Stocking the Pantry and Freezer

by | Jan 7, 2021 | Article | 0 comments

Photo: iStock 

 

Cooking at home is much easier with a well-stocked pantry and freezer!

In addition to fresh foods such as garlic, onions, citrus, other vegetables, fruit, and refrigerated goods, stocking the ingredients suggested below helps pull together a delicious and healthy meal any day of the week.  Intended as a starting point, the suggested “basics” are items that are commonly used in recipes, while “additions” are items that may be used less often.  Customize your pantry and freezer lists based on the meals you enjoy cooking and challenge yourself to try something new.

Tips:

  • Whole grains are more nutritionally beneficial than highly refined grains so opt for those whenever possible
  • Many panty ingredients have gluten-free options
  • Read labels – look for foods that have low or no added sugar and sodium, and few or no additives
  • Avoid any ingredients related to food allergies in your household; check labels for allergens that may be present in prepared foods
  • Buy reasonable amounts of each ingredient for your lifestyle and storage capacity
  • Store ingredients properly – airtight containers work well; some items keep longer in the freezer (nuts and seeds) or refrigerator (nut and seed oils)
  • Check which items require refrigeration after opening such as mayonnaise, mustard, sauces, etc.
  • Label storage containers
  • Consider shelf life – most pantry and freezer items have long shelf lives yet flavor and effectiveness can lessen over time in dried spices, herbs, baking powder, and baking soda; add a date to items that tend to lose effectiveness

 

PANTRY

GRAINS and PASTA

Basics

  • brown rice (regular, Basmati, and/or Jasmine)
  • wild rice
  • polenta
  • quinoa
  • oats (rolled and steel-cut)
  • pasta noodles – spaghetti, penne, or rigatoni
    (whole wheat, traditional or gluten-free)
  • Asian rice noodles (pad Thai and/or vermicelli)

Additions

  • Arborio rice
  • farro
  • bulgar
  • barley
  • buckwheat groats
  • orzo pasta
  • couscous
  • other whole grains
FLOUR, SUGAR and OTHER BAKING GOODS

Basics

  • all-purpose flour (white unbleached)
  • gluten-free “one to one” or “cup for cup” baking flour
  • sugar (white and brown sugar)
  • honey, molasses, and maple syrup
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • cream of tartar
  • vanilla extract
  • chocolate (good quality chips and baking cocoa)

Additions

  • pancake/waffle mix
  • white whole wheat flour
  • buckwheat flour
  • almond flour
  • rice flour
  • cornmeal
SEASONINGS

Basics

  • kosher salt
  • black pepper (peppercorns for a grinder are the freshest)
  • red pepper flakes
  • ground cumin
  • ground coriander
  • cayenne pepper
  • bay leaves
  • paprika (sweet and smoked varieties)
  • sweet curry powder
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cinnamon
  • ground allspice
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground ginger
  • ground cardamom
  • turmeric powder
  • celery seed
  • dry mustard
  • dried basil
  • dried thyme
  • dried oregano
  • dried cilantro
  • dried rosemary
  • dried dill
  • dried sage
  • Italian herb blend
  • steak seasoning blend
  • chicken and fish seasoning blend

Additions

  • sea salt and other “finishing” salts
  • caraway seeds
  • Za’atar seasoning blend
  • Other seasoning blends
CONDIMENTS, FRUIT, NUTS and SEEDS
(low sodium, no or low added sugar)
Basics

  • ketchup
  • mustard (yellow, Dijon, whole grain)
  • BBQ Sauce
  • mayonnaise (Real Mayo/Hellman’s, Dukes, Chosen Foods)
  • soy sauce or tamari (gluten-free)
  • sriracha sauce
  • hot sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
  • roasted red peppers (in a jar)
  • olives
  • capers
  • coconut milk / other plant-based milks
  • dried fruit
  • nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts* – sliced, chopped or whole)
  • seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, chia*, flaxseed*
  • natural peanut butter (low or no added sugar)
  • almond or other nut butter (low or no added sugar)
  • popcorn kernels

*store in refrigerator or freezer
(NOTE: exclude nut items if an allergy is present)

Additions

  • Thai curry paste (red, yellow and/or green)
  • Indian curry paste
  • tahini paste
  • miso paste
  • anchovy paste
  • red pepper sauce (Ajvar or another type)
  • nutritional yeast
  • fish sauce
  • hoisin sauce
  • dried mushrooms
  • sundried tomatoes
BEANS and OTHER LEGUMES
(canned and/or dried)

  • black beans
  • light red or kidney beans
  • pinto beans
  • white (Navy, Cannellini, Great Northern, Butter)
  • black-eyed peas
  • garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
  • brown or green lentils
  • red or yellow lentils
  • split peas

 

CANNED or BOXED ITEMS
(low sodium, no added sugar)
Basics

  • diced tomatoes
  • crushed tomatoes
  • tomato sauce
  • tomato paste
  • canned tuna and/or salmon
  • stock or broth (vegetable, chicken, beef)

Additions

  • fire-roasted tomatoes (diced)
  • diced tomatoes with green chilis (Ro-Tel or another brand)
COOKING OILS

Basics

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • avocado oil
  • sesame oil*

Additions

  • vegetable oil (aka sunflower, safflower, canola, etc)
  • pumpkin seed oil*
  • other infused oils*

*store in refrigerator or freezer

VINEGAR

Basics

  • red wine vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar (traditional-aged)
  • white wine, white balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • rice vinegar
  • raspberry balsamic vinegar

Additions

  • sherry vinegar
  • fig and other fruit-infused balsamic vinegar (blackberry, peach, strawberry, etc)
BEVERAGE OPTIONS

  • bottled water (still, sparkling, and/or mineral)
  • club soda
  • coffee
  • hot chocolate
  • tea
  • juice / cider (most versatile – cranberry, apple – 100%, no added sugar
  • kombucha
  • coconut water

 

FREEZER

MEAT and SEAFOOD

Basics

  • chicken (whole or cut up, thighs or breasts)
  • ground chicken, turkey, pork and/or beef
  • sausages (no nitrates, no or low added sugar)
  • pork (chops, tenderloin, shoulder)
  • salmon
  • cod
  • flounder
  • tuna fillets
  • shrimp

Additions

  • beef and lamb (use occasionally – stew, roasts, steaks)
  • mussels
  • scallops
  • clams
  • crab
VEGETABLES and FRUIT

Basics

  • Any favorites – green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, snow peas or sugar snap peas, corn, brussels sprout, spinach, asparagus
  • hash brown potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other potatoes
  • berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • peaches, mango, pineapple

Additions

  • stir-fry or other vegetable mixes (without sauces or seasonings)
  • cauliflower rice
  • veggie “noodles”
  • squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • bell peppers (chopped or sliced)
  • cranberries
  • bananas (for smoothies or baking)
  • any seasonal fruit or veggies
MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

  • pesto and other premade sauces
  • cooked grains
  • pizza crust (whole wheat, gluten-free, cauliflower)
  • tortillas
  • pitas or wraps (whole grain and/or veggie)
  • premade meals (low in sodium, added sugar and additives)
  • soup, stew, chili
  • citrus peels or zest
 

 

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