. Some will bake brioche. Others will hoard food, then curl into a ball on the couch and scroll catatonically through Twitter until we realize it’s 9 p.m. and we still haven’t given a thought to dinner.

When I was stocking up in mid-March, the lizard instincts powering my smooth, wet animal brain compelled me to buy a doomsday prepper’s hoard of canned meat. Though I now realize I probably — OK, definitely — overdid it, quarantime has repeatedly demonstrated to me that with a little ingenuity, canned meats can make for meals that are delicious, interesting, economical and, most of all, convenient. No shame in that game. Spam fried rice, jarred artichoke hearts with chicken baked gratin-style or a tin of sardines mashed over avocado toast are all fine starts.

If you’d like to explore the canned genre further — or, like me, have a shamefully stocked pantry you need to cook through — here are three simple and flavorful one-pan meals that can be pulled together in less than 30 minutes. I’ve kept ingredients lists short, but they allow for substitutions too. And if you decide at the last minute to order takeout instead, no worries. Those cans will be waiting for you.

Ginisang Corned Beef

A classic and simple Filipino stir-fry, ginisang corned beef draws influences from Spanish sofrito and American corned beef.
Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4

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Tuna Albóndigas en Chipotle

Albóndigas en chipotle, meatballs simmered in a smoky tomato-chipotle sauce, is a nostalgic dish in many parts of Mexico.
Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4

Vienna Sausage Bokkeum

Make this simple sweet-spicy Korean stir-fry, often packed into schoolkids’ lunches along with rice and banchan
Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4


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