For the days where you just can’t deal, an expertly stocked pantry, fridge, and freezer can save you time and stress. Pantry Staples Part 1: What to Stock In Your Pantry covers all of the basic ingredients you’ll need in your home to make a delicious meal in no time.
The Importance of A Stocked Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer
I wanted to teach you what to stock in your pantry, fridge, and freezer so you can always be prepared during uncertain times or when you’re short on time. Having these items always available in your home is an important part of cooking, as being prepared offers flexibility when creating a meal.
Most, if not all of the options I’ve listed are common and can be found at your local grocery store. Of course, if you have dietary restrictions or allergies, just replace the suggestions below with a more appropriate alternative that’s suitable for your needs.
FOODS For YOUR FRIDGE and Freezer
When determining what to stock in your fridge and freezer, almost any of your favorites will work. Just make sure you’re storing them properly so they remain fresh. There’s nothing worse than going to make a salad and your lettuce has rotted!
Be sure to pay attention to expiration dates on certain items to reduce waste and help keep your fridge stocked.
- Fresh and frozen fruits: Apples, citrus, berries, peaches, and pineapple.
- Fresh and frozen veggies: avocados, radishes, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, mushrooms, squashes, broccoli, beets, brussels sprouts, peas, edamame, corn, and green beans.
- Hardy greens like kale or collard greens. If choosing lettuce, romaine is the longest lasting.
- Raw meats and fish are great proteins to have on hand and will last for several days.
- Dairy: butter, cheeses, milk, half and half, heavy whipping cream, and nut milks.
- Cured Meats: prosciutto, sausages, bacon, and deli meats all work well in breakfasts, lunches, snacks or dinner.
- Eggs will last for at least 3 weeks, and are great for breakfast, lunch, snacks, or dinner.
- Bread to eat fresh, or slice and freeze for up to 4 months.
DRY GOODS FOR YOUR PANTRY
Establishing the items you’re stocking in the pantry is the easy part. These are dry foods that will last for months, so it’s important to stock up on as many of these as possible. Because these options are so flexible, you can create a wide variety of meals using only a few of these pantry staples at a time.
- Coffee: My favorite coffee beans are from a local roasting company called Coava. Receive $5 off your first online order using code LENA, and have them delivered right to your doorstep!
- Beans: My favorites are chickpeas, white beans, and black beans, which you can find either canned or dry in bags.
- Canned vegetables and tomato sauces are great in a pinch, and will work as a base for main or side dishes.
- Rice and grains: To add protein to any side or main dish, add cooked quinoa, farro, brown rice, or couscous.
- Pasta and noodles: Italian style pasta works wonders in simple main meals and soups, but let’s not forget about Asian noodles such as ramen, soba, and vermicelli. These are perfect to add to your shelf-stable variety.
- Canned tuna and chicken for sandwiches, salads, pasta, rice, or serve with crackers. Try my recipe for an easy tuna egg salad.
- Baking essentials: Sugar, flour, baking soda, yeast, and chocolate chips (because stress baking is real).
- Cereal and oats: These can be served wet or dry for breakfast, as a sweet treat, or for a snack.
- Popcorn: Dried kernels will last forever, but an easier alternative are the microwaveable popcorn bags. When popping the kernels yourself, top with your favorite seasonings and butter or oil.
- Nuts for healthy snacking and an added crunch to meals.
- Peanut butter and other nut butters.
- Dried fruit makes for a great salad topper or an easy snack.
- Chicken, vegetable, and beef broth. Alternatively, bouillon cubes or Better Than Bouillon Base jars are just as good and take up less storage space.
- Hot sauce, vinegar, oils, and dried herbs for added flavor.
- Condiments: Mayonnaise (or make your own using a handful of ingredients), mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, chili sauce, fish sauce, or salad dressings that double as marinades.
- Packaged cookies, candies, and chocolates. Treats can be the reward you need for getting through the day.
- Water, wine, beer, booze, and shelf-stable juices. Stay hydrated and sane, friends.
Knowing how to stock your pantry is the first step to making delicious, easy recipes that will keep your whole family happy! Check out my Pantry Staples Part 2: 35 Easy Pantry Recipes. It’s packed full of simple recipes using ingredients you’ll already have in your home.
Stay safe and healthy, friends!