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    April 9, 2024

    Cook for the Week & Brown Bag It!

    Stock your pantry and refrigerator with some basic staples and you’re on your way to creating healthful, tasty, and economical meals. Visit your local farmers’ market for the latest fresh produce in season. Cook for the week and brown bag it…from soup to nuts!

    Step 1: Stock up with these essential pantry staples:

    • Whole grains are rich in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
      Amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat groats (kasha), bulgur, millet, quinoa
    • Dried legumes are rich in fiber and a good source of protein.
      Black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, refried beans (fat free), white beans
    • Canned tomato products are rich in lycopene and beta-carotene.
      Tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes
    • Pastas 'with a plus' contain fiber, fewer refined carbs, and more protein.
      Whole grain pasta including Barilla Plus, Healthy Harvest
    • Healthful cooking fats contain monounsaturated fatty acids.
      Olive oil, canola oil, Pam olive oil spray, Pam canola oil spray
    • Canned fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
      Mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna
    • Condiments and seasonings add flavor and zing.
      Reduced-sodium soy sauce, reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce, Mrs. Dash seasonings, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, fresh lemons, fresh limes


    Step 2: Stock fridge and freezer with healthful protein sources and an array of your favorite fresh and frozen vegetables:

    • Soy and meat alternatives
      Extra firm tofu, veggie burgers 
    • Poultry
      Thin sliced chicken breast, chicken tenders, canned chunk chicken, ground turkey breast, hard boiled eggs 
    • Fish
      Fresh wild salmon, canned salmon, canned mackerel, canned tuna 
    • Lean Meat
      Loin pork chops, ground beef round, ground beef sirloin, eye round


    Step 3: Create these tasty meals. Brown bag it or eat at home!

    Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

    Marinate skinless chicken breast or breast tenders in reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce, and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and ginger for 1 hour. Cook on grill. Serve with steamed broccoli and quinoa pilaf.


    Sautéed Chicken with Garlic and Spinach

    Marinate fresh chicken tenders in 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, and 1 teaspoon of garlic for 1 hour and up to 2 days. Sauté over medium heat. Add fresh or frozen spinach to the pan, cover, and simmer. Serve with whole wheat pasta.


    Vegetarian Tofu Stir-Fry

    Marinate cubes of firm tofu in reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce for 1 hour. Stir-fry strips of zucchini, onion, green or red pepper and snow peas. Add tofu. Cover pan and simmer until tofu is heated through. Serve with brown rice.


    Zesty Rice & Beans

    Sauté 1 cup chopped onions and ½ cup green and red peppers with 1 teaspoon garlic and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add black beans. Serve with brown rice and chopped mango.


    Spicy Egg and Avocado Wrap

    Boil eight large eggs; remove yolks and slice. Spread out 4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas and layer avocado, eggs, cucumbers, lettuce, tomato and spicy chili sauce. Wrap up and enjoy!


    Baked Salmon Croquettes

    To 1 large can salmon (drained and flaked with a fork) add 2 tablespoons light mayo, 1 teaspoon yellow mustard, 1 egg, ¾ cup dry breadcrumbs, 1 medium chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients together. Form into small patties. Place on lightly oiled pan and bake at 450 °F for 20 minutes. Serve with kasha pilaf and fresh green salad.


    Grilled Pork Chops with Baby New Potatoes

    Mix together 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, ¾ cup grain mustard and 1 cup maple syrup. Grill pork chops until cooked halfway and brush mixture onto pork chops. Serve with roasted potatoes and steamed veggies.


    And Snacks or Spreads...

    White Bean Pesto

    In a food processor add together 15-ounce can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained, ¼ cup purchased pesto, and 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Use as a dip or sandwich spread.


    Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter

    In a large mixing bowl, fold together 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ¾ cup dark raisins, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cloves. Use as a dip with celery sticks, sliced apples, or pears or make your favorite brown bag PB & J!



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    Cook for the Week and Brown Bag It!

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