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Here’s what the experts in Food Network Kitchens always have in their kitchens:

1. Eggs: Whip up a quick omelet, poach eggs in tomato sauce or hard-boil a few for quick snacks throughout the week.

2. Parmesan cheese: Invest in a microplane zester and grate Parmesan into salads and soups.

3. Low-fat plain Greek yogurt: Perfect on its own as a snack with fresh berries or the base for a healthy, creamy dressing.

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4. Real maple syrup: Keep stored in the fridge.

5. Pickles: Think beyond just dill cucumber pickles. We love pickled green beans, beets, cauliflower and okra.

6. Oils: Extra-virgin olive oil for vinaigrette and drizzling and grapeseed oil for cooking. Both are heart-healthy, but grapeseed oil has a higher smoking point and the flavor is less fruity and strong, making it a better choice for sauteing.

7. Vinegars: Red wine and balsamic vinegars will cover you for salad dressings and the less acidic rice-wine vinegar is great for stir-frys.

8. Hot sauces: Keep a variety on hand and add a few dashes into soups, sandwiches and eggs.

9. Canned beans: Bulk up soups or mix with rice.

10. Whole nutmeg: Use a microplane zester to finely grate over yogurt, cottage cheese and fresh fruit.

11. Roasted sunflower seeds: Toss into salads for extra crunch.

12. Citrus: The zest can be used in marinades and the juice can be drizzled over cooked vegetables.

13. Salad greens: The pre-washed blends are great for a quick salad.

14. Pre-cut vegetables: Look to see if your grocery store has these available in the produce section. They’re wonderful to have on hand to steam, stir-fry or microwave.

15. Frozen brown rice: Some grocery stores now stock this, but it’s easy to do yourself. Cook off a large pot, cool completely and freeze in resealable bags.

Courtesy Leah Brickley on

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