The weather fear-mongering started early this cold weather season, with “Snowtober” in my neck of the woods. The snow hit on a Saturday, when I usually do my grocery shopping. I was all set to go out the door with a grimace on my face, because I knew it was raining really hard, until I did a double-take and saw there was actually sleet coming down. That killed my motivation pretty quickly.
I didn’t make it out of the house, and as a result, my supplies for dinner that day were low. I went into a tailspin at first, trying to figure out what to make, but luckily I had enough complimentary things that I could throw together to make a decent meal.
Having to rely on some of my staples recently leads me to share with you what my staple kitchen foods are. Here are the things that I use to make meals that can work with my eating in weight loss mode:
- Steamer bags and cans of vegetables. It’s easy to buy a bunch of bags to stick in the freezer, and even easier to throw one in the microwave and have several servings of veggies, without having to watch them closely to make sure they turn out just right. I prefer frozen vegetables to canned for nutritional reasons, but I will use them to save time. The canned vegetable I use the most? Sweet potatoes. They’re often my go-to starch side. I drain them, mash them and dole out a 2/3 cup serving for myself. 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes are probably second; I use those for stews and chili.
- Light hamburger buns and light flour tortillas. I use these for sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I have a salad or soup, I eat a bun buttered with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light or Olivio on the side. I’ve also been known to microwave-crisp a tortilla to eat with salsa.
- Canned beans. These can be used as a basis for many different dishes.
- Turkey ham or deli meat. I’ve professed my love for the turkey ham previously; I can’t say enough about how versatile it is–and how many servings you can get for under $5. In addition to using deli meat in lunch sandwiches, I’ve also “fried” it in cooking spray for breakfast and cut it up to use in omelets and other kinds of entree foods.
- Cheese–shredded and slices. I use 2% milk cheddar and mozzarella cheese and fat-free cheese slices regularly. I can’t be caught without them!
- Chicken broth. I buy several 32-oz cartons about twice a month. I use this much broth for cooking rice and making soups.
- Rice and couscous. I tend to eat more couscous than rice, but I’ve started eating rice a bit more regularly. My son and husband prefer white rice, but I have both kinds in the house.
- Liquid eggs. I keep these stocked for my weekend omelet making, and also for baking recipes that require eggs.
I’m going to stop at eight, but there are many more things that I regularly purchase to keep everyone in my house well nourished and satisfied. Have I missed anything that you can’t live without? Let me know what your cornerstone ingredients are!