Kitchen Staples, what`s in your pantry?

28 Dec

Today this simple man`s plan for healthier eating is going to change up a bit. Instead of an actual featured recipe I`m going to talk about some basic`s in the kitchen that will allow you to make any number of dishes without too much stress or last minute running around.
I think it`s a question just about everyone who cooks faces time & time again, what should I make for dinner tonight? I stay awake night`s thinking about food & it preoccupies a lot of my day as well. Sometimes I just can`t figure out what I`m (or the rest of the household) in the mood for.
I do know this, a well stocked kitchen gives you options to throw together healthy, fast, delicious meals after a long day. Below is a basic list I typically try to have on hand to whip something up on the fly.

Pantry/No refrigeration required:
Kosher or Sea Salt/Fresh Black Pepper- No explanation needed.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- Cook with it or finish dishes with a drizzle, salad dressings, marinades etc etc etc. The list goes on.
Vegetable or other neutral cooking oil-Use when high heat is needed.
Flavored Vinegars- Dressings, to add a little acid, to add some pop to so many things.
Hot Sauce- Your favorite or favorites for so many different things.
Soy & Worcestershire Sauce- distinctly different but useful so many different ways.
Herbs de Provence- Dried mix of basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, lavender, parsley & tarragon. Adds perfect herbiness to so many different dishes.
Quinoa/Rice- Quick cooking, side or base.
Pasta- No explanation needed, many GF options available these days as well.
Beans- Canned & dried, different varieties.
Tomatoes- Canned, I typically try and use fresh but depending on time & prep involved it`s just not always going to happen.
Potatoes- Last forever and the uses are endless.
Onions- A key ingredient in too much to list, soups to stir-fries, salads to burgers & everything in between.
Lemons/Limes- A squeeze brightens everything.

Chicken Breasts-individually frozen or portioned.
Stock-Chicken, Vegetable, whatever, beats water in nearly every cooking way for flavor. Whip up a big batch on that lazy Sunday.
Shrimp- Bags, peeled & deveined.98% of any shrimp you buy has been frozen. You`re just skipping a step.
Bacon- Well, just because.
Peas & Corn- Sometimes you just need emergency veggies.

Eggs- One of the perfect foods.
Cheese- Parmesan & another melty variety.
Celery & Carrots- Add onion from the pantry for classic mirepoix.
Broccoli-Lasts forever.
Butter- Keep extra in the freezer & pull out a stick when needed.
Greek Yogurt- Nonfat & a great healthier substitute for mayo or sour cream.
Tomatoes-Well, just because we love them.
Fresh Herbs- The shelf life isn`t that great here but you can`t beat them.

This is just a very basic list of mine but it`s a good start to cooking any number of healthy honest dishes at home! Let me know what`s in you`re pantry.