I typically try to do my grocery shopping on Mondays to prepare for the week ahead and today while I was making my list, I realized my “pantry staples” had run out...*gasp*  If you have a pantry you know what I mean by “pantry staples.”  Those go to meal bases that never fail to help come up with an easy meal fast.



Having the basics for a meal at all times is always necessary when you have kids and never know how many mouths you will be feeding that evening for dinner.  Having a few ingredients on hand really helps when you have to put together an unexpected meal quick.  I swear by my staples and made sure to stock back up at the store today.


My number one pantry staple is whole wheat pasta; it is one of the most versatile ingredients that can make a meal in minutes.  Right next to the pasta I always have some pasta sauces, typically a few red and whites.  Whenever pasta sauce is on sale I usually stock up because my kids are never going to say no to pasta and sauce.

Lentils are my favorite legume so it is only right that I keep them stocked up as well.  They cook quick and easy for a meal in a flash.  In a bind I usually pair the lentils with some pasta sauce for a yummy chili.  Right next to the lentils, there will always be brown rice, you can’t go wrong with it. Brown rice makes a great base if there you have some veggies in the refrigerator and the rice has plenty of vitamins and minerals making it a healthy option too.

Onions and potatoes always have a place in my pantry.  There is no doubt that some sautéed or caramelized onions can make a tasty meal.  Potatoes are good for sides and can strengthen pasta sauce or soup.  Building on soup, bouillon cubes can always be found in my pantry as well.  It is an easy way to make your own broth and create a delicious soup using potatoes, miso paste, cubed tofu, spinach or whatever else you have on hand.

After shopping and filling my pantry back up with my necessities I am ready for unexpected meals and unpredictable amounts of mouths to feed.  I think having a few dinner starters on hand at all times is a great way to always be prepared if you have kids.

What are your favorite pantry staples?


Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie


Pantry Necessities

by on 2/27/2017
I typically try to do my grocery shopping on Mondays to prepare for the week ahead and today while I was making my list, I realized my “pan...
Happy Super Bowl Sunday all you football fans out there!  :) Although I am not a football fan, my husband is quite the enthusiast and wanted to have “the guys” over for a Super Bowl party this evening.  Of course I am always up for cooking and having a little get together at our house.  My husband asked me to secretly make only vegetarian snacks for the guys then at the end of the night tell them.  I had to laugh a little bit, he wants to see if they notice and then surprise them.  Of course I am not going to say no to making yummy vegetarian “game day man snacks.”

Little do our unsuspecting victims know, the day associated with eating copious amounts of stereotypical “meaty” and “manly” food is going to be very different at our house.

At first you might think creating meatless Super Bowl Sunday snack menu would be difficult, but don’t fear, I have cracked the code.  Why not try surprising your guests and have vegetarian snacks?  Here is what we have made-

Oven-Roasted Spicy Potato Wedges

Ingredients-
•    6 russet potatoes, cut into wedges
•    ½ cup olive oil
•    1 tsp. paprika
•    ½ tsp. garlic powder
•    ¼ - ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on your spicy taste
•    Salt and ground pepper
Instructions-
•    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
•    On a foil lined baking sheet toss the potatoes with the oil, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Spread evenly on the sheet and roast for about 25-30 minutes turning once until they are golden brown.  Enjoy!

Not so Pigs in a Blanket

Ingredients-
•    Cheddar Cheese
•    Vegetarian “hot dogs,” your preference, I chose Field Roast
•    Crescent rolls, your preference again
Instructions-
•    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil
•    Roll out the crescents and begin wrapping your pigs in the blankets.  I sliced the hot dogs into quarters, topped with the cheese and rolled them in triangle crescents.
•    Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly browned and enjoy!

Mini Nacho Pizzas

Ingredients-
•    4 English muffins, halved
•    ½ cup pepper jack cheese, or cheddar
•    ½ cup roasted tomato salsa
•    ½ cup refried beans
•    2 small jalapenos, thinly sliced
•    ½ cup onion, thinly sliced
•    4 tbsp. tomato, diced
•    Additional toppings if desired, I used olives
Instructions-
•    Preheat oven to about 350 degrees F.
•    Top the English muffin halves with salsa, then refried beans, and cheese.  Add the rest of the toppings and sprinkle some extra cheese on top.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool and add extra toppings if desired and enjoy!

What Super Bowl party would be complete without Taco Dip?

Ingredients-
•    1, 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
•    1, 16 oz. container of nonfat sour cream
•    1 package taco seasoning mix
•    ¼ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
•    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
•    3 chopped tomatoes
•    1 green bell pepper, chopped
•    1 small can of black olives drained
Instructions-
•    Combine the cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning in a medium sized mixing bowl.  When thoroughly mixed and smooth, spread on about a 9-inch serving dish.  Top with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, pepper and olives.  Enjoy!

Jalapeño Poppers

Ingredients-
•    12 jalapeño peppers
•    8 oz. softened cream cheese
•    ½ tsp. kosher salt
•    Pepper to taste
Instructions-
•    Heat oven to broil and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
•    Slice the jalapeños in a “T” shaped and open the flaps and scrape the inside to remove the seeds and ribs.
•    In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and salt, add pepper to taste and mix until smooth and combined.  Spoon the mixture into the jalapeño’s.  Place them on the baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes, rotate the pan and broil until they begin to char.  Remove and let cool.  Enjoy!

I can’t wait for the guys to be shocked that we have delicious snacks for the game but it is all vegetarian!
Have a happy Super Bowl,

Julie

Super Bowl Snack Time

by on 2/05/2017
Happy Super Bowl Sunday all you football fans out there!  :) Although I am not a football fan, my husband is quite the enthusiast and wante...