Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The top 10 must haves in the kitchen for this Blue Collar household!

Ok, the holidays are well over with and I should have some downtime, right?! RIGHT?!? :)

So, aside from the nervous breakdown above, I want to apologize to you all for not posting sooner. I know that as a new blogger I have very tiny following but, I am so grateful to you all for hitting that "like" button on Facebook! That I feel I owe it to you to always do something or bring you something decent!

I've not had a lot of time lately do read a lot of my blogs and am truly going through  blog withdrawal! It's terrible! There really needs to be a rehab for this! :)

Anyway, since I've not been able to look anywhere else for inspiration, I have had to keep my eyes on my own house and food....not always as much fun as looking at other people's goodies and printables but, it keeps you on your toes!

Especially after a bit of a tight holiday, eyes on my own affairs is something I need to do for a few more weeks til, things are not as "tight"! Wise advice I think. That being said, a friend of mine the other day, was having a bit of time trying to make new and fresh meals. She asked what are my go to things in the kitchen. What 10 things do I always have on hand, that makes dinners good, different and don't always cost a lot.

A few I knew offhand, no thought about it, others I had to think about but, here is my list. I hope it's similar to yours or at least fives you some ideas!

1)Obviously some premixed spices, except garlic salt! I buy garlic powder and salt because I always mix my own garlic salt. I prefer more garlic and less salt and it's better for you. Obviously the better quality the better the taste but, really you can always buy the 50 cent garlic powder and massive carboard can of salt and it tastes just fine! Spices in general can make or break a meal though. Spices I always have on hand: Italian, chilli, lemon pepper, some kind of hickory, barbecue or hamburger seasoning and my littlest one's favorite for his fish, McCormick's Montreal Chicken....yes I said on his fish! lol It's actually quite delicious!

2) Another one being instant brown rice. I'm sure if you've not noticed by now you will! Most of my recipes that I make in the Blue Collar house have rice in some way. Why?? Because a) brown rice is healthier for you and b) it fills the tummy!! You can take the smallest amount of food and turn it into the most filling meal. You can even buy the instant kind with 4 bags or so in it and that easily stretches 4 meals and you are more than halfway through one week!

3) Another one, is frozen veggies. The kind that you can pop in the microwave and steam. You can buy the cheap store brand ones and usually, at least in my sad microwave, if you add a bit of extra time to them, they cook up just as fresh tasting as the name brand ones! I love these because you can dice, chop, etc and put them into anything! ANYTHING! Sneak them into burgers, mashed potatoes, plain rice, etc. This not only sneaks the much needed veggies into a meal but, again, fills a tummy up quite nicely!

4) Another given, soft shell burrito wraps. Any size is ok but, the bigger the better really, as it holds more food! :) These as I've said before in my other posts, are life savers when you're on the go or the husband or kids are. It's easily thrown in the micro, taken on the go. Once you try this, it's almost amazing you didn't do this before! If you can afford it, they have all sorts of flavors and kinds of them now. The Blue Collar house sticks to the cheap giant or small ones, depends upon what ever is on sale!

5) Rounding out the top five, is when the money is there, I will buy a bulk bag of Tilapia. It's relatively cheap for a decent amount. It is actually pretty healthy for you and not only fast to thaw out but, fast to cook as well. You can do loads of different things to it as well to change it up.

6) Always, always, always ground turkey. I say this knowing full well that if you get the regular, not white meat turkey, it is the same health wise as lean ground beef but, at least where I live, I can get twice as much ground turkey as I can hamburger for the same price AND when I cook with it, it is a lot less greasy than hamburger.

7) I always keep some kind of cheese on hand. Just because lets face it, what is not better without cheese!! :) Usually it's some kind of shredded combo cheese like Monterrey and Colby Jack but, there are times I find that Parmesan, like the kind you would put on spaghetti and pizza works just as lovely.

8)  Then as will a million other homes probably either Worcestershire Sauce and/or liquid smoke. One because it snows a lot here in the winter or it's FREEZING and I can't always brave the cool temps outside to grill out. Not to mention that used right, they can add such flavor to a recipe! Again, there are people that say the higher the quality the better the taste but, truth is you can always make anything taste good with the right spices or sauces! :)

9)  Eggs. Always have eggs on hand. Having a breakfast for dinner, is always a fun way to change things up and lets face it, you can add anything to eggs and make them fabulous! Spices alone, with veggies, with meat or a combination thereof.

10) Lastly, bacon. Be it turkey bacon and regular bacon, my boys LOVE bacon! :) I mean who doesn't! No secret or tip to why I keep it on hand, simple little boy love will always sway me to keep it on hand. I'm a sucker for a cute grin, followed by a peck on the cheek and a sweet little "please"!

I hope it's given you some ideas to rethink how you spend your kitchen bucks and maybe given you some meal ideas as well! Now, it's got me wondering what you can't live without?!

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