Monday, March 23, 2009

First Things First..The Well Stocked Pantry

Pin It I always keep in my pantry things that I know I will use all the time and that can take me out of a jam if I get surprise guests. With what I keep on hand, I can always pull together a meal, including hors d’oeuvres and dessert in no time. As I use them, I make sure I replace them on my next trip to the store so I will not have to make little trips every time I need something. It also forces you to cook with what you have which can be more economical and more creative. Here’s what you’ll find in my pantry:

1. Anchovy paste
2. Apricot jam
3. Baking powder
4. Baking soda
5. Beans – split peas, lentils, garbanzos they last forever!
6. Bread crumbs
7. Capers
8. Catsup, Heinz
9. Chocolate squares semi sweet & unsweetened
10. Clams, chopped, canned for dips and pasta
11. Flour
12. Garlic paste in tube Amore
13. Honey
14. Horseradish
15. Lemon, lime, fresh!
16. Mayonnaise, Hellmann’s made with olive oil
17. Mustard, Dijon
18. Non-stick spray
19. Nuts (pine nuts, slivered almonds, walnuts)
20. Olive oil (Extra Virgin)
21. Olives
22. Onions
23. Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
24. Paper, parchment, tin foil, Saranwrap
25. Parmalat whole milk (for emergencies)
26. Pasta – Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Penne, Lasagna noodles
27. Pepper, both black and white
28. Pimientos
29. Polenta
30. Raisins
31. Red pepper flakes
32. Rice, Arborio for risottos
33. Rice, Jasmine
34. Rice, White from Mahatma
35. Salt
36. Soy sauce
37 Stock, Chicken and Beef in cans or cubes usually from Knorr
38. Sugar, Dark Brown
39. Sugar, Powdered
40. Sugar, White
41. Tomato juice (Campbells)
42. Tomato paste (Hunts)
43. Tomato paste in a tube (Amore)
44. Tomatoes, Crushed (Pomi)
45. Tuna, solid white, canned
46. Vegetable oil
47. Vinegar, Balsamic and White
48. Vodka, for Martinis, Bloody Mary and vodka sauce
49. Wine, white or Vermouth
50. Worcestershire sauce
51. Ziplock freezer bags

*Flour Tortillas (both large and extra large) Lipton Onion Soup and Jiffy Corn Bread Mix are optional but I try to keep some always in my pantry!

Herbs, Spices, Extracts etc.

Living in Florida, I am able to grow fresh herbs, and I do. Parsley is something you need fresh, don’t bother with the stuff in the bottle. So is mint and chives. There is nothing like fresh rosemary, tarragon, oregano and basil. As a matter of fact I have several varieties of basil, including one that I love for salads called lemon basil. Still, I keep the dry stuff on hand, just in case. By this time, I must have every spice in the universe, but the following is what I consider must-haves.

1. Allspice
2. Almond extract
3. Basil
4. Bay Leaves
5. Cayenne pepper
6. Cinnamon
7. Cloves
8. Cream of tartar
9. Curry powder
10. Goya’s Mojo Criollo, great for marinades
11. Herbes de Provence
12. Kitchen Bouquet
13. Nutmeg
14. Peppercorns
15. Rosemary
16. Saffron & Pimenton de la Vera (for Spanish dishes)
17. Sage
18. Tarragon
19. Thyme
20. Vanilla beans and extract
21. White pepper

To be kept in refrigerator:

I have several friends whose refrigerator looks like it is for sale…empty! The following won’t take up much space and will come in handy when you have to put something together fast. If nothing else, you can always get a good breakfast out of it!

1. Butter, unsalted
2. Carrots(baby) and Celery
3. Cheese, Parmesan (Parmeggiano Reggiano)
4. Cream cheese
5. Eggs
6. Garlic peeled
7. Heavy cream (optional, but great to add to pastas, sauces and cream soups)
8. Milk
9. Orange juice
10.Red potatoes, they last forever in the fridge
11.Sour cream

To be kept in the Freezer:

1. Baguette
2. Frozen petite green peas
3. Frozen whole onions and chopped onions
4. Pancetta
5. Peppers, Green and Red, frozen whole
6. Very Thin sliced bread from Pepperidge Farm
7. Vodka!

Now we can cook!


  1. Hey Mom, I'm glad I grew up with this well stocked pantry. Thanks!

  2. me too mom! At first glance, it looks like a lengthy shopping list. what we must remember is that these are the things that should ALWAYS be in your pantry. You will find that you only need to replace a few of these each week / month. Speaking of which... funny story... our housekeeper used to write Mom notes on what NOT to keep bringing home. If you don't keep tabs on what's in your pantry, what does and does NOT need to be replaced... you will endup like our family. 6 cans of tomoto paste, 7 0r 8 boxes of spaghetti, some lipton onion soup, maybe a rotting Plantain (which is a good thing) and nothing else... ;)

  3. no really... we had it all... just more tomato paste than one family can eat!

  4. Times have changed, darling..the pantry is smaller, the housekeeper is gone and tomato paste comes in a handy tube, which I always keep in the refrigerator.


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