(FYI, this is NOT my pantry, it’s found on GOOGLE search under the term: pantry. BUT, if anyone wants to come to my house and come and help my pantry LOOK like the above picture, let me know!)
So I was chatting with one of my friends and she was saying she sees a recipe on here and looks in her pantry and she doesn’t have any of the ingredients! And, of course, I realize that not everyone shops WITH me! People don’t see what I always keep stocked. People don’t see my meal plans! 🙂
I COULD just go to people’s house and cook for them… because, actually, I’d really like that. How fun would teaching people how to cook and cooking for them be? Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d LOVE it! It’s such a passion of mine, to cook, and passing it on to anyone would be a blast!
I decided to list my “staples”. Things that, if I run out, I always try to replace them when I go again. That’s also where the “Out of Milk” app comes in handy, because I quickly add it on there so that I don’t forget next time I shop!
So, here goes:
MUST HAVES in my pantry, fridge and freezer:
1. Zucchini – when in season
2. Frozen veggies – my favorite is corn, broccoli, peas and green beans.
3. Carrots and onions – my favorite is a sweet yellow onion
4. Bread – it’s actually for my kids, but I always have some. It’s a tragedy if I run out before the 2 weeks is over!
5. 1/2 and 1/2 and Heavy Cream – for coffee AND cooking
6. BUTTER!!! A MUST have!
7. Flour, sugar, honey, baking soda, baking powder and flax meal – all of these last a WHILE and I don’t have to replace them very often.
8. At least 1 jar of Organic Pasta Sauce – whether it’s for my little boy’s meatballs, or something else. I make sure I have 1
10. Lettuce (dark and leafy) or baby spinach – for all SORTS of dishes!
11. Greek Yogurt FULL FAT and PLAIN – a must have for a snack (add a little honey to some plain greek yogurt, stir and EAT for a high protein snack!), for cooking, baking and also in place of sour cream it works amazingly!
12. Garlic – I either buy it in a jar with olive oil already minced, or a fresh clove… just depending on how I feel
13. Spices I always have in my cupboard: Oregano, Cumin, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper, Turmeric, Curry Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Italian Seasoning, Cayenne Powder, Dried Basil, Dried Thyme, Dried Parsley, Dill
14. My favorite FRESH herbs: Basil, parsley, cilantro. I don’t always keep these because they go bad quite quickly. I have fresh herbs growing in my garden in my yard during the spring and summer, and then in the fall and winter, I purchase certain herbs (if I feel fresh is worth the cost) for specific recipes.
15. Lemons and Limes- I try to have at least 3 of each
16. Avocado – when they are in season, I usually by 5 or 6 when I shop for the 2 week time period. I buy them when they are still hard and let them sit out on the counter. When they start to get ripe I transfer them to the fridge and they stay good until my 2 week period of time (between shopping trips) is up!
17. Chicken Tenderloins from Trader Joes – these are just… the best. I’ve bought fresh, frozen etc from many other places and nothing quite compares! The frozen Chicken Tenderloins from TJ wins out every time!
18. Fish/Shrimp/Seafood – I’m picky about this. I do NOT always have these. Even if I’ve planned a recipe for any one of these and I go to the store and they don’t have any wild caught at a good price… I do NOT purchase it. I will change my recipe to something more cost effective. I have certain rules. And I don’t like to pay more than $8.99/lb for wild caught shrimp.
19. 1 lb. of ground beef. I like no-hormones, all natural ground beef. If I’m lucky World Market or Earth Fare will have some fancy shmancy grass fed ground beef that I stock up on when it’s on sale! But… if not, I get the highest quality for the best price possible. Sometimes I only buy 1 lb for the 2 week period and make it last. Just depending on the price.
20. “Fancy Beef” – steak, ribs, short ribs, beef tips, sirloin, roast. I don’t make these often. I try to plan it ahead of time if my budget allows, or when it’s on sale. I will sometimes put a meal plan on the list for a roast, etc just in case there’s a good price on it when I’m shopping. If there isn’t, I don’t make it for that time period, but I save it on my pinterest board for when it does! Or… if my husband and I have an at home date night.
21. Carrots! I like to buy the large 2 lb. bag of full size organic carrots. My kids even like it because they act like bunnies! 🙂
22. Potatoes – I buy either Yukon Gold or Sweet potatoes. Whichever is on sale or what I’ve planned for that time period.
23. Cheese – Parmesan Cheese, cheddar, shredded, block, cottage cheese, etc. I try to have at least 1 on hand. Also… depending on price. Sometimes cheese is BOGO!
24. Canned tomatoes or salsa. I like the off-brand of Ro-Tel (fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis). You can do A LOT with salsa or canned tomatoes! No joke!
25. Beans – canned. Like, black beans, Pinto Beans, cannelini beans. You can put them in soup, chili, salad, make refried beans on your own… the options are HIGH! And… they are cheap! There are times I can get them for under $0.50/can!
26. Tomato Paste – You saw my tube of tomato paste in a previous post. You can do so much with so little of it! Tortilla soup, enchiladas, chili, pizza or spaghetti sauce, etc. A little can go a long way!
27. Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth… SOMETIMES Beef Broth – because I make a lot of my own sauces instead of buying them, these are essential. I can use this in a soup, chili, baked dish, sauteed dish, quick or baked, oven or crock pot… I try to keep 2 in my pantry. I don’t always use them, but I’m always glad I have them in my pantry! They keep for a long time too!
28. Things for my kids to snack on: hummus, cucumber, apples, grapes, strawberries (depending on when in season/on sale) raspberries, crackers, chips, pita chips, etc. I don’t always get ALL of these, but usually 2 or 3 of them.
30. Organic Old Fashioned Oats – for breakfast or baking!
31. Last, but not least OLIVE OIL Organic Olive Oil. I use it daily!
If I have all of these “essentials” as I call them, I can make a meal pretty easily! I can mix up the ingredients, or buy a few “odds and ends” and make something new and fancy! Seems like a long list when I put it all down, but I don’t have to buy these every time I go shopping, so that helps with cost. Healthy and whole ingredients and an endless amount of meals you can make with these ingredients! I do buy a few different things for my kids like chicken nuggets, etc… (if I don’t make them that week)… but overall these are my must-haves.
What are your go-tos? Anything that you MUST have in your fridge or pantry?
Let me know!
And now, for the quote of the day: