There are certain cupboard, fridge and freezer essentials which I swear by. I buy these every time I go for a food shop because I know they will be used and can be an essential ingredient to loads of different dishes. They aren’t exclusive to a gluten free diet but are definitely important when keeping on a budget and maintaining healthy.
I always think its important to have a well stocked cupboard full of tins and jars. There are those times where you just can’t be bothered to cook or you realise you forgot something in your last shop, so ensuring you have a plenty of food in your cupboard means a nutritious and tasty meal is never far away.
I’ve mentioned my love for roasted peppers in a jar before and I cannot praise these enough. They are pretty expensive in supermarkets but I stock up on them when I go to my local Home Bargains. They are usually 99p a jar and there are loads of different varieties. Preserved peppers have a very long shelf life even once opened. I use these in salads, pasta sauces or sometimes I just eat the jar in one go. You can make a lovely lunch using a nice piece of gluten free bread (hey, we all know it does exist) with hummus or some cream cheese. Once you’re finished with the peppers, keep the oil and use it for cooking or in a dressing. I used the oil on the Tuna steaks I made in a previous recipe and the flavour makes all the difference.
Another cupboard essential I think is important is quinoa. Although more expensive than cous cous (the grain it is so often compared to), when you consider how far a small amount of this goes once cooked then its good value for money. I usually make a batch on a Sunday night and would add it to veg for lunches in work and mix with spices for an accompaniment to a main meal. I’ve seen recipes using quinoa as a basis to porridge too so its a very versatile grain.
I wanted to quickly mention the ASDA Gluten Free Cous Cous I recently bought. I’m not usually overly critical of products but I would urge people to avoid this. I bought it out of sheer curiosity and I was unimpressed. The grain failed to absorb the water and just turned in to mush. Has anyone tried this product before? What was your experience with it?
Having a well stocked freezer is essential in my opinion. You can defrost most things pretty quickly if you have a microwave so a dinner is never far away. I tend to buy a lot of meat, fish and poultry in the ‘reduced aisle’ of the supermarket. I sometimes plan my meals around what they have available or I’ll check if they have what I need before buying the item full price. Due to the sell by dates I do have to freeze most of what I buy when I get home but it means I always have food in.
I don’t tend to buy a lot of pre-frozen foods but there are certain things I like to pick up when I’m shopping. I will try and buy a bag of frozen king prawns that you can cook from frozen. These are perfect with pasta, risotto and stir fry, well just about anything really. A bag will last me around a month and I’ll get about four dinners out of them. Usually I see frozen seafood at a reasonable price or on offer.
My next freezer essential is frozen fruit. I had ummed and ahhed about buying frozen fruit for ages but as the fruit is usually frozen the day its picked it keeps its freshness better than it being shipped and left to ripe on it way to the supermarket. This is also the same with frozen veg. Bags of frozen fruit are a lot cheaper than their fresh counterparts and will last a lot longer too. They are brilliant for making smoothies and I add frozen fruit to my porridge most mornings.
I’m sure I’ll think of more essential items I can’t live without soon. What are the products you always put in your shopping trolley?