Pantry Staples for Quick Homecooked Meals – Updated!

One thing I’m proud of as a working mom is my ability to still cook dinner most nights. I’m the queen of quick and easy recipes. But I also keep a number of pantry staples on hand—things I know I can use to whip up something fast.

Recently, Susan re-posted a list of must-haves for quick-and-easy home-cooked meals that I created goodness knows when. I still believe in that list, but I’ve added items over the years. I cook a little healthier now. I’ve expanded my repertoire. And I’ve discovered new things my family likes to eat.

So here’s an update. An addendum, if you will:

You'll be glad you have these pantry staples when you need to whip together a healthy, easy meal on the fly. Here are our must-haves.

Edamame – Easy to cook, fun to eat. Makes me feel less guilty on frozen pizza or hot dog nights.

Ingredients for Stir Fry Sauce – Soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Turns any combo of meat and veggies into a meal worthy of take-out. Here’s a recipe to get you started.  This sauce is also great in fried rice. I’ll post that recipe soon!

Flour Tortillas – Slap on beans and cheese for fast burritos. Roll ‘em up with deli meat, lettuce and cheese for yummy wraps. You can even fry them for taco salad chips.

Diced Tomatoes – These are the foundation of my homemade pasta with meat sauce. For a lighter, quicker pasta dish, toss them with sautéed onions, basil, angel hair pasta and parmesan cheese.

Bacon – BLTs in the summer. Breakfast for dinner. Or, this yummy bacon and pepperoncini pasta (which also uses those diced tomatoes I just mentioned).

Chicken Breasts – I buy them frozen in a bag. Two of my favorite recipes? Chicken salad and this cordon bleu dish.

Canned Beans – I keep refried and black beans for burritos. And an assortment of other beans to toss into this easy chili recipe.

Rice – It’s an easy and popular side dish. Let the leftovers sit in the fridge overnight, then make fried rice. (I promised to post that recipe, right? I will!) Or make yummy, healthy turkey and rice soup.

Canned/Jarred Pasta Sauce – Sure, I heat it up and dump it on spaghetti. But I also use it as an ingredient in dishes like lasagna and chicken parmesan.

Frozen Peas – I toss these into everything: tuna casserole, homemade soups, rice cooked in chicken broth… sometimes it’s the only way to ensure that something green makes it onto my kids’ plates.

3 thoughts on “Pantry Staples for Quick Homecooked Meals – Updated!

  1. Canned fruit- a great addition to many meals, can add to salads as well.
    Tortilla Chips- quick nachos, side dish with sandwiches (the fiber makes them slightly better for you than potato chips).
    Deli meats- for hot or cold sandwiches, quick snack for growing kids
    Frozen meatballs- spaghetti, hot sandwiches,

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