I like to cook and bake and chop and mince. You knew that right? There are certain foods and ingredients that I consider must haves in my kitchen. These items are the things I know I can always find in my cupboards, refrigerator, drawers and freezer. They are my go to items. I know that in a pinch I can count on them to pull out a win in the kitchen, or a yummy meal… Same thing.
Since I share so many of my recipes here I thought I would go ahead and share my must have ingredients. I have broken them into three categories: Pantry/Cupboard, Refrigerator and Freezer. Along with the items I have thrown in some tidbits about why I like to have them hand. Now these are MY basics and I know that not every family has the same tastes we do but hopefully these lists will give you an idea of where to start in your kitchen. You won’t find spices on these lists although hopefully in the future I can put together some sort of spice show and tell.
Since becoming a mom it has become even more important to have the ingredients on had to throw together a healthy and satisfying meal quickly. At the end of the series I hopefully will be able to point you in the direction of some meals that are made super easy when you have the basics on hand.
So, meet my top 20 pantry must haves…
1. Nuts/seeds: almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds. I don’t always have all of these varieties but I always have at least one of them to add to baked goods, stir frys, trail mixes and granola.
2. Dried Fruit: raisins, cranberries, apricots, cherries. Because I have a toddler and a snack loving husband we always have at least raisins or dried cranberries. Dried apricots are a treat but any of the three are perfect for trail mixes and baking.
3. Chocolate Chips: Cookies, cakes, pancakes, breads, you name it chocolate chips just might make it taste even better!
4. Whole Wheat Flour
5. Unbleached All Purpose Flour
6. Brown Rice
7. Quick Cooking Oats
9. Whole Wheat Pasta: We usually have a few kinds on hand but in general we are a fork pasta loving family so we have a lot of pastas like penne and rigitoni.
10. Beans: black, kidney, white beans (great northern or cannelini), pinto, garbanzo. I keep a can or two of all of these on hand to add to soups and stews, make as sides, or make into dips and spreads.
11. Canned Tuna
12. Jarred/Canned Tomato: whole, crushed and diced tomatoes, tomato paste and sauce. Spaghetti sauce, soups, stews and pizzas wouldn’t happen without these guys.
13. Low Sodium Chicken Stock
15. Onion: Usually white or yellow but I am a big fan of red too.
16. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
17. Soy Sauce
18. Hot Sauce
19. Worcestershire Sauce
20. Honey: Honey is the perfect sweetener for just about anything. It has a great rich flavor and it is all natural to boot. I use it in breads, marinades, cookies, and more.
Okay so there are my top 20 pantry must haves. Now it is your turn to share. What are some of your pantry must haves?