Ingredients to Always Have on Hand

Ingredients To Always Have On Hand To Make Quick and Easy Dinners

Some nights, I just don’t feel like cooking. YES, it happens. I’m always tempted to...

Ingredients To Always Have On Hand To Make Quick and Easy Dinners

Some nights, I just don’t feel like cooking. YES, it happens.

I’m always tempted to just Seamless something, but unfortunately, there aren’t many healthy options in Jersey City just yet. This city is still evolving, and it’s no NYC (if I lived in NYC I think it’d be so hard NOT to Postmates from places like Sweet Green 24/7.)

When I don’t feel like cooking or don’t feel like running to the grocery store for ingredients for a specific meal, I whip up one of my weeknight “go-tos.” Today I’m going to share with you the simple ingredients I keep in my kitchen all the time for those go-tos.

What I Ate Today, March 21, 2017



I actually took the time to make a proper breakfast and it brightened my day! I made my two-ingredient pancakes, and added mashed blueberries into the batter and then drizzled with Wild Friends sunflower butter and sprinkled with chia seeds. AMAZING.


I had more of my raw nut mix, I’ve been on a real kick for the past two months. Raw cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and raisins.


Since I was cooking a lot for the blog, I kept my lunch simple, since I was testing and having little bites of my blog recipes as I went along. I made my go-to veggie sandwich. If you haven’t seen this before, it’s just hummus, spinach, onion, cucumber, avocado, carrots, mustard, wedged between Ezekial bread. It’s the best! Enjoyed it with a La Croix, of course (my favorite flavor is the grapefruit, ehem, pamplemousse.)


When I got home, I had a large cupful of Garden of Eatin’ tortilla chips. I needed these! Tough day 😉


Lu brought home wild king salmon from Eataly, so I made one of my quick and easy go-to weeknight meals – roasted veggies, sweet potatoes and salmon. I made asparagus, because, IT’S SPRING!


Nothing! I’m focusing on avoiding late night munching, because the past month I have been TERRIBLE. I’ve been stressed with various things in life (work, personal, etc) and I’m such a stress eater. On Monday, I decided to reign it back in so I’m trying to eat as clean as possible right now!

Ingredients I Always Keep In My Kitchen To Make Quick and Easy Meals

First, here are the ingredients that I always pick up at the grocery store (amongst other foods) for easy, quick weeknight dinners:


  • bell peppers
  • spinach or kale
  • avocado
  • zucchini
  • celery
  • carrots
  • eggs
  • brussels sprouts


  • veggie burgers (I love Hilary’s)
  • whole wheat burger buns
  • organic lean ground turkey


  • tomato
  • garlic
  • onion
  • sweet potato
  • quinoa
  • black beans
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • olive oil
  • spices (oregano, red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, cumin)

And here are the meals I make with them:

  • Sesame Stir Fry – using spiralized bell peppers, onions, and zucchini, I cook up the veggies with garlic and sesame oil (bonus points if you can add in some ginger), and add in cooked quinoa for a protein. When everything’s done, I add in a tablespoon of soy sauce and toss well and serve. You could also use shrimp, chicken, etc as well.
  • Mexican Bell Pepper Skillet – this is one of my go-tos from my cookbook and I make it often. Basically, you saute spiralized bell peppers and onions with canned tomatoes (drained) and garlic and then stir in black beans and fajita seasoning (I make a homemade one), then serve topped with avocado.
  • Bikini Bolognese – my go-to turkey meat sauce, made with oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, red onion, carrots, celery. Once the meat and veggies are cooked, I pour over my favorite jarred tomato herb sauce (Victoria Fine Foods), stir well, and serve over zucchini noodles.
  • Veggie Burgers with Sweet Potatoes – I heat up a Hilary’s veggie burger, toast a whole wheat burger bun and serve it with spinach, sliced tomato, roasted brussels sprouts (or sub in your favorite veggie here), and roasted sweet potato wedges.
  • Buddha Bowl – saute kale (or spinach, whichever green I have on hand) and serve it with roasted brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, over quinoa and top with a fried egg and avocado.

What are some of your easy go-to meals?


with love, Ali

leave a comment


  • Love this. Is there a recipe for roasted salmon, sweet potatoes and veggies/asparagus?
    • Roast sweet potato wedges seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika for 40 minutes at 425 degrees. Season asparagus with olive oil, salt, pepper, and soy sauce and bake alongside the sweet potatoes for 30 minutes. Rub salmon with country dijon mustard and roast for 16-20 minutes (depending on thickness). That's it!
      • Thank-you!
      • I w do this tonight!thanks!
      • Wouldn't have thought to do soy sauce on asparagus. Nice! I also think this was one of your best posts. You're probably thinking "I'm just sharing what I do..." but honestly your intuitive eating/cooking is so creative and anything but boring! I would LOVE to see more of "here's my go to meals" like those 5 you listed. I love your cookbooks because they offer substitutions, makes it seem easier and more adaptable. I know you write recipes as they are (and at its best), but I do like the flexibility that spiralizing allows! I think seeing so many spice blends can scare people away, but somehow saying "season with S&P and paprika, garlic, etc." doesn't seem as intimidating. Now I want to make your bikini Bolognese, no matter how many times I've skipped it!! Is that one in your first cookbook?
        • Yes you must try soy sauce - it gives ANYTHING that umami flavor! Thank you for the feedback on the post, I'm so happy you found it helpful. I will definitely continue the 'go-to' meal ideas. And YES, you must make the bolognese, it's so easy and delicious! Yes, it's in my first cookbook (it doesn't have an accompanying photo.)
  • My favorite post you've made! Thank you!
    • I'm so so happy to hear this, yay! Thank you for the feedback!
  • This was a great post. For me, identifying my fridge/pantry staples and learning how to cook were the two most important things I needed to eat better. When our spinach is running low, I know I HAVE to go to the grocery store because we can't live without spinach! Not for very long, anyway... and don't get me started if we're out of eggs!
    • Laura, exactly! Just know the basics and you'll never have an excuse to order takeout! :)
  • Love this! I keep many of the same staples on hand and they're a total lifesaver. I don't know where I would be without canned black beans and garbanzo beans!!
  • Any tips you have on avoiding the late night snacking? I have been struggling lately too!
    • Try brushing your teeth right after your meal. I've found the toothpaste aftertaste kills snacking urges.
  • I'm salivating at the pancake picture!
  • Love this!! My husband recently deployed & I have a picky 5 year old so I bought the inspiralizer to make it fun for us to both cook & try new foods.... I'm loving adding more veggies to my meal & allowing him to pick what he wants using this cool contraption (so far apples is all he'll eat but did love the smell of the sweet potatoes I've been cooking for breakfast so hoping he'll try them soon). This post helps me greatly since I'm really cooking for just me & sometimes don't feel like it. All the above recipes sounds delicious & so easy to make. Thanks for posting!
  • I am new to spiralizing veggies, fruits etc. I am alone, so I need to know if all the recipes you list, can be frozen, especially if made for 4 servings....I really don't want to eat the same meal for 4 straight days!! Any help or advice you give me would be appreciated.
  • I really like this post! I think knowing which staples to have on hand will be a lifesaver-- my husband and I have been trying to come up with a meal plan each week and it's been great... until this past weekend when we went out of town and didn't return until Sunday night. There went any chance of planning or grocery shopping! Knowing what to mindlessly grab at the store would really help keep us from ordering takeout when we haven't set ourselves up for success. We also just bought both of your books and are LOVING. THEM. So far we've tried the cacio e pepe and daikon ramen (but with carrots since we couldn't find a daikon at our store). Delightful way to mix up spiralizing! I'm personally super intrigued by the carrot hot dogs with spiralized pickles. Can't wait to try it! To make this comment EVEN LONGER-- I also wanted to note that I like how versatile your recipes are. I have to keep my diet low FODMAP, and so far a lot of your recipes either are within those guidelines, or can be altered very easily. Anyway, thanks for making awesome content!
  • Reading all of your posts and recipes makes me realize that I have way to much in my pantry. I no longer need sugar, syrup, noodles, sauces, soups, etc. I can make my own food from basic veggies and a few other ingredients and feel good about what I eat. Totally INSPIRED!
  • what is the recipe for the two ingredient pancake that you mentioned? Chere
  • Hey Girl! I just wanted to share that I bought both the Inspiralizer and both cookbooks for my Moms birthday. They came in the mail today and she called me very excited. She was already trying to decide which recipe to try first! A comment that I thought you would enjoy is 'There are ingredients I would not think of combining, but I think I will have fun trying them out'
    • Awww this makes me so happy! Thanks for Inspiralizing your mom! :)
  • This post was really helpful!! I love easy weeknight meals that you don't really need a recipe for - thanks for sharing!
  • I am ja getting ready to hit the market and ths list is soooo helpful! Thank you!
  • Spiralizers and air fryers are wonderful popular kitchen appliances. I would appreciate recipes that use both the spiralizer and air fryer. Air frying is so much healthier than frying, and quicker & more economical than using an oven. Looking forward to new ideas and delicious recipes. Thanks.