After all your meal planning this week, you totally forgot to defrost the chicken you needed to make tonight’s dinner.
Sometimes, it’s a 5 p.m. door bell that ends with extra plates being set at the table (but you only cooked just enough).
Even the best laid plans … isn’t that how the saying goes? These are a couple of reasons you may have needed to wing it in the kitchen a time or two. Regardless of how well you plan, there are times that you have to think quick. The best way to manage this is to keep your pantry stocked with a few of the basic staples that can be thrown together fast and taste delicious.
Here are the top ten pantry staples that I keep handy. You may have them already in your pantry and if not, you may find this list helpful.
I could live on pasta. It’s probably the one pantry staple that I never, ever run out of. If you looked right now, there would be at least 3 types of pasta in my pantry (spaghetti, penne and elbows). When you think of how many dishes you can throw together using pasta, it’s definitely a must in everyone’s pantry. If you have a can of tomatoes and a box of spaghetti you can make this amazing 3 ingredient pasta recipe.
Although, I am not a big fan of rice as a stand alone dish, it does play a major role in many of my recipes. When I am whipping up something quick, rice is often the side dish or part of a one-pot meal. Using up left over chicken to cook up a pan of fried rice is super simple to do. A favorite in my family is my Spanish rice recipe. It’s easily modified to suit everyone’s pallet.
Our favorite condiment. Salsa is used for almost everything I cook. It’s delicious on eggs, chicken, wraps and rice dishes. When I am short on time or have unexpected guests, I often cook a pot of rice, add in a jar of salsa and a handful of grated cheese, presto! So simple to make and it’s 3 ingredients!
Ok, so not everyone loves beans but they are so good for our health and they add a lot of bulk to meals. I usually add them to a mexican rice dish, salads and soups. They actually don’t have a lot of flavour but they adopt the flavor from what ever dish you cook.
Simple and very versatile, some great meal ideas using a marinara sauce are chicken, pasta, pork and stuffed potatoes. The possibilities are endless. I usually have at least three jars stock piled so I can cook up a quick meal.
We couldn’t live without bread in our house. Besides school lunches, I have been known to serve a variety of toasted sandwiches, grilled cheese and French toast. Definitely a must-have.
I am listing peanut butter because every single member of my family loves peanut butter. We have a peanut free school but when they are around home the good old-fashioned peanut butter and jam sandwiches are loved. Not to mention I use it to make a sauce for noodles, cookies and apple dip. It is one of the top ten for sure.
Chicken (beef, vegetable) Stock
I keep one of each in my pantry. Often I will use a little beef stock if I am making a steak gravy or for extra flavour and liquid. Chicken stock is great for steaming rice to add flavour without a bunch of ingredients and I make my split pea soup with vegetable stock. Definitely a handy staple to have around.
Nature’s perfect protein and it’s not a pantry staple but it’s a must have staple around my place. In a pinch I cook eggs and almost every type of baking I do requires eggs. I am thankful my family enjoy eggs and on occasion I will whip up a veggie omelette for dinner. Got to have them!
Another staple that doesn’t belong in the pantry but it is still a top ten in my house. We eat it daily for the health benefits but I also use it in recipes such as dips, frozen pops and mashed potatoes.
Those are my top ten pantry stables. Do you have a top ten lists, I’d love to hear what you have on yours.