We finally planted seeds in our garden and they are just starting to break through the soil. Summer is when we become very active in cooking as we try to use up the fresh produce. Last year we were able to save peppers and tomatoes in the freezer (which we just finished) and we are hoping to have more this year. The key is not only storing but preparing them for use. One thing we find helpful for weeknight meals is to have as much prepared as possible so dinner can be quick rather than making it an event. We are so excited for our garden to come up – it just makes life so much easier for us (and tastier).
I thought I would share a list of some things we keep on hand, as it’s a question I get often. These are what we consider to be our staples and make easy dinners with all the nutrients we need. It’s not a complete list – I am sure there are a few items that I will leave off, but it really doesn’t take a lot of ingredients.
o Canned beans – Garbanzo, Black, Pinto, Broad, etc. (make sure they are pure beans with no added broth, meat, or lard)
We always have dry beans but with canned beans we can quickly make up hummus, black bean burritos, chili or a number of high fiber/protein dishes.
o Canned tomatoes – we use for pizza, sauces, pasta…
o Frozen chopped onions and peppers – this is one of our favorites as they are already diced and ready to go in the pan. These are a must for quick prep dinners.
o Washed veggies – having vegetables washed and prepped helps us use what we have. This saves a lot of time weeknights and also makes it easy to throw a quick lunch together. We use up items faster and have little waste if things are prepared ahead.
o Tempeh – this should always be in the refrigerator. Easy to prepare for a quick meal and can be very flavorful and very good for you. (one of my favorite’s is tempeh salad sandwhiches!)
o Brown Rice Syrup – I use this for cooking as well as a sweetener so I like to always have it on hand.
o Spices – we like to add flavor and there are a lot of health benefits to various spices.
o Condiments – we find that we don’t feel deprived of flavor when we have lots of goodies to add to our dishes. Olives, pepperoncinis, capers, sauces …
More to come…