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Must-Have Kitchen Items

We came across this post on Rachael Ray’s website, listing her must-have kitchen items.  Some would clearly make our list, others maybe not so much.  Here are some of our kitchen pantry/fridge must-haves.  What’s on your list?  Visit our Facebook page to discuss.

  • Sea Salt

Sea Salt is created from evaporated sea water, containing dozens of minerals that you wouldn’t find in other salts like table and kosher due to the processing they go through. Minerals are essential for the body – they support your immune, nervous and skeletal systems, and aid in most bodily functions.  Sodium, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, zinc and iodine are just a few minerals found in sea salt. Sodium helps maintain blood pressure and the body’s fluids.  Calcium and phosphorous support bone and teeth health.  Potassium helps maintain your nervous system and muscles.  Iron supports red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Zinc regulates your immune system and iodine helps to regulate your blood pressure.  Add sea salt as a finishing touch to add a sprinkle of flavor to most dishes – roasted brussels sprouts with olive oil are one option!  Sea salt also pairs perfectly with desserts – we’ll never say no to a sea salt caramel chocolate chip cookie.

  • Chopped Garlic

Chopped Garlic stays fresh for a long time, saves tons of prep time compared to peeling and dicing garlic bulbs, and adds deep flavor to many dishes when briefly sauted in olive oil.  Let’s get real; garlic makes just about everything taste better.  Garlic is low in calories, rich in vitamin C and boosts the immune system.  It aids in detoxing your body and is a great source of antioxidants which helps prevent cell damage.  Saute your favorite greens like spinach, kale or green beans with garlic for a healthy and savory side dish.

  • Low Sodium Chicken Stock

Chicken stock adds flavor to many dishes.  It can be used to enhance a variety of meals – soups, sauces, rice and grains, meat and vegetables to name a few.   Try steaming vegetable or boiling rice in chicken stock for extra flavor.  Or make homemade chicken noodle or egg drop soup on a cold day.

  • Canned Tomatoes

We can’t live without this pantry staple.  Use canned tomatoes to make a pasta sauce to pour over your favorite spaghetti or make a quick and healthy tomato soup.   Whip up a homemade pizza (using frozen dough to cut the time in half) with canned tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for a yummy dinner, use to make chili on a cold night, or pour over baked chicken for a quick dinner on those hectic weeknights.  Canned tomatoes can take a boring meal to something extra delicious in minutes.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is versatile in that you can cook with it and also use it as a drizzle over completed dishes like salads, cooked seafood and vegetables.   While regular olive oil is processed with chemicals or heat to extract oil from the fruit, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is extracted through a process called cold pressing, which means oil was extracted through pressure instead of over a certain heated temperature.  EVOO is the highest-quality olive oil you can buy and can be used as finishing touches on dishes, in dressings or cold dishes or for cooking and baking.

  • Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts

Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts are something we keep in the freezer and pull out in the morning before work if we can’t come up with a better dinner idea.  With so many different ways to prepare chicken breast, you’ll have endless options for those busy nights.  Marinade in Italian dressing or a Lawry’s Marinade and saute, or throw on the grill.  It makes for a quick, easy, family-friendly dinner that is a great source of lean, low-fat protein.  Chicken is also rich in phosphorous, which supports healthy teeth and bones.

  • Grated or Shredded Cheese

Fresh Italian cheese is great, but for a family on the go, a high quality pre-shredded or pre-grated cheese, such as this freshly shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese combination, can be a great item to keep on hand in the fridge.  Finish off a pasta or pizza dish, add to a homemade sauce or soup, or include in a chicken, seafood or vegetable dish to add flavor.

  • Frozen Steam Vegetables

We love to keep an assortment of frozen steamer bags on hand.  We can quickly pop our favorite vegetables in the microwave for a healthy side dish, especially on a busy weeknight during the workweek.  We like to get creative, as well – drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepepr or season with spices.  Garlic is a go-to but try cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.

  • Butter

Buy a box or two of your favorite butter when it’s on sale, keep it in the freezer and pull out a stick as needed.  This is especially helpful during the upcoming holiday season.  We don’t know about you, but we love holiday baking and we always make sure to stock up on our main ingredients.

  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt

We use this as a low-fat substitute for mayo or sour cream in many recipes.  From mac and cheese and chicken salad to pancakes and muffins, nonfat greek yogurt can be a substitute for many of your favorite dishes.  Oh, and by the way, it’s a great breakfast item, especially with fresh berries!

  • Ground Beef

Ground beef is versatile and can be used year round for a multitude of dishes.  For fall and winter, use ground beef to add to sauces, for tacos or in chilis for a warm, homecooked meal.  For spring and summer, find news ways to use ground beef by constructing a delicious cheeseburger pizza or making your own burgers to throw on the grill.

Categories: Cooking
Posted at August 23, 2016 - 2:52 PM  |  Comments Off on Must-Have Kitchen Items

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