A Well Stocked Pantry

     Once you get bitten by the cooking bug, you’re going to want to become the best you can be and eat the best you can make a soon as possible. If you buy yourself a piece of fish, beef, chicken or pork, you can take it to Italy, Ireland, China or Marrakesh just by using certain herbs or spices from your pantry. That is what I find exciting about cooking.

     But to be able to do that, one needs a well stocked pantry. It is the most important things to have. However, when I started I wondered what went into this pantry. Over time and plenty of trial and error, I have created a list that I consider is a requirement for a well stock pantry. Everything that is on this list is in my pantry. With these Items I can create any meal that I want and if I am pressed for time, I can make a fast, delicious, and nutritious meal that my children love.

     I know that this list seems large but I say go and buy everything on it. It will not cost you an arm and a leg and it lasts for months. These items sit in your pantry waiting for you to use. Having these basic items allow you to do anything you want to your food. The rule that I live by is there should be enough in your stores to feed you and your family if you get snowed in….so stock up!

     One thing I want you to remember that there is nothing low quality about canned tomatoes, canned tuna, or frozen vegetables and fruits. I use frozen vegetables as much as I can because you can now by them already diced. In fact Kroger® now carries frozen vegetables mixtures of onion, celery, and carrots, the classic mire piox of French cooking and the mixture of onion, green peppers, and celery, the holy trinity of Cajun cooking, that makes preparation time a breeze.

     Let’s take a look at the list:

Basic Spices Frozen Stuff Canned Stuff Oils & Vinegars Baking Stuff Other Stuff
Sea Salt Peas Crushed Tomatoes Extra Virgin Olive Oil All-Purpose Flour Dijon Mustard
Table Salt Green Beans Diced Tomatoes Olive Oil Self-Rising Flour Whole Grain Mustard
Black Peppercorns Sweet Corn Tomato Paste Canola or Vegetable Bread Flour Yellow Mustard
Dried Chilies
(Red Pepper Flakes)
Fruits Garbanzo Beans
(Chick Peas)
Seame Seed Oil Whole Wheat Flour Dried Pasta
Nutmeg Shrimp Cannellini Beans Peanut Oil Cornstarch Egg Noodles
Ground Cinnamon Ready Made Pie Crust Black Beans Red Wine Vinegar Baking Powder Quick-Cook Couscous
Dried Oregano Filo Pastry Kidney Beans White Wine Vinegar Dried Yeast Basmati Rice
Fennel Seeds Puff Pastry Pinto Beans Balsamic Vinegar Superfine Sugar Brown Rice
Coriander Seeds   Tuna
(Oil or Water)
Rice Wine Vinegar Brown Sugar Nuts
(Your preference)
(Ground or Seed)
  Coconut Milk   Powdered Sugar Mixed Seeds
Chili Powder   Olives   Unsweetened Cocoa Saltine Crackers
Five Spice Powder   Anchovies   Oatmeal Broth
(Chicken, Beef, & Vegetable)
(Sweet & Smoked)
      Maple Syrup Jarred Pesto
Garlic Powder         Curry Paste
Dried Onions         Soy Sauce

     I feel this list will allow you to create any type of dish that you wish. There are spices for Mediterranean, Chinese and Indian cuisines, there are basic ingredients to bake bread, create a wonderful marinara sauce which to serve over pasta, or create a wonderful soup. Once you know what is in your pantry, your refrigerator, and freezer, you will never again wonder if you have anything for dinner. Your problem now will be with all these choices what should I make for dinner?