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