Q: I'm stuck at home. What can I whip together to eat?
A: Below are some healthy recipes you can whip together with some common pantry staples.
Short on ingredients but can't get to the store? Consider a grocery delivery for these rainy-day recipes.
A well-balanced meal will contain high fiber carbs, adequate protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating well can help keep your immune system at its best to help fight and recover from illness. Here are some healthy foods to keep on hand. Stocking up on these ingredients throughout the year can also help keep you from the drive-thru when you need a fast-but-healthy meal.
Lean or plant-based protein
Dried or canned beans of various varieties - for example, garbanzo, black, red, white, pinto, kidney
Lentils - green or brown lentils for firm textures like in stuffed peppers, or red lentils for creamier consistencies in soups
Fish - canned tuna, sardines, or salmon for the pantry; or store fresh fish in the freezer
Poultry/lean meat - stock up in the freezer; canned chicken in the pantry is also handy for quick soups or chicken salad sandwiches
Nuts and nut butters
Frozen veggies are packed with nutrition and often low in sodium - broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, brussels sprouts, stir-fry mixes, pepper and onion blends
Canned vegetables can be a very economical choice for stocking up. Look for low-sodium varieties, or rinse off the high-sodium liquid. Green beans, carrots, low-sodium tomato products, and spinach are great for soups or side dishes.
Frozen fruit is great in smoothies, or defrosted and added to oatmeal, yogurt or baked goods.
Canned fruit packed in their own juices contain many vitamins and antioxidants you need for a healthy immune system. Avoid fruit canned in syrup.
Canned pumpkin - a beta-carotene powerhouse for antioxidant benefits
High fiber carbs
Steel cut or rolled oats (oatmeal)
Whole grain pasta, various shapes
Low sodium broths for soups
Whole grain and all-purpose flour
Baking ingredients - eggs, canola oil, Stevia sugar blends, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, salt, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves
Dried herbs and spices - commonly used varieties include onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, chili powder, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and cumin.
Lime juice, lemon juice, and vinegars
Chocolate chips (just because!)
Here are some easy recipes to throw together that are soothing, delicious and (mostly) healthy.
Pantry Bean and Vegetable soup
1 32 oz carton of low-sodium broth, chicken or vegetable
1 15 oz can of low sodium tomato sauce
1 15 oz can low sodium diced tomato
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on spice preference)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 15-oz cans of beans of different varieties, drained and rinsed (example, garbanzo, black beans, and kidney beans)
1 14.5 oz can sliced carrots, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can cut green beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup uncooked pasta elbows or shells, whole grain
Combine broth, tomato products, and spices into a large pot and bring to a simmer.
Add beans, vegetables and pasta and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until pasta reaches desired tenderness.
Whole grain pumpkin muffins
1-1/2 cups whole grain flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 can pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
1 cup Stevia sugar blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
In electric mixer bowl, mix wet ingredients on medium speed until combined.
Turn mixer speed to low. Using a measuring cup, scoop in dry ingredients a little at a time until all ingredients are incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed to combine all ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.
Prepare two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray. Distribute batter in 1/4-cup portions. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin pans. Place on cooling rack to continue cooling.
Yields about 24 small muffins. Store half in a freezer bag in the freezer for another rainy day.
Slow Cooker Fajita Chicken
Thaw your frozen chicken in the refrigerator overnight, then throw it in the slow cooker in the morning so you can take the day to rest.
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup water
Place chicken in crock pot.
Top with seasonings.
Add water and lime juice.
Set on low and cook for 6-8 hours or until fork tender.
This multi-purpose ingredient can be served with brown rice and beans, wrapped in a whole grain tortilla with veggies, or shredded for soups, quesadillas or nachos. Cook a large batch now to cut cooking time later.