Some things are essential to making meals and should always be kept handy. Here is a list of some of those items that should be continually stocked in the pantry. These items can make or break a meal.
Salt is a must. Make sure that it is kept dry. If in a shaker, put a few grains of rice in the bottom of the shaker. This absorbs the moisture and the salt will pour out of the shaker holes.
Pepper is another essential for seasoning. There are two common types of pepper, white or ground black. There are also black peppercorns, which can be used in a grinder. The most common one is ground black, so that is the one that should always be stocked.
Another important spice is ground cinnamon. You can add it to coffee, a glass of milk, sliced apple and many vegetable recipes.
Chopped or minced onions in a jar are a convenient way to always have onions on hand. They should be kept in a dry place, as they will absorb moisture.
Basil is another “must” spice. It is perfect for Italian spaghetti sauce, and can be sprinkled into tomato soup to enhance flavor. Green beans and other vegetables take on a new flavor when it is added.
Flour is a necessary item, also. Self rising or regular are the options. If you bake, the self rising flour is important. If you cook, make gravy, and thicken broths, etc. the regular flour is mandatory. If you bake bread, you might want to try rye or whole wheat types.
Mashed potato flakes are important to have on hand. Besides being a great side dish, the potato flakes can be used for thickening gravy and broth, making potato pancakes, and even potato salad.
Rice is another staple. Along with noodles, this ingredient can turn an ordinary meal into something special. You can cook it and even stir fry it.
Beef and chicken bouillon cubes add flavor to soups and stews. They work well when you are out of meat, as they will give the impression that there is meat in the dish.
Oatmeal is a great breakfast food, but it is good to add fiber to cookies, and even extend ground beef in burger and meat loaves.
Canned meats and tuna act as a quick fix for lunches or even dinners.
If you want to expand your selections, try to keep soups on hand. They are good for a light meal.
Sugar, brown or white, is another important staple. Sugars have endless uses. They can be added to coffee and even season vegetables and coleslaw. Sugar substitutes should be kept on hand, if you are diabetic or have guests who cannot have real sugar.