If you have a family and you cook every evening, you more than likely have a pantry stocked with many go to items that make meal preparation easier and quick. These items usually are selected to save time, taste good and be used frequently in a wide variety of recipes. Having convenient go to staples always streamlines your time and that means more time enjoying the family, and less time cooking. Here’s the list below.
- Canned milk. This comes in handy if you ever run out of milk, and it actually tastes better in recipes that call for milk, like bread pudding and macaroni and cheese. Because you can dilute it and also use it in sauces, its good to have in the pantry.
- Cream of mushroom soup. This is a good and quick sauce that can be used to enhance many meals in a hurry. Whether its a pasta dish, or low carb gravy alternative, it is good to have a few of these on hand to mix in with any ground beef, or red meat based dish. If you don’t like canned cream of mushroom soup, you can always saute fresh mushrooms, add in a little low sodium beef stock or homemade and heavy cream to create your own cream of mushroom soup.
- Canned diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes- I never buy prepared pasta sauces. I simply don’t like the overly sweet taste they have and if you look on the label many of these prepared tomato sauces are high in sugar and salt. I’d rather season my own sauce and diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes are also a lot lower in sugar and salt content that Prego, etc. I add my own spices to them. Another added benefit is they are less expensive as well. Not only are these items great for things like Spaghetti and American Chop Suey but also they work well in many soups and stews. Canned vegetables are not the preference over fresh or frozen, but we need a few of these items to round out our menus when we don’t have access to better options.
- Wild and Brown Rice. Since we’ve become more aware about the negative impact that simple carbohydrates have on our bodies, white rice isn’t the best choice for many. Not to mention it is really stripped of most of it’s best nutrition. Brown and wild rice are healthier alternatives and tastier. If you must have rice, it should be the healthiest you can find.
- Low Carb Pasta. Now you may say there is no such thing and you may be right, however if one is to have pasta, you might as well opt for the low carb variety as opposed to the regular kind. Better to err on the side of caution in many cases. Dreamfield’s pasta makes this claim and there seems to be some controversy as to how low carb it really is. The company states its all about the preparation. You must never over cook this type of pasta. Always cook it ‘al dente’, to keep the fiber from being lost in the cooking process. The insoluble fiber content is what counters the carbs but if the pasta is overcooked the insoluble fiber breaks down.
- Chicken Stock, Beef stock, herbs and spices. These items are great to have on hand because they enhance any meal even those you have to cook in a hurry.
Interested in some recipes? See : Recipes from a Southern Kitchen