Does this sound familiar?
It’s cold outside. The skies are gray and the wind is howling. Leaving your cozy, warm house is the last thing you want to do. You head to the kitchen to whip up lunch or dinner, but disappointment hits: the cupboard is bare.
The first time this happens, you might order pizza and call it good. But next time you’ll be better prepared, because you’ve stocked your pantry with these seven healthy essentials that will make cooking a hearty meal during winter a breeze.
Beans make a great base for soups and chilies, so keep a few varieties on hand. Chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans -- they’re all great, so pick your favorites. Increase your options by stocking some canned and some dry.
Having quinoa, rice, barley, grits, oats, pasta, and other whole grains on hand will make winter cooking a whole lot easier. Healthy whole grains fill you up better than heavily processed types.
Since winter is the season of hearty soups, it makes sense to have some stock in your pantry – chicken, beef, and vegetable. Look for low fat, low salt varieties. And you have your choice of cans or resealable cartons.
Canned tomatoes are another versatile soup, stew, and chili staple that no home cook should be without. The choices are endless -- whole, diced, sauce, paste, fire-roasted, flavored with chilies, seasoned Italian, low salt. Stock up on a variety. They have a long shelf life.
Add flavor to your winter meals with your favorite sauces. Sriracha sauce, sometimes called Rooster Sauce for the rooster on the bottle, is a spicy favorite. Consider jars of pesto or marinara for simple toppings for pasta, fish, chicken, or meat. Salsas and tapenade make quick appetizer dips and spreads.
Canned fish is a great winter staple. Tuna comes packed in oil or water, depending on your flavor preference. There are even low sodium varieties. Canned salmon is a good source of calcium and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And, admit it, tuna and salmon play a bit role in your childhood comfort food memories – tuna salad sandwiches, tuna melts, tuna-noodle casserole, salmon burgers.
Try one of these 23 delicious canned tuna recipes.
Add nuts and seeds to recipes or eat them as a healthy snack. Almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds all add crunch, flavor, and healthy fats. Next time you’re craving a PB&J sandwich, substitute almond or sunflower seed butter for a yummy variation on a classic.
With these seven staples on hand, dinner will be as close as your pantry and those frigid grocery store runs will be a distant memory.