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.


- 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.


- 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.