Five pantry staples every family needs

Five pantry staples every family needs

(NAPS)-The next time you're looking to jazz up family pizza night, feed the girls during "Dancing with the Stars" or seeking to create unique appetizers and party platters for holiday get-togethers, consider this: One of the easiest and quickest ways to punch up a weekday dinner or impress your guests is to keep your pantry stocked with glass-packed specialty foods that provide convenient options for inspired dining and entertaining-without spending a ton of time or money.
Here are five pantry essentials and dish ideas to add in to your at- home culinary repertoire:
1. Sun-Dried Tomatoes-Toss olive oil-marinated sun-dried tomatoes into spaghetti with basil and Parmesan cheese to add a twist to pasta night.
2. Pesto-Spruce up a traditional burger with a touch of pesto for bold, basil-rich flavors. Serve with potato fries or chips for barbecue with a twist.
3. Giardiniera-Serve this classic Italian relish made up of assorted, pickled vegetables alongside pecorino cheese and cured meats as an antipasto platter. Now there are updated varieties of this antipasto staple made with white wine vinegar and bright herbs to pair well with modern flavors.
4. Assorted Olives-Get creative and mix several different types of more exotic olives, from bright-green buttery Castelvetranos to feta- or cheddar cheese-stuffed olives, for an instant appetizer.
5. Peppers-Layer roasted red bell peppers, fresh mozzarella and arugula leaves on rustic bread for delectable grilled panini, or toss a few varieties on a frozen cheese pizza before baking.
Any of those items also makes a fantastic addition to a frozen or delivered pizza to create an instant crowd-pleaser for family or even entertaining friends, and you won't need to spend hours in the kitchen kneading homemade dough or chopping vegetables. For example, this recipe can be thrown together in minutes for instant entertaining.
Roasted Bell Pepper and
Kalamata Olive Pizza
(Serves 4-6)
12-inch round frozen cheese pizza (purchased at the store)
1 medium red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
7 oz. MEZZETTA(r) Roasted Red Bell Peppers, sliced
2 oz. MEZZETTA(r) Pitted Kalamata Olives, sliced
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. fresh basil leaves, chopped
Directions:
1. Cook frozen pizza as directed.
2. Five minutes before pizza is fully cooked, take out of the oven.
3. Top with onions, prosciutto and roasted peppers. Sprinkle with olives, oregano and basil.
4. Place pizza back in the oven and bake for additional 5 minutes.
5. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.