Have you ever opened your pantry or fridge and thought, “what on earth can I make tonight?” You are not alone! One of my favorite tricks to avoid that paralysis is a well-stocked pantry. Having these basics will allow you to follow numerous Scramble recipes just from what you have in the house and also to improvise as you become a more confident cook!
The Well-Stocked Kitchen: The Scramble Staples List
There are a number of ways that this list of pantry staples can help you:
This list should help you in the following ways:
You can take advantage of local store specials or bulk purchases on these commonly used items.
Stock your Freezer: frozen fish, chicken, and vegetables often have the same nutritional value as fresh but are less expensive and can be stored longer with less waste. I have included these items in the event you have extra freezer space.
Your grocery trips each week should be even faster if you are well-stocked with staples. You should be able to focus your shopping excursions mainly on fresh produce, meats, and dairy.
With a well-stocked pantry, you can more easily pull together an extra meal or two (The Sixth Night Scramble) with unused ingredients in your refrigerator from the week’s meals (The Scramble’s recipe database can help!).
Depending on the size of your kitchen and pantry you can stock up on the following items. Those items marked with an asterisk (*) are used especially frequently in Scramble recipes and are great candidates for bulk purchase.
- oils: olive oil*, vegetable or canola oil*, peanut oil, sesame oil, nonstick cooking spray*, butter or margarine*
- vinegars: red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar*
- vinaigrette salad dressing (or you can make your own)*
- Dijon mustard
- minced garlic (buy in a jar or mince fresh garlic yourself)*
- ketchup and barbeque sauce
- mayonnaise (light or regular)
- Asian sauces: reduced-sodium soy sauce*, hoisin sauce
- wines: rice wine, white cooking wine, red cooking wine, dry sherry
- pitted black and green olives, capers
- bread crumbs, panko, cornmeal, flour
- sweeteners: white and brown sugar, honey, pure maple syrup
- grains: white or brown rice*, quinoa, couscous, wild rice
- pasta (regular or whole grain), variety of shapes*
- cans or boxes of reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth*
- 26 oz. jars of red pasta sauce*
- 15 oz. cans tomato sauce*
- 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes
- 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes*
- 15 oz. cans naturally sweetened corn kernels
- canned beans: black*, kidney*, cannellini, and/or pinto* beans
- nuts: pine nuts, walnuts*, slivered almonds, walnuts, pecans, (keep in freezer)
- bay leaves
- black pepper*
- chili powder*
- curry powder
- dry mustard powder
- garlic powder*
- kosher salt
- frozen vegetables (broccoli, spinach, peas, edamame, corn, etc.)
- salmon (preferably wild) divided into 1 – 1 1/2 lb. packages
- firm white fish fillets such as tilapia, cod, flounder divided into 1 – 1 1/2 lb. packages
- peeled and deveined shrimp, 1 lb. packages
- boneless chicken (white or dark meat) divided in 1 lb. packages
- ground turkey, chicken or beef, divided into 1 lb. packages
- pre-cooked turkey or chicken sausage, sweet or spicy
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