Apr 25

We often find ourselves short on time, and standing at the refrigerator at 6 PM hoping there’s something to eat. Unless you are great with preparing meals in advance or planning your cooking for eat night, this probably sounds familiar to you. One thing that may help ease this issue is a well stocked pantry. Let’s look at the top items to consider no matter how small a space your pantry may be:

  • Spices – Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Oregano, Basil – you may add others if your ethnic cooking has spices I missed here.
  • Oils – Olive, Peanut, and Vegetable – all three are useful and not easily interchangeable.
  • Sugar, both white and brown. Flour – make sure there’s butter in the fridge and you have the makings for cookies and brownies.
  • Canned Tomatoes / Tomato Paste/ Jarred Sauce – You can go from can or jar to a decent meal on the table in 30 minutes or less starting with tomatoes of one sort or another.
  • Stock/Broth – I prefer to make my own, nothing like a good chicken broth, even if made in advance and frozen, but in a pinch that package from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods will save the day.
  • Rice, Pasta, canned Beans – these will all last nearly indefinitely, so stock up when on sale.

This list isn’t comprehensive, just my top 10 or so items. What do you have in your pantry? Has it helped you create a fast meal?


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7 Responses to “Stocking the Pantry”

  1. Dirty Butter Says:

    I just wish I HAD a pantry! We have a pitifully tiny closet that makes do, plus everything is crammed into the kitchen cabinets. Hubby grocery shops and cooks now, so I don’t even know where everything is any more. He uses coupons and buys the sales, particularly BOGO. That means we have things squished into odd places.

  2. admin Says:

    Hmm. Time to organize the space you do have. This list will fit on one shelf in a cabinet. In a small space, it’s important to prioritize the items that turn over faster. Little point in 10 cans of tuna no matter the price, if they’ll sit there for years.

  3. Canadian Doomer Says:

    Let’s see, using your list as a guide:
    Spices – I use a lot of salt, pepper, onion (powdered and granulated), garlic (powdered), poultry seasoning and Italian seasoning, as well as pickling spice, cayenne, cinnamon and a few others. Vanilla, definitely.
    Oil – we use canola oil and lard. I also store plenty of butter.
    Sugar – I store white sugar and molasses. From that, I can make brown sugar. I also store plenty of honey
    Flour – definitely. I think I have about 100 kg stored.
    Tomato – We buy commercial cans of tomato sauce, and then I make spaghetti sauce, ketchup and barbecue sauce.
    Broth – although I make it from scratch when I’m cooking chickens, I also buy it in tetra packs. We eat a lot of soup and stew
    Grains – We don’t use rice, but we store and use a lot of barley and oats.
    Fruit – I keep dried raisins and craisins in the pantry, plus I buy apple juice when the cans are on sale.
    Beans – I store dried navy beans
    Miscellaneous – Baking powder, baking soda, yeast, coffee, cocoa, mustard, mayo

    It’s hard to list everything I keep in my pantry. :)

  4. Martha A. Cheves Says:

    There is nothing that makes me happier than to work on a recipe and find that I have everything that is needed. If I’m missing something I end up spending more at the grocery store than need be. So to me, a fully stocked pantry is wonderful and I love the way you’ve set yours up.

    But, I also want to tell you what a friend who is a food broker for ConAgra told me. She said that the price of all food is going up so stock your pantry now. I’ve already seen this happening in the grocery store but I’m also seeing it in the restaurants. Some of the places I go to have gone up over $1.00 for their plate meals, sandwiches and even burgers. So I’m stocking.

  5. Dennis Says:

    I’ve been planning also to organize things in our pantry though ours is just a small one. But through your organize list, it will really help us a lot for easier management.

  6. J-mie Says:

    I’m one of the thousands of people who stare at the fridge and/or pantry hoping to have something to eat or have all the ingredients I need for my cravings.

    Thanks for sharing your top 10 list. This helps a lot.

    I just hope I have a big pantry that could fit all these.

    Time to save up so I can remodel my kitchen and have a big pantry that could fill everything I need… and want.

  7. Petula Says:

    I keep my oils and spices above the stove in the cabinet and most of the other things you listed are in my pantry. Mine also contains cereals, pastas and storage containers for meds. Bread, etc. I love a well-stocked and organized pantry. :-)

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