Keep these staples on hand in your pantry, fridge and freezer so you can know you always have something to prepare.
I’m not going to lie to you – there have been a few nights where I’m almost finished cooking dinner and I realize I didn’t plan to make a side dish. It’s 6 pm and I don’t have time to run to the store – I need something now!
So I got in to the habit of keeping a few things on hand that I know I will not only use, but I can create something quickly so I can feed my family a full meal.
Pantry staples are typically versatile and suited to your taste. Do you like spice? You will have more chili powder, pepper or ginger in your pantry. Do you like mediterranean-style foods? You will have more garlic and thyme in your pantry. Pantry staples also include things like flour, sugar and oil because those three ingredients have a long shelf life.
Our pantry is never without the following staples:
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
- Honey or Pure Maple Syrup
If you’re familiar with cooking, these ingredients are all versatile. Maple syrup can be used in lieu of vanilla extract. It’s also a great alternative to processed sugar, providing the same sweetness without being so over processed. Honey is the same in that it’s a great sweetener, but it’s a wonderful ingredient to keep in your home to enhance your health.
Onions and potatoes are great to have on hand because they keep. Potatoes are also versatile – soups, mashed, fried, roasted. There’s not a way this vegetable can’t be prepared. Not to mention it’s just tasty.
There are a few things I can’t go without when it comes to making sure my fridge is stocked.
- Heavy cream
- Minced Garlic
I know you’re looking at that short list and thinking to yourself – carrots?
Carrots are such a versatile ingredient and I love to put them in anything – soups, stews, grated in salads, or chopped into sticks for a snack. When prepared properly, they also keep. My fridge is rarely without carrots.
When considering what to keep in your freezer, preparation is a must. If you aren’t properly vacuum sealing your items or thawing them in the fridge or cold water, you can quickly spoil food. And spoil food is wasted money. So consider purchasing something like a vacuum sealer to properly prepare your food for the freezer.
Proper storage itself is also a key factor in making sure your food stays fresh and safe to eat. Keeping a chart like this one, that tells you how long items can keep in your fridge and freezer, is a great addition to any kitchen. Simply keep it taped to your fridge or with your cookbooks.
In my freezer, I always have:
- Mixed vegetables
- Organic fruit
- A whole chicken
- Beef – ground, steaks, etc.
- Fish – typically tilapia and shrimp
Reading that list you may think, “wow, that looks expensive!” But I promise – it’s not. If I’m at the grocery store and I see good, quality meat on sale, I will stock up. Most of the time, we buy our meat from local farmers so we’re buying in bulk anyway.
I also got the idea to keep a variety of meats on hand from a friend who is a professional chef. She said her freezer is never without a whole chicken or roast. Those cuts of meat are your meal. So if you always have one of each in your freezer, you’re never without a meal!
I also keep butter in my freezer because I cook and bake at least once a day. Butter is also one of those items I snag when I see it on sale. It transfers great to my fridge and I’ve never had butter lose its original consistency on me.
Organize and properly store your pantry staples!
Here are a few things to add to your pantry to help you get organized: