Loaded Pantry

The ability to make a dish out of ingredients you have on hand is a skill I have greatly valued over the past few years. Whether you are crunched for time or headed out drinking, it is important to fuel your body for whatever adventure you embark on that day or night. 

Pasta. The simplest dish to whip up that incorporates all the important components of a hearty meal. My version, however, had to be adapted to my new way of eating. I really had to work on redefining what staple foods I wanted to include in each meal. The following is a list of ingredients that I found as substitute staples from Costco to keep on hand at a relatively reasonable price; 

Chickpea Pasta noodles: I buy these in bulk at Costco, I find its the best bang for your buck! I can not say enough great things about these noodles! In my opinion, they taste as close to a wheat noodle as I have ever tasted, maybe even better! Whenever they have them in stock at Costco, I load up! I have included a picture below of the box of noodles.

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Mushrooms: Any variety you prefer. I typically get the mini belles if they are in stock, simply because the name reminds me of Italy.

Grape/cherry tomatoes: I find that you can throw these in just about any dish. They are a very versatile ingredient that adds flavor and texture to any meal. 

Spinach: Lately, I have been incorporating cooked spinach into any meal I can. I buy this in bulk at Costco because, in my opinion, they have the best price. 

Chicken thighs or Bacon: I like to have chicken thighs in the freezer so whenever I need them I have them. Lately, I have had bacon on hand which I normally don’t, however, I have been throwing it in a couple of meals to change it up!

When I cook I do not like to follow a recipe, this where I get to think on the spot and be creative. I think this is something I picked up from my nana, I always admired the way she was able to turn ingredients into a dish by just rolling with it.

Guidelines I follow when crafting a quick pasta dish: 

  1. Start by boiling your water for your pasta. Be sure to add salt to the water.
  2. Chop up the veggies you bought. This is where I chop up the mushrooms and tomatoes I purchased.
  3. Heat up a frying pan for your meat. Put some oil in the pan if you are cooking chicken thighs and season them using whatever seasoning you like (I love rosemary on my chicken). If you choose bacon or both, just place the bacon in the pan alone to begin. Leave about half the bacon grease in the pan afterward to add flavor to the pasta and to cook the chicken in if you so choose.
  4. Be sure to put the pasta in the water once it boils then monitor it while you cook your meat.
  5. Once your meat is cooked, take it out of the pan and put in the mushrooms and tomatoes. Add a splash of chicken broth, or whatever broth you have on hand. If you don’t have any just add a splash of water. Cook that for a couple minutes and season accordingly.
  6. Now combine everything into the pan; Pasta, meat, veggies, and spinach. Stir and drizzle with olive oil. You can also add a bit of hot sauce for heat, really you can add any kind of liquid to make a sauce.
  7. Finally, pour everything in a bowl and eat it.

This is just a rough run through of the process I tend to follow when getting “crafty” in the kitchen. I hope this is of somewhat useful to you!

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