"THERE'S NO FOOD IN THE FRIDGE"
Remember growing up and eating peanut butter sandwiches for dinner during the summer because mama wasn't cooking and there was "no food in the fridge"? Me too. I vowed to myself that as an adult I wouldn't use that excuse to go out for fast food on the weeknights, and so far I've kept my promise. So how do you make sure there's always an easy meal to make without breaking the bank? Kitchen staples. I always keep 5 ingredients around that can help me whip up a delicious and healthy meal. These staples are inexpensive, nutritious, and can all be preserved or frozen if you buy them in bulk. With these ingredients, I can easily prep some curry, stuffed chicken, soup, or a stir fry. No excuses. Just easy, weeknight meals.
Here they are!
Chicken broth is a great anti-inflammatory food that's the base for many meals. People use it in soup, but it can also help make savory rice and curry! I always keep a few boxes around. Tip: buy the low sodium chicken broth and add salt to taste instead of all the packed-in sodium. Also, the carton can be stored and refrigerated much easier than the can.
Coconut milk is so versatile it brings a tear to my eyes. It can be cooked into a solid, simmered down to a liquid, it can be savory, and it can be sweet. With coconut milk you can create a delicious dairy-free rice pudding or make the base of a delicious curry. Coconut milk comes in both light and regular versions, although it has more calories I prefer regular! It's thicker while the light version is more the consistency of coconut water.
Spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, and cabbage are a few of my favorite leafy greens. They can be bought fresh or frozen, they can be sauteed, steamed, stewed, or serve as the greens of a salad. They're great for your digestive system and fill you up because they're so crunchy and fibrous. With the exception of kale, all of these greens are fairly inexpensive and a huge part of a healthy diet.
So I may be biased and some people might find it gross, but I. Love. Onions. I use onions in my home cooking nearly every day. Whether they're sliced, diced, sauteed, or caramelized, onions provide a unique and hearty flavor to anything I make. If I've made a meal for you before, chances are onions played a part. I always keep my produce drawer stocked with Vidalia, Georgia sweet onions and love any variety of this stinky veggie. Onions for life.
CHICKEN OR TURKEY
Chicken and turkey are two versatile, inexpensive, protein-filled staples I always have in my fridge and freezer. They're lean sources of protein and can be cooked just about any way. It goes without saying how important these two are in a paleo diet (the diet I'm currently on at the moment).
HOW MUCH DO THESE THINGS COST, ANYWAY?
- Chicken Broth - 1 qt - $2
- Coconut Milk - 1 can - $2
- Leafy Greens - $2-3 bucks a head
- Onions - $2 a pound
- Chicken or Turkey - $4 a pound
If you don't know where to start when it comes to easy, weeknight recipes, take a look at some of the recipes I have up on my blog! Follow me on Snapchat 👻 (tatichin) to see me show you how to make my favorites and also try new recipes! What kind of staples do you keep in your pantry?