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What is in your pantry?  If you keep a fairly well stocked pantry and refrigerator/freezer  you can put Stocked Pantrytogether a really good meal at pretty much the drop of a hat.  The secret is to keep your pantry stocked with the BASICS, things that are called for in most of your everyday and favorite dishes.  Keep on hand the things that you use a LOT and then the things you use occasionally.   Obviously the foods you and your family love are the first things that should be on your pantry list.

You don't have to have a fancy space for a pantry, you can use your kitchen cabinet, a closet, etc.  But it is highly advisable to stockpile for your basic cooking needs.  You'll save amazing amounts of money this way.

As people begin to cook more and more at home, once again, learning to keep your pantry stocked with the items you use most is important.  It's easier to save money on groceries if you plan your meals in advance, cook from scratch, and keep a well-stocked pantry.  You save money because you can buy 'stock up' items during sales and special events and if you shop big box or discount grocers you can have the things on hand to make great meals without having to run to the grocery store to pick up ingredients.

Use up the oldest packages of things first and replace them in a timely manner.  If you keep your pantry well stocked you can weather any surprise company or unforeseen circumstances like bad storms and power outages.

Here's a basic list of things I think it's a good idea to have on hand at all times.

Baking:   baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, cocoa powder

Beans:   Keep packages of dried beans and peas like pinto, black, split peas, kidney, navy or white beans, small red beans, lentils, etc.     Also keep on hand several cans of different kinds of  beans for quick soups, etc
Broth and Stock:   Keep cans and/or boxes of chicken and beef stock.


Canned meats:  tuna, chicken, sardines, salmon

Canned fruits:  peaches, pears, applesauce

Cheese:  cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss, blue

Condiments:  ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, mayo, tabasco

Dried fruits:  raisins, cranberries, plums (prunes)


"Fancy Items":   pitted kalamata olives, soy sauce, jar of sun dried tomatoes in  oil, capers, Worcestershire sauce,  green olives, green chilies, anchovies or  anchovy paste, dried soup mixes.

Flour:  unbleached, whole wheat , cornmeal, breadcrumbs, crackers, oats, cornstarch, packets of dry yeast

Fruits: lemons, limes, grape tomatoes

Herbs, Fresh: Flat leaf parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Cilantro

Herbs, Dried:  small containers that you will use up fairly quickly so they don't get  old...oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, cumin, turmeric, chili powder,  dill, bay leaves, coriander, mustard powder, etc.

Meats, Frozen:  chicken, ground beef, flap meat for stews and soups

Nuts: Almonds, Pecans  also nut pastes like natural peanut butter and Tahini

Oil: Extra Virgin Olive, Sesame, Canola

Onions and Such: garlic, red and white onion, and shallots - a few of each

Pasta of various shapes, depending on taste:  spaghetti, macaroni, etc.

Rice:  brown, mixed, long grain,  Risotto (Arborio Rice), quinoa, couscous

Soups:  cans of soups like tomato, mushroom, etc
Spices:  ground cinnamon and sticks, cloves, allspice,  ground nutmeg and whole  nutmeg, honey,  whole black peppercorns, vanilla extract, salt and  pepper.

Sugars:  brown, white and confectioners, honey, maple syrup

Tomatoes, canned:   whole plum, diced in juice, sauce, paste

Veggies:  potatoes, carrots, celery, red or yellow or green pepper, green onions

Veggies, Frozen:  packages of individual veggies like peas, corn and beans,  and  mixed veggies for soups and stir frys.

Vinegars:  red wine, white, apple cider, balsamic

Water:  keep gallons and bottles of water, just in case.

Wine:  red, white, vermouth, port, for cooking.

In case of power outages or storms it's not a bad idea to get one of those little camp stoves...or make sure your BBQ grill has charcoal or the propane tank is kept full.    Always keep a lighter or two on hand, those long BBQ lighters work well.

In a power outage always eat the foods in your refrigerator and freezer first, before digging into your supply of canned foods.  Plan ahead and make lists to be sure you have everything you might possible need in a winter emergency or natural disaster.

You can also purchase some of those  "meals ready to eat"  and store some for extreme emergencies.