Ahhh, one of my favorite topics. Sigh*** Food Staples. I love it. This post has been so much fun and hard work. I have been considering it and rewriting it for days!!!
Just a guess, but I’m thinking that over 100 different homemade food ideas, from Alfredo to Baked Ziti, can be whipped up using just the staples on these lists!!! I’m curious to see how many different dishes we can brainstorm. What could you concoct using only the items on these lists?
Here are several reasons why it’s important to me to have a well-stocked and semi-organized kitchen:
- I work full-time.
I have a little, who is getting better, but has not always been a predictable shopper.
I enjoy making homemade food because it tastes better.
I like knowing what is in our food.
I like minimizing the amount of weird chemicals, ingredients and sodium we consume.
All winter, when the roads are bad, I won’t go out.
I live in the boonies, so it’s a pain to make a special trip.
I hate spending money on gas.
When people stop over, I like having appetizers or snacks.
A simple rule to follow is: When a pantry staple is running low, put it on a list. I just keep a list on the bar and add to it as needed. Encourage everyone in the house to do the same, but check out the pantry or cabinets and the fridge before shopping and just do a mental checklist in case someone used the last of an ingredient and forgot to add it. I recently had a mayo crisis that still haunts me.
Some items we buy at Sam’s, because we have storage and extra freezers – a very small freezer in the pantry and a big one in the garage. It’s really helpful to have that extra freezer space, if you can pull it off.
Confession time: I hate shopping at Walmart. I am a spontaneous shopper. When I see something at Walmart, I justify buying it to myself. Therefore, I may pay an extra 15 cents a container for Greek yogurt at a smaller market, but I’m actually saving $150 by going to a market that sells only food. I know Joss needs 5 new outfits and all, but really, I just came in to the market to buy squash and basil. Is this normal?
I also feel like I save time shopping at a smaller market. I don’t take as long to park; I don’t have to walk a half-mile if I forget something in dairy, and it’s just less stress and less dangerous for the other shoppers who are chatting in the middle of the aisle while I’m trying to get the heck out of there.
Buying bulk, if it’s possible in the space you have available, saves a lot of money and gas. Once you have purchased most of your pantry staples, weekly shopping will consist of replacing the items used and buying produce, dairy and items for special recipes. It’s so easy!!!
So, now, begin thinking about where you put food. What’s in there? If necessary, clean out the old, expired and highly-likely-to-never-be-used groceries and analyze your space. Do you have space for large containers of flour and sugar? If you do, buy them and start using them. If there are lots of boxes of kits like pizzas (yes, Sid, I’m talking about the Chef-Boy-R-Dees), tacos and “Helpers” eat that stuff up or give it away to make room for your pantry staples.
Cutting back or eliminating soda and pre-packaged individual convenience and processed food and drinks is healthy, cheaper and can make room in your budget for quality food purchases . . .just don’t do it all at once or you may have a mutiny on your hands! Add a couple pantry staples to your list each week so stocking up isn’t a major financial issue.
Finally, start thinking about the summer months ahead. Keep the same food budget and add the fuel you’ll save by being organized and the money saved from not shopping spontaneously and maybe the funds will be available to buy local or bulk. I’m thinking a side of beef or a half a pig, or join a CSA and buy a membership to get local veggies, eggs and meat that are all organic. If that’s not an option, check out the farmer’s market!
All that being said, not all of the ingredients on my pantry staples list are healthy. Life is all about balance, and sweet treats are part of our holiday traditions and weekends. Have a nibble, then go for a walk!
So, if there is a zombie apocalypse, or another Hurricane Sandy episode with 3 feet of snow and no electricity . . . here’s what I’ll have in my kitchen!!!
- baking powder
- baking soda
- instant dry yeast
- chocolate chips
- local honey
- cocoa powder
- marshmallow creme
- powdered sugar
- brown sugar
- quick and regular oats
- tomato sauce
- tomato paste
- several types of diced tomatoes
- several types of crushed tomatoes
- Ro-tel diced tomatoes and chilis
- several types of canned beans - kidney, garbanzo, black, baked
- several types of dried beans - 15 beans, navy, chili mix, pinto
- organic chicken stock
- beef stock
- pure local maple syrup
- EVOO - liquid and spray
- canned veggies - corn, green beans, limas, peas
- cream of chicken soup
- black and green olives
- sweetened condensed and evaporated milk
- peanut butter
- basmati and brown rice
- flour tortillas
- vinegar - white, balsamic, red wine and apple cider
- pasta selections
- whole organic garlic
- dry mustard
- soy sauce
- whole peppercorns and grinder
- chili powder
- Old Bay Seasoning
- potatoes and onions
- organic coconut oil or canola oil
- white wine (not cooking wine)
- Greek yogurt
- butter - at least 2 lbs
- eggs - at least 2 dozen
- sour cream
- canned crabmeat
- cheese - Parm, bleu cheese, feta, Velveeta, mozzarella and more if space
- whole milk
- mild pepper rings
- mustard and horseradish - grainy, yellow and dijon
- cream cheese
- heavy whipping cream
- spinach and kale
- chicken - whole and breasts
- beef roasts
- frozen tortellini
- pork roasts