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SPECIAL BLOG TODAY: a detailed tour of my pantry – staples for healthy cooking!

Friday, June 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

June
4
2010

I’ve got a big blog entry for everyone today: a detailed tour of my pantry, spice rack and fridge. I’m also going to talk about some other items (proteins, fresh veggies, etc.) that I like to keep in my kitchen at all times. The reason I’m doing this is because I’ve found that having certain staple items on hand makes trying delicious and healthy new recipes much easier. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a recipe that looks great, but then realize I’m missing some ingredients. When that happens I usually decide it’s not worth a special trip to the store, so I fall back to my usual boring “go to” meals.

Almost all of the items you’ll see in my pantry and spice rack are inexpensive and keep for a long, long time. Of course some of these items are specialty items for specific styles of cuisine, and may not be applicable if you rarely prepare foods in those styles.

Most of all, I hope today’s blog gets you excited about healthy eating! If you take a little time to plan and stock your pantry with common staple items, you’ll be amazed at how many different healthy and tasty meals you can make. Eating healthy is easy when you can throw together delicious new dishes in a short amount of time; the first step is to have the raw materials on hand. Let’s get on with the tour!

NOTE: I’ll describe each photo in general terms, and then after the photo I’ll list the specific items in detail. As you’ll see in the rest of the photographs, everything is neatly arranged and grouped based on the ingredient type. Doing this is worth the trouble: it makes finding what you need and seeing when you’re running low on something much easier.

I’ll start off with a shot of the entire pantry.

Entire pantry.

Entire pantry.

This is the stuff we don’t use that often, so it’s in the back left corner for that reason. You never know when you’ll need something like sugar, honey or cocoa powder in a recipe, so having this stuff around makes sense.

Granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, unsweetened cocoa, Karo syrup, molasses, honey, dried apples, sun dried tomatoes, raisins, canned cranberries, canned orange and canned pineapple. cranberries, canned orange and canned pineapple.

Granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, unsweetened cocoa, Karo syrup, molasses, honey, dried apples, sun dried tomatoes, raisins, canned cranberries, canned orange and canned pineapple.

The other half of the top shelf has some commonly used items in the middle, and less-used items on the right.

Walnuts, natural peanut butter, almonds, pine nuts, whole wheat pretzels, microwave popcorn (for Loki), sesame crackers, Styrofoam cups and straws.

Walnuts, natural peanut butter, almonds, pine nuts, whole wheat pretzels, microwave popcorn (for Loki), sesame crackers, Styrofoam cups and straws.

Second shelf, left side. This is where we keep jars and cans of veggies, with a focus on tomato-based products.

Green olives, black olives, kalamata olives, salsa, garlic & herb pasta sauce, pesto, Ro-tel tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce.

Green olives, black olives, kalamata olives, salsa, garlic & herb pasta sauce, pesto, Ro-tel tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce.

Second shelf, right side. On this shelf we keep some fresh veggies that don’t mind the dark and canned beans.

Red potatoes, red onions, yellow onions, white onions, black beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans and blackeye peas.

Red potatoes, red onions, yellow onions, white onions, black beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans and blackeye peas.

Third shelf, left side. This is where various vinegars are kept, along with some canned items used mostly in ethnic cooking.

Balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, raspberry vinegar, sesame oil, balsamic salad dressing, Italian salad dressing, condensed milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, artichoke hearts, portabella mushrooms, water chestnuts and green beans.

Balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, raspberry vinegar, sesame oil, balsamic salad dressing, Italian salad dressing, condensed milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, artichoke hearts, portabella mushrooms, water chestnuts and green beans.

Third shelf, middle. Mostly oils, and canned seafood.

Olive oil Pam cooking spray, regular Pam cooking spray, canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, canned tuna fish, canned salmon and canned crab meat.

Olive oil Pam cooking spray, regular Pam cooking spray, canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, canned tuna fish, canned salmon and canned crab meat.

Third shelf, right side. This is where we keep soups, broths and (mostly) spicy canned and jarred vegetables.

Beef broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth, chicken bouillon, chicken noodle soup, cream of asparagus soup, dry onion soup, dry ranch mix, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini peppers, jalapeno peppers, chipotle peppers, Serrano peppers, tempura peppers and diced green peppers.

Beef broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth, chicken bouillon, chicken noodle soup, cream of asparagus soup, dry onion soup, dry ranch mix, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini peppers, jalapeno peppers, chipotle peppers, Serrano peppers, tempura peppers and diced green peppers.

Fourth shelf, left side. This is where we keep our pastas, rice and grains.

Penne pasta, whole grain rotini pasta, elbow pasta, shell pasta, whole grain thin spaghetti pasta, brown rice, yellow rice, wild rice, jasmine rice, taboule, traditional quinoa, red quinoa and dried lemon grass.

Penne pasta, whole grain rotini pasta, elbow pasta, shell pasta, whole grain thin spaghetti pasta, brown rice, yellow rice, wild rice, jasmine rice, taboule, traditional quinoa, red quinoa and dried lemon grass.

Fourth shelf, right side. Lots of condiments and sauces here. Some items that would normally be stored in this section you’ll find in the fridge section because they require refrigeration after opening.

Barbecue sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Cholula hot sauce, sweet chili sauce, Thai chili sauce, capers, red curry paste, cocktail sauce, remoulade sauce, Mole sauce, fresh chili paste, spicy brown mustard, coarse ground mustard, Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, wasabi paste, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Barbecue sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Cholula hot sauce, sweet chili sauce, Thai chili sauce, capers, red curry paste, cocktail sauce, remoulade sauce, Mole sauce, fresh chili paste, spicy brown mustard, coarse ground mustard, Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, wasabi paste, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Fifth shelf, left side. Teas and coffees.

Various hot teas, coffee beans, instant coffee, ground coffee, hot chocolate mix, drink mixes, sweeteners, coffee filters and creamer.

Various hot teas, coffee beans, instant coffee, ground coffee, hot chocolate mix, drink mixes, sweeteners, coffee filters and creamer.

Fifth shelf, right side. Oatmeals, breadcrumbs and a few other staples.

Steel cut oats, Quaker oats, Italian bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch and corn meal.

Steel cut oats, Quaker oats, Italian bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch and corn meal.

Floor.

 Distilled vinegar, paper towels, various liquors for cooking (OK, not the Tequila).

Distilled vinegar, paper towels, various liquors for cooking (OK, not the Tequila).

This is the dried spice cabinet. A good selection of dried spices is very important.

Allspice, basil, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, creole seasoning, crushed red pepper, cumin, dill weed, ginger, granulated garlic, granulated onion, ground cloves, ground coriander, ground mustard, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, Old Bay, oregano, rosemary, paprika, parsley, poultry seasoning, powdered garlic, powdered onion, pumpkin spice, rum extract, sage, salt, sesame seed, tarragon, thyme, turmeric, vanilla extract, wasabi powder, white pepper, whole black peppercorns and whole cloves.

Allspice, basil, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, creole seasoning, crushed red pepper, cumin, dill weed, ginger, granulated garlic, granulated onion, ground cloves, ground coriander, ground mustard, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, Old Bay, oregano, rosemary, paprika, parsley, poultry seasoning, powdered garlic, powdered onion, pumpkin spice, rum extract, sage, salt, sesame seed, tarragon, thyme, turmeric, vanilla extract, wasabi powder, white pepper, whole black peppercorns and whole cloves.

More fresh veggies that should be kept at room temperature:

We've always got lots of garlic and tomatoes on hand.

We've always got lots of garlic and tomatoes on hand.

Refrigerator door, shelves 1 and 2.

Butter, lemon juice, lime juice, kalamata olives, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, raspberry preserves, ranch salad dressing, spicy mustard, Sriracha garlic chili sauce, Tabasco sauce, Cholula hot sauce, maple syrup, chili paste and Frank's hot sauce (not shown: milk, eggs, orange juice).

Butter, lemon juice, lime juice, kalamata olives, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, raspberry preserves, ranch salad dressing, spicy mustard, Sriracha garlic chili sauce, Tabasco sauce, Cholula hot sauce, maple syrup, chili paste and Frank's hot sauce (not shown: milk, eggs, orange juice).

Refrigerator door, shelves 3 and 4.

Chocolate syrup, jalapenos, flour, grape jelly, balsamic salad dressing, preserves, cheap white wine for cooking and dry sherry.

Chocolate syrup, jalapenos, flour, grape jelly, balsamic salad dressing, preserves, cheap white wine for cooking and dry sherry.

Fruits and veggies I like to have on hand (most purchased weekly): salad greens, broccoli, dill, cilantro, bell peppers, squash, lemon, lime, oranges, orange juice, strawberries, scallions, red onions, white onions, yellow onions, red potatoes, white potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, basil, frozen stir fry veggies, frozen brocoli, frozen corn, frozen green beans and frozen peas.

Meats, dairy and cheeses (most purchased weekly): milk, eggs, bacon, prosciutto, white American cheese, feta cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Proteins (most of these items are usually bought in large quantities and then frozen): lean ground beef, steak, cod, flounder, catfish, salmon, shrimp and boneless/skinless chicken breasts.

Of course from time to time I purchase items not mentioned or seen above, but that’s the bulk of it. Having these ingredients around will allow you to get very creative in the kitchen – the possibilities are practically endless! Also, keep in mind that stocking your pantry with these items is very inexpensive compared to taking your family out for dinner even once every couple of weeks (and it’s certainly more healthy!)

I hope you enjoyed this tour, and that it has got you thinking about how much fun and easy cooking healthy new meals can be! If you ever want to refer back to this article, I’m going to link to it on the recipe page, and also stick it to the top of the recipe forum. Of course I’ll continue to share lots of new recipes here on JSF, and please feel free to submit your favorite recipes to JSF!

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “SPECIAL BLOG TODAY: a detailed tour of my pantry – staples for healthy cooking!”
  1. Thanks for re-posting this. I remember how helpful it was the day you posted it. I’ve been struggling the last couple weeks with how bland my cutting food has become. I think it’s time for some additions to the staples in my household.

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    • You’re welcome! I re-posted it to FB because I was reminded by a member that I forgot to link to it from the Recipe page on the new site. I’ve done that now, so you can always find it there if you want to refer back to it.

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