Happy almost New Year! Are you are like me? Have you vowed to absolutely, positively stop counter grazing and eating chocolates, or turkey and stuffing or shortbread every time you pass through the kitchen? If you want to shift to a little more healthful eating, the best place to start is your pantry.
A well stocked pantry gives you options for healthy meals that are versatile and fast. Here are my Top Ten Pantry Choices.
- Chicken Stock (homemade or packaged) Chicken Stock can be used for soups, pastas, gravies and is a healthy alternative to cream when making mashed potatoes. If you managed to freeze your turkey bones or carcass, consider making delicious turkey stock.
- Canned Beans. Chickpeas, Romano, White Kidney, Red Kidney and Black Beans …. the list goes on and on. Beans are the bomb. They have protein, are high in fibre and low in fat. Plus, they are so so versatile. Yes, you can make hummus and dips, but you can also add them to soups and stews, add them to salads (or make a full bean salad).
- Onions. My grandmother used to say she never cooked a dish without onions or lemons (lemons are next by the way). Onions provide so much flavour to soups and stew and last are really long time. Caramelize them and they are the perfect, sweet, delicious garnish to pastas, pizzas and salads.
- Lemons. Fresh lemon juice is excellent in salad dressings, are the perfect flavour enhancer for chicken and fish dishes. The skin is excellent in desserts and the juice is excellent for cocktails (whoops, my bad, we’re eating healthy).
- Canned tomatoes and canned tomato sauce. Of course you can make pasta with either of these, but these are both great for soups, stews and curries.
- Dry Pasta. Did you know you could put dry pasta in a pan with stock, herbs, spices and and water and cook up a full dinner, in the pan in under 20 minutes? Pasta is a lifesaver on nights when you you have a little time to get dinner out and on the table before you take your kids to tutoring/swimming/hockey/the store to get 30 Valentine’s stat!
- Olive Oil. I love it. I use it every day whether I am caramelizing onions, making pasta or using it for a vinaigrette. It’s healthy, tasty and is always on my counter.
- Garlic. I use garlic as regularly as I do olive oil, onions and lemons. Soups, stews, pasta, dressing. I roast it, fry it and use it raw. It’s flavourful, healthy and maybe one true love.
- Eggs. Scrambled, fried, baked, poached, boiled. Eggs are versatile, packed with protein, can be cooked quickly and go so well with cheese, onions, tomatoes, spinach. You name it. Farm fresh eggs have beautiful bright orangey-yellow yolks that put the sunny in sunny side up.
- Buttermilk. This stuff is magic. Gonna low-carb it up with a boneless, skinless, chicken breast? Marinate it in buttermilk for a few hours and get tender, juicy tasty chicken. It is my go-to marinade for chicken! Baking-wise, you cannot beat buttermilk for pancakes, muffins or biscuits.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year with great health and fun!
If you want your kids to learn about pantry basics, I have a new block of classes starting in January. Book before midnight tonight and save 10%. Click here for more details.