It's been a long day, the last thing you want to do is go to the store on your way home from work, the only problem is you and your family have to eat something. Resist the urge, don't stop and get takeout. Just keep my favorite pantry essentials stocked in your kitchen and you will be able to whip up a meal in no time with just a few ingredients.
The key to keeping yourself on track and eating healthy is to have the food in your house available whenever you need it. Most of the items that I keep stocked are either non-perishable or can last in your fridge/freezer for a couple of weeks. These items obviously are just a few of my favorite, but you can tweak them to your family's liking.
In the Pantry:
- Brown Rice (I like Basmati the best)
- Whole Wheat Pasta of any variety
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Quinoa (Red or White)
- Diced Tomatoes
- Tomato Paste
- Chicken Stock
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
- Coconut Milk (light or regular)
In the Fridge:
- Greek Yogurt
- Ricotta Cheese
- Cheeses (Parmesan, Goat Cheese, and Feta are my favorites to keep on hand)
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes (some don't have to be stored in the fridge)
- Variety of Nuts (I always have walnuts and almonds and they just stay fresh longer in the refrigerator)
In the Freezer:
- Chicken (boneless breasts)
- Ground Beef or Pork
- Frozen Berries
(Just keep a few of your favorites to grab whenever you need them)
Oils and Vinegars:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Canola Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar (Regular and White)
- White Wine Vinegar
- White Distilled Vinegar
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Rice Vinegar
- Mustards (Dijon and Regular Yellow)
- Raw Honey
- Soy Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Kosher and Sea Salt
- Garlic Salt
- McCormick Steak Seasoning (great for meat and veggies/potatoes)
- Paprika (smoked and regular)
- Chili Powder
- Curry Powder
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Variety of Citrus (oranges, lemons, and limes)
- Lettuces (Romaine, Spinach, and Arugula)
- White Wine
- Whole Wheat Pita Bread
- Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
- Variety of herbs (fresh or dried, but I prefer fresh and love keeping basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and cilantro on hand--grown your own and they won't go bad!)
I know this seems like a lot, but I promise once you get stocked it's really easy to maintain and you will be so glad that you did.
My Favorite Go-To Meals:
- Whole Wheat Pesto Pasta with Peas, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chicken
- Whole Wheat Pasta with a White Wine Garlic Sauce, Tomatoes and Basil and Parsley
- Whole Wheat Pita Veggie Pizzas
- Salads (Ceasar, Asian, Taco, etc. and then add a protein to the salad)
- Fried Rice made with Leftover Rice
I could go on, but you get the point, if you keep these items stocked, the only thing you have to buy is your produce and any fresh meats that you find at your local farmer's market or your grocery store that week. Pretty easy right?
But the great thing is, even without the fresh produce you can create a meal with just these basic ingredients, so you don't have to stress about getting yourself to the store. I find that most recipes can be adjusted if you have the basics on hand. It's just about swapping an ingredient for an ingredient. But please feel free to get creative and mix and match your pantry essentials!
Was this helpful? I hope so, I am going to continue to share with you my favorite ways to use these essentials with different recipes and posts as well.
I would love to hear about your successes with keeping your pantry stocked as well as any other ideas you have and would like me to share with you to make your life a little easier in the kitchen!
Now get to stocking those pantries people!