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
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.
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:
- Butter, salt, and pepper
- Milk and sugar
- Creamy gravy or a white sauce with browned butter
- Cinnamon and brown sugar
- Cooked chopped carrots and broccoli flowerets
- Cooked onions and bell peppers
- Pine nuts and balsamic vinegar
- Cilantro and a little lime juice
- Scrambled eggs with cooked bacon bits
- Peas with butter, salt, and pepper
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Homemade Chili
- Chicken with broccoli
- Fresh chopped tomatoes from the garden
- Green beans and sliced almond
- Spanish rice, just add salsa and spices when you cook the rice
- Fried rice with scrambled eggs and leftover meat
- Add some rice to your morning brunch quiche
- Rice pudding
- Rice salad with freshly chopped veggies and a little olive oil, or drizzle some balsamic vinegar
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?
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
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.
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
- 1/2 cup quinoa, any flavor or Kamut
- 1 cup water per quart jar
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.
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.
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.
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.
No lids on the individual jars.
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.
The Kamut took about 10-15 minutes longer. It is a chewier grain and adds texture to any salad. Yummy!
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.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated garlic
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Grab a saucepan, and melt the butter.
Stir in the garlic, then add the cream.
Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer until thick and cooked through.
Other items you need to consider when stocking up a pantry:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 are staples that should be found in every kitchen pantry. Most common are wheat, barley, farro, millet, quinoa, various rices, oats, and corn.
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