Q: How do I put together a list of items that I should keep in my kitchen?
A: Here's what the experts in Food Network Kitchens have in their kitchens:
1. Eggs: Whip up a quick omelet, poach eggs in tomato sauce or hard-boil a few for quick snacks throughout the week.
2. Parmesan cheese: Invest in a microplane zester and grate Parmesan into salads and soups.
3. Low-fat plain Greek yogurt: Perfect on its own as a snack with fresh berries or the base for a healthy creamy dressing.
4. Real maple syrup: Keep stored in the fridge.
5. Pickles: Think beyond just dill cucumber pickles. We love pickled green beans, beets, cauliflower and okra.
6. Oils: Extra-virgin olive oil for vinaigrette and drizzling and grapeseed oil for cooking. Both are heart-healthy, but grape-seed oil has a higher smoking point and the flavor is less fruity and strong, making it a better choice for sauteing.
7. Vinegars: Red wine and balsamic vinegars will cover you for salad dressings and the less acidic rice-wine vinegar is great for stir-frys.
8. Hot sauces: Keep a variety on hand and add a few dashes into soups, sandwiches and eggs.
9. Canned beans: Bulk up soups or mix with rice.
10. Whole nutmeg: Use a microplane zester to finely grate over yogurt, cottage cheese and fresh fruit.
11. Roasted sunflower seeds: Toss into salads for extra crunch.
12. Citrus: The zest can be used in marinades and the juice can be drizzled over cooked vegetables.
13. Salad greens: The pre-washed blends are great for a quick salad.
14. Pre-cut vegetables: Look to see if your grocery store has these available in the produce section. They're wonderful to have on hand to steam, stir-fry or microwave.
15. Frozen brown rice: Some grocery stores now stock this, but it's easy to do yourself. Cook off a large pot, cool completely and freeze in resealable bags.
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