My dad used to always say: if you have the right tools in your workshop, you’ll be ready to tackle any projects that come up with ease. Smart words and the same rule apply in the kitchen as well.

If you want to whip up quality meals quickly, you need a few staple ingredients on hand to make it happen. Constantly rushing out to the store is expensive, time-consuming, and a hassle. Especially if you have kids in tow, so to make your life a little easier, here’s a list of 10 must-haves for quick and easy meals in your kitchen to create delicious, healthy, and stress-free meals.

1. Little Potatoes

All you have to do is tear open the bag and bake/boil/grill/sauté/microwave them. Our Creamer potatoes are naturally buttery tasting, pre-washed and require no peeling. Plus, they’re high in nutrients and low in calories.

Our Microwave -Ready Potatoes come in their own ready-to-cook trays. Try A Little Garlic & Parsley and A Little Savory Herb, each comes with its own seasoning package. Put them in the microwave, cook for five minutes, add a little bit of oil or butter, toss with the herbs seasoning packet, and serve—great on their own or mix in other veggies too. Super Easy. Super Healthy.

2. Olive oil

A healthy choice because it contains monounsaturated fatty acids-1. It has a light, pleasant taste and is very versatile. Use it for cooking, salad dressings, greasing pans, sautéing, and marinades.

3. Cheese

Keep some of your favorites on hand (it freezes well, just grate and store in a freezer bag) or buy it pre-grated to save time. Parmesan, feta, cheddar, Mozzarella. Everything tastes better with a little cheese sprinkled on top!

4. Onions

Pretty much indispensable—that’s onions. Earthy, sweet, or spicy, onions and chives are ideal for seasoning just about anything from soups to casseroles to stir-fries. (Chives grow like weeds, you can plant some in a pot near the kitchen and enjoy year-round.) Sweet onions—(the large white ones known as Walla Walla or Vidalia)—are especially delicious sliced thinly over salads. And, there’s nothing like the aroma of gently frying onions in the kitchen.

5. Sea Salt & ground pepper

Swap your regular table salt and powdery pepper for fresh ground sea salt and pepper. Hand-grinding your own salt and pepper will keep it fresh longer, you use less, and it will greatly enhance the flavor of your cooking. Switching is very simple to do—at your local grocery store look for the sea salt and pepper that comes in its own mill. Keep the salt and pepper by the stove and add it to your dishes just before serving.

6. Garlic cloves

Just like onions, garlic is an important go-to. Next time you are at the grocery store grab at least three big bulbs or the already peeled garlic and store them on your countertop, in a bowl, right by your stove. Here is a tip for cooking with garlic – don’t let your pan or oil get screaming hot and then add the garlic or it will immediately burn. Add the garlic to the oil while it’s warming up, this will allow the garlic to cook slowly and is less likely to burn. Add to anything from beef or noodles to Chinese or Italian dishes. Use raw garlic in salads, dressings, soups or on veggies like our Creamer Potatoes.

7. Dried herbs

An easy way to change up your meals is to add different herbs—sprinkle them onto pork, chicken, beef, burgers, Little Potatoes, and other vegetables. Our Microwave ready potatoes come with their own perfectly portioned seasoning pack, which makes it quick and easy to add flavor when you are in a rush. It is still important to have some spices on hand (besides salt and pepper), the ones we like are basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, dill, paprika, cilantro, and turmeric. Combine your own or buy a pre-mixed classic, such as Herbs de Provence.

8. Frozen protein

Have a good stock of fish fillets, seafood, beef, burger patties, poultry, pork, and sausages, and for vegetarians, veggie burgers, tofurky, or tofu. To save time – portion out the amount of protein your family will eat at each meal, place it in a sealed bag, and freeze it. Defrost in the morning and it will be ready to grill by mealtime.

9. Fresh veggies

Keep a stock of your faves in the crisper drawer: carrots, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, bell peppers, salad greens, plus some frozen veg—corn, peas, etc.

Tip: Chop up the fresh veggies and keep them in a container in your fridge. This will save you prep time for the week and the veggies can be easily added to any meal—fresh (with dip), steamed, sautéed, or roasted.

10. Balsamic vinegar

Tangy and robust, Balsamic is fabulous for making dressings and as the base of marinades, and for flavoring dishes. It caramelizes roasted vegetables, making them just about as tempting as candy.


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