What To Have In The Pantry

Close up of Beans

Staples for the Pantry

One of the best ways to prevent not having something to make for dinner in a pinch is to have a well stocked pantry. Below is a list of ingredients that I try to always have plenty of on hand. I have listed ten in no specific order.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is great for salad dressings, marinades, pan frying, sauteing, or as a dip for bread. I eat olive oil almost every day. I have often used it as a skin softener. I keep at least two or three types, some for strong olive flavor and some milder for things when I don’t want a strong taste. Olive Oil is good for you, so eat up!

Fresh Garlic Cloves. I keep plenty of fresh garlic around at all times. It can be raw or cooked. I particularly like roasted garlic gloves. We love it as a flavoring in cooking, but often use it as a health agent. Raw garlic when you are feeling ill is a great way to a speedy recovery. I also keep garlic powder and garlic salt, which I mix with butter for toast.

Stock and Broth. I have both boxes and cans of gluten free chicken and beef broths. I keep jars of Better Than Bullion, which is not labeled as gluten free but contains no gluten ingredients, (according to the company website) in the refrigerator as well. I prefer reduced fat and reduced sodium types for cooking. Organic is great, too. I try to keep homemade stock frozen is small batches, but I sometimes use it all before I make more.

Dry gluten free Pasta. I keep several shapes of dry gluten free pasta on hand. I buy it when it is on sale at the market and have used everything from brown rice pasta, non-GMO corn pasta, quinoa pasta. I like to have several different shapes for different sauces and salads, but preferences vary. Spaghetti, elbow, bow tie, penne and angel hair are always on hand. The brands vary, depending on the store and the sale.

Dry Beans. I keep dry beans in Mason jars. I mark the lids, not the jars, as to what type of bean. Many I know but Great Northern beans and Navy beans look quite similar to me so I mark them all. Beans are a high fiber, low fat super food and can be used as a main dish or as an ingredient in other dishes. Because they store so well, I also get them when they are on sale at the market. Check prices at the bulk section of the market as they are often quite a bit less than the beans sold in one pound bags.

Rice. Rice stores well and has a great place on the pantry shelf. I keep long grain, arborio, basmati and wild rice. Combined with beans and you have a complete protein food. It can be used in savory and sweet dishes. Rice pudding is a favorite of mine and is as easy as can be.

Canned tuna and Salmon. I keep small cans of chunk white albacore and cans of pink salmon as a fast protein source. Tuna salad is a big deal around here and my mother always made salmon croquettes so I keep canned salmon. If you are worried about mercury in the fish, eat is only once a week or so. If you are not on any fat restrictive diet, the albacore packed in olive oil is oh so good.

Canned Tomatoes. I keep large and regular cans of whole peeled tomatoes, diced tomatoes, stewed, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Some of the stewed varieties have thing added such as basil and some of the diced ones have been roasted as well. I usually have tomato juice or vegetable juice in the form of low sodium V-8 Juice.

Vinegars. I like to have several types of vinegars as I use them often. Apple Cider vinegar and Red Wine vinegar are most used of the bunch, but next would be Seasoned Rice Vinegar followed by Rice Vinegar. I have two types of balsamic vinegar, a super sweet expensive one in a lovely shaped bottle and a less expensive one, genuine Modena made, to be sure. I use them in dressings, sauces and marinades. I also add vinegar sometimes in place of fresh citrus if I need the acidity and not the flavor of an orange, for example. Do not purchase Malt vinegar as it is made with barley and contains gluten.

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