February 15, 2011

Preventing a "What's for Dinner" Crisis - My Pantry Staples

After years of dealing with the 5:00pm "What's for Dinner" crisis, I finally learned how to prevent it from happening at all. I try to keep my pantry stocked at all times and by pantry I mean my freezer, fridge and pantry combined. The following are things I found are a must for my pantry. By keeping these ingredients on hand I can throw an easy yummy homemade dinner together quickly.  

In the Freezer
Chicken (breasts and thighs)
Hamburger (patties and ground)
Pork (chops, country boneless, carnitas, ham) 
Fish filets (salmon, halibut, mahi mahi, talapia)
Ravioli (love the cheese and chicken ravioli from Costco)
Bread, frozen dough and rolls
Frozen Vegetables (corn, green beans, peas, broccoli)
Cheese (shredded or sliced)
Potatoes (hash browns, tater tots)

In the Pantry
Dried Pasta (various shapes and sizes)
Balsamic Vinegar and other various flavors (raspberry, red wine, white, apple cider etc.)
Cooking Wine (white and burgundy)
Seasonings (onion, garlic, cumin, Pappy's, taco, various dried herbs, red pepper flakes)
Sugar (granulated, powdered, brown (light and dark), karo syrup, honey)
Salt (both iodized and kosher)
Oatmeal (steel cut, regular)
Baking Soda, baking powder
Olive oil, canola oil
Nuts (peanuts, sliced almonds, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds)
Bread, bagels, english muffins
Potatoes (sweet and russet)
Cake mix (Duncan Hines is my favorite)

Canned Goods:
Tomato sauce and paste, Enchilada sauce, cream of chicken, chicken and beef broth, crushed tomatoes and chopped, green chilies, olives, coconut milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk. Mandarin oranges, pineapple (various forms), marinara sauce, refried beans

In the Refrigerator:
Sour Cream (fat free from Costco)
Heavy whipping Cream
Fresh spinach and lettuce
Carrots, celery (seasonal veges)
Mayo, mustard, ketchup
Cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar)
Fresh lemon and lime or bottled lemon and lime juice
Garlic and Ginger (chopped or minced)
Cream cheese

Having a well stocked pantry and a quasi meal plan really does help prevent those last minute “What’s for Dinner” meal crisis!