Yesterday was busy, busy, busy! I started at the Wednesday morning downtown farmer’s market to take photos for my Midwest Life and Cuisine blog—and of course bought tomatoes, corn and onions! Then it was off to a lunch meeting with my fellow teachers at Discovery Montessori Preschool to start planning the new school year and celebrate a co-worker’s 50th birthday. Finally it was home to work on a group of newspaper articles whose deadlines are fast approaching.
What to make for dinner on such a busy day? Going to a restaurant or ordering take-out would be a solution, but my sweetheart and I are trying to eat at home more. On the other hand, when would I have time to prepare a meal that didn’t come prepackaged in a box?
It's a time like this when a well-stocked pantry comes in handy. And by pantry, I also mean a refrigerator supplied with the basics. Then everything is readily available to make whatever your heart desires.
In my pantry, I always try to keep on hand:
- A variety of pastas
- Canned tomatoes—crushed, diced, whole, and sauce
- Beans—both canned and dried
- Chicken and beef stock
- Olive and canola oil
- Sugar—regular and brown
- Baking soda and powder
- Salt, pepper, oregano, bay leafs, thyme, rosemary, Italian seasoning, and other spices
- Meats—chicken breasts, bacon, pork chops, Italian sausage and hamburger
- Basic veggies—onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, garlic
- Cheese—parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar
Okay, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but you get the idea.
Back to yesterday morning. In 10 minutes, I chopped up onion, celery and carrots and dumped it all into a Crock-Pot. Next I added frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a crushed clove of garlic, 2 bay leaves, a teaspoon of thyme, a little kosher salt, and 2 14.5-ounce cans of low-sodium chicken broth. On went the lid, and I left it set on low all day. When dinner time arrived, I added a little butter and a flour-and-water slurry to thicken the broth. Then I cooked up some rice (you could also use noodles), and presto—homemade chicken stew!
Sorry I don’t have a picture to show you—we ate it all!
What’s in your pantry? Anything I should add to mine?