Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stock the Pantry: Part One

Image from the internet
I adore the grocery store.
I am my father's daughter and should not be allowed in any food store without either supervision or a list. Case in point, last week I went to my favorite Asian market and walked out with 4 pounds of broccoli raab. Four pounds! I have no idea what I was thinking. I didn't buy much else (no list) - so for the week we had a lot of greens, and well, not much else unless it was in the pantry.

Now most (normal) people would freak out and probably go out to dinner, but we have managed to have 4 separate dinner dishes which included the raab. I was able to do this because I keep a really well stocked pantry. It is a bit of an obsession, condiments and pantry items.

This obsession didn't happen over night, it would have been far too expensive and overwhelming if it had. But over time, though trial and error, I have come up with my go-to list of pantry items.
These are the basic items I nearly always have on hand. Take a look, do you have the same things? What do you think I am missing? What is your go-to list? I am so curious to know if I am the only one with this obsession!

The Basics
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
red wine vinegar
anchovy paste
dijon mustard
fresh garlic
fresh onions
chicken stock (If I don't have homemade or just need a little, I swear by Better Then Bullion, organic chicken flavor)
kosher salt
black pepper
smoked sweet paprika
chili flakes
cheddar cheese
parmesan cheese
Corn starch
canned beans and/or tomatoes
corn meal

With these condiments I can whip up a pizza dough to stuff with raab, parmesan, and caramelized onions; raab and cheese pasta; a quick soup; or greens sauteed in anchovy paste and chili flakes with a side of baked eggs. I could have also made a raab fritatta. I hadn't thought of that.

I believe that investing in condiments and a stocked pantry will save you money overtime. Knowing you have ingredients on hand makes planning and cooking quick dinner easier. It also makes the grocery list shorter! Just hit the fresh foods on the perimeter of a store!

The next post will have my list of Asian food pantry basics. I will also talk about what I keep in my freezer. Eventually, I will also talk about how to do weekly meal planning to utilize my pantry and make weekday dinners fast.

PS. Need more broccoli raab recipes? Check out this blog.


  1. You are not alone. My husband also likes to have a wide variety of condiments, honestly, when we moved, we had to pack two boxes of these things.

  2. Great list! The things I'd add are cumin, brown mustard, and rice vinegar...

  3. Yup! I don't think your list is at all excessive.

  4. You know, I think cumin is one of the only spices I don't really like! I do love all kinds of mustard and vinegars though. (I probably have 3 different mustards at any one time and 5 kinds of vinegars lurking about!)

  5. I also make "ice cubes" of fresh basil from the garden in water or olive oil and store them in the freezer for the winter. One ice cube added to soups or pasta dishes makes the other flavors pop! :) CG

  6. Brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, canned tuna - in oil and water, frozen peas, fresh parsley, celery and carrots, dried mushrooms, and always, yogurt.
    I was just thinking that I'd like to see a basic list ... good idea