Part One: My Pantry Staples
Here begins a glimpse into my kitchen cabinets. I warned yesterday that I will be posting, over the next few days, my thoughts on pantry staples and some recipe ideas and links so voilà. Do share what you have, I’m interested.
I have most of these items any given week but it definitely doesn’t encompass everything in my kitchen. For most things, I am not brand loyal and I choose quality items when I have the weekly budget to do so. I should also note that my “pantry” changes with the season. I enjoy buying local, fresh ingredients in the warmer seasons and do what I can to support local goods for the rest of the year. I starred (*) the ones that appear in our cabinets/fridge/freezer most of the time. These items are great to whip up a quick dish (or not so quick but that’s your choice). The possibilities are endless. Most of the recipes on this site can be made with these ingredients.
*Olive oil, vegetable oil, sesame oil, cooking spray
*Balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, etc.- I have several different varieties of vinegars, especially great for salads, on fruit and cheese.
– My “go to” recipe for Gourmet’s panzanella caprese salad
*Sea Salt/ pepper grinder -I also have other types of artisanal salts for desserts and other dishes but that’s because I am a salt fiend.
*Tuna in water (sometimes in oil) – I turn to tuna sandwiches when I don’t want to cook and throw in whatever is in the fridge or it’s good for salads.
Beans (*black beans, *garbanzo beans which are chickpeas, cannellini beans, Great Northern beans) – I toss these into casseroles, soups, puree them for sides and they span a variety of different cuisines so they always make an appearance in the cabinet.
– I love this bacon and white bean soup with herbs.
Chicken broth/vegetable broth – I use a lot of quality broth and stock in a week. (I rarely make my own.)
*Canned tomatoes (fire roasted, diced, whole plum and on and on) – great to make salsa, pasta sauce, soups, etc.
Salsa (canned homemade usually for me)/salsa verde- handy to dip veggies/tortilla chips in, soup toppings, rice toppings, casserole layers
*Canned chipotles in adobo/*cilantro chutney- chipotles and the sauce spice anything up, which is why it often gets chopped finely and goes into soups, on rice (with cheese), the chutney can span different ethnic cuisines so be bold and try it on one of your favorite meals (I love it with Asian dumplings, bread and chickpeas.)
Canned coconut milk- great with fish and rice dishes (reminds me of my time in Costa Rica)
Roasted red peppers/*capers-add tuna and beans in a vinaigrette dressing and that’s a meal
Cans of soup-good quality for lunch or quick dinners (usually my lunch)
Rice- long grain white (*basmati/jasmine/Arborio), brown rice, wild rice-many of my meals stem from a rice base, add steamed veggies and a baked or pan-browned meat for an easy meal or rice + pesto + feta or Parmesan = happy Annie
*Lentils/couscous or pearled grains -I like to switch up our grains
*Pasta (penne, elbow, farfalle, etc.) – I prefer the tube and shaped versions to rod
*All purpose flour/sugar/brown sugar/baking soda and baking powder/*vanilla extract or vanilla beans/cream of tartar/cornstarch/yeast – suits most baking needs and beyond
*Potatoes/garlic/onions/shallots (sweet, fingerling, red, etc. for potatoes which changes week-to-week for us) – potatoes, garlic and onion with herbs roasted with olive oil and that’s an easy side, add some meat and it’s a meal
*Pine nuts/almonds/walnuts/wasabi peas- snacks and pestos or dessert toppings
*Oats (old fashioned)/ cereal – I love to have oats for my chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies oh yeah and breakfast with brown sugar or honey and raisins…I crave cereal sometimes so it becomes a snack or meal (I admit it)
*Individually packed snacks (baked chips, wasabi peas, pretzels, granola/trail mix) – for lunches and snacks to maintain portion control (I also buy large bags and divvy them up.)
Crackers- cheese becomes a meal for us with some fruit, honey and crackers (add wine)
Raisins and other dried fruit- great with yogurt and honey, toss in Indian dishes and tuna dishes
Popcorn kernels-I like to make it the old fashioned way and this is my favorite version
*Dark and semisweet chocolate/*Chocolate chips/cocoa (for baking impromptu cookies/brownies/etc. and snacks) -I try to have different kinds of chocolate cacao-wise for baking and treats
*Peanut butter- I’m not the biggest fan but Greg requires it (but it is a big ingredient for the chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies I linked above)
*Honey/Nutella- honey is a great alternative sweetener (oatmeal, granola, over cheese, yogurt and even in coffee) and the hazelnut spread is great with pretzels and a million other things, I think.
– few ingredient dish: Prosciutto-wrapped pork with sweet potatoes and pears or honey raspberry ice cream
*Coffee! and tea- I need a cup of coffee every morning (yes, need) and an occasional cup of tea to warm my bones and help an illness
Rum/tequila/whiskey/brandy/scotch/vodka/etc.-we tend to have one of these in the cabinet every few months to mix or drink straight
I’ll be back tomorrow with fridge and freezer items!