Muir Glen Tomatoes Serve as Tasty Pantry Essentials
Stock your pantry wisely for quick and delicious multi-ethnic meals.
Well-chosen pantry mainstays can add depth and flavor to even the most basic dishes. With a wisely stocked pantry, anyone can prepare quick and delicious, multi-ethnic dishes with flavor and flair.
"I've found that many cooks are unaware of how to properly stock a pantry," says Steve Petusevsky, chef and recipe creator for Muir Glen. "By stocking the pantry with the right products, a wide variety of meals can be prepared in a matter of minutes," he added.
Here's an overview of essentials that versatile home cooks rely on:
- Tomatoes: A full-flavored family of tomato products such as whole, chopped, diced, tomato puree, and tomato paste form the foundation for almost any ethnic dish. Also, home cooks can make life easy on themselves by stocking up on recipe-ready tomatoes including Muir Glen's Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Onion, Diced Tomatoes with Basil & Garlic, and Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies; and pasta sauces such as Cabernet Marinara, Roasted Garlic, Sun Dried Tomato, Portobello Mushroom, and Balsamic Roasted Onion.
- Beans: Stock beans dried, canned or jarred. Try black, pinto, navy, cannellini, kidney and refried. Also, lentils combine well with tomatoes and are quick to prepare.
- Rice: There are dozens of varieties to explore. Try basmati, long-grain brown, Thai black, jasmine, Arborio used for risotto, and any number of the rice medleys called field blends. Other grains such as quinoa, spelt, kamut, barley and couscous — which is actually a tiny grain of pasta — make great pantry additions as well.
- Pasta: Always keep a few pasta varieties in both long shapes such as linguini and angel hair, and more whimsical, fork-ready shapes like penne, shell or bow-tie. Look for whole wheat, spinach and whole grain types. Tricolors are also nice for presentation.
- Spices: Keep a full range of dried spices in your kitchen pantry that will allow you to experiment in any ethnic direction. You'll need the basics, such as parsley, rosemary, paprika and thyme; however, some global spice blends like curry, garam masala, Cajun seasoning, Asian five-spice powder and chili powder form a valuable collection. Also, shop in Hispanic or Asian grocery stores for various spice pastes and unusual condiments that you can't find in mainstream grocery stores.
- Fresh Herbs: If you have a windowsill or sunny spot outside, it's easy to start an herb garden, which is not only rewarding in the kitchen but fun if you have kids. Fresh herbs like basil, dill, cilantro, mint and oregano are easy to grow and can be used in many dishes.
- Basics: The best stocked pantries are never without the most basic of staples: flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and powder, bread crumbs, cornmeal, oats, reduced-sodium chicken, beef and vegetable broths or bouillon cubes, dried mushrooms, baking chocolate, chocolate chips and a good variety of nuts.
- Condiments: Stock up on corn syrup, honey, lemon juice, Dijon-style mustard, salsa, Tabasco or other hot pepper sauces, and Worcestershire sauce. But keep in mind that many condiments require refrigeration.
- Oils and Vinegars: There are a many types and a growing number of flavors of oils for the pantry. Basics should include canola, olive oil, sesame, and a vegetable oil cooking spray. As far as vinegars are concerned, you'll find balsamic, red wine, white wine and rice vinegars most useful.
- Wines: Cooking with wine can provide just the right touch of flavor to everyday meals. No pantry would be complete without bottles of marsala, dry sherry and dry white wines.
- To maintain your "perfect pantry," mark items with purchase dates to make certain the oldest items get used first. Also, consistently eliminate items that hide in the back of your cupboard too long. Keep in mind that some items, such as yeast, have expiration dates, so check labels regularly.
All Muir Glen products are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides or synthetic chemicals. Muir Glen remains committed to help protect and nurture the environment.