Stock Your Kitchen for Quick Weeknight Meals

We’ve all been there. It’s 6 p.m. on a Tuesday and you have no plan for dinner, so you end up eating out. When you stock your kitchen with healthy staples like dried beans, frozen vegetables and whole grains, you can whip up a delicious and nutritious meal in no time. And when you choose private label items you can save money too, because private label brands generally cost less than name brands.

Check out our dietitians’ kitchen stock-up list:


  • Canned beans
  • Dried beans (Soak beans overnight on Friday and cook them on Saturday morning. Freeze beans in 1-1/2-cup portions.)
  • Eggs
  • Nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
  • Peanut butter


  • Canned vegetables
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Sun-dried tomatoes


  • Applesauce
  • Canned fruit
  • Dried fruits
  • Frozen fruit


  • Brown rice
  • Quick oats
  • Quinoa
  • Tortilla corn chips
  • Whole wheat or Omega-3 pasta


  • Broths
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Mustards
  • Vinegars


  • 2%-milk shredded cheeses
  • Almond milk or soymilk
  • Part-skim mozzarella sticks
  • Skim or low-fat milk

Once you have a well-stocked kitchen, mealtime isn’t as stressful. Our dietitians suggest selecting a few go-to recipes that you can make quickly with items you have on hand. Try one of these quick yet delicious recipes made from kitchen staples:

Spinach Frittata
Serves 4.

All you need:

  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella or Swiss cheese
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, about 2 tbsp chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (16 oz) bag frozen chopped spinach leaves, defrosted and the water drained off

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and cheese. Add in chopped sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Saute onions in olive oil in an oven-proof stick-free skillet, until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Add garlic and cook a minute further. Add spinach and mix in with onions and garlic.
  4. Spread out spinach mixture evenly on bottom of skillet. Pour egg mixture over spinach mixture. Use a spatula to lift up the spinach mixture along the sides of the pan to let egg mixture flow underneath.
  5. When the mixture is about half set, put the whole pain in the oven. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until frittata is puffy and golden. Remove from oven with oven mitts and let cool for several minutes.
  6. Cut into fourths and serve.

Nutrition facts per serving: 280 calories, 16g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 425mg cholesterol, 400mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g sugar, 20g protein. 

Daily values: 80% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 25% calcium, 20% iron.


Quinoa and Black Beans
Serves 6.

All you need:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1-1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 3 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded 2%-milk cheese

All you do:

  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and sauté until lightly browned. Mix in quinoa and broth. Season with cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in corn and continue to simmer 5 minutes more.
  4. Mix in black beans and continue to simmer until heated through.
  5. Top with cilantro and shredded cheddar. Stir to combine.

Nutrition facts per serving:  310 calories, 9g fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 15mg cholesterol, 590mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, 7g sugar, 16g protein. 

Daily values; 8% vitamin A, 6% vitamin C, 25% calcium, 20% iron.

Source: adapted from

This is not intended as medical advice. Please see a health care provider for individual advice.

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