Sunday, August 22, 2010

How I Stock a Pantry

Stocking a Pantry for Effective Use of Foods and Last Minute Changes to Your Plan:

The basic list is for people who don't have a stand alone freezer. I have also broken it down by dry goods and perishables. This is my pantry list. Obviously if your family doesn't eat fish you won't be buying the canned fish. Try canned chicken. Also, I am only cooking for 2 people on a regular basis. If you have a large family you will need more for sure! I personally don't like frozen peas and corn; I prefer the canned. However, if you prefer the frozen, replace with 2 bags of frozen each.

I buy most of the dry goods items when on sale and/or when I have a coupon.

This isn't a list for everyone, it is my list. However, it is a good starting point for anyone new to cooking or planning meals. If you don't like pasta, don't add it to your pantry. If you cook Thai food everyday, add the appropriate fish sauce and curry pastes.

DRY GOODS: (Goods that don't require refrigeration and can be stored in a pantry/basement shelves for longer periods of time.)

Olive Oil - a basic one, no need to spend a ton of money
Canola or Sunflower Oil - Or any vegetable oil

Vinegar - I always have cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. If you like making pickles you will also need white vinegar.

Boxed Dried Pastas - buy when on sale and I always have at least 10 pound boxes
Rice - I usually have 5 pounds of brown, 2 pounds of white, 1 pound exotic (Jasmine/Basmati etc)
Dried Beans - I usually have 3-5 pound bags of varied beans
Dried Lentils - I always have 3-5 pound bags, and at least one is the exotic orange/red
Dried Grains - I usually have 2 or 3 kinds - right now I have quinoa, barley, bulgar and wild rice


Paste - 5 small
Crushed - 4 large
Stewed - 4 small
Sauce - 10 small


Beans - I always have kidney, cannellini, chick peas

Canned chicken broth (3-5) and beef broth (1-3) - (non-fat and low sodium is all I use.)
Canned Soups - some "cream of" soups for recipes and your favorites for last minute meals

Evaporated Milk - 2-4 cans (I only use SKIM or FAT FREE)

Canned fish - Tuna and/or Salmon and/or Tiny Shrimp

Jarred Pasta Sauces - 4-6 jars
Jarred Salsa - mild/medium or hot - whatever your personal preference. We like hot as a dip, but I use mild/medium in many recipes.

Peanut Butter

Spices and Seasonings: I have broken them down to what I consider very basic and the next level.

Granulated Garlic
Granulated Onion
Dried Red Pepper Flakes
Vanilla Extract - the REAL stuff

Ground Ginger
Curry Powder
Chili Powder

Flour - 5 pounds
Sugar - 2 pounds

Corn Meal
Oatmeal - not the instant packets
Baking Soda
Baking Powder

Once opened these items should be stored in the refrigerator:
Worcestershire Sauce

If you cook Asian inspired foods (I do!) you will want to add some/all of the following:

Soy sauce, tamari (Japanese soy sauce), oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and black bean sauce, to name a few. These sauces are used in both marinades and stir-frying. For Southeast Asian cooking, stock red or green curry pastes, coconut milk (not the sugared kind for making cocktails) and fish sauce.

Refrigerated/Perishable Basics (including some produce)

Milk (if you make your own yogurt as I do, you will have to figure out how much you need)

Potatoes - white and sweet

Frozen Boxes of Spinach (I always buy when on sale and have 5-10 at any one time)


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