Disclaimer: the following foods do not follow a particular diet and are generally healthy. Sometimes, convenience overrules dietary ideals. We're okay with that over here. The list is also not comprehensive since I forget things on a regular basis and everyone eats a little differently.
Quick and delicious meals are all about ingredients you have on hand, so here are ingredients that are almost always in my pantry, fridge, or freezer. Today's post: the pantry.
PANTRY STAPLES (in no particular order)
- Ritz crackers (any kind). Great for any kind of breading (sub for breadcrumbs), a quick lunch (top with lunch meat and cheese or cream cheese), or easy appetizers (for example, in the over or microwave, melt a square of cheese and a piece of pepperoni on each cracker--delicious!)
- Brownie or cake mix. I keep these on hand for the unexpected house guest/college student who comes over. Always good to feed the guests! Sometime I'll post my super-easy cake mix cookie recipe (3 ingredients and less than 20 minutes to make).
- Rice. Easy side with fish or chicken, and easy to throw in add-ins like peas, fresh herbs, cheese, etc. My favorite is brown Minute Rice, which takes total of 10 minutes. Gotta love fast. Oh, and it's cheap, too.
- Cereal and/or oatmeal. If you're like us, these aren't just breakfast foods; they also make great late night snacks or additions to brinner (breakfast for dinner). I also use oatmeal in cookie, bread, and muffin recipes along with homemade granola and parfaits (layer plain yogurt, fresh fruit, and oatmeal for a quick breakfast or snack). Oatmeal is also budget-friendly.
- Multiple kinds of pasta. Pasta is versatile, working both as a side or a main dish. Plus, it's a great absorber of leftovers. Add that spinach and tomatoes that are going bad and throw in some chicken, pesto, and parmesan and you have yourself a meal! Pasta is also cheap and goes on sale often. My latest favorite is a brand (sold at Walmart--can't remember it right now) that is veggie noodles. Tastes like regular noodles, but each serving of noodles is also a serving of veggies--double plus! If those aren't available, I always try to go for whole wheat. I also keep pasta sauce on hand for a quick weeknight spaghetti if I don't have time for something more involved.
- Nuts. Not only are these a great source of protein to snack on, but they're also perfect to add to salads, desserts, breading for meat, or ground up in smoothies.
- Dried fruit. Another easy add-in for green salads, chicken salad, or as a snack by themselves.
- Chocolate chips. I try not to have too many desserts in the house on a regular basis because I have so little self-control if it's around, BUT I always have dark chocolate chocolate chips (I like Hershey's brand best). A small handful satisfies my sweet tooth, and they're also perfect to add into a homemade granola (nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips), or if you get the hankering to make some chocolate chip cookies or banana chocolate chip muffins or chocolate chip scones...you get the idea. :)
- Peanut butter. This goes way beyond the PB&J. I also pair peanut butter with apples or celery to entice me to eat more fruits and veggies and add more protein to my snack, add it to a chocolate-peanut butter-bananan smoothie, or use it in homemade Asian marinades for chicken.
- Onions. Onions make the world go round, people. Or at least they make food taste better. I add onion to soups, spaghetti sauce, homemade pizza, and saute them with peppers for all kinds of Mexican food. If you like them raw (I don't), you can throw them on a salad or sandwich. Many, many recipes call for onions, so it's good to have a couple on hand.
- Canned goods that you use on a regular basis. For me, this means cream of chicken/mushroom, corn, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and black beans.
- Cooking spray
- Olive oil
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, chili powder, cumin, parsley, rosemary, cinnamon
What would you add to this list and why?
If you want recipes for anything referenced above, wonder what I make with the ingredients listed, or just want to say hello, leave a comment!