Paco brought to my attention that last night at Trader Joe’s, everyone seemed to only be picking up a few ready-made items. Premade salads, ready-bake pizza, etc. It was a Thursday night at 7:30–this is pretty typical when people realize they have nothing to eat at home, and stop at the store on their way home from work. We’ve all done this.
However, you can save yourself that daily trip to the store by having a few staples on hand. Cooking something quick at home probably takes about the same amount of time (or less!) than stopping at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods for something that’s almost ready-to-eat.
Here are a few things that I always have on hand:
* Starches that don’t go bad or last a while – Rice, pasta, Asian noodles, cous cous, tortillas
* Vegetables that last a while – Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots
* Meat – We usually have a few of the following in the freezer, thanks to a Costco purchase: leg of lamb, flank steak, pork chops, pork shoulder, chicken
* Frozen shrimp
* Chicken broth
* Garlic, onions, and ginger
* Spices – I have a ton but the following should get you started: cumin, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, thyme, oregano
* Fats – Butter, olive oil, vegetable oil
* Canned tomatoes and tomato sauce
* Canned beans
* Cheese – Parmesan and cheddar always, plus a variety of other random cheeses (right now we have Humbolt Fog and Emmentaler)
While sometimes bread, cheese, and wine are really all you can or want to pull together, having long-lasting staples on hand will really help you to whip up something delicious, even when you’re tired. And most of this stuff will last in your fridge or pantry for weeks/months.