Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scriber here with 3 foods to always keep in your kitchen. I know cooking everyday can be tedious. As the clock gets closer to 5:00 and you realize you don’t have a dinner planned, tensions can rise and you can start struggling to figure out what you’ll throw together.
You know you went shopping, so you have the main dishes, but what are you going to DO with them to turn simple ingredients, into full, satisfying meals, without spending an hour preparing the meal???
Keeping a few things in the house at all times, can help turn those last-minute meals, into masterpieces. So here are my top three suggestions on for foods to always have on hand.
Three Foods To Always Keep Around
Chicken broth is for so much more than soup. It’s so simple. But chicken broth can add real depth to any meal. Try substituting it for the water in your starch, like rice or quinoa. Sauté or braise carrots, chicken or eggplant in a few tablespoons of chicken broth for a delightful infusion of flavor. Mix a few tablespoons with butter for a lovely butter sauce or stir some into some gravy that got too thick.
For these types of purposes, I don’t like to buy the cans, because then I either have to use the whole can, or throw the rest away. So get the re-sealable boxes allowing you to just use what you need, and not waste anything.
Or, even better, make some of your own! It’ll have extra flavor and is easily storable in small amounts. Try my chicken broth recipe, made entirely from ingredients you otherwise would have thrown away.
Then pour it into an ice cube tray, wait for them to freeze, and dump them out into a freezer bag. Voila! Instant single servings of chicken broth, about two tablespoons each (depending on your tray of course)
If you read by No Leftover Left Behind article, you know that I LOVE having wraps in the house. Basically, you can cut ANYthing up and stick them in there, and you’ve got a delicious, individually customized meal. And a little filling goes a long way with these babies, so it doesn’t even take much. Throw some rice on the stove, and scavenge out the fridge for anything you can cut in small pieces.
Try new combinations! Wraps are a great opportunity to try combining foods you may not have normally combined. Tortillas are for more than chicken and rice. Leftover sausage with pasta sauce, balsamic vinegar, spinach and zucchini may sound like a strange match up. But it’s what I had in the fridge one day and now it’s asked for by name!!
So when 5:00 starts to roll around, and you’re stressing the lack of planned out food, knowing you have a package of flour tortillas can make all the difference.
Onion Soup Mix
This stuff literally makes everything taste amazing. No need to buy the fancy stuff. I can usually find a generic box of four on sale for a $1 and I’ll stock up by buying five or six.
Use a teaspoon of it to slightly thicken a sauce. Accidentally add in too much water or chicken broth? Counter with some onion soup mix to condense the flavor. Or toss in with your rice or quinoa as another way to spice up your starch. Or, a bit more unconventionally, throw some on the potatoes before you put them in the oven, cover the chicken in it before baking it, or use it as a rub on a steak. Have a pound or so of ground meat in the fridge? Cook it up with a packet of onion soup mix and the flavor will astound you.
The versatility of these little buggers is actually a little mind blowing. Once I started using it for more than soup or dip recipes, I realized how flavorful it really is.
And if the salt content, processed ingredients or gluten bothers you, check out my next post on Saturday where you can easily make your own and have full control over what’s in it.
Yeah, I know… I said three. But let’s be honest. No list of what you should always have in your kitchen is complete until we’ve listed a good dark chocolate. And no, I don’t usually use chocolate when I’m cooking dinner.
Although to be honest, I have eaten chocolate INSTEAD of dinner when no one else was home….
I hope you find these foods to always keep in your kitchen useful. What are your must-have add-ins that you always keep in the kitchen? Look me up on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. I always love hearing new ideas!