I think we’ve all been guilty of not knowing what to eat in our kitchen just days after grocery shopping, especially if time is short and food needs to be ready quickly. If you can manage to keep your kitchen stocked with the five following items, you’ll always find yourself with the means to throw together a quick and satisfying meal.  Forget writing a grocery list because you’ll be able to remember these five items that start with “P.”


Green peas are a healthy addition to your diet, and we’re talking about the frozen kind here. Buy a large bag of these next time you’re at the supermarket and you’ll always have something green to eat with dinner. Try this light and healthful Green Pea Soup recipe if you want something that makes peas the main star and you can’t go wrong with a classic French recipe for petits pois.


This one almost goes without saying. A packet of spaghetti is probably one of the first things any of us think to buy when shopping for a new kitchen. Nevertheless, it still deserves a mention because of how easy it can be to turn a packet of spaghetti or linguini into something extra special. One of my favorite combinations is spaghetti and fish. This recipe for Pesto Salmon Spaghetti is sure to impress your tastebuds. Another option that I love is Nigella’s Linguine with Garlic Oil and Pancetta. You can also check out these 15 minute recipes for a quick meal while studying.


Photo by Flickr user TheKitchenAccomplice


I felt like this “P” was a necessary inclusion for several reasons. First, parsley can elevate the flavors of almost any savory dish. It seems to just make everything taste fresher and has a way of bringing a dish together. I always buy flat leaf parsley and I’m pretty heavy handed with the stuff in most all of my pasta dishes. Parsley is more than a garnish if you use enough of it. I highly recommend making homemade pesto with it. Parsley in place of basil and walnuts or almonds in place of pine nuts can make for a cheaper pesto that still tastes great.


Pesto from a jar is a lifesaver for many weeknight meals in my kitchen, although it does taste better from scratch. Toss it into pasta or try it as an accompaniment with chicken or on bread.


Photo by Julia Maguire

Peanut Butter:

Perhaps the most obvious “P”, peanut butter is what I reach for when I want instant comfort and need to feel that the world is a safer place. Everyone knows that it’s heaven on a spoon or sandwich, but you can also make a million other things. For example, peanut butter fudge sauce for ice cream, a savory sauté sauce for stir fry or even homemade peanut butter hummus.


Photo by Katherine Carroll

Hopefully these recipe ideas show you just how versatile everyday kitchen staples can be. Keep your kitchen stocked with these five “P’s” and make sure you always have the starting point to make something better than ramen.

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