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Keep that pantry stocked For “The case of the surprise in laws for dinner”

Andrew McQuiggen

Now a lot of the time on this blog I focus on an ingredient or an aspect of cooking and extend usually leaving a small recipe which I believe highlights the ingredient well. What about when a surprise meal becomes your future, what do you do when you don’t have time or haven’t made it to the store?  That is when a well stocked pantry can save your bacon, I don’t just mean the dry goods you store in the literal pantry but also your staples stored in the fridge and freezer. Now if all of this seems like a lot to process fear not because below ill leave a nice handy checklist of products and items to note when keeping your kitchen stocked with staples. Some of these will be obvious but some of the more obscure ones I'll leave a note as to why it should be included. This is just an example of a stocked pantry; it’ll be different depending on your tastes.


Butter or Margarine


Dijon Mustard – Underrated item, essential in many salad dressings, sandwiches, etc.

Mirepoix vegetables – Carrot, celery and white onion.

Fish/ Oyster sauce – This pungent stuff can tie together a stir fry and other Asian dishes

Parmesan Cheese


Lemon and/or Lime juice

Worchester Sauce

Soy sauce


Vanilla Ice Cream – It can go a long way with a little effort

Various nuts – Nuts freeze surprisingly well and thaw fast

Frozen vegetables


Shrimp – These beauties can thaw with a 3-5 minute cold water rinse

Broths and stocks – Preparing these in advance and freezing allows quick access to it when you need it, think about freezing in ice cube trays for quick portioning that doesn’t force you to thaw large amounts

Dry Goods (Actual Pantry):

Cooking oils – Olive, canola, sunflower; these are good for salads or cooking

Vinegars – Red wine, white, cider, sherry, etc. They stay good for a very long time


Dried beans/grains – Lentils, split peas, quinoa, rice

Dried Pasta

Canned tomatoes

Salt and Pepper

Staple dry spices – Oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin, red chilli flakes, curry powder, Mexican chilli powder, bay leaf, basil, etc. (these can be suited to your tastes)

Tags: 30 minute meals, buccacinos, Italian Cooking, italian ingredients, quick meals, stocked pantry, surprise guests

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