5 Kitchen Staples for Fall and Winter Cooking
By Meredith Kimelblatt
Take a moment to think about the foods that you always kept in your cupboard or your refrigerator during the summer months.
Your shelves were probably stocked with items like tomatoes, fruit and spinach ready to be thrown into green or pasta salads, chicken ready to be tossed on the grill and ice cream ready to be eaten for dessert,or at any point in the day when it got too hot!
In the fall and winter, your typical go-to dishes tend to change along with the weather. As the weather gets colder, people typically shift away from salads and cold desserts and move toward warmer, heartier foods like soups, chilies and casseroles that are full of fall flavors like cinnamon and pumpkin. To satisfy your dinnertime cravings at a moment’s notice this season, or to whip up a quick dish for an impromptu movie night or football tailgate, be sure that you stock up on the following ingredients and keep them on hand as your “fall kitchen staples”:
From black beans to pinto beans, beans are one of fall’s most versatile ingredients. They can be tossed on top of salads, used in salsas and side dishes or simply eaten on their own. However, they make the list of “fall kitchen necessities” because they are so easy to put into soups and chili recipes. Even if you don’t have ground beef or chicken breasts on hand, beans have enough protein to stand on their own in recipes like these. Throw them in the slow cooker with spices and some tomato sauce to have a bubbling, hearty dinner ready when you come home for the day.
· Greek Yogurt
Not only is Greek yogurt delicious as a healthy breakfast or snack option, but it is also one of those ingredients that can be added to all kinds of dishes, from baked goods to casseroles. When you’re entertaining company for a movie night or a football game this fall, try substituting Greek yogurt for typical dip bases like sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise. You’ll have lighter, healthier appetizers that still have the rich, creamy taste of the unhealthier ones.
· Pie Shells
Nothing says “fall comfort food” like a cheesy, saucy casserole or a flaky, creamy chicken pot pie. There’s just something about meals with flaky, golden brown outsides and creamy insides that warms you up from the inside out and gives you that “homey” feeling. Keeping frozen pie shells or dough in your freezer or refrigerator makes it easy for you to cook up a casserole or a pot pie in a short amount of time. Pie crusts and ready-made dough are also useful around the holiday season, when dessert pies are in high demand.
Soup is one of the easiest meals to whip up when it’s cold outside, and the only ingredient that you’ll need every single time you make it is a broth. Once you have chicken, beef or vegetable broth, all you have to do is add in whatever vegetables, spices, meats and noodles you want and simmer until the soup is bubbling and ready to eat. Serve your soup with some crusty bread and a side salad for a filling, incredibly easy meal.
If you only associate pumpkin with Jack-o-lanterns on Halloween or with pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving, this item may seem a little less practical than the rest of the list. However, pumpkin is an ingredient that actually goes way beyond decorations and pie fillings. Keep a few cans of pumpkin in your cupboard to use for a wide variety of meals, including stews, breads, pasta sauces, biscuits, macaroni and cheese, pancakes and of course, desserts. Pumpkin makes any recipe feel a little more like fall and is also a low-calorie way to add flavor to most dishes.
Keeping these ingredients around your kitchen will make cooking hearty and delicious meals for your family this fall incredibly easy and stress-free. So, go stock up,you’ll be glad you did!
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