A well-stocked pantry and refrigerator are the key to planning regular, balanced meals. A dinner of takeout or fast food may be easier, but people who make home-cooked meals for dinner experience steadier weight control and lower stress and enjoy better health management (even improved sleep). Whether you’re a busy single, a parent of school-age children or an active retiree, the benefits are the same.
Step one: Take a good hard look at the items you’re storing. Give away the foods you don’t eat and stock your kitchen with delicious convenience.
Here is a checklist to get you started:
Stocking a Pantry
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Vegetable oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Chicken and/or vegetable stock
- Ramen noodles
- Canned beans (a variety of garbanzo, kidney, refried, black, navy, etc.)
- Seasonings, herbs and spices
Stocking a Refrigerator
- Tortillas (flour and corn)
- Fresh spinach
- Cheese (some pre-shredded melting cheeses and grated Parmesan)
- Greek yogurt
- Slaw mix
- Fresh garlic
Now that your kitchen is well stocked, here are some quick and easy recipes for inspiration.
Grocery list: rotisserie chicken.
From the pantry/fridge: broccoli slaw mix, chicken-flavored ramen, Thai peanut dipping sauce, sesame oil.
Grocery list: pork tenderloin or boneless chops, sweet potato, apple
From the pantry/fridge: egg noodles, garlic powder, onion
Grocery list: lemon, meat of choice (chicken, salmon or shrimp)
From the pantry/fridge: chicken or vegetable stock, rice, eggs, frozen stir-fry vegetables such as snap peas
From the pantry/fridge: eggs, black beans, cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack), tortilla chips, salsa, cooking oil, spices (chili powder, cumin or hot sauce)
What other must-have ingredients can be found in your pantry or fridge? What’s your go-to recipe for easy weeknight meals?