Sunday Supper: Pantry Clean Out- Ingredients To Live Without and Basic Recipes to Replace Common Pre-made Foods

Welcome to the first segment of the Keys to Weight Loss in 2011 Series that I began last Sunday. Part of the transition requires a pantry clean out to rid your pantry of processed foods and modified ingredients. You will feel better and your food will taste better. I want to tell you that my transition has been a work in progress and is something I work on everyday. I began my journey almost five years ago and I started out small and realistically making it easy to keep the resolution for more than a few weeks. I began with two goals:

1) Cut out all fully or partially hydrogenated oils

2) If I want it, make it. From scratch.

Number one was as simple as reading a label to determine if the ingredients included this little devil. If it had it, I didn’t buy it. Easy as that. Number two was a commitment. No more spaghetti sauce out of a jar, crackers, frozen pizza, pre-made desserts or Starbucks frappy drinks. It took more planning and definitely cost more but the results were amazing; it was worth every effort. My food tasted better than ever and my waistline shrunk…by 20lbs.

Cleaning out your pantry can be a phase. I don’t believe in wasting food because there are plenty of people who go hungry. I recommend donating the food or eating it up and not replacing it. Here are a few ingredients that you can live without.

Read the labels. If any of the following are listed, get rid of it. Check your bread, yogurt, baked goods, pop, ketchup, boxed or pre-made meals, salad dressings, sauces etc

No Partially or fully hydrogenated oils of any kind.

No Modified ingredients such as modified corn starch

No high fructose corn syrup

No MSG (Monosodium Glutmate) aka hydrolyzed soy protein or any hydrolyzed protein or free glutamic acid, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed pea protein, carrageenan, sodium caseinate, enzymes

To make it really easy, just make it yourself with real ingredients. If I don’t know how, I guess by reading the flavors in what I like. I did that with salad dressing. Here are a few staples that you may find useful.

Basic Balsamic Dressing

equal parts good olive oil, good balsamic vinegar, dash of salt & pepper and a drop of honey (optional)

Vinaigrette Dressing

good olive oil, Dijon mustard, finely minced garlic (easy does it), a touch of water, dab of honey, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper.

Caesar Dressing

salt, minced garlic, anchovies, olive oil, pepper, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, mayo and one organic fresh egg yolk. Mash the anchovies, salt and garlic into a paste. Add egg yolk and whisk together, add olive oil, whisk, add remaining ingredients and combine.

Bleu Cheese Dressing

2/3 c. sour cream, 1/2 c. mayo, 1/4c. buttermilk (more if necessary), juice of 1/2 lemon, 3 oz. bleu cheese crumbled (Point Reyes) and kosher salt.

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 c. buttermilk, 1 egg, 2 T. melted butter, 1 c. flour, 1/2 t. soda, 1 t. sugar, pinch of salt.


2 eggs, 3/4 c. milk both at room temp, 3/4 c. sugar, 1/16 t. salt, 1/2 c. flour.

Pizza Dough- I recommend buying this from Trader Joe’s but if you want to make your own here are the ingredients that you will need:

1and 3/4 c. warm water, pinch of sugar, 1 package rapid rise active dry yeast, 2 t. salt, 4.5-5 c. bread flour, 3T olive oil and cornmeal to sprinkle in the pan.

Minestrone Soup and Basic Vegetable Broth (click for both recipes)

Indian Tomato Soup

1 16oz. can crushed tomatoes, 2 t. olive oil, 1 med. white onion, 1 T. Sambal or one green chili pepper seeded and chopped, 3 cloves of garlic minced, 1 t. tomato paste, 4 c. veg broth, 1/2 t. curry powder. top with fresh cilantro chopped.
Spaghetti Sauce

Saute yellow onions in a pan, add 1 can of crushed tomatoes (San Marzanos), minced garlic, oregano, salt & pepper and let simmer on low for as long as you can to let the flavors come together. 


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