Katie's Healthy Bites: Pantry Must-Haves
A healthy pantry is the building block for any wholesome meal. For some inspiration, I wanted to share a peek inside my kitchen's pantry. This is what I always have on hand so I'm prepared on busy days when there's not a lot of meal-planning time.
- Low-Sodium Stock (usually vegetable or chicken) – Great to add as a flavoring ingredient when cooking rice or grain, deglazing a pan or throwing together a quick soup (soups are a perfect for a clean-out-the-fridge meal -- to use up veggies before they go bad)
- Roasted Peppers (packed in water) – I love roasted peppers! They're a wholesome, colorful addition to any meal (even a salad). I keep some around for when company stops by and I need a simple appetizer. Serve them with bread, hummus or pureed with a can of beans and cut-up veggies for dipping.
- Airplane Bottles of Wine – I open a bottle of wine to cook with and it always goes to waste. I was so excited when I found the small, airplane bottles at the store. This is the perfect amount for most recipes, and no guilt attached for wasted vino!
- Dried and Canned Beans – Dried beans are a healthy addition to soups, salads and sides. If I have time, I cook them from scratch. When I am in a pinch, a can of rinsed beans does the trick.
- Whole Wheat, Brown Rice or Spelt Pasta – Need I say more? Pasta is a cornerstone to many easy, throw-together meals because it takes no time to cook up.
- Bulk Grains (usually millet, quinoa, amaranth and brown rice) – Buying bulk saves lots of money and dried grains keep well. I store my grains in sealed bags and containers. If I don’t use them often, they will stay fresh in the fridge for months.
- Dijon Mustard – You will always find an open bottle in my fridge and some spare bottles in the pantry. Dijon is low-calorie and can work in most anything, as far as I'm concerned.
- Canned Tomatoes – Stock up on these because you never know when you will need to make basic pasta sauce.
- Olive Oil – This is almost all I cook with! Experiment with olive oils from all over the world (Greece, Italy, and Spain are good places to start) -- to taste the variations.
- Sesame Oil – As with most oils for the calorie conscious, a little bit goes a really long way. This is one of my favorite Asian flavors.
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce - I use soy sauce instead of salt in a bunch of recipes. It has a more complex flavor than table salt and gives my dishes more unique depth.
- Sea Salt – We get tons of sodium from packaged food, but sea salt is more wholesome, loaded with nutrients and packed with flavor. But again, a little goes a long way! Try this instead of iodized salt, which has been stripped of most nutrients and is not nearly as flavorful.
- Peppercorn Medley – I like to keep different colors (green, pink, black, etc.) peppercorns mixed together in my grinder. The variety of flavors add dimension to the dish I'm prepping.