The Well-Stocked Pantry

With a well-stocked cupboard, refrigerator, and freezer, meal planning becomes a breeze because a variety of foods on hand ensures there are endless ways to create something healthy, wholesome, and delicious to eat. Not to mention, it allows you to be prepared ahead of time, and really think about the types of foods you are going to eat- rather than a last minute panic when the question ‘What’s for dinner?’ is posed.  While I am not lucky enough to have the space of this pantry (OH! How I wish!) No one wants to be left ultimately unsatisfied and searching for more to graze through- just beacause you didn’t have a couple ingredients on hand.

So, stock up and get a move onto Getting Your Plate in Shape- without any excuse.

 

 

To get you started, here are some items for what I consider the essentials for creating a quick convenient stock of fast, healthy meals for two..or more!

Refrigerator Basics

* Low-fat milk (1% or skim)
* Low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt and/or vanilla yogurt (Greek, too!)
* Reduced-fat sour cream (fat-free Greek yogurt is a great substitute!)
* Parmesan cheese and/or Asiago cheese
* Sharp Cheddar cheese
* Eggs (large). Keep them on hand for fast omelets and frittatas.
* Dry white wine.

Freezer Basics

* Fruit-juice concentrates (orange, apple, pineapple)
* Frozen vegetables: edamame (soybeans), peas, spinach, broccoli, bell pepper and onion mix, corn, chopped onions, small whole onions, uncooked hash browns
* Frozen berries
* Frozen meats: lean beef, poultry- including Italian turkey and chicken sausage and sliced prosciutto to flavor fast pasta sauces

Oils, Vinegars & Condiments

* Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and homemade salad dressings
* Canola oil for cooking and baking
* Flavorful nut and seed oils for salad dressings and stir-fry seasonings: toasted sesame oil, walnut oil
* Reduced-fat/olive oil based mayonnaise
* Vinegars: balsamic, red-wine, white-wine, rice, and cider

* Asian condiments and flavorings: reduced-sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, chile-garlic sauce, curry paste
* Kalamata olives, green olives
* Dijon/grainy mustard
* Ketchup
* Barbecue sauce
* Worcestershire sauce

Flavorings

* Kosher salt
* Black pepper
* Onions
* Fresh garlic (bottled is great for convenience)
* Fresh ginger (bottled is great for convenience)
* Anchovy paste for flavoring pasta sauces and salad dressings
* Dried herbs: bay leaves, dill, crumbled dried sage, thyme, oregano, tarragon, Italian seasoning blend
* Spices: chili powder, ground cinnamon, coriander seeds, ground coriander, ground cumin, curry powder, ground ginger, dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, turmeric
* Lemons, limes, oranges. The zest is as valuable as the juice. Organic fruit is recommended when you use a lot of zest.
* Granulated sugar
* Brown sugar
* Honey
* Pure maple syrup
* Unsweetened cocoa powder

Canned Goods & Bottled Items

* Canned no salt added/low sodium tomatoes, tomato paste
* Reduced-sodium chicken broth, beef broth and/or vegetable broth
* Clam juice
* “Lite” coconut milk for Asian curries and soups
* Canned beans: cannellini beans, great northern beans, chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans
* Chunk light tuna

Grains & Legumes

* All-purpose flour/whole wheat flour
* Assorted whole-wheat pastas
* Brown rice and instant brown rice
* Pearl barley, quick-cooking barley
* Rolled oats
* Whole-wheat couscous
* Bulgur
* Dried lentils
* Yellow cornmeal
* Plain dry breadcrumbs
* Wild rice

 

Nuts, Seeds & Fruits

* Walnuts
* Pecans
* Almonds
* Hazelnuts
* Dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
* Pine nuts
* Sesame seeds
(Store opened packages of nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.)
* Natural peanut butter
* Tahini
* Assorted dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, raisins

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