Oct 9, 2009

The Well-Stocked Pantry 2.0

Some things never change. Four years ago, I was writing about cooking at home to save money, and offered some recommendations for a well-stocked pantry. Since some things do change, I'm offering an updated list based on how I cook now. But the important thing to keep in mind is that this is a starting point, and you should keep what you use in your pantry.

As before, I use the word "pantry" pretty loosely, to refer to things that you can keep on hand for an extended period of time, or that most people have at all times.

The Freezer
  • ground beef and/or turkey, in one-pound packages (buy when on sale and freeze)
  • 3-pound beef or pork roast (cooks beautifully in slow cooker and serves 6 to 8)
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • flour tortillas
  • frozen corn
  • frozen peas
  • unsalted butter
  • minced garlic (Trader Joe's sells little cubes of frozen minced garlic that are so convenient)
  • bread (I keep several varieties, such as cinnamon raisin, whole wheat sandwich bread, french bread, and brioche rolls)
  • chicken and/or vegetable broth
  • yeast (it keeps best in the freezer)
The Fridge
  • milk
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • eggs
  • assorted shredded cheeses, such as Mexican blend and mozzarella
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • bacon
  • mayonnaise
If you don't have to worry about food allergies, the following are also nice to have on hand:
  • natural peanut or other nut butter
  • sesame oil (should be refrigerated because it goes rancid quickly)
The Pantry
  • dried herbs: oregano, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, kosher salt, black peppercorns (in a mill so you can freshly grind it), cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder
  • kalamata olives
  • tomatoes (diced and crushed)
  • tomato sauce
  • flour (I keep both all-purpose and white whole wheat on hand)
  • sugar
  • brown sugar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • vinegar (balsamic, plus others if you use them often enough: red wine, white wine or champagne, rice, apple cider, and my favorite, Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)
  • onions
  • chicken and/or vegetable broth
  • dried pasta (whatever you like: rotini, fettucini, spaghetti, penne, etc.)
  • panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
  • canned fish (tuna in oil and/or water and anchovies)
  • mustard
  • rice
Out of these ingredients, you could make a myriad of meals: Pasta Puttanesca, turkey or beef tacos (just fry the tortillas in a little bit of oil for crispy shells), Pan Bagnat, pizza (there are a million recipes - Emeril's sounds nice and easy) with homemade sauce (saute minced garlic with dried oregano and basil in olive oil, add tomato sauce and simmer until thick), Spaghetti Carbonara, and even simple tuna sandwiches.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Reading this "pantry" list is like looking in my own pantry.