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Building a great pantry
A pantry is much like a wardrobe - it can be full of clothes but no outfits, or it can have many hardworking basics that make hundreds of outfits quickly without too much thought or fuss.
If you have a pantry, fridge and/or freezer stocked with a few basics foods you can cook up delicious healthy meals in hurry. You will also find that you save hundreds of dollars a year by not resorting to take outs or meals out because you have nothing to cook. If you think about it, most meals start with a base protein, a starch is added then a few “extra” ingredients which give the dish flavour, identity or name. An good example of this is lemon pepper chicken with rice.
Stock up on the following and there will always be a choice of dinners you can make up without having to dial for a take out.
If you haven't already done so you need to clean out your pantry first before you retsock it. See my earlier post.
Base proteins – these are the meal makers and are usually the starting point or theme of the meal.
Canned fish: - salmon or tuna and anchovies.
Beans or lentils canned – Baked beans,
Starches -Rice – brown, white, wild, risotto and pudding rice.
Whole grain cereals, including oats, both quick and old fashioned.
Alternative grains, couscous and quinoa.
Pastas: – spaghetti, and two other types, for instance penne and bow pasta.
Beans also fit into this category – refried beans, black beans, white beans and garbanzo beans
Added ingredients – these added to your meal pull the dish together.
Oils and vinegars: -
Olive oil, canola oil and a high heat oil such as grape seed or refined safflower.
Balsamic and red wine vinegar,
Savoury cans: -
Broths and soup stock.
Soups (low sodium please!)
Tomatoes, both diced, whole, sauce and paste.
Vegetables: – green beans, sweet corn, mushrooms.
Herbs and Spices: - Italian herb mix, oregano, basil, dill, sage, thyme, peppermint, pepper, rosemary, parsley, garlic, onion powder and ginger.
Baking, - All purpose and bread flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, yeast, cinnamon and vanilla. Sugar – you’ll need organic, brown and powder.
Snacks - Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, peanut butter, popcorn, dried cranberries, apricots, sun-dried tomatoes, whole-grain crackers
This list may seem long but chances are you have at least half of it and the missing items are probably the items you need to finish off many recipes and mean that you can make a much wider range of meals.
Keep your inventory levels up – have a shopping list pad in the pantry or on the inside of a cupboard door and when you run out write down the item. A white board works well too and is popular with the children, but items do have to be transferred over to a list when you shop.
Keeping a well stocked pantry will mean a nourishing meal is always only a tin opener away.