Thank you for the great response yesterday. For the next few days I am going to be covering staple items to always have on hand. These are items I will always buy if they are on sale and I have coupons as well. If need be I could easily make many different meals out of my essentials. Today I will cover pantry, herbs, and spices staples.
Lane’s List of Essentials
- Canned (1/15/2015: we mainly buy jarred or boxed now) tomatoes (diced, crushed, and whole)
- Beans – dry to cook myself
- Jarred pasta sauce (our favorite brand is Bertolli I always have at least one red and one white)
Canned mushrooms(4/2/2014: did you know canned mushrooms are allowed to contain a certain number of maggots per can… eww, only fresh for us now!)
- Rice, cous cous, and quinoa
Boxed potatoes(4/2/2014: I don’t think I’ve bought a box of these in 2 years)
- Chicken broth (most of the time I make my own)
- Breadcrumbs (Seasoned and Panko)
- Baking staples (flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla)
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Coconut oil
Herbs and Spices
- Seasoned Salt
- Garlic Powder
- Bay Leaf
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
I am not excessive in my purchasing, if pasta is on sale buy one get one and I have a coupon I will purchase 2 boxes. There is generally a brand of pasta BOGO every other week. I like to keep about 4-6 boxes of different varieties in my pantry at a time.
Pasta and sauce, rice, boxed au gratin potatoes, are great for quick and easy side dishes. When meal planning I generally plan for the main course and always know that I have these easy sides ready to go. 4/2/2014: We don’t eat many starches anymore, mostly just vegetable sides
The herbs and spices list is just a basic list of my most used ingredients. I have a large spice rack with a lot of different spices, but this is a good list to get you going. I also grow my own basil, cilantro, mint, and rosemary in small pots on my patio. I love having fresh herbs available anytime I need them. It is much cheaper and more convenient to grow your own than pay $3 for a small package at the grocery store.