This morning, my husband asked me, “Can you throw dinner together tonight without having to go to the store?” My answer was, “Yes.” Recently, I’ve started to realize the importance and freedom of having a stocked pantry. I also have a new love and appreciation for meal planning.
On Mondays, I usually head to the store and pick up breakfast and lunch foods, as well as meal ingredients for dinners Monday-Thursday. My husband and I like to go grocery shopping together to pick up dinners Friday-Sunday since they usually involve the grill.
But, when I don’t have time to go to the store or schedules become a bit funky and we find that we can’t eat dinner together, it’s always nice to turn to my pantry and refrigerator to whip up a tasty dinner.
You don’t need to go overboard with your pantry by having 20 cans of beans, 10 boxes of pasta, and 30 gallons of chicken stock. Who has space for all of that? When I say “stocked,” I mean that you have ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator that will help you whip together a flavorful meal in no time.
10 Kitchen Staples
So, what are my favorite 10 kitchen staples to always have in my pantry to help me throw together a meal in minutes?
Pasta is my go to for a quick dish. Whether it’s tomato sauce, pesto, butter, or alfredo sauce that I toss it in, pasta is my favorite way to create a flavorful and filling dish for my family. I like to keep different varieties in my pantry to help change up the flavor, dimension, and texture.
We love to have pancakes on the weekends. And then there are the nights when we are craving a chocolate treat so I grab what I have on hand and make brownies. Having baking mixes in your pantry will help you make pancakes, muffins, biscuits, etc. in no time.
I love to throw together a salad for dinner either as a the main dish or a side dish. Having fresh greens on hand makes it easy to toss lettuce into a bowl. You can buy a big container of spinach at the beginning of the week. Throughout the week, you can add the spinach to sandwiches, pastas, and soups if you find it hard to make your way through all of the leafy greens.
I love to add frozen peas to homemade soup and even pasta. My two-year-old loves pasta with peas mixed into it. Frozen peas, when added to a warm dish, help to add a bit of pop and greenery.
I love adding canned tomatoes to soup, slow cooker dishes, and pasta. This simple kitchen staple can add so much flavor to a dish.
Stock or Broth
From chili to French dips sauce to soup, when you have plenty of stock or broth on hand, you can make a large variety of dishes that will be full of flavor.
We’re the type of family that likes to have meat, potatoes, and veggies all in one meal. When I need to find a quick starch to make our meal complete, I love turning to potatoes or rice. In just 20 minutes, you can have roasted potatoes that will have you craving seconds.
I always make sure I have a full supply of extra virgin olive oil on hand. Since that type of oil can’t handle the pressure of extremely high heat, I also like to keep other cooking oils in my pantry.
Need I say more? From simple pasta dishes to baked treat, butter is where it’s at.
I love to prepare soup so it’s nice to open up a can of beans, drain/rinse them, and toss them into the pot. Beans are also nice to have on hand when preparing chili. Oh, and tossing garbanzo beans into a salad is also a nice touch. Love quesadillas? Toss some black beans onto a tortilla with cheese and chili peppers. The possibilities are endless when you have beans in your pantry.
What’s your kitchen staple?