Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pantry Staples

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I'm not much of a cook. When I do cook, I think I do a good job, and I watch the Food Network all the time so I know a lot about cooking, but I am by no means whatsoever very creative in the kitchen. I really dislike grocery shopping, and meal planning tends to make me a bit anxious. I also only cook for myself, and I alternate between periods when I'm really busy, and times when I'm just really lazy. As a result, I often end up trying to come up with meals that can be made with just a few ingredients, a few minutes, and a minimal amount of effort. Of course, just to complicate matters, I like to keep my meals as healthy as possible.

Enter one of my favorite dishes recently. I think there are probably about 1,000 variations you could do on this one-dish meal, all of which would be delicious. Here's the combination I have been making lately (based largely on what I had on hand and what I had time and energy to deal with):
I know this isn't the greatest picture, but it does give you a pretty clear idea of the four ingredients that went into this bowl--white rice (normally I use brown, but I didn't feel like waiting for it to cook today), edamame, chick peas, and a bit of grated cheddar cheese. While the rice is cooking (I like to make a couple servings so I have some to put away for the next meal), I saute the edamame (which I buy frozen, shelled) and chick peas in a pan with a bit of cooking spray. Once the rice is done, I combine the ingredients and add the cheese. The result is super simple but also delicious and satisfying.

Like I said, you could really vary this dish according to your preferences and *especially* what you have on hand. I am trying to put more thought into what I consider my pantry staples so that I can always make a dish like this, no matter how recently I've been grocery shopping. By keeping a few key ingredients on hand, you can really simplify your life. Especially if the thought of going grocery shopping appeals to you as much as it does to me!!

What do you think of as your pantry staples?


SueWho said...

My pantry staples are pretty much the same as yours. Chickpeas, white rice, and I do love canned artichoke hearts. Yum! They make a pretty good addition to a salad whether it's a rice blend or a green salad. And I always have some green or black olives on hand, but I don't use them as often as I would like to. Your rice salad mixture looks delicious - like good-for-the-soul food.

SueWho said...

By the way, I think I am going to make some of your rice dish stuff for my lunch this week!

EmLit said...

If you do make it, let me know. I hope you enjoy it!

Binx said...

Beans, pasta, rice, tofu, lentils, tomatoes and a few bags of frozen veggies!