Here is a truism that I am holding close as we sail into the new year after a seriously long and decadent holiday season: you can’t cook what you don’t have.  Between Thansgivingikuh, my younger son’s birthday (which gets overcompensated for since he is wedged into the Thanksgiving season), the holiday parties, the New Year’s celebrations, the fact is that we’ve had back to back guests since….I can’t remember (and as of this writing there is still someone sleeping in the guest room on the 5th of January).

I have loved every minute, but now it’s time to reclaim routine, and to remember that cake for breakfast is not the norm.

Romaine and Slivered Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing / Carrie Crow / Katie Workman / Stocking the Refrigerator for the New Year

Here are a few of the items I am stocking my new refrigerator with this month, and some of the recipes that these ingredients are destined for.

1) Boneless, skinless chicken breasts:

Island Chicken Bites / Mia / Katie Workman /

Food snobs look down on these sometimes, but they turn into dinner in my house at least once a week.  Maybe Island Chicken Bites, or Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa , and also knowing how to make a simple pan sauce saves the day over and over again.

2) Fish fillets:

Pan Seared Fish with Peppers and Caper-Olive Pesto / Katie Workman /

One of the reasons I love to buy fish is because you have to cook it within a day of buying it, so it immediately forces a delicious and healthful answer to the “what’s for dinner” dilemma. Pan-Seared Fish with Peppers and Caper-Olive Pesto comes together very quickly, and marinades such as Ginger Mint and Lime MarinadeSesame Asian Marinade, or Dijon, Garlic and Lemon Marinade make it easy to turn a piece of salmon or cod into dinner.

3) Ground turkey:

Greek Meatloaf / Luci Beni / Katie Workman /

Go for a mix of light and dark meat for the most flavor and good juiciness.  Try Greek Turkey Meatloaf, studded with feta and black olives, turkey tacos with lots of shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and salsa, or a big pot of turkey chili.

4) Endless packages of hearts of romaine:

Japanese Restaurant Salad Dressing / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

This is our number one lettuce of choice; my kids actually eat entire heads of it as snacks, and though we like salads of all types and textures, I don’t think we’ve been without a package of romaine hearts in about a decade.  Favorite salads are Modern Greek Salad and Japanese Restaurant Salad.

5) Raspberries:

Raspberries with Olive Oil Blueberry Sauce

When I am feeling abstemious I ALWAYS like to have some raspberries on hand, since they feel lush and luxurious and indulgent but also so crazy good for you that it just seems wrong.  If guests are over I will make Raspberries with Olive Oil Blueberry Sauce: Reigning it in doesn’t mean no dessert.

What do you stock up on when you are trying to turn the page on a month of overdoing it?


  1. Lots of the same things here. Last night we had spaghetti – I used ground turkey for the meat sauce. Tonight it was tandoori chicken using the b/s s/s breasts. I usually have frozen salmon in my freezer, various pasta and grains in the pantry, spring greens and a bag of broccoli in the fridge, etc. That way if I don’t have time to get to the grocery store, we can have fish and veg or pasta tossed with greens and olive oil. We have been loving your Asian marinade recipe!

Rate & Comment