Catalyst Cooks

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Pantry Staples… Stuff I always have Part II June 28, 2010

As you CC followers already know… I’ve been cooking from my Pantry for some time now.  Like 3 weeks’ worth. 

It’s important, when you would rather have fun in the sun than go to the Store, that you are ready with a Cooking-friendly pantry!

Here’s Pantry Staples Part II, continued from Part I.



I buy a small amount of meat to keep in my freezer.  These are my recommendations for things that are flexible for lots of recipes and are easy to defrost for a quick meal.

I freeze them in individual portion sizes so that I don’t have to commit to a large recipe when I’m cooking for myself.

Chicken.  I buy the 1.25 pound packages of chicken breasts and freeze them individually. 

Beef.  I like to have 4 ounce portions of ground beef frozen, for burgers, to make meatballs, in meat sauces, etc.  I also usually have a roast on hand. 

Pork.  It’s nice to have a couple of chops for grilling or putting in the oven.  I have purchased large amounts of tenderloin for cheap, cut them into chops, and frozen them individually.

BACON.  See here!


Veggies.  I keep one small bag each of these: Corn, Broccoli, and Peas.  Perfect as sides or in stews and roasts.

GROCERY (the big cahuna)

Condiments Aisle.  My staples:

  • Ketchup & prepared mustard
  • Dijon mustard
  • Mayo
  • Honey
  • Vinegar: Red Wine, Balsamic, and White/regular
  • Wines: Red and Sherry cooking wine
  • Kalamata olives, green olives, and capers
  • Soy Sauce

Soups, Sauces, Pasta Aisle

Tomatoes.  I have at least three cans at a time: Diced, Sauce, and paste.  I usually have a couple to three of each.

Dried Pasta.  If you don’t like to make it, it’s easy to throw a spaghetti dinner together if you keep a box of dried pasta around.

Chicken Stock or Broth.  To make quick soups.  I like to make my own, when I buy a whole chicken- but it’s good to have a couple cans as back up.

Baking Aisle.

  • All-purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Corn Meal
  • Corn Starch
  • Salt & pepper
  • Yeast (I buy a jar, because I make so much bread).
  • Raisins
  • Olive oil (and instead of buying Pam spray, I put some olive oil in a spritzer)
  • Spices

Stuff I don’t buy, that you might

Croutons, Bread Crumbs, Stuffing, Bread:  I usually make my own bread.  What I don’t eat gets dried out and I can make stuffing, bread crumbs for meatballs or breading, and croutons from it.

Dressing or dressing mixes:  If I get hungry for ranch dressing, I look up the spice combination online and make up my own batch.  I whip up dressing from olive oil and vinegar for my salads.

Tabasco sauce, Peanut butter, jam:  I’m making my own these days!

Let the debates begin… If you think I missed something important, there isn’t really a wrong way to start a pantry- let’s hear from the peanut gallery!


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