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  • Writer's pictureNikki Glekas

Nikki’s Top 10 Cooking Ingredients

Today I’m sharing the top 10 most frequently used ingredients in my kitchen. I know you see me use these a lot on my show, but I also want to list them here so anyone can refer to this when needed. These are the tried-and-true items I always have on hand and use several times a week. They are the staples that make my kitchen run and are well-stocked to guarantee I never run out. I know every home cook has their go-to's - we all have unique tastes and methods - and these are mine.

If you have any questions about anything on this list, or would like examples of recipes that feature any particular food item, just leave a comment and I’ll reply.

Nikki’s Top 10 Cooking Ingredients

  1. Olive oil: We have a big container of Greek olive oil in my basement and I refill my smaller jar with it all the time. I use olive oil for everything from pan frying to making lovely salad dressings and marinades. It’s a healthy ingredient that lends loads of flavors to any dish.

  2. Oregano: This is a Greek staple that’s found in many of my recipes. Sometimes I use dried oregano, and other times I use fresh oregano. I always keep both on hand because what I use depends on what I’m cooking.

  3. Fresh feta: You see my container of feta in almost every episode! I can’t tell you how much we go through each year – it is added to almost everything I make. In the summer my favorite thing is to crumble it over salads and stuff it into burgers. In the winter we stir it into pasta and make delicious dips.

  4. Tomatoes: We LOVE tomatoes in our house! You’ll always find fresh tomatoes at the ready to use for salads, dips, sauces, and more. I buy different tomatoes depending on the season. I’ll use cherry tomatoes for salads, and larger ones from Greek salsa.

  5. Lemon juice: Since we use lemon juice in so many things, I buy the big bottles of fresh lemon juice from the store. I use it for dressings, marinades, and even drinks! This lasts for a while in the fridge, too. Getting the big jar is worth it.

  6. Vanilla Extract: This is a must for almost all baked goods I make. Nearly everything I produce year-round requires vanilla extract. This is why I typically buy the biggest bottle I can find! Also, make sure whatever you use is made with real vanilla, not imitation flavor.

  7. Nutpod: My morning coffee routine has changed for the better since I started using nutpod. It’s the best dairy alternative coffee creamer! It comes in great flavors and I always make sure I have a whole selection in my pantry.

  8. Frappe: As you saw in the episode, frappe is the Greek’s go-to coffee drink. Not only so I regularly enjoy frappe, I also love use it to make coffee flavored treats like Greek coffee ice cream and milkshakes.

  9. Bananas: This isn’t so Mediterranean as it is a necessary part of my daily smoothie. My kids also like bananas and I always make sure there is a fresh bunch in the fruit bowl so they can enjoy them for snacks.

  10. Peanut Butter: A jar of peanut butter is always in the pantry in our house. There is no way around it! I use it for my morning smoothie and my children use it for dipping fruit slices, sandwiches, bagels, and more!

I’d love to hear what your kitchen pantry favorites are, please share below!

Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT. She is currently operating with COVID-safe procedures and is happy to discuss your event and catering needs with you. To discuss further please contact or call 203.658.8659.

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