Friday, December 11, 2009

Must-Have Ingredients to Stock Your Kitchen!

In honor of my newly married and engaged friends who are busy setting up households and learning to cook for their hubbies, today's blog is all about suggested ingredients to stock your kitchen. With this list you can make most of my recipes, and most importantly you can throw the ingredients together to create your own specialties! The ingredients I listed are based on what I keep in my kitchen at all times. I don't tend to use recipes, and instead combine the listed ingredients in various ways to create delicious dishes! Use this list to begin to stock your kitchen, and you'll find that whipping up delicious meals is a cinch!

Starches/Carbs
- Dried Pasta (one long, such as spaghetti or linguini, and one short, such as rigatoni or penne)
- Potatoes (potato wedges are a go-to side!)
- Whole wheat bread
- French bread (for bruschetta or garlic bread)
- Instant rice (side dish or use to bolster up soups)
- Pizza crust (pre-made, such as Boboli, or Pillsbury raw dough is great for pizzas or calzones)
- Tortillas (enchiladas, fajitas, soft tacos, etc)

Meat/Protein
- Frozen chicken breasts
- Frozen chicken tenderloins (for chicken strips or to thaw quickly, dice, and add to pasta/soup/casseroles)
- Frozen lean ground beef (burgers, meatballs, tacos, etc.)
- Frozen Italian sausage links (separate the links into ziplock bags to thaw quickly, and use for pizzas, pasta sauce and meatballs)
- Canned black beans (Mexican food)
- Canned garbanzo beans (delish on salads)
- Pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, soy nuts (add crunch and flavor to salads) 
- Prosciutto (sandwiches, pasta, pizza, and even in quesadillas with apricot jam and sliced apples)

Vegetables
- Tomatoes (bruschetta!)
- Red onions (use raw on salads and cooked in anything and everything)
- Garlic (adds flavor and complexity to pasta, pizza, sauces, meat marinades, etc)
- Green peppers (pizza topping, bolsters pasta sauce, grilled fajitas, raw in salads)
- Frozen spinach (thaw and add to casseroles for easy iron)
- Frozen broccoli (so good as a side or in a chunky tomato sauce)
- Canned crushed tomatoes (saute onion and garlic, add tomatoes, salt & pepper and simmer for easy tomato sauce)
- Kalamata olives (fabulous in salads and pastas or on their own)
- Sun dried tomatoes (add to pasta, pizza, pasta salad, sandwiches, bruschetta, anything!)
- Banana peppers (salads, pizzas and sandwiches)
- Avocado (guacamole, on sandwiches, bruschetta and salads)

Fruit
- Apples (delish in salads with creamy cheese, or saute with onions for an easy pork side dish)
- Pears (pair with brie and enjoy with red wine or in a salad)
- Dried cranberries (add to salads)
- Pomegranate seeds (fantastic with goat cheese and pecans in salad)

Cheese
- Goat cheese (great in salads or add to hot cooked pasta with reserved pasta water for a creamy sauce)
- Feta cheese (make a quick Greek salad with feta, kalamata olives, banana peppers and lettuce)
- Shredded cheddar and mozzarella (classic pizza cheese)
- Parmesan (do NOT buy pre-grated/shredded, it has no flavor! Buy in a wedge and grate it over pasta and pizzas, or peel thin slices to top salads or eat raw with rich red wine)
- Brie (creamy and amazing spread on paninis or with fruit)

Spices and Herbs
- Cinnamon (on toast or sweet potatoes)
- Nutmeg (add to any creamy sauce)
- Paprika (season chicken or brighten creamy casseroles)
- Chili Powder (Mexican food or seasoning)
- Rosemary (dried or fresh with potatoes, garlic bread and pasta sauce)
- Oregano (garlic bread and pasta/pizza sauce)
- Fresh parsley (finish dishes with its bright color and fresh flavor)
- Steak seasoning (also great with burgers)
- Garlic salt (quickest way to add garlicky flavor to just about anything)

Condiments
- Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce (Oh the possibilities)
- Wishbone Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing (favorite for salads)
- Wishbone Light Done Right Italian (pasta salads)
- Dijon mustard (for sandwiches and mixed with olive oil and balsamic for salad dressing)
- Apricot Jam (spread on warm bread with apples and prosciutto, yum!)

Others
- Extra virgin olive oil (salad dressing and cooking)
- Balsamic vinegar (reduce to a syrup for bruschetta, saute with butter for a pasta sauce, salad dressing)
- Kosher salt (table salt has no flavor)
- Black peppercorns (to crack fresh in pepper grinder)
- Unsalted butter
- Flour (coat chicken and saute in olive oil for a golden crust)
- Breadcrumbs (top casseroles or baked pastas, or coat chicken)

1 comment:

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