Top 10 Pantry Essentials

Steph Wagner

October 17, 2013

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While we were on a recent visit to my parent’s house, my mom mentioned her pantry needed help. She never knows what to keep on hand and feels like she can never “whip up” anything quickly. She asked if I could come up with a list of things I would recommend to keep on hand for a tasty kitchen.

Her idea has inspired really a series of blogs I will share with you. What to keep in your pantry. What tools to have in your kitchen. What seasonings/spices/rubs to have on hand. I don’t know about you, but my Mom has awesome ideas ;-)

1. Oils & Vinegars. It’s plural because I recommend both flavored and traditional flavors. What I mean by that is to have olive oil or canola oil, but I also love my Orange Infused Canola Oil. With vinegar, keep a good Balsamic Vinegar on hand…but also splurge on a fun flavor such as Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar. These flavored options make an amazing salad dressing. {Like in this video}

2. Lemons. Fresh lemon juice is so versatile. Sautéed green beans. Grilled Chicken. Roasted vegetables. Also…throw the lemon peel in the garbage disposal for a refreshing aroma in your sink :-) If your lemons are starting to go bad before you used them, squirt the juice into an ice cube tray for future use.

3. Butter Spray. I use butter spray when I’m creating some sort of sweet treat that needs a hint of butter. Such as baked apples or when I made that awesome Strawberry Pretzel Salad this summer. Butter spray on steamed carrots is simply amazing. I could eat a whole bowl.

4. Unsweetened Almond Milk. Why do I chose this over other milks? It has the lowest calorie and carbohydrate content. 30 calories per cup! I use it quite a bit in recipes like protein shakes or protein puddings. I usually use the vanilla unsweetened almond milk, however it’s soup season and I’ve used the unflavored unsweetened variety in some soups.

5. Grated parmesan cheese. I use it all the time to replace breadcrumbs. Meatloafs, meatballs, “breaded” chicken. It’s such a lifesaver! Great flavor and similar texture to breadcrumbs without the starch.

6. Onions & Garlic. Oh yeah! My family might disagree with me- I can’t use onions when cooking for the family :) However, when it’s just myself and Mr W, I had onions to any soups, stews, chilis, roasted veggies, etc. I could go on and on and on…. Also, pressed garlic is the best for flavor enhancement. If you don’t have a garlic press, you’re missing out!

7. Sea salt & Fresh ground pepper. I’m a fan of the coarse sea salt for flavor and fresh pepper that you use in a grinder. Yes, sodium needs to be watched but when you eliminate processed foods from your diet most of the sodium has been eliminated anyway. So flavoring a little with sea salt and fresh ground pepper on your lean meats and veggies is okay in my book.

8. PB2. Have you tried this yet? It’s powdered peanut butter. They took out all the oil and your left with a peanut powder. Add a little water and get the same flavor {and similar texture} with way less oil and calories. Great for snacks or protein shakes. Available online: PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter,6.5 oz

9. Protein Powder: Vanilla…Chocolate a good idea too! I get asked about Brands all the time and I honestly don’t have a preference. I change it up all the time. I look more for cost and nutrition profile than brand- because they often taste the same to me when they are in a recipe. I use them for smoothies/shakes, protein pancakes, protein ice cream, etc….

10. Assortment and seasonings and spices. There will be another blog soon devoted solely to seasonings and spices. Sometimes I just walk down the seasoning aisle and decide to try something new. Or a rub. Or a marinade. Something to change up the flavor routine in the kitchen.

This list doesn’t include protein sources like meats and cheeses because I don’t exactly “keep them on hand.” Instead, I plan out my meals every week and only grocery shop for my planned meals. These items are things I keep in the house and replenish when they are low, not necessarily on my weekly grocery list.

3 thoughts on “Top 10 Pantry Essentials”

  1. Are these to spicy for sleevers? It has quite a bit of seasoning compared to the regular broth. I bought two of the three you listed and they are all a bit spicy. I like spicy, but want to make sure it is safe. Thank you.

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