A well-stocked pantry and refrigerator are the key to planning regular, balanced meals. Takeout or fast food may be easier, but people who make homecooked meals for dinner experience steadier weight control and lower stress and enjoy better health management (even improved sleep). Whether you’re a busy single, a parent of school-age children or an active retiree, the benefits are the same.
Step one: Take a good hard look at the items you’re storing. Give away the foods you don’t eat and stock your kitchen with delicious convenience.
Here is a checklist to get you started:
Stocking a Pantry
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Vegetable oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Chicken and/or vegetable stock
- Ramen noodles
- Canned beans (a variety of garbanzo, kidney, refried, black, navy, etc.)
- Seasonings, herbs and spices
Stocking a Refrigerator
- Tortillas (flour and corn)
- Fresh spinach
- Cheese (some pre-shredded melting cheeses and grated Parmesan)
- Greek yogurt
- Slaw mix
- Fresh garlic
Download this printable checklist to take with you to the grocery store:
Now that your kitchen is well stocked, here are some quick and easy recipes for inspiration.
Grocery list: rotisserie chicken.
From the pantry/fridge: broccoli slaw mix, chicken-flavored ramen, Thai peanut dipping sauce, sesame oil.
Grocery list: pork tenderloin or boneless chops, sweet potato, apple
From the pantry/fridge: egg noodles, garlic powder, onion
Grocery list: lemon, meat of choice (chicken, salmon or shrimp)
From the pantry/fridge: chicken or vegetable stock, rice, eggs, frozen stir-fry vegetables such as snap peas
From the pantry/fridge: eggs, black beans, cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack), tortilla chips, salsa, cooking oil, spices (chili powder, cumin or hot sauce)
What other must-have ingredients can be found in your pantry or fridge? What’s your go-to recipe for easy weeknight meals?