Chef, food stylist reveals secrets to creating well stocked pantry to keep you satisfied

For the first time in her life, chef, food stylist and cookbook author Denise Vivaldo is no longer running a full-time business. Retiring created the need for her to make three meals a day at home, so stocking the kitchen was vital.

"My pantry, my freezer, my planning is everything so I can still enjoy myself. I want it to be healthy and delicious and pretty fast. But if we decide to go out, I'm not wasting food," said Vivaldo who now has the podcast Women Beyond a Certain Age.

Non-perishables first: Arm yourself with a variety grains like quinoa, brown rice, quick rice and no bake pasta. Then she says, "can" it.

"I have to have canned beans because I don't want to cook them that long. I buy every kind of canned beans, along with crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste," said Vivaldo.

Olive oil and spices are a must. Start with salt, pepper and she also suggests mixing these three together for most any savory dish: "I usually make a spice with garlic powder, white pepper, onion and paprika," Vivaldo said.

A variety of nuts can be helpful not only for finishing dishes, but a small handful while cooking helps satisfy while slowing hunger.

Another great tip is to buy an already cooked rotisserie chicken or just a regular bird one each week. It's great for not only a meal but also for leftovers and even making your own stock.

Everything on Vivaldo's table she had in her pantry and kitchen with the exception of some shrimp, but those can be a fun freezer food.

Make your list, stock the fridge, freezer and pantry with basics so even simple dishes solve your weekday dietary dilemmas.

Some things like grated cheese even quick cook rice are nice to have to make a meal fast. Multi-tasking produce such as onions even arugula work in soups, salads, even in finishing a quesadilla or sandwich.

"If you've worked a 10-hour day, if you don't have that in your pantry or refrigerator, you're going to end up ordering a take-out pizza," Vivaldo said.

Finally, think about friends or family that drop in with special dietary needs. Gluten free pasta or a non-dairy cheese can't hurt to have on hand.
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