When I was first living on my own, I created a grocery list. This grocery list consisted of everything I absolutely needed to survive for the first couple of months before I got a handle on my budget. The spice rack list came first, because we can take the most bland food and make its sparkle!
The next step was the pantry. I thought of the essential food that would be useful in rain, shine, hurricane, blackouts and just everyday eating. The is the best list for my household to have a well stocked pantry!
- Many people don’t like the taste of canned tuna, but tuna is so versatile now. It comes in pouches, and in different flavors. It is easy to throw on a sandwich or in a bag with some crackers. Starkist has flavors like hickory smoked and ranch tuna, while BumbleBee tuna has sundried tomato and olive oil and chipotle with olive oil.
- Another really adaptable food. There are hundreds of different bean varieties to choose from: kidney, garbanzo, navy, northern, black. Beans also have a lot of fiber and are good for you! They can be used for soups, chilis, wraps, salads, or just by themselves. One thing I’ve learned about beans in a can, though, is that most of the time they need to be drained and rinsed, especially black beans. This washes the salt off and gives you full flavor of the bean. This is especially true of black beans.
- Granola Bars
4. Mac and Cheese*
- I’ve actually tried to make mac and cheese from scratch, with great success, but there are times when you are just too tired to stand and stir a pot for twenty minutes. I prefer Kraft brand or Horizon brand. I will say that Betty Crocker’s no drain mac and cheese is excellent!
5. Tea & Coffee
- I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do drink tea. Having tea in my arsenal ready for a cold snap has saved me many days. Its nice to have it for days that you are sick or just in need of something relaxing.
6. Tomato Paste
- I say paste instead of sauce because you can thin paste out into a sauce. It also takes up less space in the pantry and is really, really cheap. Tomato paste can also be used to thicken up stews and chilis!
7. Peanut Butter*
- This should actually be number one on this list because of how awesome it is! I cannot tell you how many nights I’ve come home late and all I had the energy to make was a peanut butter sandwich. Peanut butter is an amazing stable to have in your pantry. You can make all kinds of goodies with it. Check out the Peanut Butter and Company website for more ideas on different recipes. I haven’t had a chance to try any of them out yet, but they are very creative with their peanut butter!
- Obviously peanut butter can be put on crackers, but toast is a whole other ball game. Bread can be used as stuffing, to sop up egg yolk or chili. It can also make yummy sandwiches, duh! It is a great staple to have around the house. It goes bad quickly, so it would be a good idea to plan meals around it. It is also good to freeze and keep for a while.
This list may vary for people with various allergies and such. It has actually changed for me in the last three years according to my diet. I have really reduced the amount of bread, pasta, and rice I eat in an effort to lose weight. I hope this list helps on your quest to become more efficient in the kitchen!
In the meantime, happy cooking!
*Images courtesy of FreeStockPhotos.com.