my style of cooking requires a pantry that is stocked with fabulous ingredients.
here’s a stockpile of the things I keep in my fridge + on my pantry shelves at. all. times.
[this will be updated frequently as I find new, fabulous products my pantry simply cannot be without!]
healthy? yes! packed with protein. zero fat. low in sugar + sodium. made from skim milk.
whatcha do with it? this ingredient is sooo versatile! you can use it in place of sour cream, heavy cream, and milk. you can create pasta sauces with it, like this one. basically, if you wanna give any of your dishes a little ummph + creaminess [eww-hate that word! but no other word describes it better] Greek Yogurt is gonna be your biffle.
Chili Garlic Sauce
[Sriracha’s weaker little brother]
healthy? ehh. sorta. zero fat + calories, but high in sodium. studies say spicy food increases you metabolism. true or not, me likey!
whacha do with it? spice up everything! this stuff adds the perfect kick + full body flavor thanks to the garlic. whether your spicing up a ranch dipping sauce or your creating an Asian-inspired meal like this, chili garlic sauce is a staple you’ll love to have on your shelf.
healthy? yeah- I’d say so. especially if you get the low-sodium, fat-free kind.
whatcha do with it? it’s such an essential base for soups, sauces, and everything in between.
granted, in an ideal world I would have the time to make this fresh every-time. however, this is not reality. so this is a great alternative to have in the fridge. thanks, Costco!
healthy? I think so. about 290 calories per 1/4 cup. definitely a healthier alternative to a heavy cream sauce. has the good fats thanks to the olive oil.
whatcha do with it? besides serving it over pasta, it can be used to marinate fish, poultry, or meat. serve it over roasted veggies, like asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, or potatoes. or mix it into your favorite sauce for a savory blend of basil spices. use it as a pizza base instead of the regular marinara sauce like this. use it on bread when making panini’s! whatever you do, pesto is never going to hurt your meal, it’s only gonna make it better!
Having pre-washed, ready-to-go healthy lettuce on hand makes you much more likely to actually use it. I like the freshness of baby romaine. I tried to be a “spring-mix” girl , but it usually went bad before I could use it all because quite frankly, I didn’t dig it.
healthy? cheyeah! 3 oz is like 15 calories! And you get a ton of vitamin A and C + a good amount of iron.
whatcha do with it? The most obvious answer is for salads. But, I also use it on sandwiches, in wraps, or under a pasta salad like this.
Apparently I like all my leafy greens baby-sized.
healthy? duh! 1 cup = 7 calories. Load it up! Plus it’s packed with vitamin A and C + iron. If that’s not enough motivation, don’t you want muscles like Popeye?
whatcha do with it? Anything and everything! Spinach is one of those ingreidents that you could seriously consider adding to a huge range of recipes. Add it to pasta sauces, lasagna, sandwiches, soups, stir-fry’s, dips, or as a delicious + healthy side dish.
Having these guys on hand- already shredded makes life so much easier! Plus, it makes me much more likely to use them in recipes.
healthy? of course! Carrots have few rivals when it comes to beta-carotene. A mere half-cup serving of cooked carrots packs a walloping four times the RDA of vitamin A in the form of protective beta-carotene. One raw carrot supposedly contains as much, though it’s not clear if all of it’s usable by your body. Beta-carotene may ward off cancers of the stomach, cervix, uterus, and the oral cavity, and it helps prevent heart disease due to its antioxidant abilities. Recent research results from Harvard University suggest that people who eat more than five carrots a week are much less likely to suffer a stroke than those who eat only one carrot a month. So there.
whatcha do with it? Like I said before, having these little guys on hand and pre-shredded makes it so easy just to toss them into just about anything you’re cooking! Whether you’re adding an extra crunch to a wrap or salad, some color + flavor to a stir-fry, or adding a health element to your favorite noodle recipe, like this one, you’ll love having a bag of shredded carrots in your fridge!
Who doesn’t like hummus? I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t.
[now that I’ve said that, I probably will.] Sabra is hands-down my favorite packaged hummus brand. I’ve tried many many different kinds, and so far I can’t find another that quite matches up. Plus, they have a TON of different flavors to choose from. YUM!!
healthy? Totally! The nutritional benefits of hummus can be rooted down from each of its ingredients. For one, chickpeas are very healthy because they do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fats. They are also rich in protein. This makes hummus a favorite among vegetarians who sometimes struggle to get much needed protein. Chickpeas are also known to be effective in preventing build up of cholesterol in the blood vessels. Apart from that, it can maintain correct blood sugar levels.
whatcha do with it? Besides using it as a yummy dip for an appetizer, feel free to spread hummus on everything from sandwiches to pizzas to veggies. It’s a staple in our household. I never leave the market without one [or two].
Having your favorite jarred marinara on hand makes quick weeknight cooking that much easier! Wegmans’ Grandpa’s Sauce is one of my favorites. It is robust! Lots of flavor already to go, which is a huge time saver.
healthy? Well, that depends. Depends on which marinara sauce you keep on your shelves. Like I said this sauce is pretty robust with lots of flavor, including sodium. Sodium will be your biggest obstacle when finding a healthy marinara. This particular brand has about 570mg per serving. Which is pretty high- however for my own personal health- I am not as concerned about sodium because I have abnormally low blood pressure [runs in the family, thanks mom!]. When finding your family’s favorite marinara check that sodium and keep your health concerns in mind!
whatcha do with it? Obviously you can use it on pasta, but having it on hand gives you the flexibility of wiggling it into other dishes as well. I use it when making dips, creating new pasta sauces, as a pizza base, on a meatball-melty sub [drool], or over a classic like my eggplant mozzarella.