One of the first steps to creating a stocked pantry is to store only items that you use in your everyday cooking. With the right pantry staples you can easily cook up a pot of Red Beans and Rice or a Puttanesca Sauce with ease, no refrigerated goods needed. The bottom line is that a well stocked pantry is only well stocked if it includes the items YOU use for your cooking style. When I finally cleaned out my own pantry I threw or gave away a lot of specialty items I had picked up in places like TJ Maxx, Cost Plus, etc thinking one day I might use it in a special dish.
As long as my pantry is stocked properly all I need to do is make a quick stop at the grocery store and pick up a piece of meat or fish and a couple veggies. I generally prepare simple meals, lots of pasta , rice and fish dishes. With the ingredients kept in my pantry I can pretty easily whip up a honey mustard sauce for chicken or simple vinaigrette. I mostly prefer foods on the lighter side except during Fall/Winter when nothing beats chicken and dumplings, chili or a nice pot roast.
An organized and well stocked pantry is not only efficient it also helps you save money and avoiding waste. The tray next to my stove which I refer to as the counter top pantry, is reserved for the oils, balsamic vinegar, salts and various dried herbs and spices I use most often.
My pantry includes the following items:
Click on the link to check out my post on De-cluttering the Kitchen.
Beans-canned: Kidney, Black and Refried
Beans-dried: 15 Bean Soup Mix and Split Peas
Chicken Broth – ( if you’re so inclined ,make your own and freeze for future use)
Chicken Soup- (you never know when a Cold will come one)
Crackers: Club, Trader Joe’s Fig and Saltines
Honey: Savannah Bee Tupelo
Jam: Bon Marman Strawberry, Raspberry and Wienke’s Strawberry Rhubarb
Mac N Cheese: Cracker Barrel
Marinara Sauce: Victoria’s (add some cooked ground beef and you have a quick and easy meat sauce)
Olive: Diced Kalamata
Pasta : Spaghetti and Penne
Real Maple syrup
Rice: Lundgrens long grain and Arborio for risotto
Sauerkraut: Bubbies (needs refrigeration but has a very long shelf life)
Tomatoes: Organic Muir Glen Diced, Diced Plum, RO*TEL
Tomato Paste in Tube
Garlic Paste in Tube
Condiments and Sauces
Mayonnaise: Best Foods small glass jar
Mustard : Dijon, Yellow, Horseradish and Deli
Salsa-Casa Martinez Chipolte
Oil and Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Flour : King Arthur Unbleached
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice
Cake Mix- Duncan Hines
Pudding Mix – Vanilla, Lemon and Chocolate – I use these mainly for adding to the cake mix.
Fruit Filings : Cherry
Wine: small bottles for cooking and a few larger ones for drinking.
Liquor: small individual bottles of Brandy, Kahlua and Zambuca