In my house, the first rule of mealtime is there are no rules. Provided the options are healthful and balanced, what matters most importantly is that my husband and daughters leave the table feeling satisfied and excited for the next meal. Keeping an open mind when thinking about dinnertime also takes a lot of stress out of cooking from scratch, and gives the feeling that my options are limitless.
Another safety net to help with dinnertime is my pantry. Stocked with a mix of home-canned and store-bought ingredients, I can create a dinner menu based on how much time I have available: canned beans for quick and easy meals, cooked-from-scratch beans when time is more generous. Here are five of my favorite pantry essentials:
Dry Pasta: Get the kids involved when loading up the pantry with this ingredient. I’m amazed at how my oldest daughter turns her nose up to spaghetti, but goes crazy for bow ties. Even though the taste is the same, I’ve learned shape really matters to kids.
Try this recipe: Ravioli With Creamy Tomato Sauce