My Favorite Pantry Staples
I have very little time for reading magazines in my busy life, but I've been on vacation so I took advantage of the opportunity to curl up with one of my favorites, Real Simple. I love this magazine because the recipes are always, well, simple.
In this months issue the question to their readers was, "What is your favorite pantry staple?" I want to share some of my favorite pantry staples that help me create innovate meals from simple basics. Here they are...
Pasta - I'm never without a few styles of pasta. I look for pasta that is organic if possible, but definitely free of enriched flour. Enriched flour is highly processed and full of ingredients that don't occur naturally. The most common form of pasta people eat is durum semolina. Durum is a hardy flour. Semolina is a texture. This is all your pasta really needs. If there are other words in your ingredient list that you don't understand, keep looking.
Canned Beans - Useful in so many situations. I like to keep a good variety on-hand; black, pinto, pinquintos, kidney, and garbanzo. They can be used in a main course such as tacos, quesadillas, rice and beans. They can also make a great addition to a meal as a hummus, dip or spread.
Canned Tomatoes - Mix a can of Mexican blend tomatoes with a can of black beans on the stove, simmer for 20 min., and, presto, you have a great meal! You can also simmer a can of tomatoes with some sauteed vegetables to make a great sauce for pasta. I heard once on the Food Network that it is best to buy whole canned tomatoes because that means they have been less processed by chopping or dicing. I try to generally stick to this rule of thumb.
Rice - When I am out of food and going grocery shopping is just out of the questions, rice is my fall back. It is a healthy and fiber rich substance that is easy to spice up! It is the perfect compliment to meat, vegetables and, of course, beans. Brown rice is heartier and less processed than its white counterpart, but it is a bit heavy. I say go with what you like!
Couscous - This super versatile grain can be served with almost anything; red meat, fish, vegetables, even nothing at all. It is delicious all on its own and easy to make.