Imagine looking through recipes and a mouth-watering photo jumps out and you just have to have it! You look at the ingredients and see there are 15...deal killer? For some, yes!...the ingredient list is way too long!
Long ingredient lists can be intimidating. Why? Some may perceive the recipe is complicated or time-consuming. Others may think it's unlikely they have all of the ingredients on-hand. Well...great news! Believe it or not, many recipes with long ingredient lists are neither complicated nor time consuming and the flavor that results can be absolutely amazing. This is part of the benefit Eat REAL America members receive…letting us screen and test all of the recipes so you can be assured that a long list of ingredients means great flavor, but NOT hours preparing a meal!
Skipping over recipes with “long” ingredient lists means missing out on some fantastic meals…perhaps one that could become an all-time favorite. Often, what appears to be a lot of ingredients is just multiple herbs or spices, which combine to achieve some “flavor-popping” results! Also, ingredient lists can appear lengthy for pesto or dressings, but these come together quickly because the ingredients are often just thrown together in a food processor or dressing shaker (and in many cases these can be made ahead of time)! The right pesto or dressing is super-easy and adds great flavor to a meal! Ethnic dishes can also have long ingredient lists, but can be easy to prepare too and…(are we sounding like a broken record yet?)...taste incredible!
We want to help you discover meal ideas you may have previously avoided because of lengthy ingredient lists. After all, life is too short to limit ourselves to a world of “5-ingredient meals.” Here are some things to consider:
- Embrace in-season, simple meals! Especially when using fresh, local ingredients, a small number of ingredients can produce some great-tasting meals! In-season produce and herbs are bursting with flavor and are excellent when prepared simply with a small number of ingredients. There are many recipes on Get REAL Wichita with only 5 to 7 ingredients, such as the Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes, BBQ Tilapia and Sweet Potato Tacos, Balsamic Kale with Cranberries, Creamy Mashed Cauliflower and Roasted Cabbage…just to name a few!
- Remember...a long ingredient list doesn’t always mean complicated or time-consuming! For example, a few weeks ago we included a Tuscan Summer Minestrone in the weekly meal ideas. This meal had a whopping…are you ready…32 ingredients! However, it was primarily just a combination of fresh herbs, vegetables and a sun-dried tomato pesto. While this sounds like a lot of ingredients, it was simple to prepare and anyone who made it is likely to agree the end result was worth it!
- Stock that pantry! Ingredient lists, in general, aren’t nearly as intimidating with a well-stocked pantry. Because many of the ingredients are herbs or spices, a well-stocked pantry increases the chances you will have the ingredients on-hand. We try to help by using the same groups of ingredients and avoiding recipes that call for unique, difficult-to-find ingredients. We have also partnered with The Spice Merchant and Green Acres, where you can purchase smaller quantities of certain ingredients…for some spices, you can pick up 1 oz. for only $0.95! You can also find a pantry staple list at https://eatrealamerica.com/2013/10/extreme-home-makeover-pantry-edition/.
- Save time-consuming meals for special occasions! There are tons of recipes out there with long ingredients lists that ARE more time-consuming. We try to weed these out for our Get REAL Wichita members. Of course, there are times when some extra time and effort is well worth it. For example, we sometimes crave a creamy risotto full of in-season vegetables or a batch of Lidia's Sunday Sauce. Given our busy lifestyles, these meals are typically best saved for a lazy weekend or a special occasion! Or, of course, a visit to a local restaurant where your favorite chef does all the work!
We frequently hear people say “I need quick and easy meal ideas without a lot of ingredients.” Our philosophy is that quick and easy meals ARE critically important, but we shouldn’t sacrifice flavor! And we shouldn’t sacrifice experiencing a variety of cuisines by limiting ourselves to a small number of ingredients. Are there meals you shy away from because of long ingredient lists? Please let us know…maybe we can help!