6 Must-Have Pantry Staples to Quickly Cook Tasty and Healthy Weeknight Dinners

When you have a 9 to 5 job, cooking something yummy and nutritious for dinner can seem impossible. This is especially true if you live far from your workplace, and always arrive home late so you only a few minutes to spare to whip up a proper meal.

If you are constantly finding it hard to serve healthy and tasty meals at night because you don’t have enough time, you can overcome this particular obstacle by stocking your pantry with the right ingredients. When you have the right pantry staples, you will be able to try different recipes you can do in minutes that will surely delight your family.

Get in touch with your food products supplier and check if they have the following products that should always be in your pantry:

1.    Whole grain pasta

Whipping up something Italian for dinner often means slaving for hours in the kitchen. However, by pre-cooking and freezing your whole-wheat pasta noodles, penne, macaroni, and shells, you will cut the whole cooking time by several minutes.

With this ingredient ready for use, you can easily and quickly make your sauce. Sauté ground beef with garlic, onions, and fresh tomatoes, add tomato sauce and your favorite spices. Once they are cooked, add the pre-cooked pasta noodles and top with cheese. You can serve the dish in the skillet to make it a home-style cooked meal.

By using whole grain pastas, you will be serving a meal full of fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

2.    Couscous

To add variety to your pasta dinners, add couscous to your meal plan.

Whole grain couscous is rich in iron, vitamin B3, and fiber. It is also faster and easier to cook: simply steam it for five minutes. Since it is quicker to cook, you won’t have to pre-cook and freeze it. You can then mix it with other ingredients to come up with a great meal.

One excellent recipe you can try is to mix couscous with olive oil, heirloom tomatoes, lemon juice, garbanzo salad, and fresh cherries. It is a filling and tasty salad that everyone will love as a side or as a meal itself.

3.    Canned tomatoes

Marinara is one of easiest pasta sauces you can cook in minutes. And to cook the perfect tomato sauce, you need only canned tomatoes.

Canned tomatoes are rich sources of vitamin A and C and the antioxidants lycopene and lutein. Make sure to get canned tomatoes with no added sugar or salt.

Tomatoes are also great for making fast one-pot dinner, stews, and soups. Some quick dishes you can make with canned tomatoes are tomato soup, chili, and zucchini with marinara sauce.

4.    Whole wheat bread

You can quickly come up with a filling, tasty, and well-balanced meal when you create sandwiches using whole wheat bread.

Whole wheat bread is rich in fiber and other nutrients. When you add fresh tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and other vegetables to your choice of lean protein, you will serve a meal packed with vitamins, minerals, and flavor that will satisfy every member of your family.

Aside from sandwiches, you can also use whole wheat bread to make a simple pizza. Simply toast some bread, top it with canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, pepperoni or ham, and cheese, and toast it again. You can even let your kids choose their toppings and make their own mini-pizzas to make dinnertime more fun.

5.    Canned beans

Canned beans are one of the food products in cans you need to have a lot of in your pantry.

Beans are excellent sources of iron, protein, and fiber. They are affordable as well. Canned beans are versatile and can be added to different dishes including stews, soups, and even veggie burgers.

Quick recipes you can try with beans are corn and bean quesadillas, sweet potatoes stuffed with beans, and the all-time classic, chili.

6.    Eggs

Rich in vitamins A, C, and D, eggs also contain calcium, iron, protein, and magnesium. They are one of the most nutritious foods around.

So be sure to add eggs to your dinner meals. You can make a vegetable or cheese omelet, frittata, or hash in minutes. You can also add fried eggs to canned beans and rice. Lastly, add some hard-boiled eggs to your vegetable salads as well.

Although you may want to indulge in a delightful restaurant steak dinner with your family on occasion, prioritize having a steady supply of the ingredients listed above. By doing so, you will always be ready to prepare something healthy, tasty, and filling for dinner in a matter of minutes.


Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at Horeca Trade LLC with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.