As we chatted last week, the school year is about to kick off. Field trips, science projects, afterschool activities, homework...it's right around the corner, my friends. I have to say, of all of the back-to-school-ness that gives me anxiety, it is cooking dinner. Figuring out what to make that doesn't take a lot of time, that is yummy but also decently healthy and that I can do while I also oversee that math worksheet, well, yeah, it gives me those jittery feelings.
That's why I'm digging this week's topic: making dinner easy! All the tips we need to know to make getting dinner on the table simple, along with a bunch of new recipes to try. After reading all about making my dinner life easier, I realize need to start menu planning, but before I can do that I need to do the main thing all chefs, cooks, and experts say: I need to stock my pantry. Maybe yours is already stocked, maybe it's in need of a re-stocking, or maybe you are like me and it's rather bare and neglected. But what do I need? Well, here's a list to start with...yeah, it's long, but the kitchen gurus say to pick and choose what your tastes are and buy the ones you would use the most first.
Spices, Herbs and Other Things You Need for Flavor
Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, fine salt
Italian seasoning blend
Crushed red pepper
Chicken and beef bouillon granules
Oils, Mixes, Canned Stuff and Baking Needs
Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and salad dressings
Canola oil for cooking and baking
Vinegars: balsamic, red-wine, white-wine, rice, cider
Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
Ranch Dressing Mix
Taco Seasoning Mix
Onion Soup Mix
Canned tomatoes, tomato paste
Reduced-sodium chicken broth, beef broth and/or vegetable broth
Canned beans (cannellini beans, great northern beans, chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans)
Canned veggies (corn, green beans, and so on)
Chunk light tuna, salmon and sardines
Pure maple syrup
Unsweetened cocoa powder, natural and/or Dutch-processed
Bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips
Heavy duty foil
Plastic baggies (freezer and storage, all sizes)
PS The gals at menus4moms.com have more great lists for your pantry, fridge and freezer!
Is your pantry stocked? What am I missing from this list?