The Canadian Living Test Kitchen creates its pantry recipes with the following staples in mind.
• Canned and bottled staples: Legumes (chickpeas, beans and lentils), fish (tuna, salmon and sardines), stock, marinated and plain artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, capers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, antipasto and salsa.
• Nonperishable staples: Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, rice, pasta, couscous, spices, oils, soy sauce, vinegars and sugars
• Vegetables: Potatoes, garlic and onions
• Dairy products and eggs: Eggs, milk, butter and cheeses
• Citrus: Oranges, lemons and limes
• Meats and fish: Steak, ground beef, chicken, pork chops and fish (overwrap store packages with heavy-duty foil or place in a resealable plastic freezer bag; thaw for at least 24 hours in refrigerator before using)
• Breads: Pizza dough, pita breads and tortillas
To everything, there is a season
Pick up fantastic locally grown produce to add to your meals. If you store it properly, it will keep well between weekly shopping trips.
• Vegetables: Keep sturdy fresh vegetables, such as green beans, zucchini, peppers (especially in season, when they're less expensive), green onions, beets, cabbage, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower on hand for salads and side dishes. Remove beet and carrot tops before storing to prevent them from becoming woody. Wrap in towels and enclose in plastic storage bags in your refrigerator crisper. Special vegetable storage bags, such as Peakfresh, ensure an even longer shelf life.
• Greens: Store greens, such as romaine lettuce and spinach, to use in salads. To keep for at least a week, store as for vegetables, above.
• Herbs: Keep fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives, rosemary and coriander, on hand to give colour and flavour to meals. Wash, dry and store as for vegetables, above.
Get a tuna-up
Tuna is a handy pantry staple that can be transformed into oodles of different suppers. And new varieties and packaging methods, such as easy-to-open pop-top cans and pouches, give you even more options. Flavoured tunas in individual serving sizes that feature herbs, tomatoes, lemon and onion add extra dimension to snacks, sandwiches and salads.
Tuna packed in two-serving pouches rather than traditional cans has recently hit the market and makes it easier — no can opener needed — and less messy to add to your menu. Since the fish is mixed with only a small amount of vegetable broth to keep it moist, it doesn't need to be drained; just pull open and add to pastas and salads.
Check out our Suddenly supper menu for easy meal ideas!
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