De Cecco Pasta – arguably the best bang for your buck dry pasta on the market. While you can find cheaper dry, Italian, pasta on the market, De Cecco has a rich and hearty flavor, with a firm texture. In the end, De Cecco uses better ingredients than competitor Barilla and it just tastes better (do a taste test for your self)! I like to have about 3-4 different varieties of pasta in my pantry at all times (including capellini, rigatoni, linguine, and spaghetti).
Garlic – This one is a no-brainer. Garlic can be used in everything from soups to pastas to dips and salads. Never purchase the stuff that is pealed for you or minced in jars! Try to keep only as much as you’ll need for a given week and look for bulbs that have a very tight exterior skin. The bulb should feel firm and there should be no discoloration or smell. Here’s a nice video on how to peel and chop garlic from the master chef, Jacques Pepin.
Clif Energy Bar – In a pinch there is no better energy bar on the market. I don’t like to consume energy bars very often, but I will grab one before a tennis match or other sporting event (especially if I haven’t had time to prepare for an intense workout with a proper breakfast or lunch). The Chocolate Chip flavor, which happens to be my favorite, packs 250 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrates. Clif Bar’s taste great, have organic ingredients, and really do provide quick energy and nourishment.
Goya Canned Chick Peas – I’m embarrassed to admit I purchase canned beans, as the dry type are superior in taste and, of course, are much more economical, but canned beans are so convenient and easy! My favorite bean of all time is the chick pea. Chick peas can be pureed and made into hummus (here’s a quick recipe from Scordo.com), used in soups, or just served drizzled with olive oil and salt/pepper. I also like to add chick peas to a Romaine lettuce salad with canned Italian tuna, boiled eggs, and olive oil and vinegar (it makes a super healthy lunch)! Chick peas are also very high in protein and calcium. Here’s a list of chick pea recipes from the RecipeZaar.com.