Thursday, January 8, 2009

pantry essentials

The Mark Bittman piece I referenced below coincided with my trip today to Trader Joe's to stock up on staples for eating well, so I thought I'd blatantly steal his concept and list my own Trader Joe's pantry essentials.  This list is less what I always have in my pantry, and more what a seasoned Trader Joe's shopper (I have memories of going there for a Sunday afternoon treat as a child) considers the best deals in the store.

-Fair Trade coffee.  They have a large selection, and we like all of them. 

-Chicken sausage.  Again, there's a big variety, and one sausage is usually between 2 and 4 WW points, which makes it an easy and tasty protein on a night when I don't have a lot of time to cook.  My cooking tends to focus on vegetables and grains, so I like to have easy proteins.

-Pine nuts.  They are so much cheaper here then at the grocery store.  I throw them on salads, and in pastas and green beans.

-Cooked lentils.  I will do the work of soaking and cooking lentils/beans myself when I have planned ahead, but these are great to have on hand for when I haven't.  

-Feta cheese.  In salads, in a Mediterranean style pita sandwich, in some of my regularly repeated recipes.  Feta is the cheese I use most often, along with parmesan.

-Fish.  There wasn't much of a selection today, but usually I'll pick up a bunch of tilapia or mahi-mahi.  When G and I are on track, I'll cook fish several nights a week.  TJs is usually a good place to get it frozen, although I'd like to get into a routine of buying it fresh.  Not sure what the cost differential is.

-Frozen burritos.  You can get some reasonably healthy ones at Trader Joe's, and again, great for a quick easy meal.

-Power bars for G.  Personally, I don't like most of them.  They're too many points for a snack, but I don't get enough satisfaction out of them to use them as meal replacements.  G plays basketball, though, and he likes to eat them before or between games.

-Quinoa.  I've been experimenting with it lately, and have found it to be everything everyone says: versatile, tasty, healthy.  I also like to check out the rest of the grain section and pick up anything interesting.  I've cut myself off from this lately because my pantry is full of things like Israeli couscous and random blends that I haven't used yet.

-Unfortunately, NOT wine.  Here in PA, you can't buy alcohol in grocery stores, so I listen with jealousy to rapturous stories of two-buck chuck.  Maybe one day the laws will change.

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled across your blog from Smitten Kitchen, and I am enjoying it. I think it will help with my journey.

    We cook lentils (no soaking required and they usually cook while I am cutting the veggies, which should be about twenty minutes) and chickpeas two to three cups at a time; they will store in the refrigerator for up to a week in a storage container. Then you can pull them out and add them to just about anything, or better yet you could make your own frozen burritos.