While you may be planning some elaborate meals through the holiday, it’s often the weekday rush that can sabotage your healthy eating plans. A well-stocked pantry can help you get through the holidays. There are several items you’ll want to have on hand so you can put together a quick meal:
- All sorts of Grains or Rice. Quiona, wild rice, brown rice, Arborio, Jasmine
- All sorts of Pasta. Nothing beats pasta for a quick-to-the-table supper! Couscous, Penne, Angel Hair and other spaghetti varieties, bow ties, spirals, wagon wheels, orzo.
- Ready-to-eat whole grain pizza crusts. These can be so quick to make when you want to feed the kids before you go out for date night (keep a jarred tomato sauce on hand, and shredded part0skim mozzarrella in the freezer). You can also use whole wheat English Muffins for mini-pizzas.
- Cheeses. Small amount of Parmesan, Gruyere, or sharp cheddar adds flavor to a variety of dishes (not to mention a gourmet grilled cheese for a quick dinner!
- Frozen bell pepper and onion mixture, is great to have on hand for quick fajitas. Keep frozen spinach and peas to add to pasta dishes.
- Meats and fish. Frozen cooked shrimp can be heated and thrown in with pasta or made into a quick shrimp taco. Purchase a variety of beef and pork and then and then portion them into quart-size freezer bags. This can be a real time-saver when it comes to getting dinner on the table.
- Canned goods. Rinsing canned goods (for the exception of tomatoes) can reduce the overall sodium. Canned beans are so quick and easy – you can pull together a quick soup or rice and bean burritos in no time.
- Olive oil and vegetable oil. I like to use both. I keep extra virgin olive (EVO) oil on hand for salad dressings, and I use a light olive oil for cooking. I typically use corn, soybean, or canola oil also.
- Seasonings. Fresh herbs are fabulous, but you can’t always have them on hand, so I like to keep a few favorites in the herb and spice drawer: Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Cilantro, Parsley, Herbs de Provence. As for spices: Cumin, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, and Cinnamon.
- Condiments. Dijon mustard, a chutney, or salsa can add quick flavor to simple dishes such as pork loin or chicken.
- Onions, celery – both can be added to soups or sauteed in a pan with poultry or pork. Add a bit of wine to the pan, and you have an instant sauce.
Do you have any favorite pantry staples or quick and healthy dinner recipes to share?