It is spring cleaning and I am in the process of purging my kitchen. In the process I have learned two things – canned food does expire (I had cans that expired in 2010!) and I have a completely empty pantry. This means if I pick up a recipe book I have to go out and purchase every single ingredient the recipe calls for which makes for an expensive meal. 

I know a lot of you are busy like me and at the end of the day you just want to open your fridge and have everything you need waiting and ready. Unfortunately, private chefs can cost a pretty penny so what I have decided to do is spend the next 4 weeks helping you create healthy meals that taste great and are easy to prepare.

I have partnered with an incredible chef, as well as a very good friend of mine, Arimo Evans ( and the two of us are going to work together to inspire you to spice up your dinner routines. These recipes will be geared towards single girls (like me) but the recipes can be easily increased if you are cooking for more than one.

Step number one is preparing the pantry with 12 key ingredients that you will need for the recipes. These are ingredients that you should always have on hand. Each week that follows you should make a quick stop on your way home from work at a market or grocery store and pick up just a few things for dinner (this will most likely be your protein and produce). We are going to do 1 chicken dish, 1 red meat dish, a fish dish and a vegetarian meal. These meals are clean and healthy and we will not be concerned with the fat or calorie content of the dishes; life is too short to always be counting calories.

Here are the 12 ingredients that you need to start with:

Olive Oil – This is one ingredient that you do not want to cheap out on so go to a local deli, butcher or market and ask what they recommend. You will use this olive oil for a lot of your salad dressings and marinades.

Balsamic Vinegar and White Wine Vinegar – Two other ingredients that are worth spending a bit of money on and can be purchased where you purchase your olive oil.

Salt – Buy a good salt, such as Maldon, Rock or Sea Salt.  You will use the salt to help bring the flavour out of your proteins as well as flavour your side dishes. 

Chicken Stock – Purchase good quality, organic stock and portion it into individual serving sizes and freeze them. You will use these to make soups and cook your sides in (rice, orzo, buckwheat, etc).

Tomatoes – Cans of tomato paste, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes are always good to have in your pantry.  

Dried mushrooms – These can be used to make mushroom stocks for soups as well as great to use in vegetarian dishes.

And last Ground Cumin, Chilli Flakes, Dijon, Orzo and Buckwheat.

Start there, stock your pantry, and I’ll be back next week for more spring eating.

Attached -- Cameron Diaz leaving the gym yesterday.