Stock your kitchen for quick nightly meals

Published 12:40 pm Sunday, February 23, 2014

We’ve all been there. It’s 6 p.m. on a Tuesday and you have no plan for dinner, so you end up eating out.

When you stock your kitchen with healthy staples like dried beans, frozen vegetables and whole grains, you can whip up a delicious and nutritious meal in no time. And when you choose private label items you can save money too, because private label brands generally cost less than name brands.

Check out the dietitians’ kitchen stock-up list:

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•Canned beans

•Dried beans*


•Nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)

•Peanut butter


•Canned vegetables

•Frozen vegetables



•Sun-dried tomatoes



•Canned fruit

•Dried fruit

•Frozen fruit


•Brown rice

•Quick oats


•Tortilla corn chips

•Whole wheat or Omega-3 pasta



•Dried herbs and spices

•Extra virgin olive oil

•Maple syrup




•2 percent-milk shredded cheeses

•Almond milk or soymilk

•Part-skim mozzarella sticks

•Skim or low-fat milk

* (Dietitian Tip: Soak these overnight on a Friday; then Saturday morning cook the whole bag. Then, freeze them in 1.5-cup portions to pull out when you need a quick protein source)

Once you have a well-stocked kitchen, mealtime isn’t as stressful.  Start by selecting a few go-to recipes that you can make quickly with items you have on hand. Try one of these quick yet delicious recipes made from kitchen staples:

 Spinach Frittata

Serves 4

All you need

•9 large eggs

•2 tbsp. milk

•1/3 cup shredded mozzarella or •Swiss cheese

•Sun-dried tomatoes, about 2 tbsp. chopped

•Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

•1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

•1 tbsp. olive oil

•1 large clove garlic, minced

•1 (16 oz.) bag frozen chopped spinach leaves, defrosted and the water drained off

All you do

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and cheese. Add in chopped sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Sauté onions in olive oil in an oven-proof stick-free skillet, until translucent, about 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Add garlic and cook a minute further. Add spinach and mix in with onions and garlic.

4. Spread out spinach mixture evenly on bottom of skillet. Pour egg mixture over spinach mixture. Use a spatula to lift up the spinach mixture along the sides of the pan to let egg mixture flow underneath.

5. When the mixture is about half set, put the whole pan in the oven. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until frittata is puffy and golden. Remove from oven with oven mitts and let cool for several minutes.

6. Cut into fourths and serve.

 Nutrition facts per serving: 280 calories, 16 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 425 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 20 g protein.  Vitamin A 80%, Vitamin C 10%, Calcium 25%, Iron 20%.