Get This Stuff In Your Kitchen!

Like your clothing closet, your pantry should have some staple items. Depending on what brands you buy, these items are pretty inexpensive and can be the building blocks for yummy, healthy, and cost effective meals at home.

Here’s the list of pantry staples I recommend:

Olive Oil
Vegetable Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt/ Pepper
Spices/ Herbs (I like to have fresh rosemary and thyme at all times)
Broth or Stock (Veggie, Chicken or Beef)
Red/ White Wine (For cooking. No need for that $15 bottle)
All purpose flour
Potatoes (My favorite is red skinned)
Garlic/ Onions
Nuts (Almonds are my favorite)

Veggies (fresh is best but if you need things to last longer grab some of your favorite veg from the frozen aisle)
Protein: Chicken, Ground Turkey, or Fish are some healthier options

Here is a meal using only these ingredients:

Simple Grilled Chicken and a White Wine Cream Sauce:
Chicken Breasts
Olive Oil
White Wine
Cream (Optional)

Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper (both sides). Cover a skillet with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle some fresh thyme into the pan. Drop chicken onto the hot skillet and cook thoroughly on both sides.

White Wine Sauce
– Melt 4 tbsp. of butter or margarine in a saucepan over medium heat.
– Add 2 tbsp. of flour to the melted butter and whisk into a roux (a paste-like consistency). (Avoid lumps by adding the flour a little at a time.)
– Pour ½ cup of wine into the butter and flour mixture and stir with the whisk until the liquid is smooth.
– Stir the white wine sauce for several minutes, until the liquid has thickened to the desired consistency. Some people prefer a thick sauce while others may like a thinner glaze.
– Add salt and pepper to taste. Just a pinch should be plenty without detracting from the taste of the chicken. Stir in a dollop of cream if you like, to give your white wine sauce a richer body.

I usually serve this some Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
4 or 5 potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 (5-inch) rosemary sprigs
5 medium garlic cloves, lightly smashed

– Heat the oven to 500°F. Clean the potatoes, dry them well, and quarter them.
– When the oven is heated, add the oil to a 3-quart baking dish and place it on the bottom rack of the oven to heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering (about 3 minutes), carefully remove the dish from the oven and add the dry potatoes, rosemary, and garlic. Carefully stir to coat in oil, and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
– Return the dish to the oven, placing it on the bottom rack, and roast the potatoes, checking occasionally so that they don’t burn, until a nice crust has developed and they are dark golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove the rosemary, stir to coat the potatoes with oil and break up the garlic cloves, season as necessary, and serve.

There you go! A simple meal using only staple ingredients. Did I miss any?