This list is inspired by the Network Blogging Tips list contest!
- Frozen Shrimp: Tail on or off, these beauties cook super quick and add a nice bit of healthy and lean protein to salads, stirfries, pasta...well, now I'm creating a list within a list. You get the idea!
- Pasta: Does this one need an explanation? Cook it up and make a simple sauce of olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking of it!
- Canned Beans: Keep a few in stock and you can whip up a healthy three bean salad with sliced red onion and your favorite vinaigrette. This is a great one to make when you've been invited for a last minute BBQ or need a quick side dish for your own family's dinner.
- Frozen Ground Meat: When you bring home ground turkey or beef from the grocery store, take the opportunity to stock your freezer. Add about a pound to a large plastic storage bag, flatten and seal without air before adding to the freezer. Not only will it save room in the freezer, but it will defrost many times faster than if you added it as a big brick to your freezer. Ground meat lends itself to so many recipes, that would be a whole new list!
- Frozen Vegetables: This is a no-brainer, especially if you have kids. Frozen vegetables are usually ready to pop into any recipe at the last minute and require a simple heat-through. I like to have corn (quick Mexican rice), peas (simple pasta salad) and spinach (wonderful in scrambled eggs) always on hand.
- Chicken Stock: This is a pantry staple because it's useful in so many ways. I splash a bit on when reheating chicken or turkey in the microwave to add moisture. I make rice with stock instead of water for extra flavor. I cook vegetables in it to cut down on oil or butter. And let's not forget the mother of all stock uses - soup! When nothing is left in the refrigerator except some celery that you can bend in half without snapping and some eggs about to hit their expiration date, you can always make an egg drop soup that is as close to homemade as you can get without making your own stock from scratch.