I remember when I first moved out on my own, I had trouble balancing the needs/wants of what to keep in the pantry. It’s a fine balance. You have to make sure the things you want are able to last in case you don’t eat them right away and I always found myself running out of certain items.
Recently, I came across this post from our friend, Jessica, at Do It Delicious and thought I’d share a little snippet. As always, for the full list, head on over to the blog post to find out the full details of what you’d need.
Extra virgin or pure, olive oil is the oil of choice because it contains monounsaturated fat rather than saturated fat. Plus, it tastes great.
balsamic, red wine and white wine vinegars:
No need to buy those expensive vinaigrettes. Just mix some vinegar with olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe a little Dijon mustard.
low-sodium soy sauce:
Good to have on hand for a stir-fry or to make a fast marinade for steak or chicken.
toasted sesame oil:
Not to be used as a cooking oil, drizzle this aromatic condiment into anything with Asian influences like cold noodle salads with peanuts, cucumbers and cilantro.
low-sodium chicken broth:
Add a few fresh vegetables, some herbs and fresh lemon juice for soup in no time flat.
canned whole peeled tomatoes in juice:
Picked and canned late in the season at their peak of ripeness, canned tomatoes are often more flavorful than fresh.
jarred marinara sauce:
Always a lifesaver. Check to make sure the first ingredient isn’t sugar.
tomato paste in a tube:
You never use a whole can and usually end up wasting the remains.
all-natural peanut or almond butter:
Look for nut butters without additional additives.
Keep it on hand to add a touch of sweetness to your vinaigrettes, sauces and marinades.
whole-wheat dried pasta:
Spaghetti and penne—keep a mix of short and long pasta on hand.
long-grain brown rice:
The ultimate staple either on its own or served in soups, curries or transformed into fantastic leftovers the next day.
whole wheat couscous:
Quick to cook and good for you.
Barley, bulgur wheat, quinoa: A really good habit to get into.
Chickpeas, black beans, cannellini beans: Convenient and great to have on hand for fiber and protein.
Economical, delicious, and space saving—they just take a little forethought.
Raisins, cherries, cranberries, and apricots: Add raisins to spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil, or toss some dried cherries into a green salad with fresh dill toasted almonds.
These can transform any dish: Chili powder, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, crushed red pepper, curry powder, dried thyme, oregano, tarragon and dill.
One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and packed with vitamin D. Eat them on a crostini or add to a delicious salad.
kosher salt and black peppercorns:
Kosher salt, with its large irregular granules, is easy to pinch when seasoning and contains no preservatives. And the pre-ground stuff you can buy in the store just can’t compete with the taste of freshly ground pepper.
Yellow and red: Not to be overlooked, onions are the foundation to flavor. Keep them stored in a cool, dark place.
Nothing beats fresh garlic. Skip the jarred kind; it pales in comparison.
Russet, new and sweet: Mashed, roasted, boiled and baked. So versatile. So delicious.
Butternut and acorn: Store in a cool, dry place and your squash will last well into the winter. Try roasting them sliced and tossed with olive oil and grated Parmesan, and squash will take on a whole new meaning.
Try to include some in your diet. Sprinkle over cereal or mix into smoothies. Flax is known to help lower bad cholesterol.
Oats are high in soluble fiber and are known to lower cholesterol; it’s as easy as having a bowl of oatmeal a day.
Anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and very abundant. Try mashing anchovies with chopped garlic, olive oil and some fresh lemon juice for an amazing salad dressing.
Skim or 1% low-fat.
Salt levels vary from butter to butter; opt for unsalted so you can control the saltiness of your meals and baked goods.
plain low-fat greek yogurt:
Always great for a healthy snack with a drizzle of honey, or mix with some fresh lemon juice for a creamy potato salad dressing tossed with fresh herbs.
hunk of parmesan:
A large piece of Parmesan will last longer and maintain flavor better than pre-grated cheese (and it’s economical.) To ensure longevity, wrap the cheese in parchment or wax paper first, then loosely with plastic wrap.
Lemons will liven up any dish. Nothing beats fresh. Squeeze some lemon over your steak, make a vinaigrette, or whip up a quick hummus with chickpeas, lemon and garlic.
large organic eggs:
Scrambled, soft or hard-boiled, eggs are the ultimate easy and inexpensive meal.
Wake up your taste buds by grating a little fresh ginger into anything from scrambled eggs to soups to vinaigrettes. Ginger isn’t just for Asian cooking.
low-fat sour cream:
Make a fast and refreshing dip for raw vegetables with just a sprinkle of paprika.
wild alaskan salmon:
A great choice because it’s good for you and good for the oceans.
Dijon mustard and hot sauce are great to have on hand.
frozen peas, corn, broccoli and spinach:
Flash frozen at the peak of ripeness, frozen vegetables are nutrient-packed and so convenient.
almonds, walnuts and pine nuts:
Whether you need a snack or need to add life to your salad or pasta. Come to think of it, add them to just about anything.
Wrap in foil and freeze. Reheat, wrapped, directly from freezer to oven. Once heated through, unwrap and bake a few more minutes to crisp up the crust. No one will be the wiser that it wasn’t just picked up from the bakery.
boneless, skinless chicken breasts:
Good to have on hand as they thaw relatively quickly when you’re in a pinch.
Opt for ground chuck or sirloin rather than generic ground beef, which is often ground with less popular cuts of beef.
whole-wheat pizza dough:
What’s better than having pizza at your fingertips, and for a quarter of the price? It’s often sold in the freezer section, or pick up some fresh dough from your local pizza guy.
Whether homemade or store-bought, pesto freezes well and will round out any meal that’s in need of a boost.
Nearly a meal itself—top with sautéed zucchini and pine nuts and dinner is ready in 15 minutes.
Choose frozen fruit without added sugar for a healthy and convenient option when fresh fruit is out of season.
Always terrific to know that tacos or huevos rancheros are a possibility for dinner. Thaw them first then cook according to package directions.
Shrimp often arrives to the butcher frozen, so why not buy it frozen and thaw it when you’re ready?
Head on over to her blog post to read more.