Whether you love to indulge in culinary masterpieces or just want to be sure you have all the staples on hand in case of an emergency, having a well-stocked pantry and freezer is the key to success. Some of the items mentioned here come from the recommendations of Mother Earth News.
These basics are the workhorses of your menu planning and will vary from one person to the next. Here are some basics that can or should be found in most well stocked kitchens.
Basic tomato sauce: Whether you can your own or use store bought spaghetti or marinara sauce, always keep a few jars on hand. It can be used for to whip up a pasta dish, pizza, soups, meatloaf, sloppy Joes, stew and chili base.
Chicken, beef or vegetable broth: These can be home canned or store bought. Use them for soup or stew bases, to cook and flavor rice and for gravy.
Frozen chicken breast cutlets: Cutlets defrost more quickly than whole breasts. They can be used in any chicken breast recipe or cut up for fajitas, tacos, chicken salad, stir fry recipes and so much more.
Cream Cheese: This staple is more than just a cracker spread. It can be used to make soups and sauces thicker; mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs creamier;
Frozen chopped spinach: Add thawed, steamed spinach to eggs, casseroles and omelets. It is a nice additive to tomato sauces.
Prepared diced tomatoes: These are already peeled, seeded and chopped saving you precious time in the kitchen. Use to make tomato sauce, salsa, chili or add to omelets, stews and casseroles. Store bought varieties come in a range of flavors.
Bread crumbs: By adding to ground beef or turkey, you can stretch your meat dollars. They can be used as a coating for chicken or pork cutlets or sprinkled over a casserole to create a crispy topping.
Some grains to keep on hand are barley, wheat flour and quinoa.
Dried beans: Northern, kidney, pinto, black and lima beans are great staples. They can be used for soups, stews, side dishes, chili, and refried beans for Mexican dishes and in a multitude of other dishes.
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