Thursday, October 6, 2011

What I always have in my pantry -- part 1

These are things that I basically always have on hand in my pantry. Remember, I'm not focusing on whether or not these foods are the world's healthiest foods. I'm focusing on how to eat fairly healthily, for cheap, in a time crunch.

-  White Flour

-  Wheat Flour

-  White Sugar

-  Brown Sugar

-  Cornmeal

-  Jasmine Rice

-  Lentils

-  Split Peas

-  A huge variety of pasta (some whole wheat, some not) – we don’t eat it really often, but it’s good food storage, super versatile, and great for time crunches.

-   Boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese (one of the very few things in this life I can’t go store brand on)

-   LOTS of tomato products- I always have tomato paste, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, etc. These are ingredients in TONS of things, especially crock pot recipes (which I am a huge fan of).  Tomato products are super versatile, super tasty, pretty cheap, and really great to have on hand. 

-   ALWAYS have some cans or jars of pasta sauce. If you like marinara, stock up on marinara. (I love Marinara. There are like 40 kinds/flavors of marinara sauce so you can find some you like.)If you like white sauce, get some of that. Other sauce? Get some of that. It take 11 minutes to boil a pot of spaghetti and warm up your sauce. Add a salad and you've got a 15 minute meal.

-  Coconut milk (some regular, some low-fat) (I am a huge fan of Thai food and with a few basics it’s not hard to whip up a great batch of curry)
The brand doesn't matter very much. What matters is that if you're not careful you can pay way too much for this. If you're paying more than $2 a can you're getting ripped off. Go to an Asian market or to Winco and you should be able to spend much less.

-   Massaman curry paste and green curry paste (see above)
Your paste looks something like this. Mae Ploy is actually my favorite brand for Masman and Green curry paste. There are a few other flavors too to try. Once you open them you have to refrigerate them, but they last forever. For around $3 you can get enough paste to make probably 50 servings. You can find this really easily at an Asian market.

-   A few random boxes of rice a roni, instant potatoes, etc (good to have on hand in case you really have no time or no food)

-  Low Sodium broth (chicken and beef). This is one of those ingredients that likes to pop up randomly in recipes. It's also an important thing to have on hand if you're planning on cooking in the crock pot much. Try your hardest to go for the low sodium variety or else your meal can easily be way too salty. 

Stay tuned for pantry staples part 2!

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