Pantry Pleasers: Great Quick Meals
Robyn Webb, MS, LN
A few basic pantry staples will turn you into a chopping champ and a skillet star. Take a look at Food Editor Robyn Webb's list of must-have ingredients (Cook's Staples, below) and follow her lead in crafting a delicious meal.
These ingredients are my go-to basics in the kitchen. They will help you turn just about any lean protein and fresh produce into a delicious meal. —Robyn Webb, MS, LN
Mustard: I always have Dijon mustard on hand, although stone-ground varieties work well, too.
Citrus fruits, especially lemons and oranges: Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for freshness. In addition to the juice, grate the peel for flavorful zest, which can be frozen and used as needed.
Broth (fat-free, lower-sodium): Depending on your pantry space, stock up on cans or cartons of broth or use instant broth packets with water, as directed on the package.
Shallots: These small bulbs are a bit milder than onions and store for up to six months in a cool, dry, dark place. If you're out of shallots, swap in onions.
Black pepper: I keep a peppermill stocked so I can grind it fresh as needed for the most zing.
Kosher salt: The large crystals of kosher salt help you eat a little less sodium because fewer fit onto your measuring spoon.
Onions (red, white, and yellow): Sautéed onions make a fragrant base for any number of delicious skillet dishes. There are subtle taste differences, but any color will do in a pinch.
Olive oil: This gift from the olive adds fruity flavor and healthful fat to our meals. It works equally well in cooked and cold dishes.
Marmalade or fruit preserves: One of my favorite flavor tricks is to add just a touch of sweetness to a savory dish, as I did with the turkey cutlets. Later, put a bit of marmalade to good use stirred into plain yogurt or oatmeal instead of sugar.
Garlic: Fresh garlic keeps well in a cool, dry cupboard. Cooking releases and mellows its bite.
Balsamic vinegar: This aged, slightly sweet vinegar adds a rich tart-sweet flavor to savory sauces and sprightly dressings. In a pinch, substitute red wine vinegar. Cook and reduce balsamic vinegar for an elegant drizzle for fresh fruit.