Storing some basics for those busy evenings is easy to do. Here are some suggestions on what makes a well-stocked cupboard.

Spices, herbs and other flavourings

Herbs and spipces are an easy and healthy way to add lots of flavour to your meal. They add wonderful flavour to soups, stews, casseroles, and sauces. Include the basics like basil, oregano, bay leaves, cinnamon, thyme, garlic power, crushed red pepper, cumin, cayenne, curry, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, chili powder and onion powder. 

Oils and vinegars also enrich the taste of foods and are basics in many simple recipes. Include olive oil - regular and extra virgin, canola, peanut, and cooking spray - flavoured and plain. Balsamic, red and white wine vinegars, low-sodium soya sauce, and low-sodium chicken, vegetable and beef broth are essentials.

Pasta, grains, legumes, beans and dried peas

Dried pasta can be the basis for easy and nutritious meals. Whole wheat pasta mixed with a jar of bottled sauce - or thawed homemade sauce - or a can of tomatoes and some cheese with roasted vegetables such as peas, broccoli, or mushrooms is easy and delicious. Mix in some protein - cubed cooked chicken, pork or some canned beans (rinsed). Sprinkle with Parmesan or asiago.

Mix grains such as brown rice, barley, or quinoa  with roasted vegetables or add to homemade soups. Cook grains in low-sodium broth for extra flavour.

Pulses?

'Pulses' are the edible seeds of legumes (plants with a pod), including: Dry peas, Dry beans, Lentils and Chickpeas. The Pulse Canada website has lots of information about these nutritious foods.

Legumes belong to a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils. They are extremely versatile and nutritious. Lentils and dried peas are a good source of protein and fibre. They make a great addition to homemade soups, or salads or mixed with rice.

Canned beans - chickpeas, kidney, pinto, black, navy, etc. - add texture, taste and protein to soups and salads, and to rice and vegetable dishes. 

Baking staples

Flour - whole wheat, multi-grain and white, sugar, salt, pepper, yeast, baking powder and baking soda are basics you will need for baking bread and other treats.

Canned and frozen vegetables and fruits.

Tomatoes (low -sodium), green beans, corn, peaches, peas, pears. These can be used as either side dishes or as an ingredient in other dishes.

Other commonly used ingredients include bread crumbs, cereal, coffee, crackers, dried fruits, extracts, gelatin, nuts, tuna, salmon and peanut butter.

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