With a year of home cooking under our belts, meals can start to feel monotonous from week to week. Luckily, here's some advice on how to make the most of your Whole Foods Market grocery run to help you reimagine your pantry with some special California ingredients. Keep reading to learn how to get delicious, inspired meals together with minimal effort.
Tip #1 Dried Spices are your Friend
Sometimes the key to creating a memorable meal is the addition of bold spice. Keeping dried spices like smoked paprika, mustard powder, and bay leaves on hand covers a wide range of cuisines, allowing you to pack a punch of flavor with just a pinch. Choosing dried herbs and produce like dill, ginger, lets you lean on these ingredients long after their fresh counterparts have met their maker in the crisper drawer.
"stock your pantry with some California flair"
Tip #2 Choose Versatile Ingredients
It’s time to throw all of your preconceived ideas about mealtimes out the window. Buying pantry staples in bulk can be more cost/environmentally efficient and will last longer stored in the freezer. You’re already stocking up on rolled oats for your morning oatmeal, so how about creating a savory oat porridge for dinner? And a hearty egg frittata is equally satisfying for dinner as it is for brunch. Simple rice can be served under a bed of stir-fried veggies or baked into luscious rice pudding. Canned chickpeas can be turned into a chic appetizer board while almonds or walnuts can be ground to use as a base for baking recipes. You can also toast the nuts to add crunch to any dish. And a jar of pickles can create a flavorful brine for chicken or add a pop to a tuna salad.
Tip #3 Experiment with New Combinations of Familiar Items
California has a vast range of climates which makes it conducive to growing great quality products like Muir Glen canned tomatoes, olives, citrus, grains and rice, wine, and garlic grown here in the US. Many of these ingredients span across many different cuisines, meaning you can create a Mediterranean, tomato-based stew using fresh herbs, meaty green olives and white beans to serve over pasta or you can recreate the vibrant, spiced lentil dish you might usually save for takeout.
"Spice up your pantry with some help from a few California provisions"
Tip 4 Make Enough for Leftovers
Use large-batch cooking as a tool to stretch ingredients across several meals. Prep extra aromatic vegetables that you might cook alongside a roasted chicken to use throughout the week, then plan to use the roasted chicken shredded in a soup, sliced for a sandwich, or diced to top a salad.
Tip 5 Unique Pairings
Putting together a wholesome meal can be as easy as opening a can of Muir Glen tomatoes and pairing them with something unexpected. Make a pot of creamy sweet potato and tomato bisque, an earthy braised chicken with a peanut-infused tomato sauce, or a tomato-strawberry compote to add a bright topping for overnight oats or even vanilla ice cream.