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Help me have new new answers when husband complains that all we have are ingredients - and nothing to actually "eat"!

OK - So i mostly cook from scratch and have fully stocked pantry. And every week I buy fruit, veggies, meat, etc.... My husband's main complaint is that all we have are ingredients - and nothing to eat or snack on. And sometimes it is true!! I try to stay away from processed junk food, so we have little snack food. And after cooking throughout the day, I'm usually not in the mood to make something else. What do you all make/buy to snack on that can last a while? Last week I made some hummus and cut up some veggies to have. And we usually have fixins for some quick nachos. And if I have extra energy I will make some cookies. But other than that I am at a loss. I need some things that I can store that need little to prep and that aren't horrible for you! HELP!

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  1. Not new, but cheese is my favorite snack food! My fridge is filled with several varieties that we snack on. While dinner is being cooked, I bring out some cheese, pepperoni, olives, hot peppers and nuts for snacking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: choco_lab38

      Totally perfect! I seem to always have TOO many cheese (well, you can't really have too much c heese, can you?) in the fridge. I also make a tapenade in the FP of capers, oil packed sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives (I buy them al at Costco so it's on hand and cheap), add a small minced clove of garlic and however much olive oil you want. Can be served on anything --- including my finger :)

    2. That is usually My complaint as well and I'm the one who plans the shopping list and menus. My suggestion is to make more food then you need for the meals you're cooking so that you will have some leftovers. Meats can be sliced for sandwiches, pasta dishes can nuked in a second or two.... Also, crackers, cheese, jarred salsas, carrots, celery, radishes can be brought into play as needed.

      1. - cheese with whole-grain crackers or crispbread
        - string cheese with a piece of fruit
        - spiced, roasted chickpeas or nuts...or make your own "snack mix"
        - roasted, in-shell pumpkin seeds
        - popcorn
        - slices of deli turkey or chicken
        - low- or nonfat Greek yogurt topped with fruit or whole-grain cereal
        - a bowl of whole-grain cereal makes a great snack
        - steamed edamame pods
        - think beyond hummus for bean dips - white bean, black bean, pinto bean, edamame - serve with raw veggies, baked tortilla or pita chips, rice crackers, or chips made from baked wonton wrappers
        - nut or seed butter with celery, carrots, apple or pear slices for dipping
        - bean & corn salad
        - quinoa salad

        1. Depends on what you like to snack on. Nuts are a favorite for me. Also, I have found that some cereals are good snack foods. There is a sweet version of Shredded Wheat that is quite good for snacking. If you want healthful, I suggest a bag of baby carrots.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            Sueatmo mentions shredded wheat....there are low-sodium Triscuits now..."Hint of Salt"---they are really great and filling..I know it's a processed cracker but it is made from shredded wheat. If that's not an option, you could always make your own pita chips from whole wheat pita pockets. Popcorn as someone already mentioned, so cheap and easy to make in the microwave without any fats if you so choose. I spray mine while hot with Bragg Liquid Aminos and then shake on some nutritional yeast--perfect! (for me, anyway)

            1. re: sueatmo

              Kelloggs chocolate mini wheats are better than candy!

              1. re: coll

                She said no processed junk, though.

                For something sweet, how about some homemade trail mix with some good quality chocolate chips?

            2. I cook from scratch as well; and still spend a lot of time working (cause its so much fun!). So I also cook and prepare things ahead of time to be able to come up with a meal for guests (or just my daughter and me) at a minute's notice. So in the ref or freezer:

              1. Tubs of homemade yogurt (ref; sauces, dessert, or breakfast).
              2. Sausages (ref; pre-nuked to remove excess oil)
              3. French carrot soup (freezer and ref)
              4. Cooked beans (freezer and ref; different preps)
              5. Lentil stews (freezer and ref)
              6. A healthy hearty homemade version of "jarred" pasta sauce (ref)
              7. Pre-cooked al dente pasta (ref)
              8. Usually a cut up roast chicken or two (ref)
              9. Fish (fillets and streaks, freezer)
              10. Tortillas (brought back from Mexico, Guatemala; freezer)
              11. Then, like you, I have on hand eggs, breads, cheeses, ground meat, canned tuna, canned corn, canned sardines, anchovies, caviar, smoked eel, rice, flour, polenta, masa harina, nori, aburage, bonito flakes, hondashi, potatoes, all types of fruit and vegetables, fish sauce, hoisin, toasted sesame oil, tomato paste, spices (including those to make curries), ginger, garlic, miso, tamarind, chiles ... you name it.

              With the above I can make at least 300 different quick and good pick up meals. My daughter just had: one egg beaten mixed with French carrot soup, finely cut up cooked gizzards, spagetti noodles - microwaved until the egg was cooked and topped with Asian scallions from the balcony. You can make quick pasta dishes, all manner of salads, omeletes, beans or lentils with rice, sandwiches (including toasted cheese in the press), latkes, cookies, cakes, crumbles, sushi, tacos, enchiladas, tamale pie, chicken pot pie, stir fries, curries, Mexican and Thai and Japanese dishes - including many soups, and much, much more.

              Much more - maybe in a following post.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                I'm falling over the chair laughing at your list.... You're such a showoff.
                OTOH.... that Is quite a lot of food for snacking. I think her DH would be very pleased if all that were in their pantry!

                1. re: Gio

                  Truth be told, Joe, I often don't want to really cook when dear friends are around for a short time. An old buddy, Nick, came down last weekend, from work he is doing in Bogota. He - an Englishman with a Colombian wife who now live(s) in Vermont - had only 36 hours in Cali before going back to Bogota. For dinner the first night (and after visiting his MIL) I made tom yam gaa (Thai chicken soup using the range of ingredients including frozen coconut milk and shredded roasted chicken) and a basmati rice. The second night I made an instant pasta dish using my jarred sauce, my pre-cooked pasta, and lots of the (precious!) grated Pecorino Romano carefully hoarded in the ref. The salad had multiple greens and tomato and red onion and a red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil, touch of sugar dressing; and dessert was yogurt, local blackberries, and honey! We had lots of time to talk. Dinners (and other meals) were good, with plenty of time to establish old ties [and not showoff].

                  Hugs, Joe!

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Priceless Sam.... Food of the gods! OOO.

                  2. re: Gio

                    But, of course, I am a showoff! Always have been, always will be!

                2. Sounds like the hubby just needs some instruction. I have the same issue at times with my 17 year old son. I use that bright blue painter's tape and a sharpie to label things like dip, leftover chicken, cut up carrots. If he can't see the answer the minute he opens the fridge he throws up his hands. I also post a list of snack suggestions on the fridge. For example: there is tzaziki in the fridge and there are pits chips on the second shelf of the pantry. This may sound silly, but if I don't this good food does not get eaten. He also knows the tortillas are on the top shelf of the freezer, the shredded cheese is on the middle fridge shelf, the cooked Mexican style chicken is clearly labeled- all of which = chicken quesadillas in just a few minutes- even in the microwave if he is desperate. These are just a few examples of the general concept. Plus there is a stash of beef jerky, nuts, string cheese, pre-cut fruits I pack in individual containers, etc. Good luck.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: torty

                    Ah teenage sons! My oldest used to snack on one jar of peanut butter per week. Another snack he favored was one of those small cans of Bush's baked beans. When he was around nothing in the pantry was sacred.

                  2. I'm far from a "health nut," but so far no one has mentioned keeping things like bananas, grape tomatoes, grapes, hard boiled eggs, stuff like that.

                    I also enjoy the occasional stuffed celery filled with things like pineapple cream cheese or peanut butter or pimiento cheese. I keep them in a zip lock bag.

                    Then I always have a few dried snacks on hand... Wasabi peas, nuts, and that most accursed yet loved snack food of all time... Oreo cookies! And milk! '-)

                    EDIT" I'm never quite sure whether a sandwich can be a snack or if it's a meal, but I always have lots of stuff to make sandwiches.

                    1. ROFLMA because my friends are always telling me how I've spoiled my (Italian) husband, but at least mine saves his complaining (of quantity, not quality, I hasten to add) for mealtimes and gets his own snacks. When he starts pacing (no room to circle) like a lion about to pounce, he usually winds up with bread and salami (we usually keep one or two whole small gourmet salamis in the fridge unsliced) or prosciutto (fortunately he likes to slice) or really good oil-packed anchovies or sun-dried tomatoes. Or sometimes the olive paste I keep around for puttanesca; it's good on bread or bruschetta. The trouble with cheese is it's no good straight out of the fridge unless you melt it, and hungry lions don't make themselves toasted cheese sandwiches between meals, whereas they do slice salami. Another thing I catch him eating between meals, in season, is prickly pears. He keeps them in the fridge and enjoys the little surgical operation of peeling them. But the principle is the same for any fresh fruit. Hand him a banana and tell him to be grateful his wife takes the trouble to make meals from scratch.

                        1. yes me too. I have a huge stock of food in the freezer and pantry in fact I can put together any meal from most any country, all you have to do is ask. But my sons will make the same complaint, always looking for chips abd their favorite are the red hot cheetos. My dh stashes them so they can eat them together, they try to be sly but they can't hide it that deous red color that stains their tongues and fingers. I love raisins, golden and regular. Also dried cherries and cranberries. Mix with cream cheese and use on celery or on a toasted bagel. Bagels in the freezer, save the day!

                          What I make is the same carrot and celery, cucumbers and radishs (I know boring). I made a coleslaw yesterday it's tangy with golden raisins.

                          I have several cheeses and tortillas and there is always chicken or a meat/steak, they can make quesedillas with. There's fresh salsa, and soup, I always have soup. In fact matzo ball is the soup this week. I will make cookies or muffins, baking is not my favorite way to spend time in the kitchen but I will when people nag me for snacks. You can freeze muffins, wrap them individually. Almost forgot, I make breakfast burritos, they're usually in the freezer too when someone's hungry.

                          And I confess, the last time I had a White Castle burger was in New York, so I bought a box last weekend for them. All this talk, so I did take a little nibble tho....and it wasn't bad.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            Please tell me about this freezable Breakfast Burrito. I'm intrigued...

                          2. I have to admit - my first reaction is that you people have way too much time.And might be a trifle too precious for me.
                            But I will add that I buy the big bags of shelled pecans and walnuts from Costco and keep containers of spiced nuts around, both sweet and savory. Not only are they good for snacks but they make a great add-in to salads.

                            1. I think you husband needs to develop some kitchen skills. Certainly he can cut up veggies and fruit. Maybe he could even make yogurt. And making popcorn rarely taxes even the culinary challenged. And perhaps you can find a humorous way of telling him that making snacks is not part of your job description as main cook. Does he wash your pots and pans? Does he help with dishes. If not, maybe you can trade off. He washes up and you fix the snacks too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Father Kitchen

                                Bless us, father, for we have sinned :) Here we are a bunch of enablers!!! Of course, tell the big guy to make sure he has his preferred snacks on hand. Not her job. And I doubt that pre-dinner snacks, whether healthy or not, are going to significantly effect an otherwise healthy diet. Let them eat cake, er, uh, Cheetos.

                              2. I have an issue along these lines that we have decided is a communication issue. I make snacks for myself from ingredients, then when MBW comes home, she gets mad because I ruined her plans for that ingredient. That might be an issue if you tell him "Don't eat this or that or the other thing, I have plans"
                                Foodies con be control freak in the kitchen, but a controlling the pantry too can create problems

                                1. I make 2 dozen bagels every couple of weeks. When they've cooled, I slice them and put them in the freezer, and they are my husband's favorite snack. They are actually really easy to make (I now use the CHOW recipe floating around this website somewhere), and you can easily swap in whole wheat flour and make them whatever flavor you'd like. Also, I make them kind of small (2-3oz each), so they aren't the monster ones that are the size of your head. We top with peanut butter, cream cheese, cheddar, or sliced meats...great snack.

                                  1. Popcorn - get an air popper and show him how to use it. You can fancy it up with spices, or just use plain old melted butter and salt for seasoning.

                                    1. Cereal (with or without berries, bananas); apples, oranges, grapefruit, fruits in general; cheeses; nuts; baby or grownup carrots. Rice in the freezer, edamame ditto. Milk, tea, coffee, or OJ, and a cookie. (Break down, Jenny, and buy a cookie. Nonni's Chocolate Decadence biscotti are to die for.) DH LOVES Yoplait's blueberry patch. Bagels in the freezer are handy if you're not weight-watching. And in-between meal cravings are why God invented peanut butter and jelly.

                                      1. Good to see I'm not the only one! Dontcha just love getting back from a day of food shopping at the farmers market, co-op, bread store, etc, and after spending $100+, DH complains there's nothing to eat. And then goes to safeway and drops more $$ on junk food and processed garbage. Can't wait to have children so I can manipulate and control their every food move at least. JK. Mostly.

                                        Our middle ground is popcorn, homemade crackers, breadsticks, chips and homemade salsa, homemade pita bread and middle eastern dips, frozen yogurt, nuts, cheese, and fruits and veggies. I think "nothing to eat" means "no easily accessible and premade salty carbs."


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: yamalam

                                          Boy can I relate to this! My husband can't go to bed without a snack, no matter when he eats or how much. I think it's just a habit. We've been married 43 years and he eats like a horse but has a teenagers metabolism. Never gains a pound. Luckily, his favorite bedtime snack is toast with peanut butter. He practically goes into a depression if we don't have that or milk.

                                        2. this thread and the moving in with fiance thread have been interesting reads tonight...

                                          Here is my short list of snacks...I'm a snacker, so there is always something to eat in my cupboards, my car, desk drawers at work, you get the picture...

                                          There is always a jar full of pretzels and usually a jar full of some sort of healthy cookie - graham crackers, or usually I try to have a batch of biscotti available. The trick about the biscotti is you can make up the dough into logs and store for quite a while in the freezer. Then bake as you need...

                                          walnuts and almonds in a jar in the fridge
                                          jar of olives in the fridge
                                          lots of cheese choices
                                          a few boxes of pretty healthy cereals (peanut butter puffins:)
                                          dried fruit, raisins, mango, etc...
                                          hot chocolate and marshmallows
                                          popsicles - in the summer months
                                          homemade jared fruits - peaches, apples and applesauce
                                          veggies and fruit of course
                                          usually some sort of rice cake
                                          assorted power bar / luna bar, etc...(some healthier than others)

                                          ok, time for bed, book and a bowl of popcorn:)