Pantry Staples

by Ilinap on November 19, 2011

I like to cook. I like to eat. I cook pretty often for my family and friends, and some people wonder how I manage to do it. For starters, nothing I cook is fancy or complicated. I believe in homecooked food that is simple and simply tasty. I don’t make my own marshmallows or anything like that. I take advantage of short cuts that some real foodies consider cheating. To that I say pshaw! A meal shared around the family table is what memories are made of, whether I made my naan from scratch or bought the frozen kind from Trader Joe’s isn’t what matters.

The number one thing that makes it easy to whip up a meal is what staples I keep in my pantry. With just a handful of basics, I can make a kitchen sink stew or repurpose leftovers.

The Basics
Olive oil, vegetable oil, sesame oil
Balsamic vinegar
White wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Soy sauce
Fish sauce
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh garlic
Herbs and spices

In My Pantry
Pasta of all kinds (penne, linguine, gnocchi, macaroni)
Rice and other grains (barley, couscous, arborio rice)
Dried beans of all varieties
Canned tuna packed in olive oil
Canned tomatoes (whole and diced)
Canned beets
Chipotle peppers
Tomato paste
Black olives
Sun dried tomatoes
Maple syrup
Chicken broth
Wine (red, white, sherry)
Nuts (walnuts, almonds)
Dried cranberries
Tabasco sauce
Orange marmalade
Apricot jam
Peanut butter
Panko and bread crumbs

In the Fridge
Cheese of all kinds
Kerrygold butter
Dijon mustard
Plain yogurt
BBQ sauce
Frozen chicken sausage
Frozen shrimp
Frozen veggies (peas, green beans, artichoke hearts, spinach)

I buy chicken and fish as needed. I also make frequent trips to my local farmers market. I’ve found that I can cook almost anything as long as I have good ingredients stocked in my kitchen. I believe that tasty meals can be fast, healthy, affordable, and easy. I’m not a trained cook; I just know what I like and I’m not afraid to experiment. Cooking is a creative process, and what you put in directly impacts what you get.

Now make a shopping list and carry on (don’t forget to bring your own grocery bags!).

So did I miss anything? What are your kitchen staples?





{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Magpie November 19, 2011 at 9:45 PM

You’d be a great neighbor.


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