By Linda Rakos, RD/LD, Assistant Director of Hospitality Services
It’s easy to put together a balanced meal from your pantry without yet another trip to the supermarket. If you have done some advance planning, a quick and tasty dinner should be easy to produce with staple ingredients from your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer!
- Select a grain. You should keep an assortment of pastas (especially some whole wheat), rice (brown is a good choice), or some kind of pasta convenience mix on hand. When you open a package and don’t use all of it, place remaining contents in a glass or sealed plastic container and date it.
- Look for a protein. A can of tuna, chicken or beans is a good choice. Check your refrigerator for any leftover cooked meat or eggs, but make sure it has not been there any longer than a couple of days. A block of cheese or pack of string cheese will keep for a number of days if it is well wrapped.
- Pick some colorful vegetables. If you don’t have any leftover cooked veggies or any raw in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, check the freezer. Last but not least, use a can of vegetables from the pantry, but make sure it’s the “no salt added” variety.
- Add some condiments, herbs or spices. Reduced-sodium broth and soup are flavorful musts for the pantry shelf.
- Looking for dessert? A can of fruit or a fruit snack pack item will round out your meal. Dried fruits are also a good option.
- Be creative! If you liked your meal, remember what ingredients you used so you restock your pantry and recreate it.