5 tasty meals to make with 5 base ingredients

by | May 7, 2023 | Food and Recipes

You don’t need a lot of ingredients to eat different meals. With a few household staples and a little imagination, you can make several recipes from the same foods. Use these five basic ingredients as a starting point to create different dishes:

  • corn
  • carrots
  • chicken
  • brown rice
  • black beans

It doesn’t matter if you use fresh, frozen or canned vegetables, and canned or dried beans. They are all healthy options to use for these recipes – just look for ones with little to no added sodium.

Use these basic ingredients to prepare the five recipes listed below. Including a few extra toppings, seasonings or other add-ons can also help unlock different flavours.

1. Rice Bowl
Basic ingredients:

  • corn
  • carrots, grated
  • chicken, cooked
  • brown rice, cooked

Optional add-ons:

  • avocado, sliced
  • cucumber, sliced
  • red cabbage, shredded
  • lower-sodium soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Tip: Replace chicken with edamame for a vegetarian version.

2.  Fried Rice
Basic ingredients:

  • corn
  • carrots, cubed
  • chicken, cooked
  • brown rice, cooked

Optional add-ons:

  • egg
  • lower-sodium soy sauce
  • peas or other vegetables

Directions:

  1. In a wok or frying pan, drizzle olive oil.
  2. Sauté ingredients over high heat until the vegetables are golden and serve.

3. Soup
Basic ingredients:

  • corn
  • carrots, sliced
  • chicken, cooked
  • brown rice, cooked
  • canned black beans, drained and rinsed

Optional add-ons:

  • Italian herbs
  • onion, chopped
  • lower-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth or water, onion, carrots and herbs to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and cook until carrots are tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes or until brown rice, black beans and corn are hot, and serve.

Tip: Replace rice with cooked whole wheat or barley pasta or serve with a slice of whole grain bread instead.

4.  Chicken skewers
Basic ingredients:

  • carrots, grated
  • brown rice, cooked
  • chicken breasts, raw, cubed

Optional add-ons:

  • vinegar
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • Greek spice mix
  • onion, finely chopped
  • Greek yogurt, lower-fat, plain
  • green or red cabbage, shredded

Directions:

  1. Coat chicken with plain Greek yogurt and Greek spice mix, and slide onto skewers. No Greek yogurt or Greek spice mix? Use regular, plain yogurt and another spice mix you have on hand.
  2. Bake in oven at 350°F (180°C) for 15 minutes. Use a digital cooking thermometer to check that the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  3. Serve with brown rice and coleslaw or cooked carrots.

Tip: Add vegetables to the skewer like zucchini, peppers or mushrooms.

5.  Casserole
Basic ingredients:

  • corn
  • carrots, grated
  • chicken, cooked
  • brown rice, cooked
  • canned black beans, drained and rinsed

Optional add-ons:

  • onion, diced
  • bell pepper, sliced
  • Mexican spice mix
  • tomato paste, little to no added sodium

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat a drizzle of oil and cook diced onion for 2 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve.

Find recipes on Canada’s food guide kitchen: food-guide.canada.ca

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