A few people have asked what staples I keep on hand in order to make my weekly menus work. In Part 1, I discussed what I keep stocked in my pantry. Now let’s talk about what I keep in my refrigerator at all times.
These two staples form the base for many of my entrees and side dishes.
1. Eggs. When I’m stuck on dinner or even lunch ideas, I love being able to throw together a frittata or scrambled eggs using whatever vegetables I have on hand. For the record, scrambled eggs with diced tomatoes and shredded Parmesan makes for a great quick and easy meal!
2. Tortillas. Ever since I received my package of New Mexican goodies in December, I’ve been hooked on fluffy flour tortillas. Not the paper-thin ones you find near the shredded cheese in the grocery store, but the thick ones that puff up when you heat them (I typically find them in the international section at the grocery store). I’ll eat them with nut butter or preserves for breakfast or a quick snack, and use them for tacos and enchiladas for dinners.
The produce in my kitchen is constantly shifting with the seasons. But I always have these two things in my fridge.
3. Diced Tomatoes. I diced and froze over a bushel of tomatoes last summer, and keep a quart-sized bag defrosting in the refrigerator for last-minute sauces and salsas. And it is so easy to toss a handful into all sorts of dishes: pastas, soups, and tacos. If you don’t have frozen diced tomatoes, canned would work as well.
Four types of dairy can always be found in my refrigerator.
5. Milk. We buy our milk in glass half-gallon containers, and typically have both 2% (for Dan) and skim or 1% (for me). I use both for baking, Dan uses it on cereal and I use it in my daily chai.
6. Butter. I typically keep two kinds of butter on hand: unsalted for baking and local salted butter to use as a finishing touch. A little of the “good” butter goes a long way!
7. Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt with a bit of peanut butter, fruit and wheat germ is my breakfast and lunch standby. I also use plain Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.
8. Cheese. I always have a bit of Parmesan, ready to grate over dishes for a finishing touch, and a large block of sharp cheddar for tacos, enchiladas, and last-minute grilled cheese.
What are your pantry staples?