Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well Stocked Kitchen Pantry

There are items that every kitchen cabinet/pantry must always have on hand to get you through lean times or times when you cannot make it to the store for a day or few days. This rule is even more important for those that live in rural areas for which they may endure volatile weather during the different seasons that make a trek to the grocer an impossible task. Hear me out now. These are my personal “must haves”. You may have a list of your own that is close to this or entirely different. We all have our favorites.

Must have dry goods

1. Flour – Flour makes breads, dumplings, sauces, and thickens. You have a very common basic ingredient here that you should always keep a large canister of flour on hand. Just make sure you rotate your flour so you do not have any old stuff on hand. Also keep it tightly sealed if not in the original packaging.

2. Sugar – Another baking staple. I would make sure you have plenty of white and brown sugar on hand to satisfy your baking needs. Having little or no brown sugar really stinks when you what to prepare a few trays of chocolate chip cookies.

3. Peanut Butter – I would have a full scale riot on my hands if my children did not have peanut butter. Besides the lunchtime PB&J, I like to use peanut butter in marinades, egg rolls, dressings, and obviously serves many baking purposes. Always keep a LARGE jar on hand. This may be the kind of item you buy from a warehouse club if you are a member.

4. Crackers – So many uses. I like to use crackers for stuffing and soup toppings. They prove useful aids when making vegetable spreads and relishes from my summer tomato garden. Crackers are also great for cheesecake crusts and certain trifles. I recommend always keeping a box of townhouse or Ritz crackers on hand.

5. Fettucine – We love fettucine. No matter what pasta you fancy, make sure to have a few boxes on hand. It is cheap, it is easy to start a meal with a box of pasta. Just add oil, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs. If your lucky you will have some zucchini, chicken breasts and mushrooms also on hand to keep the magic going.

6. Canned Diced Tomatoes – See number #5. Diced tomatoes gets you places when you also have pasta on hand and perhaps some ground beef or chicken.

7. Mayonnaise – Yes this is held in dry goods until you crack the seal. Mayonnaise is your starter to many salads and dips. It also helps out with deli sandwiches. Always keep a jar handy.

8. Macaroni – A second pasta made this list. Why? Because the macaroni noodle is a stab le for homemade macaroni cheese, summer salads, and even making the winter time chili mac. You might want to keep two boxes of this one.

9. M&M’s (Plain) – These candies are great for spur of the moment baking. They also serve the function of curing any chocolate attack within the household.

10. Instant Pudding (vanilla or chocolate – Another dessert staple. You can crank out a trifle or quick pie with the aid of the instant pudding mix and some whipped cream. You can even make the crust with crackers.

Here is my quick list of absolute must have items for your dry goods storage. Take it for what it is worth. These items get us through some tough times. Happy cooking.

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