Yesterday we talked spices. Amazing, yummy spices! Today is about my pantry.
I am a lazy cook. I do not like mess, I do not like fuss, and I don’t want to be in the kitchen any longer than necessary. I especially do not like anything that makes my hands icky. I also want easy, accessible ingredients. I keep very specific pantry staples on hand that allow me to whip up fast, easy, no fuss meals:
Spice World Minced Garlic – the most used item in my kitchen! Yes, I use garlic in a squeeze bottle. The one I get is just garlic, no oil. I go through a bottle about every six weeks. No peeling, no mincing, no garlic fingers!
Lemon and Lime Juice – I prefer to use fresh, but in a pinch, I keep a bottle on hand. The rule is it MUST be 100% real juice, such as Santa Cruz Organics Lemon Juice nothing fake or from concentrate allowed.
Garlic Powder – because sometimes powder works better! I use Badia brand.
Onion Powder – I really despise onions. I can pick them out of anything. One bite into an onion, no matter how well cooked, ruins the meal for me. I do however like the flavor in certain dishes. Again, I use Badia.
Garlic Chives – I have these growing outside my back door. I love the savory flavor! These make another nice onion substitute.
Basil – also growing on the back porch, nothing beats fresh basil. Nothing.
Oregano – another home grown herb that is so much better than from the spice aisle!
Cuban Oregano – this is a potent little plant that is almost a succulent, also growing out back. It is really good added to pasta or sauce.
Pure Maple Syrup – the only sweetener I use. A small bottle lasts me quite a while, as I only use it a teaspoon or so at a time. It is rare that I sweeten something. The last bottle lasted me a year!
Nutritional Yeast – folks either love it or hate it. I love it. I use it mostly for gravy.
Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta – the only pasta I use. It tasted like the white pasta that I live, but it’s healthy!
Canned Beans – garbanzo, black bean, pinto, kidney, cannellini, I keep a few cans of each on hand. I prefer the Whole Foods 365 brand, no salt added. They are a good price, and they are in the process of converting to non-BPA cans. Plus, the liquid that you drain off before rinsing the beans is watery! It’s not all thick and gooey.
Diced Tomatoes – I spend a little more on these depending in what is available. They must be no salt added, and BPA free cans are a bonus. I usually have on hand Glen Muir, 365 Brand, or Hunts.
Rice – mostly brown, sometimes black or another amazing whole-grain, unprocessed rice from the bulk bins.
French Lentils – not only are they tasty, they are French! I first bought them for the name (I don’t know if they are really French), and still buy them because they cook fast and are yummy. I always get these from the bulk bins.
Pacific Simply Stock, NSA – I spent a little more, but always have this on hand. I like the 8 ounce container because I often cook small amounts. Sometimes I might do one container and a cup of water, but I cook most everything in this.
Penzeys Florida Seasoned Pepper – my go-to pepper. I live it. I use it almost daily. I keep a container in my lunch bag. Love, love, LOVE!
Ninja Squirrel Sriracha – a Whole Foods exclusive, and soooo worth a trip! I used to use Rooster Sauce, but now stock up on this. It has an amazingly clean taste. The ingredient list is short, and even my friend from Dallas who loves all things hot loves this sauce! Here is a link to an interview with Derek Sarno about his amazing sriracha.
Hummus – sometimes homemade, sometimes store bought, always oil-free.
Mrs Dash Seasoning Blends – the Table Blend and Garrlic and Herb are my go-to blends. I even keep some at work!
Moro-Nu Silken Tofu – I use this sparingly, but always have at least one soft and one extra firm in the cabinet. The soft works great for homemade mayo, “ranch” dressing, and sriracha aioli.
Fresh tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, and kale, along with both red and orange bell peppers round out my pantry.
A girl can make an awesome meal with a few of the above listed ingredients, or fill in with most anything else to make something really amazing!