The Secret Weapon Of Every Well-Stocked Pantry Should Have

Doing any job is easier when you have the right tools on hand. One of the cook's best tools and secret weapons is having a well-stocked pantry.  Cooking is much easier if you know that you've already got what you need on hand, and aren't going to have to run to the corner market every time you want to fix a meal.  Having a well-stocked pantry is also the mysterious weapon of every "Hostess with the Mostest" especially when unexpected guests drop by. 

The Secret Weapon Of Every Well-Stocked Pantry Should Have

Doing any job is easier when you have the right tools on hand.

One of the cook's best tools and secret weapons is having a well-stocked pantry. 

Cooking is much easier if you know that you've already got what you need on hand, and aren't going to have to run to the corner market every time you want to fix a meal. 

Having a well-stocked pantry is also the mysterious weapon of every "Hostess with the Mostest" especially when unexpected guests drop by. 

You'll be able to make every guest feel special and welcome because, whether it is appetizers for four or dinner for ten, you can manage it with style and panache.

In fact, your reputation and your sanity will be assured, because, with these things in your pantry, you can put together a nice and tasty meal that is beautifully presented in just minutes, simply and easily. 

Here is a list of essential ingredients that should be in any well-stocked pantry. (One great way to stock your pantry is to buy one or two items on the list each time you go shopping, rather than trying to get it all at once. If you watch the sales and take the benefit of seasonal buys, you'll be able to save money as well!) 

Remember to turn everything in your pantry on a regular basis, and adjust the items on this list to suit your family's likes and dislikes. 

Herbs, Spices, Extracts, and Sauces: 

  • Salt (Sea and Iodized) 
  • Pepper (Whole Peppercorns, Black, White, and Red) 
  • Nutmeg (Ground and Fresh) 
  • Cinnamon (Ground and Sticks) 
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (Ground) 
  • Allspice (Ground) 
  • Cardamom (Whole and Ground) 
  • Ginger (Whole and Ground) 
  • Curry (Ground) 
  • Garlic (Fresh and Ground for Emergencies) 
  • Mustard (Ground) 
  • Bay Leaves (Dried) 
  • Rosemary (Fresh and Bottled) 
  • Thyme (Fresh and Bottled) 
  • Sage (Fresh and Dried) 
  • Sweet Basil (Fresh and Dried) 
  • Parsley (Fresh and Dried for Emergencies) 
  • Cumin (Ground) 
  • Oregano (Dried) 
  • Onions (Flakes for Emergencies) 
  • Vanilla Extract 
  • Maple Extract 
  • Almond Extract 
  • Lemon Extract 
  • Orange Extract 
  • Soy Sauce 
  • Cooking Wine or Cooking Sherry 
  • Rice Wine Vinegar 
  • Sesame Oil 
  • Balsamic Vinegar 
  • Red Wine Vinegar 
  • Citrus Vinegar 
  • Teriyaki Sauce 
  • Barbecue Sauce 
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce 
  • Tabasco or Other Hot Sauce 
  • Chili Sauce 
  • Steak Sauce 
  • Packets of Salad Dressing Mix 
  • Packets of Dried Onion Soup Mix (Or Other Flavors) 
  • Soup for Sauces (Cream of Chicken, Mushroom, Celery, and Cheese) 

Ingredients For Baking: 

  • All Purpose Flour 
  • Self-Rising Flour 
  • Whole Wheat Flour 
  • Pancake Mix 
  • Yeast 
  • Sugar 
  • Confectioner's Sugar 
  • Brown Sugar 
  • Sugar Cubes 
  • Molasses 
  • Baking Powder 
  • Baking Soda 
  • Yeast 
  • Cornstarch 
  • Honey 
  • Cocoa Powder 
  • Unsweetened or Semi-Sweet Chocolate 
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips 
  • Butterscotch, Caramel and other flavored "chips" 
  • Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, Hazelnuts, and Cashews) 
  • Marshmallow Cream 
  • Vegetable Shortening (Regular and Butter-Flavored) 
  • Sunflower Oil 
  • Maraschino Cherries 

Ingredients For Appetizers or Adding "Something Unique" to Meals: 

  • Peanuts in the Shell 
  • Salted Peanuts 
  • Mixed Nuts 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • A Variety of Crackers 
  • Black and Green Olives 
  • Canned Mushrooms 
  • Palm Tree Hearts 
  • Bottled Asparagus 
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes 
  • Bottled Salsa 
  • A Variety of Chips and Dips 
  • Cheeses

Ingredients For Everyday Meals: 

  • Bullion Cubes and Powders (Chicken, Beef, and Vegetable) 
  • White Rice 
  • Long Grain and Wild Rice 
  • Brown Rice 
  • A Variety of Pasta
  • Barley 
  • Bread Crumbs 
  • Croutons 
  • Tomato Sauce 
  • Tomato Paste 
  • Different Types of Canned Tomatoes 
  • Different Types of Canned Beans (Black, Red, Kidney, and Garbanzo) 
  • Dried Beans (Pinto, Chili, and Kidney) 
  • Canned Tuna, Chicken, Crab and Clams 

Ingredients For Desserts: 

  • Canned Pineapple (Chunks and Slices) 
  • A Variety of Canned Fruits 
  • A Variety of Jams or Jellies 
  • A Variety of Cake Mixes, Brownies and Frostings 
  • A Variety of Packaged Puddings 
  • All the fixings for Ice Cream Sundaes or Banana Splits 
  • Applesauce 

What Should Have In the Refrigerator: 

  • Milk 
  • Eggs (Or Egg Substitutes) 
  • Cream (A staple for many Mediterranean Dishes) 
  • Butter or Margarine 
  • Yellow Mustard 
  • Brown Mustard 
  • Dijon Mustard 
  • Ketchup 
  • Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing 
  • Cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss, Feta, Parmesan, and Jack) 
  • Cottage Cheese 
  • Sour Cream 
  • Green Onions 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Cilantro 
  • Salad Fixings 

What Should Have In the Freezer: 

  • Whole Chicken 
  • Steaks 
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts 
  • Beef or Pork Roast 
  • Stew Meat 
  • Hamburger 
  • Pork Chops 
  • Yellow, red and green peppers (Chop up any leftovers each time you use them and throw them into a bag in the freezer. They will add color and flavor to mild dishes) 
  • Frozen Bread Dough (Make your own or store-bought) 
  • Frozen Rolls (Make your own or store-bought) 
  • Frozen Pizza Dough (Make your own or store-bought) 
  • Frozen Baguette 
  • Broccoli 
  • Spinach 

With these ingredients in your kitchen, the only thing you'll have to worry about when it's time to cook is which recipe you want to try!

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