I love cooking from my pantry. I love whole foods and I love real foods.
If you snuck (or would that be sneaked) into my pantry you will find a shelf full of jarred legumes and rices. Just below it you’ll see a shelf packed with canned tomatoes, beans, jars of honey, jam, sauces and some vegetables. On the bottom shelf you will find Dan’s snack shelf (rather lack-lustre if you were to ask him… he hides his Girl Scout cookies in his woodworking shop) and baking items. There may be a box of jello from 2010, a box of whole grain or gluten-free pasta and I did spy a pouch of Lipton Onion Soup Mix too but that’s about it.
Most importantly, this means my food costs are super low and the shelf-life is long. Check out the price of a bag of whole grain rice versus a box of Rice A Roni on your next visit to market.
I don’t buy prepackaged or just-add-eggs and water foods. If I want muffins I make them from scratch (probably not as often as Dan would like).
It also means I know what is in my food. I’m not a big fan of sauces or dressings from a jar. When I prepare my own vinaigrette (it takes less than 4 minutes from scratch) I know the amount of sugar, sodium and preservative that will or won’t be in each serving.
I buy diced tomatoes like a fool, especially when they are on sale at Coscto. I use them for soups, stews, sauces and easy, one pot dishes.
So, I have this lofty vision… you will love diced tomatoes and beans as much as I do! Someday. When I need a quick sauce for pasta or my spaghetti squash I can have a sauce (with the whatever flavor I’m in the mood for) in under 20 minutes!
I recently taught a Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner class at Zest!, in Lititz. This Roasted Red Pepper is one I shared, it has so many applications to help make dinner time in the kitchen a cinch!
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped roasted red pepper
- Freshly ground pepper
- Sea salt
- In a small saucepan over medium heat sauté the onions in the olive oil until soft.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the diced tomatoes and roasted red pepper and bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Season with pepper and salt. Remove from heat.
- Use an immersion blender or blender to puree the sauce to a consistency you prefer.
If you are looking for a quick recipe to have on hand using this Roasted Red Pepper Sauce give this 30 minute chili a try. During my Zest! demo this is the recipe I whipped up as a spur of the moment example of how to use this sauce. Play with it!
- 1 batch Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 can (16 ounce) white, black or kidney beans
- 2 teaspoons Barbacoa chili powder (or chili powder you have on hand)
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- Pinch fresh grated lime peel
- Avocado, peeled, pitted, cubed (optional)
- ¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt (optional, no-vegan)
- 4 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro (optional)
- 4 lime wedges (optional)
- In a small saucepan simmer the sauce, beans, sweet potato, chili powder and paprika for 30- 40 minutes, until the sweet potato becomes tender.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with avocado, yogurt, cilantro and lime wedges.