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5 Things a Busy Mom and Food Blogger Always Has on Her Grocery List

published Jul 24, 2020
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Credit: Cathy Roma

Cathy Roma’s popular food blog is called What Should I Make For…, and we’ve never felt so seen. From Roasted Grape Crostata to Shrimp Fried Rice with Pineapple, the professionally trained chef and former bakery owner has a winning way with ingredients. And because she’s also a mom to two teen boys, she knows that dinner doesn’t need to take all day to be delicious and satisfying. We asked for the five staples she keeps on hand to get Instagram-worthy meals on the table every night.

Credit: Cathy Roma

1. Oats

“We are big fans of oats in my family for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. It’s the versatility that I appreciate as a mom of two seemingly always hungry teenage boys because they are filling, nutritious, and delicious, both sweet and savory.” Case in point: Cathy’s Mexican Breakfast Bowl with Oatmeal, which makes a great lunch or dinner. She also uses them in everything from homemade granola bars to spiced oatmeal cookies — and, of course, this delicious PB&J take on overnight oats.

Credit: Cathy Roma

2. Pace® Medium Chunky Salsa

Cathy keeps Pace® Medium Chunky Salsa on hand for snacking and easy meals that her kids devour. “I use it as a sauce over sautéed chicken, sprinkled with cheese and broiled until bubbly,” she says. “It’s also the key ingredient in my black bean soup that you would swear was simmering all day instead of being on the table in just 30 minutes!” With the perfect proportion of peppers, the salsa adds just the right amount of heat and flavor.

Credit: Cathy Roma

3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“Extra virgin olive oil is my number one pantry essential (after kosher salt) and I could sing its praises for days,” Cathy says. One of her favorite uses after sautéeing and making dressings? Using it in place of butter on bread or toast. But that’s not all: “It’s my secret weapon in baking, too, and imparts a slightly fruity flavor and incredibly moist texture. My boys always request my Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Olive Oil Cake is a favorite for birthdays.”

Credit: Cathy Roma

4. Soft Tortillas

Cathy takes tortillas seriously: “I think I would panic if I didn’t have tortillas in my pantry. From quesadillas to wraps to tacos, it’s rare that a day goes by that I’m not incorporating soft tortillas into one of our meals.” One such weeknight magic trick is turning leftover roast chicken into easy quesadillas or taco casserole with just tortillas, shredded cheese, and salsa.

Credit: Cathy Roma

5. Chicken Breasts

Cathy thinks chicken breasts get a bad rap. “The truth is they are so easy to cook with and incredibly versatile. Cube and marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts for grilled skewers; poach and shred them for tacos, soups, and chili; or marinate in buttermilk and dredge in panko for the best chicken fingers around!” When after-school activities cut into dinnertime, she reaches for thin-cut chicken breasts to get food on the table extra fast.