Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What the Fiscal Food Fast Taught Me: Pantry Essentials

Jared and I went on an official grocery shopping trip for the first time in 6 weeks. We have made a couple of side trips to grab some basic staples in order to continue using what was left in our cabinets, but yesterday I filled up our buggy for the first time in a month and a half.

Doing this fiscal food fast taught me quite a bit about stretching what is in already in our cabinets. I've come up with a list of pantry essentials to keep around to help make the most of what's in your own pantry.

  • Cornmeal
    • If you've got cornmeal and a few other basics, you can make cornbread. If you can make cornbread, you will never starve. 
  • Rice
    • Whether it's the minute rice or the kind you make on the stove, rice is a great staple to keep in your pantry. It fills you up and will stretch a long way.
  • Dried Beans
    • Dried beans will keep forever, and beans are another food item that will fill you up fast. Plus, beans are extremely versatile, so you can add them to soups or use them as a side dish to your main meal. Of course, canned beans are great for that too and have less prep time, so keep some canned beans as well!
  • Basic Baking Supplies
    • Flour, baking powder, sugar. Again, if you can make some kind of bread, you'll never starve.
  • Oil
    • Canola, Corn, Olive, Vegetable, etc., oil is a necessary ingredient in a ton of recipes but can also be use to cook things in. 
  • Cream of Chicken
    • I add this to soups to thicken them up or add to rice for a creamy rice meal. Plus, it's delicious, and if you crave something creamy and filling, this makes a great addition to any meal.
  • Pasta and Sauce
    • Truth be told, I have no idea how people avoid carbs and pasta because I would probably STARVE without it. I love pasta. As a general rule, I keep spaghetti and penne noodles in my cabinets. 
  • Tea Bags/Kool-Aid/Instant drinks
    • If you don't enjoy drinking only water, keeping some tea bags (and sugar!) on hand can save you money on Coke and keep you from being miserable about only having water. (As a side note, you should drink water. I know that. I just don't enjoy it.)
  • Raw Potatoes
    • Potatoes are incredible. You can make a million different things with them, and they're super filling and delicious. 
  • Spices
    • Garlic powder, onion salt, and Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning are things I use nearly every day.
  • Fresh Onions
    • Onions are harder to keep, but if I have the choice, I'll add fresh over dried onions EVERY TIME. 
  • Bouillon Cubes
    • These are great for making broth when you don't have any of the boxed or homemade kind. 
  • Canned or Frozen Veggies ESPECIALLY DICED TOMATOES
    • These make for easy and easy to keep additions to any meal. I keep several cans of diced tomatoes because they are good in almost everything. 
Refrigerated items are harder to keep for long, but I try to keep a few of these staples in our fridge:
  • Milk
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Eggs 
  • Minced Garlic
What are some pantry staples y'all keep in your home?


  1. Some of our staples include peanut butter (or other nut butters), brown rice (instead of white), whole wheat pastas, some kind of pasta sauce, canned and frozen veggies, frozen chicken tenderloins, ground chuck (kept frozen), spices like garlic powder and oregano, milk, tea, sugar substitute, sugar and flour. Some of these things are there just in case of emergencies. I am a diabetic, so I need to stick to as low carb as possible. Anything high in fiber is filling like beans (dry is best). I have to have protein, so peanut butter is a must. Hope this helps!

  2. I always keep brown sugar in the pantry. I love it with carrots and butter.


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