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Quick Tips - Five Things You Should Keep On Hand

Be Prepared:  

The first step is to stock quality items that are flexible enough to work with the ingredients you may have on hand in your fridge. Here are five great products to get you started

  1. Imported Canned Tuna (packed in olive oil) - Tuna has a myriad of uses. For starters, it's the key ingredient of a killer Salad Nicoise. Anyone who has a George Foreman Grill, panini press, or a grill pan can also use this tuna for an authentic Italian tuna panini. Canned tuna can even be used in making a great sauce for pasta. Simply drain the tuna and toss it into warm pasta, along with capers, cherry tomatoes, parsley, and olive oil.

  2. Dried Penne Pasta - Everyone knows about the many different uses of dried pasta, but dried penne offers even greater flexibility. It is a fantastic replacement for elbow macaroni in mac and cheese. It can also serve as a terrific starch component in any casserole. Another nice feature of penne is its ability to be served at room temperature. If you've got cooked penne in the fridge, you can add it to leftover veggies, toss the mixture with a little Italian dressing, and serve it as an entrée pasta salad.

  3. Canned Beans - Beans are great for chili, stews, and soups. They also make a nice addition to any salad. But maybe the best reason for keeping canned beans on hand is their use as a quick appetizer for guests who drop by without warning. A can of cannellini beans (drained) mixed with olive oil, garlic, chopped tomato, and any fresh or dried herbs you have on hand makes a great topping for grilled bread.

  4. Canned Chicken Stock - This product has improved a great deal and is a far cry from the salty version you may remember from the past. Now, you can actually purchase organic and free-range chicken stock. Having stock on hand allows you to whip up a quick gravy or sauce for any meat dish. It's also a great base for many soups. Simply simmer one pound of vegetables, like carrots or cauliflower, in 4 to 6 cups of stock for 10 minutes. Process or blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper, and finish with a touch of cream.

  5. Canned "San Marzano" Tomatoes (chopped and whole) - Imported form San Marzano, Italy, these are two of the best canned products on the market. Unless you have tomatoes growing in your back yard, you can't do much better, especially when it comes making a great marinara sauce. They also make a fantastic tomato soup.

By keeping your pantry stocked with these flexible ingredients, you'll be able to prepare tasty meals in no time!

Has this happened to you? It's been a long day at work, and you arrive home tired and hungry. After rummaging through the kitchen, you discover that your fridge is pretty much empty and your cupboards are bare. It's been such a long day that you just can't bring yourself to go to the market. So, what do you do? Chances are, you pick up the phone and call a local restaurant or pizza chain that delivers.

Ordering in can be a nice solution once in a while, but over time the costs can add up. Not only are you paying more for your food, you're also probably eating meals that aren't very healthy. The good news is that this can be avoided! Simply by keeping a few very specific products in your pantry, you'll be able put together a quick and nutritious meal.

The Handy Pantry