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How To Stock A Pantry

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I hope you understand why I keep mentioning how to stock your pantry. My head, my heart, and my gut are telling me, more than ever before we must be prepared. Who knows what the future brings for us, we can have a sense of calmness around us if we know our home is filled with food, water, and other essential items.

Today, I want to talk about what food items we need to stock in our pantry. Of course, these will be just a few because I want to list the least expensive ones. In case you missed my canned food post, Canned Foods I Highly Recommend You Store.

It’s absolutely critical we teach our kids and grandkids (aren’t they so fun?) how to cook from scratch. I applaud you if you are, and I really mean that. We can survive if we know how to cook the items below.

Of course, we need to store water to cook most of the items, but you understand that already.

How To Stock A Pantry

How To Stock A Pantry

Here are my thoughts. I’m going to post the least expensive foods, at least right now, that hopefully most people can afford and put to good use. Some of us are already stocked with these, that’s fine, but maybe you can help others to be prepared.

I’m not talking about water today, we know what we need in that regard. Four gallons per person per day is my recommendation to cover hydration, cooking, some limited laundry, and personal hygiene.

Rice

I love rice, especially Jasmine rice. It’s white sticky rice and I buy 50 pounds at a time. I store it in 5-gallon buckets. But, it’s nice to have smaller bags of it in my pantry on the shelf for easy access. I live in Utah and we have limited humidity with our dry heat, so we don’t need anything else in the buckets like oxygen absorbers.

I also store the bags in plastic containers shown below. Those containers are 8-quart Rubbermaid containers with lids. 8-Quart Rubbermaid Containers With Lids

In case you missed this post, here are some good ideas: How To Cook Rice. The thing with rice is that it’s so versatile you can eat it with lots of things, but even with just butter, salt, and pepper, you have a tasty meal. You can make Fried Rice as another option, don’t you just love fried rice?

I don’t recommend stocking brown rice because it has such a short shelf-life due to its oil content. One bag for six months is great, but then I have to keep going to the grocery store. You could freeze it, but my freezer is generally full. It’s all about personal preference.

Brown rice has a higher oil content in the bran, the outer shell, which has been polished off the white rice we purchase.

Here are a few other meal options using rice as the base:

  1. Butter, salt, and pepper
  2. Milk and sugar
  3. Creamy gravy or a white sauce with browned butter
  4. Cinnamon and brown sugar
  5. Cooked chopped carrots and broccoli flowerets
  6. Cooked onions and bell peppers
  7. Pine nuts and balsamic vinegar
  8. Cilantro and a little lime juice
  9. Scrambled eggs with cooked bacon bits
  10. Peas with butter, salt, and pepper
  11. Black beans
  12. Pinto beans
  13. Salsa
  14. Homemade Chili
  15. Chicken with broccoli
  16. Fresh chopped tomatoes from the garden
  17. Green beans and sliced almond
  18. Spanish rice, just add salsa and spices when you cook the rice
  19. Fried rice with scrambled eggs and leftover meat
  20. Add some rice to your morning brunch quiche
  21. Rice pudding
  22. Rice salad with freshly chopped veggies and a little olive oil, or drizzle some balsamic vinegar
How To Stock A Pantry

Beans

It’s also convenient that this superfood is full of protein and other nutrients, while at the same time, only costing you pennies per ounce. Beans are an especially good food to eat while dieting and helping you lose weight. Are you looking to have a tinier waistline?

Read More of My Articles  The Best Foods You Need In Your Pantry

Beans contain fiber and other starches that help fill us up faster and can leave you feeling full longer. In the long run, this can also help you not only eat less, but begin to notice a difference in weight.

There are also fewer calories and saturated fat in beans than there are with other protein foods, such as meat and dairy products, especially if you choose beans like lima beans, black beans, lentils, and kidney beans. 

Kathryn brought something to my attention: Beans and Rice make a complete protein. Beans and Rice

In case you missed this post, How To Cook Beans

Black Beans

Lentils

I’ll always be grateful to my friend, Janet, whom I have never actually met, but who encouraged me to cook with lentils. Janet, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Mark and I love lentils. You can add them to so many soups and stews, and even make lentil tacos.

Quinoa and Lentils

In case you aren’t used to cooking with lentils, here is some great information and also an awesome soup recipe you can pre-mix and have ready to cook and serve. I’ve also made up some of these jars and given the soup as a gift to special friends.

In case you missed this post, Lentils: Everything You Need to Know

5 from 7 votes
Friendship Soup Mix In A Jar
Friendship Soup Mix In A Jar
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Author: Linda Loosli
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried green split peas
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/3 cup beef bouillon granules or 1-2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/4 cup dried minced onions
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup uncooked small pasta. I used Ditalini (place in a small plastic bag so it's easy to remove from the jar).
  • 3 quarts of water (when ready to make soup)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Grab a quart (32-ounce) mason jar to layer the ingredients above. First of all, put the pasta in a small plastic bag as stated. Place the seasonings in a small bag so you can place them under the lid after filling the jars with the other ingredients. Start with the minced onions, the green split peas, dried barley, lentils, rice, ending with pasta on top in the bag. The seasoning bag will go on top of the pasta bag.

Cooking Friendship Soup Instructions
  1. After opening the jar, remove the bag of pasta and set it aside. Grab a soup pot and pour the dried soup ingredients into the pot, add the seasonings. Add 3 quarts water and bring it to a boil. Cover and let the soup simmer for 50-60 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and add the pasta and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pasta and grains are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Optional Add-Ons
  1. You may want to add the pre-cooked meat and tomato products when you add the pasta. One pound cooked ground beef, one 14-15-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and one 15-ounce can of tomato sauce.

Quinoa

I’d love to teach you how to cook quinoa. Some of us have never made quinoa because it’s been something almost foreign to us. I’ve used quinoa in so many recipes in the past few years. Once you learn how to make it, you can also cook it for many of your meals like I do.

In case you missed this post, How To Cook Quinoa and Store It

Cooking Quinoa
5 from 3 votes
grains
How To Cook Quinoa
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Linda Loosli
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, any flavor or Kamut
  • 1 cup water per quart jar
Instructions
  1. I realize we can use a pressure cooker, but I also realize a lot of people do not have one or they do not need 6 cups of quinoa in one flavor.

  2. So, I decided to try and cook 4 of my favorite grains in quart canning jars. I used an eight-quart soup pot with a lid.

  3. I used the same amount of grain per water ratio for all four grains. I placed one cup of water in each quart jar with 1/2 cup of grain per quart jar.

  4. I filled the pot with 3 inches or so of water from the tap and placed the jars in the pan. I turned the heat on to bring it to a boil and boiled the filled jars with the lid on top of the soup pan.

  5. No lids on the individual jars.

  6. Two of the quinoas cooked faster than the others so I removed each quart when they looked fluffy and cooked. It took about 30-40 minutes.

  7. The Kamut took about 10-15 minutes longer. It is a chewier grain and adds texture to any salad. Yummy!

Pasta

I love pasta, it’s inexpensive and fills the belly as well. Depending on the pasta, you bring the soup pot full of water to a boil and add the pasta of choice. Follow the directions on the package for the cooking times. Pasta is great with homemade spaghetti sauce, cheese (Mac and cheese), a white sauce, or Alfredo sauce. I also like the fact that pasta has a long shelf life if stored properly.

Pasta in Containers
5 from 3 votes
Sauce Recipes
Alfredo Sauce by Food Storage Moms
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: Linda Loosli
Instructions
  1. Grab a saucepan, and melt the butter.

  2. Stir in the garlic, then add the cream.

  3. Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer until thick and cooked through.

Other items you need to consider when stocking up a pantry:

Spices

Common spices include cumin, oregano, cayenne powder, onion powder, rosemary, paprika, ginger, curry powder, garlic powder, thyme, nutmeg, chili powder, dijon, and mustard powder. The kinds of meals and the number of servings will determine which spices you inventory and how much to have on hand.

Condiments

When you have special holiday meals or just a friendly neighborhood get-together, it’s always nice to have some condiments on hand to serve with your meals. Some popular ones to consider are ketchup, Mayonnaise, salad dressings, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Some cooks also like apple cider vinegar, cream sheese, and fish sauce.

Sweeteners

We all seem to have a sweet tooth. We need a few items to add to baked goods and desserts like honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, molasses, corn syrup, and agave.

Nuts

Who doesn’t like fresh nuts to provide a unique flavor to your cooking options. Some favorites for cooking are walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and pecans.

Cooking Staples

Every good cook has the staples that make meal cooking and baking come together. Consider having stored some baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and gelatin.

Cooking Oils

Kitchens come alive with various cooking oils. You should be aware of the benefits of extra-virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, penut oil, coconut oil, almond oil, corn oil, avocado oil, and soybean oil.

Grains

Grains are staples that should be found in every kitchen pantry. Most common are wheat, barley, farro, millet, quinoa, various rices, oats, and corn.

Final Word

There is something about cooking from scratch and teaching your family by example. If you have dehydrated onions, celery, carrots, and spices, you can make so many recipes with the items in this post today. It’s all about how to stock a pantry, my friends, we can do this. These basic pantry staples are a great start to any pantry storage stash. Use them as your quick and inexpensive way to start a pantry inventory.

If you learn how to make dinner rolls, biscuits, tortillas, and bread with good quality flour and fresh yeast, they will go with just about any meal you make with rice, beans, lentils, quinoa, and pasta. May God Bless the world, Linda

Copyright Images: Bean Soup AdobeStock_100929808 by FomaA, Taco Soup AdobeStock_550434216 By Myviewpoint

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34 Comments

  1. Another good article Linda! We eat a fair amount of rice and I have a quinoa recipe for a salad but we use it as a dip and the husband loves it. Even though he can’t pronounce “quinoa”. LOL
    At any rate we do need to store more food. The prices are going up and will continue to do so. Our farm expenses are just skyrocketing and thankfully this isn’t our only income. All of these expenses will be passed on to the consumer from the middleman. Believe me, we haven’t gotten rich from farming!

    1. Hi Paula, thank you for your kind words. Now, I would love your quinoa salad recipe (I love dips) LOL! Yes, we do need to stock food, more so than ever before in my lifetime. Thank you for farming, I appreciate hearing you are helping the world. Stay well, stay safe. Linda

      1. Here is the Quinoa salad recipe. Sorry I’m so slow getting it to you!

        Southwest Quinoa Salad

        1/2 cup quinoa. 1 tablespoon butter. 1 cup chicken broth. Small diced green pepper. 1/2 cup corn

        1/2 can (15oz.) black beans, drained. Small red onion, diced. 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Large tomato diced

        1/4 cup lime juice (I add a little more). 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. 1 tablespoon olive oil.

        1 1/2 teaspoons adobo seasoning

        Rinse quinoa well and drain. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and cook until quinoa is lightly toasted; about 5 minutes. Pour broth in and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until broth is absorbed; about 15-20 minutes. Cool quinoa in the refrigerator at least 10 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Overnight is better. Serve cold. Can be doubled or tripled.

        This recipe is versatile so if I don’t have something, it’s still good. Experiment with flavors you like, leave out what you don’t like, etc. We like to eat this as a dip for crackers or Fritos or tortilla chips but have also wrapped it in a tortilla for a quick meal.

        Here is the recipe for the Adobo seasoning- 6 tablespoons salt. 6 tablespoons granulated garlic. 4 tablespoons oregano. 2 tablespoons black pepper. 2 tablespoons turmeric. 2 tablespoons onion powder

        Mix all together. I store it in a glass jelly jar.

        1. Hi Paula, oh this is going to be awesome! I have made a few quinoa salads but I need more ideas. I am going to make this tomorrow! I like the tortilla idea and dip tip! I just moved and have all my quinoa where I can find it! LOL! Thank you! Linda

  2. Great information. I’m 67 and feel that I am “practical and wise”, but I learn new things from you, nearly every day.
    Thank you for everything you do!

  3. Linda, did you know that beans alone are not complete proteins? The easiest way to make them complete is to add rice. You need a 1:1 ratio.

  4. For all you eating rice, I’m thinking of you. I have 14 buckets of rice and no one wants any.
    I did have a thought. Food banks don’t want it. I thought of separating and putting in something that wouldn’t cost me(any ideas??) and parking my car close to the food bank and giving away…..any ideas what to put in??
    I also need to take the ramen noodles and do the same with those. Their BB date is Feb, June, and Sept, 2021.
    It’s a sad situation when you have no one to give stuff to–I already gave one girl with 4 kids lots of stuff…yes, ramen noodles included and lots of canned goods…

    I am not a person to waste–but, I cook and am not gonna eat ramen noodles. I have so much I will never eat…chef-boy-ardee?? I was just buying something easy to heat and quick.
    Has anyone noticed the scarcity in hominy??? I finally found some and bought 3 cases…!! well, I like it!!

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Update–I did give the buckets of rice away. One guy took 5 buckets. I’m just about finished giving all the things I don’t need now away.
      Today, I am giving a man from two counties over from mine a military tent wood/coal stove.
      Yes, I was really prepared for a collapse.

      Stay safe everyone and pray OUR FATHER hears our prayers in these dangerous times.

  5. Hi Linda:

    I am slowly getting rid of plastics in my kitchen and replacing them in Glass containers. I totally hate plastics. I know some people like them but I can’t stand them. Of course being allergic to plastic may have something to do with it. The only thing I allow being put into plastic is our dried Beans. I have over 2,000 pounds of beans they are all mixed together (except for the beans I use for Baked Beans and even some of those are in the mix). We have a huge container (and I don’t think they make glass containers that size. I know they make wooden barrels that size but plastic is what we have and besides that it is in the Garage and my husband has tools all around the place and glass would not be safe).

    1. Hi Jackie, wow, if you’re allergic to plastic I would trade them all out too! I have like 100 of those plastic containers all lined up so it would cost a fortune to replace them. At least you know you are allergic to plastic! Linda

      1. 5 stars
        I’m not just allergic to Plastic Linda. I had a doctor in the early 90’s tell me I was allergic to modern life. That means I have a very small amount of things I can use, wear and eat. It’s sorta like living in pioneer days. If it is man made or man manipulated I can’t eat, wear or use. Try finding shampoo that does not have Sulfates, Sulfites or Sulfonamides in them. Or fragrance for that matter. I would have adored the pioneer days because I could use what they made then or even up to but not including middle of the 19th century.

        1. Hi Jackie, that is terrible that you have to stay clear of modern everyday products. That would be so hard. I could easily be a pioneer. No cell phones, no internet, I loved the show “Little House on The Praire”. It’s too bad there are so many bad chemicals you have to stay clear of. I do love my washer and dryer though! LOL! Stay safe, Linda

          1. 5 stars
            Actually the washer does not bother me. My husband does the laundry. But I just love the way the clothes feel and smell when they are hung out to dry. I especially love it when it rains on them because they become so soft and are so comfy when you wear the clothes or sleep on the sheets or use the Washrags and towels.

  6. Great post Linda! Although I no longer eat these things (for health reasons) I still keep them in stock as well as keep adding once I get down to an uncomfortable level. I started using them to put in a “meal in a jar” but in vacuumed sealed bags as gifts to friends and family members this past year as birthday and Christmas presents. I have found this a great way to help friends and family members within the past year and a half without them ever knowing that I’m a prepper. I would love to give your friendship bean soup as gifts (with your permission), but I am curious about how to advise the not-so-much-cooks how to cook it in the crockpot, any suggestions? Sorry to ask but I have found that most of the recipients are more likely to use my “meal in a bag” gifts if I include crockpot/instant pot directions since most of them are elderly or very busy mothers/fathers. Thanks

  7. If you have a Freegan chapter in your area they will take it, I know that mine would. The one we have in our area takes donations from individuals only if the donated food has not expired or is still within the Best By date. The one in our area does not dumpster dive, they receive the majority of the food directly from the grocery stores themselves. Every time I go I literally fill the cargo area of my SUV with food (frozen, refrigerated, produce, and shelf stable foods) for just $35 dollars per visit, which I share with others as well. Just thought I’d share this as a cheap and fast way to stock up. Granted, it helps to have a dehydrator or freeze dryer as a way to help prolong the longevity of some of the food received.

  8. Linda,

    One of the best tips I ever got from you was to store the water I need to make dehydrated, freeze dried, or simply dry foods like rice and beans in my mason jars with the food to be made. Totally golden tip.

    1. I think this would be a good place to let you know—I was without water for 4 weeks and 3 days(busted pipes due to 0 degree weather for 2 days)
      I used 3 drums in that time. 30 gallon drums and that’s 2.5 gallons a day but I was conservative.
      I was blessed to have a Berkey.
      Stay safe and pray for all who aren’t prepared in these perilous times.

      1. That is a very long time to be without water. You did good. Others should learn from your experience and start stocking up on water. I have an AquaRain 400 (like a Berkey) that would allow me to purify virtually any water. Fortunately it doesn’t get that cold where I live.

        1. Hi Ray, thank you for reminding me about the AquaRain filter, I need to order one of those. I have a Berkey but I would like more than once choice. Thank you!! Linda

  9. I love your articles, Linda. As I make a lot of hotdishes (also known as casseroles), it’s pretty easy to use these inexpensive foods you mentioned. I would like to share that I found a great recipe site on the back of a creamed soup can. Good old Campbell’s soup…thing is, most of the recipes use the very things you mentioned. I think over 200 recipes. Of course, many of the more common soups can be the generic brands. Sometimes the specialty soups are a bit more pricey but oh, the flavor…tomorrow I’m going to a smaller grocers where they have a huge selection of Campbell’s soups. I want to get the cream of shrimp soup as there’s a tasty recipe using this with pasta. The way I see hotdishes is that by using rice, pasta, beans, El cheapo canned veggies with a great sauce (like soup), I can stretch my meals and grocery money.

    1. Hi Wendy, I totally agree we can make so many meals with these items. I did not know there was a Cream of Shrimp Soup! Oh my gosh, this is so awesome! I will look for that recipe site. We need every cheap recipe now more than ever. Thank you! Linda

  10. 5 stars
    Linda,
    Great post and great recipes. And, this post is extremely timely with all the horrid situations going on today. Keep praying!!

    1. Hi Harry, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend! I just asked my friend who is Vietnamese to see if she is having trouble getting rice. She shares bottles of special soy sauce with me that she buys at the Asian market, it is so good! She said so far she is fine with being able to get rice. But I think the next time she goes to the store she may see the shelves empty. We must all stock up and pray for all those in need. There are many people struggling now to feed their families. Linda

  11. I am not a fan of rice but I do use the Knorr Rice side dishes. I do like them.
    I know that you mentioned water storage before but I seen on Facebook someone
    said that their Grandmother told them to fill their empty canning jars with water and store water that
    way. I thought that was a great idea.

    1. Hi June, oh I buy those Knorr Rice Side Dishes! They go on sale all the time. Add water and sometimes a bit of oil, boil and you have some tasty rice dishes! If you have empty water canning jars I would fill them. You can boil the water or can the jars. If they are stored in a dark place they shouldn’t grow algae. I’ve never done that, but water is water. If you know a disaster is going to hit your city, fill what ever clean containers you have. If you have children I hesitate filling a bathtub there are WaterBobs available. My only concern with them is letting them dry out and knowing they are truly clean enough to use again. Sorry, this is so long. Stay safe, Linda

  12. Linda,
    While our pantry is looking better each month, there is one area in which I need help. My issue is water, or most correctly, husbands when it comes to water. My husband has gone along with most of my prepperations, but convincing him we need more than 6 cases of bottled water is a fight I’m not winning. So I have resorted to water substitutions. Two gallon liquid laundry detergent bottles filled with tap water can be used for laundry or flushing toilets. Eight cases of ginger ale offer the added benefit real ginger helps my stomach. Three cases of baby wipes can be used to keep clean. There is water in our hot water tank, but I need from you and your readers more ideas to circumvent my husbands objections. Please stay safe and healthy.

    1. Hi Chris, I never count on my water heater water because if our city water is contaminated, I’m not sure i can filter it safely. I just bought 4 more cases of Blue Cans in boxes that stack neatly in my closet. You first order always gets a discount, if you sign up for their newsletter sometimes they have free shipping. I purchased 4 cases for $140. That may seem expensive but it stores well and will be used only for drinking and cooking. I buy the cases with 24 cans. I will continue to buy 4 cases every month even thought I have many in my storage unit. Water will be gold in my mind. There is only one place to buy it that is cheaper. https://www.brownells.com/gear/survival-gear/water-hydration/blue-can-water/?sku=100016208. Linda

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