As anyone who knows me understands I really like to cook, well unless I am being lazy then I like my food to magically appear in front of me haha. In order to whip up something tasty on short notice I need to keep a few things on hand. Seeing as how I plan on blogging regularly about my culinary adventures I figure a good start would be to let you know what I keep on hand for my experiments (aka dinner) this way you have a general reference point for how I cook and the flavor profiles I tend to stick to. As far as amounts of items I keep on hand, I am working up to keeping a 6-9 month supply of my basic pantry stock.
There are many reasons for this. For one it saves money to buy things when they are on sale or when there is a good coupon out (I do not religiously clip coupons, but I admire those who have the patience and attention span to do so). For example last September I managed to get 30 boxes of dried pasta for free which still have over half of and used in dinner tonight actually. In November I got my turkey for free and the store gave me an extra $5 towards the rest of my groceries. So with a little diligence and the help of a few really great blogs about coupon-ing (Krazy Coupon Lady is my go to) it can be done.
My second reason for having a 6 month pantry is because I believe in being reasonably prepared for whatever may come. While my husband was stationed in Georgia a tornado touched down less than three miles from where I lived. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of violent wind and being terrified because I have never heard anything that powerful before. I woke my husband and he was shocked with how strong the wind was. It wasn’t until the next morning that we realized just what had happened. While we were stationed in Hawaii there were two tsunamis (small ones that only drew out the bay and didn’t do any significant damage.) However in the 20 minuets it took me to get the baby in the car and drive to Wally-World to go buy water in the event that we lost service, all the water was gone all the flavored water was gone all the Gatorade was gone pretty much everything needed for basic survival, even three days worth, was already taken not to mention the mass chaos in the store that I never want to go through again.
My last notable reason to have a large pantry is so that I can “go shopping” in my own home when I need to throw something together in a hurry. For example when what I have planned does not seem appealing at all and I decide to throw the plan to the wind and improvise something tasty.
Mmm…Meat! Lets start with proteins shall we? I freeze these for the most part canned meat just gives me the heebee jeebee’s, except tuna.
Beef: Steaks, Ground, and Soup Ends
Chicken: Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Boneless Skinless Thighs, In-Bone Thigh, Eggs
Pork: Sweet Italian Sausage, Country Style Sausage (I like the pre-cooked Banquet Originals)
Bison: Ground (and ohoho so tasty)
Fish: Tuna tinned, Salmon, uncooked shrimp (trust me on this DON’T substitute with precooked unless you really like fishy tasting watery shrimp), dried shrimp, and anything we can catch over the year and don’t eat immediately
Rabbit: While I don’t have any frozen just yet, I do have three breeding females who will be producing meat in about six months yay!
Wild Game: That’s right throw on your camo and get the guns out we’re gonna kill us some dinner! (I promise to never say that again haha)
Beans:Black, Refried, Navy, Red, Split Peas, Black Eyed
Nuts: Peanut butter, pistachio, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts
Oh yes the oh so evil carbs…
Rice: White, Brown, Wild
Pasta: Various types, but I usually keep small shells spaghetti noodles and penne. According to my husband I can only use noodles that fit the specific type of meal, aka no macaroni elbows for spaghetti and meatballs or anything “weird” haha.
Quinoa: Red and White
Oatmeal: Instant, Quick Cook, and Rolled oats
Panko, Bread Crumbs, and Crackers
Flour: white, wheat pastry flour, almond meal, tapioca
Tortillas: Corn, Flour, Spinach, and Tomato
Tomato: Fresh, diced, chopped, puree, sauce, marinara, paste
Corn (sweet white frozen, canned corn only goes in chili in dire circumstances)
Potatoes: Red and russet
Onions: Red, yellow, chives and green
Squash: Zuccini, yellow squash, butternut
Carrots (again fresh is best)
Mushrooms: Button, Portobello (when I can afford them) and dried shiitake
Olives: Black and green (gross! but my husbands favorite and I can’t help but love that man)
Fruit (aka natures candy!)
I generally stick to fresh and frozen fruits and try to stick to what is in season, but it is a safe bet I will have these on hand.
Strawberries, Apples, Lemons, Limes, Bananas, Oranges, Pears, Grapes, and Pineapple
Yes, cheese is a food group. Okay well part of one anyway…
Milk: Fat-Free, Coconut, Almond, Soy
Cheese: Cheddar, mozzarella, Monterrey or Colby jack, feta, ricotta, cream cheese, Parmesan, Romano, and anything I am testing out or I have special use for
Yogurt: Fat-Free plain greek, and vanilla yogurt
Spices, Oils, and Sauces
Sauces: Mayo, Ketchup, Mustard (yellow and honey mustard), soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, teryaki sauce, Worcestershire, barbecue sauce, sesame dressing, ranch, sweet chili sauce
Spices: Salt and pepper, garlic (powder, paste, and fresh), ginger paste, italian seasoning, oregano, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla extract, chicken bullion, dried onion,
Sweeteners: sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, agave nectar
Oils: Olive oil (EVOO thanks Rachel Ray), Coconut Oil, Sesame Oil, Canola Oil
Vinegar: White, apple cider, red wine, rice, balsamic
Thanks for reading!