It’s always good to have more food than you need on hand. Not only because it’s convenient but it can actually help you save in the long run because it prevents you from eating out because you have nothing to make supper with. I live in an apartment that doesn’t even have a pantry. We keep our food on a book shelf in our den. It doesn’t look pretty but it works. This is a list of the staples that I like to have on hand.
I buy pasta in bulk which is great, as long as you have a container to store it in once you open the bag. I usually buy the no name brand pasta at my local grocery store because it’s cheap and I don’t really taste the difference once I cook it. After you add in meat, sauce, and cheese, I don’t think it’s easy to tell the difference between no name brand and name brand pasta. Having pasta on hand for lunches and suppers is great because it can prevent eating out on weeknights just because you don’t feel like cooking. I like to make some pasta on Sunday night so I have some on hand and all I have to do is add some fixings.
Does this count as pasta? I don’t know. Rice is another great thing to buy in bulk, especially if you have somewhere to store it because it will likely just come in a bag and once it’s open, there’s no going back. I also like to buy smaller packages of uncle ben’s rice (my favourite are the broccoli and cheese packages). They also sell packages that you can make in the microwave and they cook in only a few minutes. They are great to have on hand if you are looking for a quick fix that you don’t have to dirty a pot for. You can even cook this rice right in the bag it came in.
This goes hand in hand with the pasta I keep on hand. I love to buy jars of pasta sauce to keep in the pantry because they keep a long time and they just take the pasta to a whole new level. I like to buy the Classico pasta sauce in tomato basil, tomato pesto or 4 cheeses. This is my favourite sauce!
Stir Fry Sauce
Having stir fry sauce on hand is great because there’s nothing worse than wanting to make stir fry and realizing that you don’t have any sauce. I love the VH sauce packets that you can just squeeze out into the pan. They are really convenient and you don’t have to worry about a messy bottle in your fridge. The flavours I like to buy are pad thai and Teriyaki. They have so many great flavours and I don’t use anything but these for stir fry. ‘
Crackers are great for a snack when you don’t feel like cooking something. They are great with cheese, spreads, lunch meat, pickles, whatever you want! I like to buy ritz, Triscuits, and I have also recently developed a taste for goldfish crackers which may be a little less practical.
I love to have nuts on hand for snacking and for adding to yogurt and oatmeal. Walnuts are my favourite but there are so many different kinds that you can get so find one that you like!
Oatmeal is great to have on hand because it can be used as any meal you want. Breakfast, lunch, snack, it’s all good! You can add so much to oatmeal to make it taste good and that’s what makes it perfect for any meal!
I like to have granola on hand to add to cereals or to yogurt. It’s a great way to make yogurt a bit more filling in the morning.
This one is a bit pricier than the rest and not everyone loves canned tuna. I am a person who does like it and I love to have it on hand to mix with some mayonnaise and spread on crackers! Sometimes, when I had a long day and was too tired to make supper in college I would down a whole can of tuna with half a box of crackers before going to bed. You have to be careful how much of this you eat because of the mercury content though, so be aware of that when eating fish.
Canned or dry is fine but I prefer to keep canned beans on hand. I have never cooked with the dried ones so I wouldn’t know what I was doing. Black beans, white beans, kidney beans, chick peas, refried beans. Keep them all on hand, you never know when you might need them! I like to make crockpot meals with beans and nothing is more disappointing than wanting to throw together some chili or stew and realizing that I don’t have any beans.
Again, this is another one that I like to have on hand for crock pot meals. Crock pot lasagna requires a lot of tomato sauce so I like to keep larger cans of it on hand. It’s also great for pasta dishes!
Cooking oil is important to have on hand because not having anything to grease your pan with can be detrimental to your cooking. We keep pam on hand but I also like to have some kind of olive oil and vegetable oil on hand for baking and making salad dressings. I have a more expensive avocado oil that I like to use for salads.
Broth is another staple for me. I like to buy the Campbell’s soup broth in all of the flavours. My favourites are thai chicken, chicken in white or red wine, and beef. I tried their vegetable broth once and I wasn’t a fan. I use broth to make quinoa and as a base for my crock pot chili.
I don’t make my own soup so I love to have some Campbell’s soup on hand. The broccoli and cheese, tomato basil, and mushroom garlic are the ones I stock up on. It’s great for a cold day or when you want something to pair with a quick grilled cheese.
This one is pretty-self explanatory but we use peanut butter for everything. Pair it with banans, put it in yogurt, use it for smoothies. I even made a thai peanut sauce for chicken a few weeks ago. It’s so versatile and so yummy. If you find yourself avoiding it because it’s too expensive, try buying the off brand.
I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll say it again. I don’t typically eat cereal but my boyfriend does. We usually have a couple boxes on hand for breakfast.
Another staple for crock pot chili.
Flour and sugar are the two most important in my opinion but I like to have both baking powder and soda along with cocoa. Right now I also have powdered sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, and baking chocolate. You never know when a craving for brownies is going to hit and you don’t want to have to waste time running to the store.
This will differ for everyone but the spices I use most are: Seasoning Salt, pepper, oregano, ground cumin, paprika, and chili powder.
This is the very last one because to me, it is the least important. I have about 4 or 5 different vinegar’s on hand: Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and rice vinegar. A lot of them are left over from different recipes that I’ve made but I’ve collected what I think is quite a few. I never thought I would be a person who owned 4 vinegar’s. That being said, I do think having a vinegar on hand for salad dressings is a great idea!
This is pretty much everything that I have in my pantry right now! If you have anything to add please comment down below! I would love to know what you keep in your cupboards!