Wanting to feel both useful and helpful during this world-wide pandemic, I’m donning my RD (registered dietitian), cookbook author and former food editor hats to share shopping and cooking tips with you as we’re all sheltering in place.

I am also including a couple of already posted pre-quarantine and not-shared yet restaurant reviews when I send the NewsBite just for your reading and viewing pleasure. We all need diversions.

To start, here’s a list of what to buy at /order from the supermarket to keep on hand.

Shelf-stable items (meaning they don’t need refrigeration).

  • Rice
  • Beans and lentils (canned and dried)
  • Grains, whole grain preferred (amaranth, barley, bulgur, farro, freekeh, quinoa, rice, etc.)
  • Pasta, whole grain preferred
  • Olive oil and vinegar
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Flavor enhancers: capers, harissa, hot sauce, mustard, olives pickles, roasted peppers, salsa, soy sauce, tahini, etc.
  • Dried fruit, nuts and nut butters
  • Fish: canned anchovies,  sardines, salmon, tuna
  • Broth/stock (if you don’t make your own)
  • Herbs and spices

Of course, you’ll need fresh and frozen items, too. I recommend having these ingredients on hand in addition to whatever meats, poultry and fish you can procure.

A variety of root veggies (as they last a long time!) — that includes beets, carrots, garlic, ginger root, onions, parsnips, potatoes (all varieties including sweet!), rutabagas, turnips and shallots.

Fresh and frozen fruits and other veggies. Keep a variety, and try to always have lemons. Great as base for salad dressings and for livening up dishes that just need something. I prefer buying fresh fruits that need peeling and wrapped vegetables.  Lemons not only can be used for

Refrigerator: bacon,  butter, cheese (especially hard ones like Parmesiano Reggiano for grating), eggs, milk, sausages, yogurt,

To start, I’ve included one recipe and promise more to come. This soup is based on a recipe from one of my cookbooks: “Beans” by Bonnie Tandy Leblang and Joanne Hayes, Harmony, 1994. 

Lentil Soup with Sausages

Makes 4 hearty servings

A simple and hearty soup that can simmer all day long, or be ready in about an hour. Consider doubling or tripling and stocking your freezer with portion-size containers.

QUESTIONS about this how to do something in this or other recipes?  Ask in the comments section or email info@biteofthebest.com and I’ll respond. 


1 pound andouille, chorizo or Italian sausages, cut into small pieces (about 1/4-inch chunks)
2 medium onions, minced (about 2 cups)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound lentils, picked over and rinsed (about 2 cups)
14.5-ounce can crushed (or another form) tomatoes
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

On hand:
Chicken stock or broth
Thyme, dried or fresh
Black pepper

Not so Necessary:
Fresh parsley, chopped

How to: In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausages until they release their fat and are cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.  If desired, remove and discard all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet.

Add the onions and garlic to skillet and cook, while stirring, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups broth, 2 cups water, lentils, tomatoes, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh Lentil Soup with SausagesLentil Soup with Sausagesand 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, preferable freshly ground.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until lentils are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.  If desired, sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

This soup tasted even better the next day — if there’s any left.