Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kitchen staples

Ok almost everyone I know that cooks keeps certain things on hand all the time. 
So I thought I'd share mine and then ask what everyone elses kitchen staples were.

For me I always have tomatoes, peppers, bananas, apples, lettuce, onion (yellow and green) and fresh garlic when it comes to produce. I also buy fresh cilantro or parsley every week. I usually alternate. I also always like to have mushrooms either fresh or canned on hand. 

Sour cream...enough said. 

Some canned items I always keep: any of the "cream of" soups. Those make great bakes with egg noodles, stuffing or rice and you add chicken or pork chops to it. The casseroles you can make with just one can of cream of mushroom soup, rice and chicken.  I also always keep the various broths and I also have the granules and cubes. It depends on what I am making which form I use. I also keep tomato paste and tomato sauce for my spaghetti sauces. I also like to get the diced tomatoes with the seasoning in them. I will mix those with fresh tomatoes for sauces. If I dont use my fresh tomatoes and peppers in time I usually just make some spaghetti sauce and that way they dont go to waste. 

Another thing I always have around is flour. All purpose, bread and self rising flours. I also always have active dry yeast. I make a lot of bread and it takes no time at all to whip up biscuits. 

Oils good to have are extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil and peanut oil. I know EVOO and peanut oil are pricey but if you buy the big bottle once it really is much cheaper in the long run. I had to learn this myself because I refused to spend 20 bucks on a bottle of EVOO but it lasts much longer and in the end it is cheaper. 

I also like having bread crumbs around and it is very easy to make them yourself with crackers or toasting some bread and making them. I have used left over homemade bread to make bread crumbs when I didn't have any or was trying to save money. 

If you like to bake baking soda and baking powder are always good to have on hand as is vanilla extract. Eggs are good to keep as well. I know some people don't buy eggs unless they need them but you can do a lot with eggs, flour, water and sugar,  so sugar is another one to always have even brown sugar.  Both are fairly inexpensive. 

Pasta! Pasta is always good to have.  I like to keep a variety on hand.  I do however prefer to make my own but I still have some in the pantry. 

As for herbs and spices I always have garlic, oregano, parsley, cilantro, Italian, Adobe, salt (sea), pepper(black and red), chili seasoning, dill weed, rosemary, curry, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, lemon pepper.  I also have a ton of other spices but these are the ones I always have on hand. 

Cheese!! I love cheese but I also make a lot of sauces with it. Grated parmesean is great to have on hand and you can easily make an alfredo sauce with it.  I also like to have sharp cheddar on hand as well. I usually get the big bag and it lasts two weeks.  I also try and keep a brick of fresh mozzarella and sharp cheddar in the fridge along with the shredded.

Wines..I like having one red and one white in the house. You never know when you might want to add a little to a dish. 

Rices are good to have on hand as well. I like white and yellow mostly. Both can be made into many dishes very easily. Stuffing is another thing I LOVE but that is just me.  Some people don't like it but I have used it in many dishes. 

Ok I think that is it.. 

One last thing....I have found that places like The Dollar Tree and Dollar General are cheap when it comes to many of these items I have mentioned. To me I don't taste a single difference! That should be my next post, generic vs name brand.