The Pantry Tuesday, Apr 10 2012 

Whether you are moving to your first home or just doing some Spring-cleaning, having a well-stocked pantry can make throwing together a quick meal much easier.  When cleaning out your pantry (which could be one cabinet to a walk-in closet, preferably away from heat and light), take out everything and check for expired items. Dispose of any expired items and donate any items you no longer use (unless the containers are open). Next, put dry goods in airtight containers that are labeled with the date. Then, organize your shelves by like items (oil and vinegar on one shelf, pastas and grains on another, etc.) Below you will find a list for stocking or re-stocking your pantry. You will then be able to create meals on the fly even if your fridge is bare. This will come in handy if there is a natural disaster, as well.

For a well stocked pantry start here, revise and make substitutions based on your dietary needs and tastes:

  • Vinegar (Balsamic, Red Wine, Apple Cider, Rice, White)
  • Oil (Olive, Extra Virgin Olive, Vegetable)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Honey
  • Hot Sauce
  • Hot Chili Oil
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard (Dijon, Grainy)
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Crackers
  • Cereal/Granola/Oatmeal
  • Rice (Jasmine, Long Grain, Brown, Arborio, Basmati, Etc.)
  • Grains (Couscous, Bulgur, Quinoa, Kasha, Etc.)
  • Pasta (Assorted Shapes)
  • Canned/Boxed Broth (Assorted Flavors)
  • Canned/Boxed Tomatoes (Whole Peeled, Crushed, Diced, Pureed)
  • Canned Soups
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Canned Tuna
  • Capers
  • Jam/Preserves (Assorted — if you bake, include Apricot)
  • Nuts (Assorted)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Raisins/Currants
  • Dried and Canned Beans/Lentils
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • Olives
  • Olive Paste
  • Canned Peppers (Diced Mild Green, Chipotle in Adobo, Roasted Red, Etc.)
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Dried Porcini Mushrooms
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Onions
  • Flour (All Purpose, Cake, Whole-Wheat, Etc.)
  • Sugar (Granulated, Brown, Confectioner’s, Etc.)
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate (Semi-Sweet and Unsweetened)
  • Corn Starch
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Spices (Assorted)

Get Spicy! Thursday, Mar 3 2011 

I was not a fan of coleslaw until I discovered spicy, no mayo coleslaw. Here is a quick and healthy recipe. It goes great as a side dish or as a condiment to sandwiches: pulled pork, fried chicken, sausages, etc.

Spicy Coleslaw

1 head of cabbage shredded

1/2  red onion thinly sliced

1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chili diced

2 lemons juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste

Make a dressing with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cilantro. Pour the dressing over the cabbage, onion and chili. Mix well and let sit for about one hour. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Grind It Up Saturday, Nov 27 2010 

I don’t know why it took me so long to purchase an immersion blender, they really reduce cleanup time and speed up the soup making process for pureed soups. I went with the basic Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender, because I was mainly planning to use it to make pureed soups. The Cuisinart CSB-76 was about $30 and well worth it. If you are going to use yours for ice or on raw food you might consider a model with a stronger motor.

I love products that simplify tasks, before I purchased the immersion blender I would end up with several dirty pots and a dirty blender when making pureed soups. Now all I have to do is blend right in the pot and when I am done the hand blender comes apart so I can either hand wash it or put in the dishwasher. The soup making time and the cleanup time are greatly reduced.

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