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First of all I have to say I am not the cook in the family; James, my husband, is. I do the grocery shopping though. I know the basic staples he needs to cook great meals.
Therefore here is my top 15 pantry staples everyone should have in their kitchen.
- The Spices-You should always have salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, and chili powder. You can make almost anything taste good with one or more of these flavor packing seasonings. Our most used item besides salt and pepper is garlic. We are a garlic loving family. It is in pretty much on anything we eat other than desserts of course.
- Pasta & Rice-Always keep a small variety of pasta for those last minutes meals. It’s extremely easy to throw together a great pasta dish in minutes. We typically keep spaghetti, penne, and egg noodles on hand. Rice is a necessity too because you can easily make a meal with it also. For instance, are you making stir fry or maybe even a side dish? Boom! Rice works for this.
- Baking Ingredients-Keep on hand: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornmeal, and sugar. You can make a simple dessert like peach cobbler with these and a big can of peaches in a pinch. Of course you need flour for almost any kind of breading too.
4. Dairy–Milk, Butter, and Cheese are must haves. You should always have at the minimum milk, parmesan cheese, and one other kind of cheese at your disposal. So many recipes call for both milk and mozzarella or cheddar. So I would pick one or both of the cheeses. Butter is an easy essential. You know why butter is important.
5. Eggs-You will need to keep eggs for a few simple reasons. You never know when you will need them for breading, baking, or even making a simple omelette.
6. Meat-Bacon, ground beef, and chicken are essential to have in your freezer. Bacon passes as a nice seasoning for many dishes also. Beef or chicken are your main two sources of protein in most main dishes.
7. Bread-I say to keep bread in the freezer so it will always be fresh. Keep a French loaf in your freezer so you can always pull out the loaf and make garlic bread as a filler for many dishes.
8. Ketchup, mayonnaise, & mustard-Besides using them as sandwich condiments, these can be used in a marinade or topping before baking.
9. Jelly-This can be used as a glaze or even in a baking recipe for a sweet treat.
Check out this great glaze recipe here.
10. Beans-These are needed as a filler for many dishes or they can be used by themselves as a side dish.
11. Canned Tomato Sauce or Spaghetti Sauce-You can easily throw a pasta dish together with sauce, pasta, and meat. Then just season with whatever your heart desires and you have an instant meal.
12. Peanut Butter-You can easily use PB in a sandwich, but if you want a sweet treat this can come in handy for baking cookies.
13. Tortillas-Whether you want to make tacos, enchilladas, or a chicken wrap, you will need tortillas. I keep corn tortillas in our pantry because our favorite go to meal is tacos.
14. Old Fashioned Oats-You can use oats as a filler in meatloaf or as a breading for meat. You can also just make a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, simple and quick.
15. In Season Produce-I say in season produce because it is at the peak of freshness and also less expensive. Just throw together a great salad as a main or side dish. Yummy!
No matter what you are craving, these are the staples you will need for almost any dish. What is your favorite go to meal? What else do you keep on hand?