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Putting together dinner every night can seem like a lot of work.
But with a little bit of preparation and a few basics on hand, it is very easy to throw together a delicious family meal.
I plan out my menu for a week or month at a time so I know what’s coming up and can have the necessary ingredients on hand.
But even so, I get caught some nights needing to improvise or change things up and that’s when it’s great to have these staples on hand. I can put together any number of fast, easy, delicious homemade meals with these foods at my fingertips.
Stock your pantry with these essentials — and your fridge/freezer with these — and you’ll be ready for anything.
2. Potatoes (russet, sweet, Yukon, red, any of your favorites)
3. Brown rice (here’s how to make perfect brown rice every time)
4. Other grains: quinoa, barley, farro, couscous
5. Pasta (various types: spaghetti, macaroni, farfalle, rigatoni, orzo), preferably whole wheat
6. Canned beans (various types – black beans, cannelini beans, garbanzo beans, refried beans, great Northern beans, pinto beans)
7. Chicken broth
8. Bread/English muffins/wraps (preferably whole wheat)
9. Taco shells
10. Basic spices (paprika, chili powder, cumin, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, etc.)
What to make now that you’re stocked? Here are a few of our favorite recipes using very basic ingredients:
Easy balsamic chicken – 20 minutes to a delicious dinner
Spice-rubbed pork chops – a bold spice mixture brings tons of flavor to these easy pork chops
Parmesan chicken – a simple but scrumptious weeknight meal
Fast “baked” potatoes – a weeknight staple around here
Simple farro salad – an easy, healthy side dish
10-minute chocolate cookie balls – just 6 ingredients for this snack
And here’s my round-up of some healthy quick kid-friendly meals you can make last minute:
What are your favorite pantry essentials to keep on hand? How about a favorite go-to meal?
Happy home cooking!