It’s time for a Top 10 List. Individual tastes aside; I’m going to share with you my personal top 10 pantry staples. Those go-to ingredients that are always readily on hand so that, even without a special trip to the grocery store, you can cook from scratch and avoid desperate dialing for carry-out (or take-away, as they call it on this side of the pond). My list doesn’t include basic basics like milk, salt, pepper, flour, sugar and butter. It violates some code not to always have those on-hand. So without further ado (drumroll, please), here are my top 10 pantry staples, in no particular order:
Balsamic vinegar (or another wine-based vinegar)
Frozen chicken breasts
My #11 and #12 (b/c it’s so hard to narrow it down!) – capers and bacon
Keep these ingredients on-hand and there’s a multitude of simple dinners you can whip up on a whim. I’ve included the recipe for my most favorite, Pea and Feta Orzo. Just a few basic ingredients, but oh so good! It makes a great side dish to accompany chicken, meat or fish but also stands on its own as a main. Some other pantry meal ideas are: (1) frittata with potatoes, peas and feta cheese, (2) pasta with lemony chicken, (3) spaghetti carbonara, and (4) chicken with lemon and capers with a side of roasted potatoes.
What are your top 10??
Pea and Feta Orzo (serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side)
1 1/2 cups (270 g) orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (120 g) frozen peas, slightly thawed
½ cup (50 g) feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper
Fill a medium saucepan approximately 2/3 full with water. Place over high heat. Once water is boiling add the orzo and cook until tender, approximately 8 minutes. Drain orzo and place in a medium bowl.
Add olive oil to the orzo and stir. Stir in the peas. Let sit until pasta has cooled down a bit and peas are mostly thawed, about 5 minutes. Stir in feta and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional olive oil if orzo is sticking/clumping. Best served at room temperature. Use leftovers for school lunch the following day.
This solved my dinner dilemma last night! I came home from work, stumped for a dinner solution and I remembered this gem of a recipe – all ingredients happened to be on hand! We served it to the kids as-is and on top of a spinach salad for the adults. Perfect!
Glad to solve your dinner dilemma! Will try it on top of spinach salad next time.
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