Thursday, October 13, 2011

What I always have in my pantry -- part 3

- Instant oatmeal and cereal –breakfast foods can be really pricey if you’re not careful. So, we eat a lot of whole wheat toast, oatmeal, and high fiber cereal. I stock up on boxes of cereal when I can get a really good deal (e.g., combining a sale with a coupon…Smiths is good for this as well as WINCO). As long as the boxes aren’t opened, they’ll last a long time and you can use them as you need them without spending a whole lot of money on breakfast foods.

- I have a few foods that I make a lot, often without much notice. For me some of these things are macaroni salad, jello with fruit, and overloaded chocolate cake (for birthdays and things). Because I don’t want to have to run to the store every single time I’m asked to make one of these things, I try to keep the nonperishable ingredients on hand. For the jello I try to keep a few boxes of jello in the cupboard, and a can of pineapple and a can of mandarine oranges in the pantry. For the cake I try to keep a box of cake mix and a box of pudding mix on hand. For the macaroni salad I make sure I have enough small shell pasta, olives, tuna, etc that I could make a big batch of salad at any time. (If you do this, you can shop sales instead of having to buy it for full price just because you need it urgently.) You’ll still have to buy things like veggies, whip cream or cool whip, butter, etc as events come up, but it’s better than having to buy every single ingredient every time you need it.

-  I keep a pretty good stock of different kinds of commonly used spices. Spices can make or break a meal, so it’s worth having if you have the space. Even if you just get a shoe box or something to hold everything that doesn’t fit on your spice rack, it’s worth it. Go to WINCO. The bin sections have spices for way cheaper than buying lots of bottles, and you can buy little bottles for really cheap too.

-  Yeast. I buy it in the bin section at WINCO. It’s great to have on hand if I randomly decide to make breadsticks on a Sunday afternoon or something…which I do.

- I don’t love canned vegetables (besides tomatoes if you count those as vegetables). I’d rather have fresh or frozen. Because of that, I have very few canned vegetables. I probably should have more in case of some major earthquake or something, but for everyday use I don’t use canned.

- One thing I don’t have much of that may come as a surprise is “Cream of whatever” soup. In fact, I usually only buy it as-needed. I’m not a big fan of the “cream of” casserole movement, but if you do like casseroles and things like that? That’s a great thing to have on hand. Casseroles can be an “everything but the kitchen sink” meal to utilize whatever you have on hand. If you feel so inclined and know you’d use them, stock up on some Cream Ofs. If you won’t use them? Maybe buy one or two cans now and then just in case, but I don’t think it’s worth the shelf space…especially when you have limited storage space in little apartments.

The End (of my most common pantry items). Up next? Some recipes, ideas, and other advice! 

1 comment:

  1. sounds like you are way more on top of the pantry stock than i am. I feel like i never have enough to actually make something. maybe someday i'll get a system down.