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The 5 Pantry Staples a Busy Mom Buys for Lunch, Dinner, and Everything In Between

published May 21, 2020
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Credit: Becky Hardin, The Cookie Rookie

As the name of her popular blog, The Cookie Rookie, suggests, Becky hasn’t always been a kitchen pro. But this St. Louis, MO-based mom and wife has since sharpened her skills into a huge collection of easy, weeknight-friendly, totally swoon-worthy recipes. How does she whip up so many different ideas on the fly? We asked her to share the ingredients she’s never without.

Credit: Becky Hardin, The Cookie Rookie

1. Bananas

The Cookie Rookie loves bananas — check out this Banana Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread — and so does her three-year-old son Henry. “Bananas are essential in our house,” Becky says. “Sometimes bananas are for breakfast, and sometimes they’re mashed and made into ‘nice cream’ for dessert. Oh, and don’t forget the banana bread!”

Credit: Becky Hardin, The Cookie Rookie

2. Swanson® Chicken Broth

“Great quality chicken broth is so important around our house,” Becky says. She reaches for Swanson® Chicken Broth: carefully crafted for homemade flavor, the rich double stock is simmered for 12 hours and made with 100 percent natural ingredients. “I find it adds so much flavor from everything to quick soups to casseroles. Swapping out broth for water in your favorite recipes might just kick things up a notch!”

Credit: Becky Hardin, The Cookie Rookie

3. Chicken Breasts

Becky has a whole other blog dedicated to easy chicken recipes — we’ll take the Tuscan Stuffed Chicken, please — so, of course, she’s always stocked up on chicken breasts. “When I don’t know what to cook, I always land on chicken,” she says. “Every week we make a batch of Instant Pot Shredded Chicken to use in meals throughout the week.”

Credit: Becky Hardin, The Cookie Rookie

4. Eggs

From Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole to Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs, there’s a reason there are so many egg recipes on The Cookie Rookie: “Henry is a huge fan of eggs. We always say he might turn into an egg! He loves every kind of dish made with eggs and could eat them for every meal.”

Credit: Becky Hardin, The Cookie Rookie

5. Salsa

“We love to have salsa around the house for snacking as well as cooking! Use it in chili for a quick burst of flavor or stir it into soups for an added punch without having to dice tomatoes,” Becky says. We’ll make sure we have some on hand when we try her Easy Chicken Fajitas.