Stocking your pantry with important basics and having a system for keeping it filled is some serious savvy. A well thought-out food supply is key to using every last bit of the week’s fresh grocery haul and keeps you going during days that you’re running low on food. On days that you can see the back of your refrigerator, having a well-stocked pantry can inspire you to whip up creations that will leave you feeling proud.
In our home, we aim to waste as little as possible by finding a purpose for everything and we compost anything that has spoiled or truly cannot be used. Some days, this forces me to get a bit creative, and even though not every attempt is a success, when there is an empty fridge and no money or food was wasted, I feel pretty awesome!.
Here, you will find a list divided into various sections that shows what items I buy to stock my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. This is not ALL that I have – of course – but these are the absolute basics that keep my kitchen running at any given time of the day or week.
- Universal Flour
- Packed Brown Sugar
- White Sugar
- Bread Crumbs
- Round corn rice; rice choice of basmati, jasmine, etc.
- Germ (Yeast)
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Boullion: Poultry, Beef, and Vegetable/Clear
- Soy Sauce
- Canned Goods (i.e., beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, tuna, salmon)
- Onions (yellow + purple)
- Honey, Syrup, Agave
- Pack of Chicken Breast
- Pack of Ground Beef or Turkey
- Puff Pastry
- Note: I will also add items like fresh bananas, peppers, spinach, etc. in a sealed bag to the freezer if I have them, but know they won’t get eaten right away.
- Lemon/Lime Juice
- Cheese (i.e. parmesan)
Herbs and Spices
- Salt, Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Chili Flakes
- Olive Oil
- Vegetable, etc. oil (any neutral oil)
- Vinegar (whether apple cider, white wine)
That’s it. My pantry is never without these items. They serve as building blocks for the meals that I make from fresh produce and they are my saviors for when I’m running low on, or out of everything else. When I am running low on one of these items, I just add it to my list for my next grocery shopping trip. Other than meat I keep in the freezer, nothing on this list costs more than a couple of Euro/Dollars. Whether you just came back from a shopping trip armed with fresh produce and other ingredients, or you’re stuck in your village for three days with a broken car and an empty fridge (true story) something fresh can always be put on the table.
Ideas to start you off:
- Cacio e Pepe (homemade pasta, butter, parmesan, pepper)
- Flatbread (puff pastry, herbs/spices, leftover veggies + cheeses)
- Homemade Bread (get fancy and add parmesan, herbs + spices, etc.)
- Homemade Pasta
- Ramen (homemade ramen, leftover vegetables, soy sauce)
- Soup (Boullion, leftover vegetables, homemade pasta, parmesan, pulled chicken, etc.)
- Creamy risotto or polenta
- Polenta Fries ( polenta, parmesan, milk)
- Tomato Sauce (canned tomatoes, garlic, onions), or Bolognese (add ground meat)
- Breakfast for Dinner (eggs, hashbrowns or potato pancakes w/ onion)
- Pulled chicken, Chicken salad
- Egg salad
- Salmon Burgers (canned salmon, onions, leftover vegetables, mayonnaise, bread crumbs)
I hope this helps, especially for those who are just getting into cooking for the first time, those who possibly needed to start fresh with ingredients, or just anyone who needed a little bit of inspiration. Stay tuned, because at a later time I am eager to write a more detailed post about ingredients – fresh and long-lasting – that I purchase on repeat and why!