One of the first questions a new home cook asks when they join the Personal Chef Approach is what do I need to have in my pantry? Stocking a pantry should be viewed as an investment. You’ll use these items over and over again – they’re your secret weapon when it comes to creating flavorful variety in your meals.
If you are on a budget, this is the basic pantry I suggest you begin with. You can build into a well stocked pantry over time. These herbs and spices will get you well on your way to “painting with flavor”. As budget allows, each herb and spice you add to your repertoire will help you add yet another detail to those dinners.
Here are my basics for the Starter Dry Pantry:
Spices & Herbs
Black pepper corns (you will need a good pepper grinder) or already ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper and/or red pepper flakes
Adding these extras can save you money in the long run when a recipe calls for fresh herbs. The general rule of thumb would be to substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs per 1 tablespoon fresh called for in the recipe.
Ground ginger (instead of fresh ginger)
Oils, vinegars, and other sauces
Extra-virgin olive oil
Peanut, coconut oil, and/or canola oil
Jar, Box, and canned goods
Tomato sauce and/or crushed tomatoes
Chicken, beef, and vegetable broth
Chickpeas (and any other beans you like)
Pasta and/or couscous
Mexican-Style Roast Chicken
Roast chicken is not only the ultimate comfort food in my book, it’s also a one pan meal (gotta love that) when you throw potatoes and vegetables in to roast along side of the chicken. This version kicks the classic recipe up a notch in both flavor and color to add a little variety to your repertoire.
Next week, I’ll focus on that Well Stocked Pantry list, and the week after I’ll list my pick of perishable pantry items (ie. eggs, garlic, onions etc.) I like to keep on hand for convenience. Do you have something you couldn’t live without in your pantry? Please do let us know in the comment section below.