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Top 10 Food Items to Keep on Hand to Add Flavor and Nutrition to Otherwise Boring Meals

Having a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator can be a busy cook's best weapon in the war against resorting to fast-food, high-fat, unhealthy meals. If you know what to keep on hand, you can easily whip up quick, nutritious meals that the whole family will love!

 

 

 

Here are 10 ideas for ingredients that will add taste, color and nutrition to your old standby's:

1. Roasted red peppers - can be used on casseroles, salads, pizzas, hummus, pasta, pesto

2. Balsamic vinegar - great for a fat-free salad dressing with a touch of olive oil, splash on steamed veggies, soups, add to pasta sauces

3. Fresh basil (freeze in ziploc bags to make it last) - sprinkle on salads, pizzas, pasta, pesto

4. Frozen onions and green peppers - use to jazz up spaghetti sauce, chili, fajitas, casseroles, omelets

5. Garbanzo beans - put on salads, puree to make creamy soups

6. Canned mushrooms and canned tomatoes - pasta sauces, pizza, casseroles

7. Teriyaki sauce - season stir fry's, use as marinade, splash on steamed veggies

8. Sun dried tomatoes - use on pizza, pasta sauces, sandwiches

9. Bottled minced garlic and gingerroot - quicker alternative than fresh, still packs in flavor

10. Chopped green chiles - Mexican casseroles, quiches, scrambled eggs, burritos

Your family might have other favorite ingredients. Just remember, if you keep a variety of tasty add-in's on hand, you'll be more likely to eat at home, which means you'll be more likely to eat a more nutritious meal.

© Health-E-Meals.com, 2002

Erin Rogers, a work-at-home mom of two, is the founder of Health-E-Meals.com, providing practical healthy living resources for busy people. Visit her website to sign up for the FREE newsletter, 'Dinners on the Double' - offering a quick and healthy, no-recipe dinner idea each week. Other available services include quick and healthy recipes, healthy cooking articles, fitness and motivation tips, healthy living web links, and lots more! Erin can be reached via email at erin@health-e-meals.com.

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