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5 Pantry Must-Haves a Busy Nurse and Recipe Developer Is Never Without

published Jul 24, 2020
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Credit: Helena Faustin

As if being a busy nurse in New York City isn’t enough, Helena Faustin also raises two adorable kids and whips up incredible Caribbean dishes at @thatnursecancook. One look at her photos and you know that handle is legit: From oven-roasted jerk snapper to curry goat, Helena’s recipes have our mouths watering. We asked her to share the items she always has on her grocery list to make all that mealtime magic.

Credit: Helena Faustin

1. Coconut Milk

Between dishes like oatmeal porridge, rice and peas, and coconut curry shrimp, Helena goes through several cans of this creamy elixir a week. “I love coconut milk’s versatility! I love the way you feel when you taste a dish that contains coconut milk,” she says. “It’s that one ingredient that’ll sneak its way into your plate and give it flavor without overpowering the entire dish. It’s a delicious way to achieve a creamy flavor while keeping our health in mind. It’s my kitchen sidekick and an absolute must-have in my pantry.”

Credit: Helena Faustin

2. Pace® Picante Sauce Mild

Pace® Picante Sauce Mild is a big hit in my house. It just gets the job done,” Helena says. Whether she uses the tangy sauce on tacos, enchiladas, or fajitas, it always adds just the right amount of bold flavor to any dish. It’s a big hit with her kids, too: “It’s mild and packed with bold flavors and veggies so the kids get their necessary nutrients.”

Credit: Helena Faustin

3. Beans

“If you’ve got a picky eater on your hands like me, beans are a kitchen staple,” Helena says. “Beans add depth and can transform an everyday dish into something special. There are times when they need extra tender loving care, as you use dried beans to create a hearty stew.” (Hello, stew peas.) “Then, there are those times when it’s the middle of the week and you want a great dish but you’re looking for something quick. Canned beans come through for me each time.” Exhibit A: Helena’s Curry Chicken and Butter Beans.

Credit: Helena Faustin

4. Chicken Broth

Says Helena, “There isn’t a problem that chicken broth can’t fix. Need to rescue a bland dish or give your rice more flavor? Chicken broth it is. I use it to boost the flavor in creamy sauces and bring life to a pot of rice.” Plus, it’s healthy! “In the event that someone in the house becomes sick, chicken broth is an excellent way to stay hydrated,” she adds. “The moment I run out of chicken broth, I am sure to set a reminder to pick some up on my next grocery store run.”

Credit: Helena Faustin

5. Raw Honey

“How much do I love honey? Let me count the ways! On those nights when I need to unwind, I boil a fresh pot of tea and sweeten it with raw honey. Whenever I bake my Honey Buttermilk Cornbread, it’s gone within minutes, and that extra lather of honey on top is what really makes it a game-changer. When I’m in need of a dish that’s savory but sweet, a drizzle of honey on top of chicken is my go-to!” Helena also loves its throat-soothing powers when you’re suffering from a cough. It’s nurse-approved and mom-approved.