A well stocked pantry is really important for being able to make the most of quick easy dinner recipes. Having simple key ingredients in your cupboard, refrigerator and freezer makes it possible to pull together your quick easy dinner ideas with minimal effort and stress.
The grocery store shelves are lined with lots of healthy convenient foods that can help. Of course, what you choose to buy is personal, based on your family’s likes and dislikes and the kinds of easy everyday dinners you prefer to make. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking you have to buy lots of ingredients all at once. Just find 4 or 5 quick and easy recipes and pick up the staple ingredients for them. Then slowly and steadily add to your larder over time.
Before you know it you will have a well stocked kitchen that supports your desire to cook easy everyday meals in minutes. To give you some ideas. Here are the things I like to keep stocked in the kitchen so I can whip up dinner at home without having to resort to expensive takeout or less than healthy fast food.
Healthy Convenient Foods for Quick and Easy Dinners
In the Freezer
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Lean ground beef
- Ground turkey
- Pre-cleaned shrimp
- Wild salmon
- Mixed vegetables
In the Refrigerator
- Pre-washed bags of salad greens
- Parmesan cheese
- Salad dressing (I spend 5-10 minutes each week making my own but there are good bottled brands to choose from too.)
- Plain yogurt
- Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
In the Pantry
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Canned tomatoes (tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes)
- Canned beans (black, pinto, kidney, cannellini, chick peas)
- Canned vegetables (artichoke hearts, corn)
- Jarred roasted red peppers
- Canned tuna
- Canned salmon
- Jarred marinara sauce
- Tomato soup
- Cream of mushroom soup
- Rice (mixes and quick cooking brown rice)
- Dried pasta (spaghetti, ziti, shells, etc.)
These foods can be combined in dozens of ways to create quick easy dinner ideas. And on those days, when even that won’t work, you can always turn to one of my fall back quick easy dinner solutions, which is to grab a rotisserie chicken, a loaf of really good whole grain bread and bag of caesar salad at the market.
When you get home, enlist some help to slice the chicken and bread while you mix up the salad. (I love to doctor mine with a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice, splash of Worcestershire sauce and freshly ground black pepper.
It’s a quick easy dinner solution that can be ready in minutes and is so much healthier than takeout pizza, fried chicken or most anything from most food places.