It’s The Little Things: Some Pantry Staples

First, the items I want to discuss are more like refrigerator staples and not pantry staples, because that is where these things are stored. But “refrigerator staples” does not roll off one’s tongue in quite the same way that “pantry staples” does. What? You don’t think “pantry staples” is pure poetry? Next you’re going to say that “Mops and Brooms” is not your favorite song. It’s a rap, by the way. And it’s sweeping the nation.

There are three products I always have in my refrigerator. They are not your typical staples. Let’s discuss:


Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip is my go-to staple. I love it with my my favorite grilled chicken in the summertime, but I have also paired it with steak and fish and it is equally delicious.

Even served simply with some grilled flat bread and rice is yummy.


It is a greek yogurt (tzatziki type sauce) blended with herbs and it is outstanding. I do not typically care for premade sauces and dips. I much prefer making my own, but this one is perfection. It is easy. I highly recommend it. I always have a container on hand.


This brings me to my next staple. I love Stonefire’s Naan Flatbread (I have found mine at a local little grocery store and in the fresh bread section at Albertson’s). Usually you would serve pita bread with the yogurt dip, but I like naan better. It is wonderful dipped in the yogurt sauce above.

I smear melted butter on each side of the bread and toast both surfaces for a few minutes each in a hot skillet. Then I cut it with a pizza cutter and serve.


This bread freezes wonderfully. When I want to use it, I simply defrost the package for an hour and then I cook it as I previously described. It is a healthy little appetizer served with veggies and the sauce above in case company spontaneously stops by.


Which leads me to the last staple I will be writing about today. Broccoli. It has always been my favorite vegetable. My kids enjoy it, too. Two nights ago my son had two servings of broccoli before he even touched his main course. “The secret is butter.” As it always is. By the way, that’s my second favorite song. It’s creaming its competition.

I love these prewashed and chopped broccoli florets that come in their own plastic bag. You can serve them raw with the tzatziki sauce. But I usually eat them hot as a side instead of with the dip. I puncture the bag with a fork two times and then microwave the bag for three minutes on high. I let the broccoli rest in the bag for one minute then I dump the broccoli in a bowl with two tablespoons of salted butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. I mix it together and serve it as a side to my family’s dinners throughout the week.

When I was taking the broccoli pictures my daughter begged me to make the broccoli even though it was almost nine o’clock at night (which explains the great lighting). I did. And we ate it up. I have heard that eating after nine is bad for you but broccoli doesn’t count right? Let’s see…

Brocolli after nine
Is perfectly fine.
Just drink some wine.
Don’t have a last line.
For this bad rhyme of mine.

What is your favorite pantry refrigerator staple? Do you use any of the ones I mentioned? What is your favorite thing to serve to unexpected company? I would not recommend poetry. They seem to leave after that. Hey, where are you going?

Angry Gnome’s Grilled Lemon & Cilantro Chicken


My husband made this recipe up. And I am in love. We eat this all summer. When we start making it, we know summer has officially begun. Eating this meal invokes instant memories of sunscreen and splashing children.



3 pounds boneless chicken tenders
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (for pita bread)
Tzatziki sauce (preferably the cilantro and chive version available at Trader Joes)
Pita bread (optionally delicious)
2 & 1/3 cup of white rice
1 Tablespoon butter (for rice)

For Marinade:

Juice and zest of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons of Montreal Chicken Seasoning
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 cloves minced garlic (or two teaspoons of all ready minced for you garlic in a jar. LOVE!)


My husband mixes and marinates the chicken in a large sealed plastic bag. He lets this marinate for one hour.




He grills the chicken until it is no longer pink. He flips them in the middle of cooking.





I make the rice and pita bread.

Add 2 & 1/3 cup white rice to a large sauce pan. Add 4 & 2/3 cup water. Add one tablespoon butter. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce burner to lowest setting. Cover and cook for twenty three minutes. (Depending on your stove, this might be twenty to twenty five. Play with what works for you.). Do not peek! Turn burner off. Let rice sit for two minutes.

Buy pita bread or naan bread. Turn burner on medium heat. Place medium sized skillet on burner. Lightly coat both sides of bread with olive oil. Place on hot skillet. Cook approximately two minutes per side. Place on paper towel lined plate. When all your bread is cooked, turn off burner. Cut bread with pizza cutter.


Spoon rice onto plate. Add chicken, bread, Tzatziki sauce. Enjoy!


Oh, and it goes without saying that this is even better with a glass of white wine. Isn’t everything?