Are you one of those cooks who love to make up a new dish on the spur of the moment? Watching The Food Network will do that to you. In that case, a well-stocked pantry will always serve you well.
What’s in a Dish?
Have you ever started cooking and realized that you were missing that one ingredient that can make or break your recipe? It’s happened to us all. One way to avoid that is to always have certain food items on hand. I have learned that if I plan my meals out two weeks in advance it helps when I go grocery shopping.
You might be wondering how you can possibly keep everything and also keep your food costs (and waste) low. Many times, the item you need is something that you will always use. It just seems to be empty at the time.
Each cook knows their own household. Items that seem out of the ordinary as common pantry staples will occur to you as you create your shopping list. But, what you need most is often items that would be found in any pantry.
Creating your Master Pantry
No one wants to be without what they need when they need it. To that end, there are several items that are essential to any useful pantry. Specialty stuff aside, always make sure the bare necessities are present to assist with a dish you want to create.
Poll your family. What foods do you eat most? What is needed to create those meals and desserts? It is usually more economical to cook at home instead of buying an already prepared dish that will only last for one sitting. You can create enough for leftovers for another day.
So, here are some (15 to be exact) of the essential items that any kitchen pantry needs.
- Sugar – It has gotten a bad rap in the past few years. Use sparingly. Any baking or sauces that you make may require this ingredient.
- Olive oil – Great for baking, sautéing and general cooking, this oil is heart healthy.
- Chicken broth – Use to flavor rice, casseroles, homemade soups, vegetables, and gravies. It is a versatile item and lower sodium varieties can limit the amount of salt you use.
- Nuts – Pecans, walnuts, cashews, and peanuts are used in a variety of desserts or just to eat alone.
- Flour – If you bake from scratch, it is essential.
- Salt – When you flavor food as you cook it, there is no need to add later on.
- Spices – This includes all the dried herbs and spices you need to add flavor to various dishes.
- Pasta – Which do you prefer: macaroni, penne, shells, linguine, or spaghetti?
- Rice – Brown or white or even long grain can provide a side dish for any meal.
- Beans – A good source of protein on your meatless meal day.
- Tomato paste – Can be used to thicken your spaghetti sauce.
- Vinegar – Used to create salad dressings and marinades.
- Honey – An alternative to sugar and good for sore throats
- Peanut butter – Great on sandwiches and also in desserts
- Canned meats – Easy to use for meals without thawing time
What’s in your pantry?