For weekend entertaining as well as daily cooking, I like to have some staple ingredients on hand in my pantry/refrigerator. Below is what I recommend. Omitted from this list are the actual main events that you will cook (e.g., the meat and the veggies) because for me that is always changing. This list is comprised of the accompaniments. Although I do tend to have at least two forms of salad greens, a couple of in season veggies and a freezer full of chicken breasts, pork chop, pork tenderloins and a steak or two at any given time.
Keep in mind that I love vegetables and salads. I was a vegetarian for almost a decade before waking up to the reality that protein is actually good for you, keeps you full and tastes really good. But that decade of meat free living did impart in me a love for all that is green and sometimes multi-colored. I try to buy fresh seasonal vegetables, and I almost always will have a veggie as well as a salad served every night I cook (probably 5-6 nights a week). For entertaining, I may have two salads and two different veggie sides at one meal, sometimes skipping carb intense sides. I am a home cook who is determined to make my guests love vegetables and salads in addition to the meat. I don’t buy premade salad dressings. I make my own. I also rarely use frozen veggies (except for frozen spinach).
Admittedly, I don’t proclaim to always have the refrigerator ingredients at all times (particularly on weeks where work has consumed me).
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Brown Mustard – preferably Moutarde De Meaux Pommery
Extra Forte Dijon Mustard
Fresh Ground Pepper
Szeged – The World’s Best Chicken Rub
Food that need to be refrigerated:
Hard cheese (e.g., manchego or pecorino – these can last in your refrigerator for weeks to months)
Chives or Green Onions
Shallots (I am allergic to yellow, white and red onions)
Some fresh herb for the week: e.g., cilantro, parsley, basil, thyme, oregeno, sage