On any given day I usually have an idea of what I will make for lunch and for dinner. Sometimes I have already thought of specific recipe I will follow and sometimes I have a vague idea of what the meal will include and take it from there. For example, today is hot and I will make a hearty salad for dinner, complete with previously frozen homemade bread. I have chicken, I have an abundance of strawberries and of course, mint as far as the eye can see. Likely I will compose a green salad with a dressing that looks something like this strawberry-lemon basil dressing. Instead of basil, I will use mint, and I will add the maple syrup to my taste, since I do not enjoy an overly sweet salad.
Over the years I have discovered that there are several ingredients that are really helpful to have on hand at all times (the “indispensables”). Plain yogurt in particular can be used in a million ways and I always have a large tub in my fridge. I add it to salad dressings, combine it with a herb and a squeeze of lemon to make a quick dip for veggies, use it to marinate chicken and add a swirl of yogurt to finish a pureed soup. I could go on and on about the ubiquitous of yogurt in my house, but I won’t.
Other indispensables include fire-roasted tomatoes (pasta sauces, salsas), frozen fruit (add to oatmeal, blend into salad dressings), oats (can be added to most baked goods to boost nutrition), and anything in a jar and pickled. We add pickled jalepenos to every sandwich and taco we make. And the leftover juice from the pickle jar can be used as the base of a delicious and often spicy salad dressing.