Convenience, good nutrition and great flavor - that's a lot to ask of the ingredients on your pantry shelf. Here's our list of 20 pantry ingredients that meet those requirements.
PRODUCE- Sweet peppers: Choose from the rainbow of colors available. They're a good source of vitamin C, too.
- Broccoli: high in fiber and vitamins A and C. Along with other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and brussels sprouts, broccoli may help prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer.
- Pears: No longer limited to fall eating, pears are available all year.
CANNED AND PACKAGED FOODS
- Pasta: Keep an assortment of sizes and shapes on hand. It's nutritious and fast-cooking.
- Quick-cooking or instant brown rice: cooks in 10 minutes or less and contains more fiber than long grain rice.
- Stewed tomatoes: already seasoned to save you measuring and mixing time. This kitchen basic now comes plain, no salt added, Italian-, Mexican- or Cajun-style.
- Ripe olives: A small amount makes a striking appearance and flavor accent. They're a must for Mediterranean and Mexican recipes.
- Canned soups: Lower-sodium alternatives keep this pantry standby in step with today's tastes.
- Canned beans: High in protein and fiber, beans add variety to recipes and star in meatless meals.
- Dried mushrooms: Soak these flavorful oriental imports to use in recipes calling for mushrooms.
- Almonds: A toasty sprinkle dresses up almost anything, adding protein and monounsaturated fat.
- Non-stick spray coating: A quick spray eliminates added fat and the mess of greasy dishes.
REFRIGERATED AND FROZEN FOODS
- Low-fat cheeses: You'll find more types of cheese available in low-fat form. For added convenience, search out shredded or sliced.
- Low-fat plain yogurt: No longer a health food, low-fat plain yogurt is now a healthful cooking staple.
- Lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken: Ground beef has leaned up. To be called lean, beef can have no more than 10 percent fat by weight. Turkey and chicken are options.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or turkey cutlets: These help cut the fat from family meals, save time and can be prepared in dozens of ways.
- Fresh or frozen fish fillets: another quick-cooking, lean entree.
- Refrigerated pizza dough: Needing no rising or thawing, this handy dough makes more than pizza. Use it as a crust, wrapper, or make pocket bread or breadsticks.
- Frozen fruit juice concentrate: Pick from a growing number of flavors.
- Loose-pack frozen vegetables: Exciting new unseasoned combinations take the ho-hum out of vegetables.