30 ingredients for quick, easy meals
You know those articles in women’s magazines and blogs, where they show you eight articles of clothing that can be combined into 40 different outfits? This is the same principle! I’d guess that at least 90% of what I make for everyday meals can be accomplished with only these ingredients.
Your list doesn’t need to match mine, of course, but hopefully this post will serve as inspiration. This list is mostly Paleo, almost Whole30 except for a couple items, and completely whole, real foods!
And be encouraged: once you look over this list, you’ll probably realize that you’re already well on your way to a well-stocked kitchen.
10 things I always have in the fridge:
(Note: links in this section go to my food blog oh, that’s tasty!)
1. Chopped onions. I chop up yellow onions a couple times a week, enough to last two or three days. Store in an air-tight container.
2. Eggs. Always enough for a couple days worth of breakfast, at least, plus a couple to spare. In the summer, I often hard boil several at a time and make deviled eggs for a quick, no-cook breakfast or snack.
3. Good quality hot dogs or fully cooked sausage. Quick, hearty lunch when heated up with some sauerkraut!
4. Already-cooked sweet potato. My favorite method is to slice them into 1/2″ slices, steam till done but not mushy, then freeze them separately so they won’t stick together. Once frozen, I add them all into a quart baggie and put them with my other veggies. Then at meal time, I just pull out what I need, and thaw 20 seconds or so in the microwave; just enough so they’re easy to cut. Dice, if needed, then add to scrambled eggs, soup, salads, hash. I also like to heat slices, mash them, and top with carnitas, taco meat, or any barbecued meat. Or mash some with butter and cinnamon for a quick, nutritious side dish!
5. Romaine leaves, and pre-washed baby spinach. I use romaine for salad, of course, but also as a wrap. Beyond salad for spinach: chop and add to soup or eggs. You can also store spinach in the freezer! This post has a short video showing how.
6. Maple syrup. For glazes, sauces, and salad dressings.
7. Condiments: tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), mustard, sriracha, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (or just a jar of adobo sauce), pickles
8. Full-fat coconut milk. A good sub, in many cases, for heavy cream. If you’re not avoiding dairy, stock real, unadulterated cream.
9. Lemon juice, sometimes lime juice. I juice a couple fresh lemons once every week or so, keep it in a small jar in the fridge. For salad dressings, deglazing a pan to make pan sauce, adding to tea, etc.
10. Flours: almond, coconut, flax. Substitutes for wheat flour in various uses. Keeping them in the fridge helps them last longer. Info on almond and coconut flour.
Additional things that are usually (but not always) in my fridge, or are seasonal:
Sauerkraut, bacon, rendered bacon fat, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, carrots, celery, green onions, zucchini (to make zoodles), bell peppers, cabbage, apples, bone broth, homemade mayo, romaine (used for wraps in the summer), already-baked russet potato.
10 things I always have in the freezer:
1. Chopped parsley, stored in a baggie with most of the air pressed out. It’s easy to scoop out a tablespoon or a quarter-cup as needed, with no additional chopping. This is more than a garnish; it adds a fresh, peppery zing and some bright green color to the party!
2. Hamburger; some cooked, lightly seasoned, and crumbled; some raw in 1/4 lb. patties. Sometimes, also fully cooked meatballs.
3. Salmon and other fish, individual portions
4. Shrimp, deveined & deshelled
5. Bulk sausage, Italian and/or breakfast, stored in individual portions
6. Homemade sugar-free marinara, stored in 1-cup portions. If you don’t want to make homemade, go for the most sugar-free brand you can find or afford.
7. Chicken thighs or breasts, prepped and frozen individually
8. Berries: sometimes mixed, sometimes single varieties
9. My veggies of choice: currently green beans, broccoli florets
10. Bone broth or plain chicken stock, stored in 2-cup portions
(Also: leftover chicken bones, onion ends, and parsley stems for my next batch of broth)
Things I always have in the pantry:
1. Bag of yellow onions
2. Head of garlic
3. Extra coconut milk
4. Vinegars: rice, balsamic, red wine, unfiltered apple
5. Oil: olive, coconut, and usually sesame for Asian dishes
6. Homemade seasoning mixes:
Make your own spice blends. Another so-simple thing that saves you time and money. Some of my faves (with links to my recipes on ohthatstasty.com)…
- Try my taco seasoning blend — which you can also add to sweet potato hash for a side dish, or sprinkle on salmon or chicken as a dry rub, or add to scrambled eggs.
- My GTC blend also works as a quick curry powder, which can be added to soups, veggie dishes, or chicken salad.
- This seasoned dry rub can also be made in bulk and used on pork or chicken.
- Chili seasoning is another thing you can easily mix up in bulk and use frequently.
7. Nuts: cashew to top an Asian stir-fry; almonds, pecans, and walnuts for salads & snacks
8. A little wheat flour or rice flour for pan-frying fish
See? Not such an exotic list, for the most part. You probably have most of this on hand. It’s just a matter of learning to see new ways to combine these basic “wardrobe” pieces to create an infinite number of quick, easy, healthy meals!
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