An essential part of cooking on the fly, or being able to throw a meal together, is a well stocked pantry. Having essential ingredients on hand can make the difference between preparing a fresh, tasty, homemade meal, or ordering a pizza. If you have what you need to put a quick meal together, you’re more likely to prepare something, and less likely to order that disgusting pizza (OK, I admit they’re good during football season, with a beer). Below are some essentials which should always be found in your pantry or kitchen cupboards.
Pure olive oil for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for toppings and dressings. You should also keep sesame oil around for dressings and delicious Asian sauces.
Always have the essential standby vinegars on hand. These include white and red wine vinegar, aged balsamic, malt, and cider. It’s also a good idea to have some inexpensive sherry.
Sauces and Flavorings:
Ketchup, Tabasco, worcestershire sauce, and yellow, Dijon, and whole grain mustard.
Canned coconut milk, light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sweet chili sauce, fish sauce and rice wine.
All Pupose, as well as some self rising flour. Sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, baking soda, and corn starch.
I always keep artichoke hearts in the fridge, as well as some sun-dried tomatoes and pickles.
Pasta, Grains, and Noodles:
Keep a wide selection of pasta on hand such as spaghetti, fettuccine, penne, and fusilli. Rice is easy to store and should always be accessible in your kitchen. Couscous, bulgur wheat, and rice noodles are also easy to throw together to complete a meal.
Although the above list is not conclusive, it’s a solid start to a well stocked pantry. Consider the above info a shopping list if you don’t already have the items on hand. It will be quite expensive to properly stock your pantry the first time, but once it’s done, you’ll never have to spend quite so much again. Most of these ingredients last for months and when you run out of something, it’s only a few bucks to replace that one item.
You can now look forward to a brighter cooking future!