The Perfect Pantry

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post on this new adventure that Jillian and I are embarking on!

Today I want to talk about one of the easiest ways to save money in the kitchen…your pantry!

Disclaimer: this is not our actual pantry. This pantry is organized.

Having a well-stocked pantry is like saving money in the bank; you’ll always have those basic, yet essential, ingredients whenever you need them.  No more rushing to the store at the last minute or bothering your neighbor for a cup of sugar (unless you enjoy bothering your neighbor…I won’t judge).

This post is going to cover what your dry goods and non-perishables should include.  I’ll cover refrigerator essentials in a later post.

This list is not meant to be followed as sacred text.  If you don’t have these things in your pantry or just plain don’t want them, don’t worry, we still love you.

This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive either!  If your favorite dry good is missing, keep putting it in your pantry (and let us know what it is so we can put it in ours).

The Basics

  • Kosher salt (my #1 all time favorite ingredient)
  • Whole black peppercorns (you can pick up disposable pepper grinders fairly cheap)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • Red Wine VinegarBalsamic Vinegar

Rice and Grains

  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Pasta (have a few of your favorite styles on hand)
  • Breadcrumbs (I prefer panko but regular breadcrumbs are just fine)
  • Quinoa and couscous (I like both but if there is a different style of grain that you like, stock it!)
  • Polenta or cornmeal

Baking Supplies

  • All purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Cream of tartar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Chocolate chips
  • Vanilla extract (you don’t need the most expensive bottle)

The Sweet Stuff

  • Granulated sugar
  • Confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey

Canned Items

  • Chicken broth (low sodium)
  • Beef broth (low sodium)
  • Beans (grab a few cans of your favorites)
  • Canned corn (or any veggies you may like)
  • Salsa
  • Olives (Both black and green)
  • Tomatoes (I like to have both whole and pureed)
  • Tomato paste
  • Chilies

Herbs and Spices (Dried)

  • Bay leaves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper (I love this stuff and would put it in almost anything if Jillian would let me)
  • Curry powder
  • Fennel
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cloves
  • Ground cumin
  • Oregano
  • Paprika (sweet or smoked, or both!)
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Whole nutmeg (if you don’t have a microplane, ground nutmeg is just fine)

I hope this list helps you on your way to a nicely-stocked pantry.  Remember, the better stocked your pantry is, the less stressed you’ll be when cooking for yourself and all your friends!

If you feel like I’ve left out some essentials, please let me know!  What are your pantry essentials?

3 thoughts on “The Perfect Pantry

  1. Good list, but I have to adapt for family taste and dietary restrictions. I always keep several “Mrs Dash” type seasonings (I usually get the Aldi house brand), and I am especially fond of the lemon pepper – lemon tends to enhance the salty flavor, which is good if somebody is on a 1500mg sodium diet. I also always keep the Italian Seasoning herb blend (sometimes known as Simon and Garfunkle’s Scarborough fair blend – sing it for me), onion powder and garlic powder – just easier when you are in a hurry or if you need to make your own salt free steakhouse rub or Cajun rub or something. And I also keep veggie broth as I do not like the smell of beef broth, Most of my veggies are the frozen type – again, sodium restrictions. And canned fruit, because some orange sections or pineapple tidbits can be used for salad if you run short of greens, and dried fruit, because it can be used as a snack or garnish .

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