Brit’s Pantry Staples

Brit’s Pantry Staples

Are you one of the one in five Americans who prefer cooking at home? Even before the coronavirus pandemic caused thousands of restaurants to close and forced people around the world to stay home, a survey published in February of 2020, found that a large portion of Americans prefer cooking at home to have more control over their budget and their health.

I began cooking regularly after I moved to Houston. Although going out to dinner has always been one of my favorite things, something about the portion sizes and type of food I was eating caused me to gain 15 pounds in a two month period. After I started cooking for myself, the weight I had gained began to drop off naturally. As someone who baked a lot growing up, but never cooked much, I had a lot to learn. One of the biggest things to think about when you begin your cooking journey is to have a fully-stocked pantry.

My pantry must-haves!

When I think of my pantry, I think of it in four different categories–spices, baking, starches and sauces.

Spices: The spices you use can make or break a dish. Outside of salt and pepper, paprika is my most used spice. The items I have listed below are my go-to spices.

Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Oregano, Cayenne Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Red Pepper Flakes

Baking: I definitely have the baking bug. From brownies and blondies to chocolate cakes and scones, I love baking! It relaxes me and makes me feel so accomplished when the sweet treats I bake turn out well. Because I do bake on a regular basis, I always need to have lots of flour and sugar on hand. Outside of my baking, many of these ingredients are also needed for the savory cooking I do so I always make sure I have these items around.

Flour, Panko Bread Crumbs, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Corn Starch, Vanilla, Chocolate Chips, PB2

Starches: It’s always important to have starches stocked in your pantry. I probably use rice most often…maybe two to three times a week so I always have lots of rice in my pantry. I also keep Annie’s Mac and Cheese because my husband loves it and regular pasta on hand to complete dishes.

Rice, Pasta, Mac and Cheese, Chick Peas, Black Beans

Sauces: When I think of sauces, I’m really thinking of the ingredients I need to make sauces. These ingredients can be used for making so many different sauces and are required in many of the recipes I make.

Tomato Paste, Local Honey, Coconut Aminos, Rotel, Crystal Hot Sauce, Hatch Diced Chiles, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Fish Sauce, Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil , Vegetable Oil, Anchovy Paste, Beef Stock, Chicken Broth

Not mentioned in my list: my aprons! I love cooking in my aprons. Many of them were gifts or something I bought on a trip so these aprons always bring back fun memories for me and keep my clothes clean when the oil in the kitchen is flying!

What are your pantry must-haves? Let me know what you think of my list and happy cooking!

XO,

Brit

The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken

The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken

Tonight I am making The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken for dinner. This light, asian-inspired dish is a perfect dinner to get your week off to a healthy start.

Black Pepper Chicken recipe excerpted from The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes © 2019 by Alex Snodgrass.

INGREDIENTS:

BLACK PEPPER SAUCE

¼ cup chicken broth

¼ cup coconut aminos

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (Red Boat)

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (see note)

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

CHICKEN

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons avocado oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons arrowroot starch

4 celery stalks, ends trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced (2 cups)

3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

MAKE THE BLACK PEPPER SAUCE: In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, coconut aminos, vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper and ground ginger. Set aside until ready to use.

MAKE THE CHICKEN: Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with parchment paper. Use a meat mallet or the bottom of a skillet to pound the chicken until it is an even ¼ inch thick. Discard the parchment, then cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.

Place the cubed chicken in a medium bowl with 2 teaspoons of the avocado oil, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat, then add the arrowroot and toss again.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining ¼ cup avocado oil. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add the chicken to the skillet in a single layer (you may need to do this in two batches). Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the celery and onion to the same skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn, about 1 minute.

Return the chicken to the skillet with the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick and coats the chicken and vegetables, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt to taste. Serve as is or with cauliflower rice, and top with a sprinkle of pepper.

NOTE: Regular old ground black pepper just doesn’t work in this dish! It’s essential that you use freshly cracked black pepper.

In the cookbook, Alex suggests serving the black pepper chicken over cauliflower rice, but my husband loves white rice so I served mine tonight with Lundberg Farms Jasmine rice. If you want a little more spice, peppers would be a great addition to this dish, but it is really delicious the way it is.

I hope you love this dish! Leave me a comment and let me know what you are cooking tonight!

XO,

Brit

Rumbi Grill-Inspired Teriyaki Bowls

Rumbi Grill-Inspired Teriyaki Bowls

Teriyaki bowls are one of my all time favorite meals and have been since childhood. They are such a perfect blend of nutrients and carbs and they are so easy to make. A little bit of rice, some chicken and veggies and you’re good to go. Tonight, I will be recreating one of my favorite restaurant versions of a teriyaki bowl from home.

Growing up in Salt Lake City, there was a little restaurant right by my school that my sister and I would go to all the time called the Rumbi Island Grill and we would have the best teriyaki bowls there. After my family and I moved away from Salt Lake, I would crave these bowls. I finally tried to re-create them and I think the recipe is pretty close!

Rumbi Island Grill Fire Grilled Chicken Rice Bowl

Brit’s Rumbi Grill Recreation

Serves four

Ingredients for the bowls:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders

4 cups of sushi rice

1 cup matchstick carrots (uncooked)

2 crowns of broccoli (chopped)

1 zucchini (quartered)

Sesame seeds

Ingredients for the Sauce:

3/4 cup coconut aminos teriyaki sauce

2 tbsp. coconut aminos soy sauce

2 tbsp. chili garlic sauce

1 tsp. dried or fresh ginger

1 tbsp. local honey

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

To make the bowls:

Pound chicken tenders with a mallet and season both sides with salt and pepper. It can be grilled or cooked in a pan on the stove, cook for three minutes on each side. Remove from heat, let the tenders cool and then cut them into small cubes.

Sautee zucchini and broccoli in a pan with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. cook for 8-10 minutes.

For the sauce:

Combine teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, ginger, honey and brown sugar in a pot. Once the mixture reaches a boil, add corn starch mixture and let the sauce thicken. Remove from heat.

To serve, scoop one cup of sushi rice per bowl, top with grilled chicken, matchstick carrots, broccoli and zucchini and top with as much sauce as you prefer. To garnish, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and enjoy!

Brit’s Rumbi Grill Recreation

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Happy cooking!

XO,

Brit