The Well-Stocked Pantry

Well-stocked pantry

The Well-Stocked Pantry is the Key to Great Meals @Home

I never leave the house many weekends — I get wrapped up in projects and just run out of time to go to the store. Having a well-stocked pantry helps to make dinner easy and interesting on these nights.

We generally eat vegetarian meals. It’s simple to create some delicious meals using just what you have in the fridge and pantry. I have been known to throw a whole dinner party without going to the grocery store and using just what we had on hand.

I don’t include some items that most people might think of as staples in my list, such as ketchup and mayonnaise. Ketchup has too much sugar for my taste and I use my own homemade tomato jam in its place (look for this recipe this coming summer).   I have mayonnaise on hand most of the time and if I don’t, it’s easy to whip up some homemade aioli in its place with ingredients I always have like eggs and oil.

You’ll see some great tricks on my list like buying both course and fine ground pepper and mixing them together. This gives the look of freshly ground pepper to your dishes. I’m not a fan of grinding pepper while cooking since it’s a bit difficult to grind out exactly a teaspoon when needed.

 When it comes to breadcrumbs, I only buy Panko (a Japanese style breadcrumb). If I need regular breadcrumbs I will make my own, but most the time Panko can be substituted for regular.

As far as the freezer goes, I typically don’t store a lot there, mainly because I forget to use the stuff I’ve frozen later. I always forget to take into account the defrost time. I do keep a few things like shrimp, tomato paste and butter in the freezer. I buy the cheap little cans of tomato paste and then freeze it in one-tablespoon amounts wrapped in plastic wrap.

Many of my recipes are based on just the basics, such as Pumpkin Cream Tart, Hominy Chili, Peanut Butter and Honey Pancakes, Huevos Rancheros (recipe coming soon). All of these dishes can be prepared with just what’s in your well-stocked pantry.  You can take it one step further and prepare my Classic Veggie Burgers and have them in the freezer ready to go when you need them.

If you follow this list, you shouldn’t have any reason not to have great meals at home, anytime!


Kosher salt

Table salt

Sea salt

Coarse and fine pepper – I mix the two together.

Black peppercorns

Extra virgin olive oil

Vegetable oil

Apple cider vinegar

Red wine vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Rice vinegar

Baking Supplies

All-purpose flour

Baking soda

Baking powder

Pure vanilla extract

Cocoa powder (unsweetened)

Chocolate: chips or bar

Shredded Coconut

Evaporated milk

White sugar

Powdered sugar

Brown sugar


Agave syrup

Grains etc.


Long-grain white rice

Brown rice

Corn meal


Breadcrumbs: Panko; plain can be made from old bread.

Pasta: assortment such as penne, spaghetti, shells, couscous, rice stick noodles and egg noodles


Dried Fruits and Butters

Raisins, and cranberries

Flax and chia seeds

Peanut butter and almond butter


Canned Goods

Chicken and vegetable broth

Cannellini, garbanzo and black beans

Lentils: dried and canned

Vegetables (canned): hominy, artichoke hearts

Olives and capers

Chiles: chipotles in adobo – once opened, freeze remaining

Salsa- I always have this!


Tomatoes – home-canned or whole plum, as well as diced.

Tomato paste — tube or freeze


Anchovy fillets or fish sauce


Granulated garlic

Ground cinnamon

Cayenne pepper

Chili powder

Red pepper flakes

Ground cumin

Ground coriander

Ground ginger



Chinese five spice

Fennel seed

Ground cardamom

Whole cloves

Paprika: sweet and smoked

Whole nutmeg

Curry powder




Plain Greek Yogurt

Unsalted butter

Parmesan (wedge)











Flat-leaf parsley and cilantro


Ginger root

Potatoes: sweet, or Yukon gold


Tomatoes: I only have fresh on hand in season

Bell peppers

Brussels sprouts or asparagus

Leafy greens, baby spinach

Lettuce: romaine, Boston or mixed greens



Dijon and whole grain mustards

Tabasco, Sriracha

Worcestershire sauce

Soy sauce

Asian fish sauce

Toasted sesame oil



Vegetables: peas, spinach and corn

Fruit: berries, peaches

Nuts: almonds, walnuts and pecans

Puff pastry

Classic Veggie Burgers


Each section the items are listed by what is most important to least, in my opinion.

how good is that


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