Kitchen Essentials

Whether you're a gourmet chef, or a basic grilled cheese kind of guy/gal, I'm sure there are a few things that you just have to have in your kitchen. What is it? Red wine vinegar? Mushrooms?* Ketchup?

*About mushrooms: Don't mention them to my husband. Don't show him a picture. And, whatever you do, don't make him anything with mushrooms in it. I promise you, you will not find another person on this planet that detests mushrooms as much as he does. Case in point: he won't even order a dish from a restaurant if it's supposed to have mushrooms in it. He tells servers he's allergic to them. And he won't kiss me for hours after I eat a mushroom...

Here are the things that I *always* have in my pantry-slash-fridge. Always.

1. Olive Oil

This is a no-brainer. I fully believe that your kitchen isn't functional without olive oil. I have four different types of olive oil at the moment. I guess that means my kitchen is super functional. Along with the basic EVOO, my favorite oil that I use regularly is We Olive's garlic olive oil.

When you use this stuff, there is no need to add any more garlic. It adds so much flavor to your dish and makes everything smell delicious and garlic-ky, just the way I like it.

2. White Rice

What can I say? I'm asian. White rice is it's own food group for us. I remember growing up and eating at my grandparent's house. My grandpa would {and still does} make rice with everything. Meatloaf? Check. Hamburgers? Check. Fresh crab legs and barbequed steak? Check.

3. Soy Sauce

I feel like this can share the explanation above.

4. Brown Sugar

I've only recently discovered the joys of brown sugar, but now I realize how amazing that adding a little to your vegetables and sauces can taste. My favorite? Sauteeing carrots with butter and brown sugar.

5. Canned Tomatoes

I probably use canned tomatoes in two out of every five dishes I make: pasta, stuffed peppers, chilli...you get the picture.

6. Black Beans

My grandfather is Filipino and my grandmother is Puerto Rican/Cuban. I ate black beans and rice before I ate baby food. And now, when I'm hungry but don't feel like being gourmet, sometimes I'll make a pot of white rice and a can of black beans. Then I'll add scrambled eggs. It's wonderful, I promise.

Oh, and a tip for making black beans: just used canned beans and add some olive oil, garlic, and a little onion. It makes them taste a thousand times better.

7. Trader Joe's Spaghetti {Tomato Basil} Sauce

Unless I can find a different brand for cheaper, this is the only kind of sauce I'll use. It's a great base for adding meat {I prefer ground turkey or Italian sausage} or in lasagna. And it's pretty inexpensive {$1.79, I think}.

8. Dried Basil

I tried to get a fresh basil plant once. I killed it. So I use dried basil instead, and I use it in pretty much everything. It's no doubt my favorite herb. But I used it in meatloaf once. Yeah, don't do that...

So, I want to know: what are your essential ingredients? And what do you think about mine? And are you going to try rice and beans and eggs any time soon? {That's okay...I didn't think you would anyway}

Thanks lovelies, for listening!



Poekitten said...

After living in Asia for 3 years, I LOVE white rice. The instant stuff isn't allowed in our house:) We always have garlic, canned diced tomatoes, olive oil, mushrooms, baby carrots, celery and chicken. I LOVE basil and it's one of the few plants I don't kill. I can't wait to grow some again in the spring! I dried some of the leaves and I'm almost out:(

Joelle said...

Chicken is a good one! We definitely always have some in our freezer...and I agree on the white rice. But I do use frozen jasmine rice sometimes.

Beka said...

Oookay, so the rice-beans and eggs sound really good right now!

That's too bad your hubby doesn't like mushrooms. They're pretty wonderful things. :)

Basil, thank goodness, thrives in our garden in the summers.

Mrs. Bee said...

Oh man- I agree with you on the Olive Oil- I HAVE to have it. I also for some odd reason feel out of sorts if I don't have red, yellow, orange bell peppers and onions. My go to lazy meal is saute the peppers and onions in Olive Oil-- once they are ready add a can of black beans, a little bit of cumin, salt, pepper to taste, and a large can of tomato sauce- bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for at least 15-20 minutes but the longer you let it simmer the better- finally once you're ready just add rice (I prefer brown but I'm sure white would taste just as great) and Voila! Perfect meal! Love it!

Laura said...

Ha, I'm the exact same way (as your husband) about mushrooms! I blame it on my mom forcing me to eat the growing up. Ughhh.

Maggie said...

love carrots and brown sugar/butter glaze! one of my faves! and my hubs is the EXACT opposite - he eats mushrooms on EVERYTHING, he'll even eat them raw haha. i'm kind of ambivalent about them, but could definitely not eat a raw one!


Tara said...

I couldn't agree more about the brown sugar. I like putting a little in asian stir-fry sauces to sweeten the taste.

And I'm on the opposing side when it comes to mushrooms: the more, the better :)

Emily said...

Thats a good tip about adding olive oil, garlic and onion to canned black beans - I feel like when I make black beans at home they taste bland, so I will definitely be trying this out!