Must Haves For Your Kitchen

Nothing is worse than coming home and having no idea what you are going to make for dinner.  Try to avoid this by keeping a few items in your pantry at all times.  This way if you don't plan meals ahead of time, you know that you will always have something on hand to whip up a quick and healthy meal.

Here are 5 must have pantry staples:
  1. Quick cooking brown rice. Brown rice has more fiber in it than white rice.  Rice is easy to add to a stir fry or soup.
  2. Tomato sauce.  Who doesn't love spaghetti?  Adding some tomato sauce to other recipes can add a lot of flavor.  You can even poach eggs in tomato sauce!
  3. Bread crumbs.  You can make your own from leftover bread or buy some at the grocery store. Bread chicken with it, bake it, and top with tomato sauce for a quick chicken parmesan.
  4. Your favorite herbs and spices.  Chili powder and Italian seasoning are great to have on hand.  You can find different spices at the grocery store and event at discount stores like Dollar Tree and Big Lots.  Rosemary is great when you roast potaotes, and cinnamon adds a lot of flavor to oatmeal.
  5. Beans.  Always have a few cans of beans on hand.  Some favorites are: chickpeas, black beans, and great northern beans.  They help to add protein to salads or soups, and you can even cook black beans in salsa for a quick and delicious side dish. 
  6. Eggs.  Yes...although it says "5" items, but technically eggs aren't a pantry item -- they belong in your refrigerator.  They couldn't be left off this list.  Eggs are so useful and can be used in many ways.  They can help you bread chicken and bake banana bread.  The best part -- scrambling or poaching an egg or two for a quick dinner can be very easy.
There are other things in your pantry that could be used for a healthy meal, but keeping these items stocked at all times makes grocery shopping easier and also makes cooking a healthy dinner on a busy night much easier.


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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall