How to Stock Your Pantry
Keeping the right staples in your pantry means you'll never have to run out to the store to complete a recipe, and you'll be able to put together a meal in a moment's notice.
What to Keep On Hand
The types of pasta you buy are a matter of taste. With a great variety of shapes and textures in the supermarket, you'll have no trouble picking up a couple boxes to have on your shelf.
Pasta buying tips:
• Choose corkscrew for meaty sauces, it helps hold it all together on a fork.
• Elbow macaroni is versatile hot or cold and is the hands-down best for homemade macaroni and cheese
• Penne Rigate is excellent in every way for casseroles and chunky sauces.
White Rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati...all are excellent for pulling togeter a quick dinner with a few simple ingredients added to the rice. It's also an easy side dish that goes with most any type of meat.
Canned and/or dried beans
If you have beans on hand, you have the makings of a hearty soup or chili. Kidney beans and black beans are used in countless recipes, making dinner fast and filling.
Vinegar (balsamic, white, red wine)
Vinegar is great to make homemade dressings and an excellent base for herb infused sauces. And you'll be ready to dye Easter eggs every day.
Oils (olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil)
From prepping skillets and pans to adding flavor to recipes, oil is a pantry must-have. Keep away from heat and light to get the best storage life. Oil does turn rancid so be sure to smell it if it's been around for a while.
Herbs and Spices
While certain herbs and spices are better fresh, it's always a good idea to have dried herbs in your pantry so you're ready for any recipe.
Keep these basics in your spice rack so dinner isn't just quick...it's flavorful.
• Chili powder
• Cinnamon, ground and sticks
• Cloves, ground and whole
• Cumin, ground
• Curry powder
• Dill weed
• Five-spice powder
• Garlic powder
• Ginger, ground
• Mustard, dried ground
• Onion powder
• Poppy seeds
• Red Pepper Flakes
• Sesame seeds
• Vanilla extract
White sugar, brown sugar and dark brown sugar are staples in both baking and cooking.
Chicken and Beef Stock
If you have stock, you can have a hearty soup in no time.
Keeping potatoes, onions and peppers around will ensure you have a side dish or ingredients to make a meal truly filling. However, they do go bad fairly quickly. Canned vegetables are great for soups, stews, sauces and side dishes. Green beans, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes are great basics.
From simple red sauce to herb infused cheese sauces, choose a couple of your family's favorites for those nights that dinner needs to take no more effort than making pasta and combining it with sauce.
Now these aren't really a pantry basic, but they are a staple in a lot of homes. They may not pass muster with the food police, but when you're tired or have sick kids that kept you up all night (or a new baby!), or you need a break and don't have the energy or cash for take-out food; Ramen noodles will save the day. Toss some broccoli or other veggies into the pot for more flavor and belly filling goodness. Diced cooked chicken adds protein. Grab a few packages to keep around.
For a more detailed list that includes fridge basics and storage needs, use our printable Pantry Supplies Checklist