The holidays are coming and what better time to make sure that your pantry is stocked and you are ready to cook! I love the holidays and I so look forward to cooking for my family. What I don't like is getting my mind set on cooking something and not having everything I need to prepare it on hand. Or, in the middle of something, and not having what I need to prepare it. So, I have gathered a list of essentials that you should stock your pantry with you’ll be ready to get cooking!
Oil and Dressing
Oils, dressing and condiments are a must. By having these ingredients on hand, you can prepare so many things with other ingredients you have. There are a variety of oils that you can choose from like, vegetable, olive, canola, sesame and peanut oil. I do have most of these in my cabinet and I use different ones, depending on what I'm cooking. I think it's also a good idea to keep non-stick cooking spray on hand for your sheet pans (or anything else you tend to spray).
Different types of vinegar and sauces are also beneficial to keep on hand. I use red-wine vinegar and apple-cider vinegar, as well as soy sauce, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. You also cannot forget the basic condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, honey and any other things that your family enjoys. When I pull out the last bottle of a condiment or sauce, I always jot it down to remind myself to pick up more. I try to keep 2 or 3 on hand because I just never know how fast things are going to be used. We can go through some ketchup and mayonnaise at my house like nobody’s business!
Rice, Pasta and Grains
You want to make sure that you have these basic rice, pasta and grains available in your pantry. You may also want to keep a variety of beans, like kidney, white, black and pinto beans that can be used in so many different recipes. They are a great source of protein and usually not very expensive at all.
I also like to always have a good amount of rice in my pantry. I use regular white, long-grain, but there are so many other options too. Brown rice, jasmine rice, and wild rice are just some examples. Pasta is a given in my pantry, and we love all kinds. Lasagna noodles, spaghetti noodles, bowtie pasta, macaroni, spiral...I could keep going, but the point is, I always use pasta, so I like to always have it. Most of the time I use them interchangeably between recipes and I like having a variety, so we don't get bored with the same thing. Sometimes, some bow tie pasta can spice up the old regular spaghetti!
Seasonings and Herbs
Seasonings and herbs are really an individual preference. My mom uses some seasonings that I don't ever buy and I use some that she wouldn't. So, based on your family's preference, make sure you have what they like. Things like salt, pepper, season salt (Tony's in Louisiana), garlic powder and onion powder should always be readily available so you won't have to stop and go to the store. Or worse yet, cook unseasoned food!
Other Dry Goods
We cannot leave out the major staples in my pantry. That is, flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cornstarch and baking powder. And, in my house....chocolate chip morsels! I buy sugar A LOT and flour almost as much. I do not want to be caught without my baking items. Now, on a side note, I HAVE had weevils get into my flour, sugar and such, so I make sure and store them in air tight containers. My favorite are these, and I haven't seen those little pests since using them.
This is just a peep into some of the essentials to keep in your pantry. Your list may be much shorter or much longer. The key here is to always try to be prepared and have what you need. It will make everything go so much more smoothly! Anything else you all can think of that needs to be on this list? Let me know!