Pantry Checklist

I wanted to make a checklist that you could print out for pantry essentials. Click the link to open and get print options. The first one is the basic list; the second one has the not so basic list added to the basic list.

More Pantry Notes

I broke one of my rules of keeping a lot of chicken stock and broth in the house. I was making dinner a few weeks ago, using up stuff I had in the house. I knew that I had an open container in the fridge. What I didn't know is that it only had a few tablespoons left in the box and I was trying to make a sauce. I had to make my husband run to the store to pick some up. He saved the day and the sauce was fantastic. Now there are 4 containers in my pantry so I won't be running out anytime soon.

After I posted the second pantry post, I started thinking about some things I have in my pantry that don't fit into the categories I already listed or they are more specific things in those categories. I also listed which stores you can find the ingredients at. So here are some things that you'll find in a not-so-basic pantry:

Oils-Peanut Oil and Sesame Oil are some oils you may want to have on hand. Peanut oil is great for frying and can be used as a substitute for canola or vegetable oil in Asian recipes. A lot of Asian recipes will call for Sesame Oil as part of a stir fry or as a finishing item in sauces.

Vinegars-There are hundreds of types of vinegars on the market-you'll find the most variety at stores like Whole Foods, Uncle Giuseppe's, and Williams-Sonoma. Some vinegars I use often are red wine vinegar and champagne vinegar. At these specialty stores, you can find specific types of red wine vinegar such as a Cabernet red wine vinegar.

Rice-This is an ingredient that also has many varieties. They vary in size-for example short grain vs. long grain and also the starch content in them. Arborio rice is a short grain rice and the rice most often used for risotto. The starch content in this particular type of rice is what makes the finished product so creamy. (You can also use carnaroli rice for risotto but arborio is more readily available.) Basmati rice is also a good rice to have on hand if you like to cook Indian food. This is a long grain rice that has a subtle fragrance to it.

Panko Breadcrumbs-Panko is now readily available in supermarkets. It's an Asian type of breadcrumbs. These breadcrumbs are lighter and a course cut to create a crispier crust. You can use them in the same way you would use regular breadcrumbs-flour, egg, and the panko last. They are also nice because you can use them to create a healthier recipe by baking them. Because of their texture, they are great for baking things that are traditionally fried. For example, you could make a quick baked chicken tender by coating the chicken tenders with oil, seasoning, and rolling in panko. Then bake on a cookie sheet and they will be extremely crispy on the outside.

Canned Tomatoes-There are a number of brands of canned tomatoes but my favorite type are from the San Marzano region of Italy. I don't think any other type of canned tomatoes can touch their flavor. I also find that you don't need to cook them as long as other varieties because of that great flavor. They are still a little tricky to find at regular supermarkets but the specialty shops noted above should have them. The Waldbaum's that I shop at does regularly carry them but it differs from store to store. The label usually stands out to me-they have a white background with red tomatoes around the can. The different types have different color bands on the the white label. For example, the whole peeled tomatoes have a dark green band.

Herbs de Provence-This is a dried herb blend made up of lavender, savory, thyme, fennel, and rosemary. There are sometimes other herbs in addition to these such as basil, chervil, and sage. This flavor profile is used a lot in the south of France. One of my favorite recipes uses this seasoning and some salt and pepper on a grilled flank steak with goat cheese sprinkled on top.

Smoked Paprika-There are many different spices and spice blends that you can find in the grocery store. This has been my secret ingredient lately because I'm loving the heat and the smoky flavor it brings. It's not in your face hot like chili powder or cayenne pepper. The smoke hits you subtly at the end. I use this in all recipes that call for regular paprika. You can find this at specialty shops but many supermarkets now carry specialty spices by McCormick. They are in a glass bottle with a dark lid and there are a wide variety of the spices.

Cupcake Stop & Farmer's Market

About a month ago, Justin and I decided to go into the city to see 300 Days of Summer because it wasn't playing out here yet. We went in the afternoon and decided we would walk to Grand Central Station for an early dinner because the dining concourse downstairs has great food.

I've been teaching classes at Williams-Sonoma again and the next morning I was teaching a class on summer produce. As we were leaving the movie theater and walking to dinner, we saw a farmer's market. I decided to pick up some stuff for the class. I got some great Pennsylvania corn (Justin scolded me because it wasn't LI corn and it wasn't late August haha), onions with the shoots still on them, fresh tomatoes and zucchini. The class went really well and the food was so good because it was so fresh. It was a pain walking around Manhattan with bags and bags of produce but so worth it.

As we were walking, I looked up and noticed a cupcake truck and said we should go there after dinner. Justin said we're going now I took you this way to come here. I was so excited! They tweet where they will be each day but they have a few locations that they are usually at. Check them out at: and

I couldn't decide on a flavor because they all looked so good so we decided to get a dozen minis. They were the perfect size to pop in your mouth in one bite and they were so moist. I probably ate two right there and still had some to take home. My favorite was the peanut butter and Justin's was the oreo. All of the frostings were so good and not too sweet. If you're in the area, you should definitely check them out.

Perfect Pantry: Part 2

I'm back after a little hiatus. It's been a busy summer so far but I've been mulling over ideas for this blog. Getting inspiration from a lot of places. Here are some more things you'll probably find in your pantry or that are great to have on hand because a lot of recipes call for them.

Broths/Stocks-Broth and stock are very similar and a lot of times in recipes they're used interchangeably. The difference is that stock is made from the bones and a broth is made from meat and bones. For example: if I'm making my own chicken soup, sometimes I buy a whole chicken, pour cold water to fill the pot and simmer. Then I can also use the meat in the soup. That would be a broth. Sometimes though I'll make chicken soup with a leftover roasted chicken. I will take all the meat off of the bones and then put the bones in a pot of cold water. This would be a stock. The idea is that the flavor is very similar and it's hard to tell the difference especially in a recipe where you're using a little. I usually use stock when I'm making a chicken dish (because the flavor is a little bit stronger) and broth when I'm making a sauce or a meat other than chicken (for example: pork). I like to keep a lot on hand because I use it a lot. The two brands I use most often are: Kitchen Basics Stock and Swanson Broth.

Canned Tomato Products-There are so many types of canned tomatoes-tomato paste, tomato puree, tomato sauce, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, etc. I tend to have at least one can of each of them but I use whole tomatoes most often. I make my homemade tomato sauce with some tomato paste, whole tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. You'll see different combinations of the tomatoes in a lot of recipes though and it just depends what you like. For tomato paste, I usually buy the one in the tube because I usually only use a tablespoon or two at a time and that can goes to waste. You can usually find it in a little box right around the canned tomatoes.

Canned Tuna-Tuna is a staple because you can make tuna salad, a tuna melt, or you can add it to some mac 'n cheese. It's an instant protein item that is already cooked so it's great in a pinch. I also keep canned chicken in the house which is good for chicken salad and dips.

Beans-I'm not really a bean person so I don't keep many types of beans but there are some recipes that I will buy beans for. I like cannelini beans (medium size white beans) and they can be used to make a white bean dip or added to a soup or stew to make it more hearty. Dried beans require a lot of extra work because you must rinse them and soak them overnight so I rarely use them. If using canned beans, check the recipe, but most times you should rinse them before you add them to the other ingredients.

Prepared Sauces-Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Mustard, Tabasco/Hot Sauce, BBQ sauce, Soy Sauce. The condiments you obviously want to use as condiments but they can also be used in other sauces or dips. The sauces are great to have on hand and they can also be doctored up with some other spices or flavorings (Sandra Lee-style).

Peanut Butter & Jelly(or jams/preserves)-Besides for obvious reasons like sandwiches, these are also great bases for sauces. Some Asian sauce recipes use peanut butter in them. Jellies/jams/preserves can be used as a filling for a cake or heated to make a glaze for a cake.

Baking Ingredients-Flour, Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Powdered Sugar, Vanilla Extract, Chocolate, Baking Powder, Baking Soda. These are the basics for creating most basic recipes. You may want a variety of flours-cake, whole wheat, all purpose, etc. You may also want a variety of chocolate such as chocolate chips, dark, white, and milk chocolate bars.

Dry Mixes-Cake Mix, Brownie Mix, Cornbread Mix, Pancake/Waffle Mix. It's good to have these on hand. You never know when you're going to want a brownie sundae one evening or pancakes on a Sunday morning. Cornbread makes a quick side dish especially with BBQ foods.

Dried Herbs-My favorites are dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Bay Leaves.

Spices-I always have paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, chili powder, coriander, and mustard powder.


About Me

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Culinary school grad figuring out how to cook for two people semi-healthy. After learning how to cook in huge batches with tons of butter and salt, this proves to be a challenge. Learning how to be a wife and homeowner.