Thursday, December 5, 2013

kitchen essentials

I would kill for this much space & layout

I was recently asked for advice on stocking a kitchen-pantry basics, good things to keep on hand and the like.

I am a very "use what you have" type of cook and like to have things that stay fresh for a long time and stock up on non-perishables for a quick addition to a weeknight meal.

Below are some basics broken out into: must haves, perishables, things that freeze well, and some extras worth having around.

kitchen must haves

  • salt: sea or kosher salt + table (iodized) salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • cayanne pepper
  • dried parsley,  basil
  • cumin: essential for any mexican feast
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg: the key to all of my bechamel sauces

other pantry basics:
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • vegetable oil
  • vinegar: I prefer red wine for dressings & white vinegar is good to rinse fruits and veggies in
  • honey
  • flour: I keep AP + whole wheat
  • sugar
  • chocolate chips: for whipping up chocolate chip cookies on the fly
  • baking soda: in a airtight container or bag it stays fresh for a while
  • baking powder
  • brown sugar: put a slice of white bread in there for a few hours when it needs to soften; store it in an airtight container to prevent hardening for the future
  • pasta: I like to keep several types on hand, both whole wheat and regular, penne, spaghetti and elbow macaroni are good to have on hand.
  • rice: long grain white rice
  • canned tomatoes: I prefer whole or crushed
  • chicken or vegetable broth
  • canned beans: I like to keep at least one of cannelini, red beans, black beans and garbanzo
  • wine: I keep one bottle of white in the fridge for sauces, and at least two unopened bottles of red for drinking and 1-2 opened bottles of red that are no longer drinkable, but perfect for a red wine sauce or to add to tomato sauce
  • at least one box of cake mix and jar of frosting: you never know when you will want an impromptu cupcake :)
  • crackers of some sort: trader joes have delicious raisin rosemary crisps, and they really hold up nicely with any cheese
  • nuts or trailmix
  • granola bars
  • one box of cereal
  • nestle quick mix: essential for hot cocoa
  • mini marshmallows: see above

perishables (I chose ones that keep for a pretty long time)
  • lemons: they are great to add to sauces, water, or to freshen your garbage disposal
  • carrots: also great for sauces, soups, stews and roasting, add color to a dish
  • shredded cheese mixture: trader joes three cheese blend is great to add to eggs, melt on top of burgers, use in tacos, or whip up a quick mac n cheese with
  • goat cheese: one of my most used ingredients and a staple in my kitchen. you may have noticed it in a few of my recipes
  • fresh herbs: some keep longer than others-rosemary lasts a while and is great to roast with veggies or chicken; parsley is my go-to herb and if you chop it you can freeze it and use for about a month
  • eggs: useful for making homemade pasta, breakfasts, as a binder for burgers or meatballs
  • garlic
  • onion: until sliced open you can keep it for a few weeks
  • BBQ sauce: essential for Mikes (and my) sanity
  • ketchup
  • dijon mustard
  • hot sauce: I like to keep franks and tabasco on hand
  • butter: obvious
  • cream cheese: also obvious

things that freeze well
  • chop meat: for burgers, meatloaf, tacos midweek, just pop it from the freezer to the fridge in the am before work
  • chicken
  • herbs: pre-chop and double bag
  • pre-frozen veggies: good for soups
  • tortillas: freeze then double bag to avoid freezer burn, pop in the micro for a few seconds
  • bagels, any breads: also double bagged, pop in the micro for a few seconds and then toast/pop in the oven

extras worth having around
  • milk, cream: for obvious reasons like cereal and coffee, but also for hot cocoa, mac n cheeses and cream sauces
  • another fresh vegetable: zucchini is my favorite, or arugula
  • isreali couscous: a great sub for pasta or rice
  • cookies: double stuff or seasonal oreos are my go-to
  • dark chocolate covered almonds
  • marcona almonds: great for a cheese plate spread and a delicious snack
  • pizza dough: pre-made will last about a week in the fridge and you can use just about any pantry basic to make a pizza or mini calzones

Do you have any pantry essentials that are missing? What do you like to keep stocked?

1 comment:

  1. I always have maple syrup around and powder sugar. Just in case I want to make pancakes!

    I also keep siracha around for those bland days. :)