Stocking Your Pantry For Success

When it comes to cooking meals quickly and inexpensively the best place to start is a well-stocked pantry. We’re not talking stockpiling, just the basic items that can be used in combination with meats, produce, pasta or grains to get a meal on the table on busy evenings.

Having these basics on hand at all times makes it easy to simply shop for fresh ingredients each week. But how do you know where to start? I’m not going to recommend that you run out and buy a bottle of each spice at the grocery store. Not only would that be expensive but who really knows how to use many of them. Listed below are items used in a multitude of recipes and nice to have on hand.

Spices / Seasonings

This list of spices is the most widely used ones in recipes. As you begin to cook more your spice collection will grow.

  • Salt
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic (Fresh, Powdered or Minced)
  • Bullion (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • Chili Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Allspice
  • Cumin
  • Seasoning Salt such Johnny’s


  • Milk
  • Butter (Unsalted for most recipes) / Margarine
  • Eggs


  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Honey
  • Salad Dressings
  • Salsa
  • Lemons or Lemon Juice

Staples / Baking

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • Bisquick or other baking mix


There are a few additional items that are not considered staples but are utilized quite regularly in feeding a family so they are good options for stocking up on when they are on sale.

  • Rice (White and/or Brown)
  • Cream of …. Soup
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Canned Beans
  • Dried Pastas
  • Cereal
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly


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