Sunday, May 27, 2012

7 Pantry Must Haves

There you are again! Standing at your pantry (don't you wish your pantry looked like that!), scratching your head, wondering what the heck you’re gonna make for dinner.  Images of your favorite cuisine appear and your mouth begins to salivate.  You quickly realize you are SOL (Yes that does mean what you think) because your pantry is looking a little bare.  What’s a gal or guy to do? Keeping a well-stocked Pantry is key to overcoming this dilemma.  Items that are foundational, quick and reliable are a must.  I keep my pantry stocked with several essentials so that I am equipped to make a quick, easy and tasty meal in a pinch.  Here are just a few to help get you started.

v Lather Me Up With a Little Mediterranean Charm
o   Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is one of my favorites.  Coined by Rachel Ray as the good ole EVOO, my Italian grandmother would lather her arms with it as she was cooking a traditional pizza, manicotti or basic tomato sauce.  It’s also an excellent dietary oil rich in those health promoting monounsaturated fatty acids. 

v Protein at My Fingertips
o   Eden’s Canned Beans allow you to whip up a meal in a snap and add a healthy dose of fiber too.  My favorites are black, cannellini, pinto and garbanzo.  They make an excellent addition to stews, soups and salads or even burgers.  Eden’s are cooked with Kombu, a seaweed that is rich in minerals and helps to break down those indigestible starches, making the road ahead much more pleasant so you can say, “Goodbye flatulence!”

v A Little Tomato Action
o   Canned Tomatoes to please my Italian heritage.  They lend acidity to a dish and are a great way to add in some colorful veggies, with hassle free prep that you can count on.

v A Healthy Dose of Kitchen Magic
o   Sea Salt Baby!  Ditch the refined crap and discover the real deal.  Eden Foods, Redmond Real Salt and Himalayan Sea Salt are my favorites.  Salt is essential to making flavors pop and to creating flavor balance.
o   Calling all Acids!  The sky is the limit here.  Santa Cruz Organic Lime or Lemon Juice (or fresh citrus) and vinegars such as regular and golden balsamic are a must.

v Spice It Up
o   Herbs and Spices are a great way to add depth of flavor to any dish.  With so many to choose from, try starting with a few basics like basil, oregano, cumin, cayenne and black pepper.

v Who Say’s Frozen Can’t Be Healthy? (I know they’re not exactly in the pantry)
o   Frozen Veggies please!  Corn, broccoli, green beans, and peas are a few I always have on hand.  Contrary to popular belief, frozen veggies are a great option.  They are harvested during their prime season and flash frozen to seal in nutrients, helping you get those veggies in on even the busiest of days.

There you have it.  Now go get your pantry stocked with these basics and check back for my Smokey Mexican Black Bean Stew recipe.  Leave a reply to let me know which items your pantry is never left without?

To Life, Health, Love and Happiness!

P.S.-For more information on how to stock a healthy pantry, sign up for one of my Pantry Makeovers at