“What’s for dinner?” It’s the dreaded question that you know is coming at the end of a busy day at work, and more often than not (as much as you don’t want to admit it), you don’t have a plan. Thank goodness for take out, because sometimes there’s just nothing worth throwing together in the pantry or fridge. There are a few items, however, that are grossly overlooked when it comes to spontaneous meal choices, and we think they’re some of the best ingredients to cook with, whether the meal is planned or not.
Here are five ingredients you should make in a batch on the weekend so you can throw them all together virtually every day of the week.
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a good sweet potato, with a little butter and drizzled with some honey. This complex carbohydrate is tasty, healthy, and will give you an energy boost when you need one.
Here’s the best part, though: there’s no limit to what you can do with a sweet potato. Eat it whole, puree it into a sauce, dice it up and add it to a skillet with some other ingredients, mash it up and use it as a mashed potato substitute… it doesn’t matter what you decide on, it’s all amazing.
Ground meat is one of the most versatile things to cook with. You have choices between turkey, chicken and beef, you have a million different ways you can cook it, and you can season it just as many ways. If you lack ingredients for a burger, you can make hamburger steak patties. Have a random assortment of veggies lying around? Stir fry works great. Find some sauce in the pantry? Create a marinara or cheesy meat sauce. Super cold out? Make a chili. Options are endless as long as you have some ground meat. Our personal favorite – combine it with some diced sweet potatoes in a skillet to start a delectable and unique stir fry.
Beans are great to cook with – they are complex carbohydrates that are high in protein and fiber, and add significant substance to any meal worth eating. Add them to the chili you’re cooking, to the salad you’re pulling together, or to the casserole you’re making. Black beans are the perfect addition to the sweet potato and ground meat stir fry that you’re thinking about making, as well.
Peppers liven up every dish with fresh taste and beautiful colors. Eat them raw, bake them, saute them, grill them, it doesn’t matter. They’re the perfect veggie to include on pizzas, in soups, in casseroles, and (you guessed it) – a red one would work great in your ground meat-sweet potato-black bean skillet.
There’s one last ingredient that will tie everything together in your skillet dish… and that is diced tomatoes. It’ll add a seasoning to your dish that is undeniably good. If you’re not actually making that skillet, but you did find some diced tomatoes in your pantry, feel free to add them to your casserole, your tacos, your soup, or your spaghetti sauce. It’s another one of those ingredients that can be used for nearly anything.
Bottom line? These five ingredients are great to throw together for any number of things, and that’s including (but not limited to) the most amazing sweet potato-ground meat-black bean-pepper-diced tomato skillet you’ll ever eat!
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