Wednesday, April 6, 2011

10 Ingredients you should always have in the kitchen

Things you need in a kitchen :

  1. Flour.  Flour is amazing and wonderful.  Really it is.  Need to thicken soup?  Bake cookies?  Make pizza?  Bake a cake?  Make pie?
  2. Frozen Veggies.  Fresh vegetables and greens are great but they spoil quickly and we’re trying to eat more healthy foods so I buy the frozen veggies and keep them in the freezer all the time.  I add them to rice, meat and even make them on their own.  I also oven bake fries for a quick snack or instead of regular carbs like rice and pasta.  The secret is to bake them at low temperatures and on the middle rack in the oven so they crisp evenly without burning, just as yummy as deep fried ones but much less fat.
  3. Eggs.  Need to make a quick meal?  Don’t have time?   Make an omelet, add some diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, mushroom, whatever you like and presto, everyone is happy and full.
  4. Canned Beans. Red Kidney Beans are my favorite.  Another great healthy protein powered meal in a jiffy.  Throw in some bell peppers, add spices and some tomato paste and you’ve got a colorful, tasty and satisfying meal in minutes.
  5. Cocoa.  It’s cold, make some hot chocolate or make brownies.  I like to make sure my guests have something to eat when they come over for tea or coffee so I keep cocoa so I can whip something up.
  6. Spices.  I absolutely love spices;  cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper, curry, everything goes.  They add so much to food.
  7. Fresh and dried Herbs.  Fresh herbs are great but you need to use them quickly so dried ones work almost as well in most dishes.  Thyme, basil and mint are the basic three.
  8. Tomato Paste.  Yes, fresh tomatoes are better but again this way I can always have some stored.
  9. Garlic in a jar.  Do you really think I am going to buy fresh garlic and crush it?
  10. Olive Oil.  Great in salads and most middle eastern dishes.  I love Extra Virgin olive oil, the aroma and the taste.
There are of course so many other ingredients that rarely go missing in our home like milk,  yeast, yogurt, rice, pasta, sugar, salt and pepper but basically if you want to make homecooked meals you need to be prepared.  We used to eat out a lot and order in too but now we just go out and have a nice meal every week or two and cook everything else at home.  We feel great and are definitely healthier.  We try to buy fresh fruit as much as we can too because Lil Miss Bite Mommy likes bananas, apples and pears and we try to expose her to as much fruit and veggies as her little hands can hold and chew.

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