Stock Up! 15 Pantry Ingredients That Make Weeknight Meals Easy

Katie Workman, author of The Mom 100 Cookbook, creator of blog shares her top 15 pantry ingredients (16 Photos)

Katie Workman on Apr 24, 2013 at 12:45AM

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Stock Up! 15 Pantry Ingredients That Make Weeknight Meals Easy

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Fresh Ginger

Ginger is a pantry ingredient often associated with Asian food, and rightly so, but one that adds wonderful aroma and flavor to lots of dishes. If you are a stir-fry person, you probably already know to always keep this on hand. It also features in Southeast Asian food, Indian food and so many other cuisines.

You’ll find fresh ginger in the produce sections of most supermarkets. It looks like a beige, bumpy root (which it is -- it's the underground rhizome of the ginger plant), and has a peppery and warm flavor. Look for ginger that is form and not shriveled or wrinkled, and free of any moldy spots.

Ginger is sharply spicy when raw, but mellows with cooking. It can be used in sweet dishes and baking as well as savory dishes. It has quite an array of health benefits and keeps for a long time in the fridge. Because fresh ginger is so bumpy, it can be a little tricky to peel with a vegetable peeler. You can also use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape the skin off of the ginger, which allows you take get over the bumps and into the corners more easily. 

If you mince some ginger and garlic, sauté them in some oil and add diced chicken, pork, shrimp and/or any vegetables, sauté everything until it's cooked through, then finish up with a splash of soy sauce, you have a very basic stir fry.


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