Last Saturday and Sunday was one of those weekends where I was around town, running errands and never got around to going to the grocery store. I had also forgotten to place a Fresh Direct order that Thursday. So this is a post based on what I scraped together from my fridge, freezer and pantry.
I always have some staple ingredients that I buy seconds of when the first is running low So what do I keep on hand?
In the pantry: chicken broth (boxed liquid and bouillon form), dried herbs, spices, basic baking ingredients (sugars, all-purpose flour baking soda/powder, and yeast), canned ingredients (tomatoes, beans, tuna, anchovies, sardines), oils, vinegars, Asian sauces (like fish sauce and soy sauce), light coconut milk, onions, garlic, rice, oats (rolled and steel cut), dried pasta and ginger.
In the fridge: eggs, mushrooms, carrots, soy milk, butter, white miso pasta, Asian sauces (like sriracha, chili oil, and hoisin), lemons, limes and (almost always) white wine.
In the freezer: frozen peas, corn kernels, dumplings, blueberries, edamame, meats, and fish fillets.
I usually buy a family pack of chicken thighs and freeze them. You can usually find a deal on the price per pound for family packs. I also get frozen fish fillets from Trader Joe’s. They’re very fresh (don’t smell fishy after defrosting) and affordable. They have the common fishes: salmon, mahi mahi, tuna, swordfish, cod, tilapia, and catfish.
Frozen foods are in general cheaper than their fresh counterparts. And they usually have equal, if not higher, levels of nutrients. For fruits and vegetables, they’re flash frozen when harvested so they’re at their nutrient level peak. By the time you purchase the fresh kind in the store, they might have already passed the peak and are in nutrient decline. Seafood is usually flash frozen right after the catch so they’re also really fresh.
If you can’t make it to the store, you can still cook up delicious dishes if you have these staples on hand. For example, with defrosted chicken thighs. You can marinade them in olive oil+balsamic vinegar+dried rosemary or sriracha+lime juice+lime zest+ginger and then broil them. It’s always nice to have items in reserve.
- Rinse the fillet under cold water and pat dry.
- Season both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoon olive oil.
- Add fennel and carrots to the pan. Cook on medium heat until starting to soften, 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add in mushrooms. Add in more oil, if necessary. Cook 1 -2 minutes.
- Add in thyme, coriander and garlic. Cook 1 -2 minutes.
- Add in lemon juice and white wine.
- Place fillet in pan, on top of the vegetable mixture.
- Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until done, about 6 minutes.
- Serve fillet with vegetables and top with some of the braising liquid.