Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pantry and Refrigerator/Freezer Essentials

A friend asked me today for some tips on stocking the pantry so I decided to post a list of the food items I cannot live without. I have included some basics, but not all because I'm assuming most of you have sugar, flour, salt, pepper, etc?

olive oil
vegetable or canola oil
balsamic vinegar
red Wine vinegar
rice Wine vinegar
basic dried herbs and spices
brown sugar
brown rice
grain, like quinoa or couscous
Old Fashioned Oats (not quick cooking oatmeal)
whole wheat pasta (preferably Barilla Plus in various shapes)
canned beans (black, pinto or kidney, cannellini)
canned diced tomatoes
tomato paste
jar marinara sauce(whatever is on sale)
canned Rotel tomatoes or canned diced green chiles
canned chipotle chili peppers packed in Adobo sauce
lite coconut milk
soy sauce
barbecue sauce
low salt chicken broth
raisins and dried cranberries
peanut butter

2 -3 different types of meat (usually ground beef and turkey, flank steaks, pork tenderloin)
chicken nuggets
frozen pizzas
Amy's chicken sausages(sold in bulk at Costco, but any kind is fine)
whole wheat bread
Lite English Muffins and/or Arnold's Thinwiches
nuts (pine and pecans or almonds preferred)
jumbo bags of Veggies (organic sold in bulk at Costco)
sweet potato fries
tator tots or french fries
blueberries (Trader Joe's brand is always delicious)
Dorot's frozen herbs and garlic cubes (sold at Trader Joe's)

nonfat Greek yogurt (Trader Joe's brand most affordable)
light mayo
dijon mustard
mozzarella, blue, and feta cheeses
citrus and other fresh fruit(whatever is on sale)
mixed greens or baby spinach

Other Produce: onions, shallots, apples, bananas
Special Spices: smoked paprika, ground chipotle chili pepper, lemon pepper(Trader Joe's grinder), Old Bay Seasoning, herbes de provence

Of course we also have various snacks and some other kid friendly junk, but this should be enough to give you many different dinner options. These are the ingredients I pull from every day to cook healthy meals for our family and for the recipes I post on the blog. I buy all of my meat, fresh, at Costco, then freeze it when I get home. I'd rather have a freezer full of meat and veggies than go to the store twice a week. If you prefer fresh, go for it! Hopefully this list is helpful and feel free to share any great tips you have for stocking the pantry.

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