Practical foods for your pantry
The roads are icy, it’s almost dinner time, and your neighbours pop ‘round for an unexpected visit. Not to worry. With a pantry packed full of practical ingredients, you make a meal at a moment’s notice.
Key to keeping a well-stocked pantry is choosing ingredients that you can use for multiple meals—essential items that will easily morph into a range of dishes depending on what’s in the fridge. This increases your versatility and makes it easier to think on your feet.
- Tinned tomatoes — One of the most useful pantry items, tins of chopped tomatoes can form the base of pizza sauces, pasta sauces, curries, chili, soups and so much more.
- Potatoes — When stored in a cool, dry pantry, potatoes last a while and are reliable as both an ingredient (in soups, curries, shepherd’s pie, etc.) and on their own as a side dish (chips, mash, dauphinoise, etc.).
- Onions — Another durable vegetable that will last weeks in a dry pantry, onions are a guaranteed flavour booster and found in so many easy winter dinner recipes, from chunky chili to spicy chicken tikka masala and, of course, French onion soup.
- Beans and legumes — Stock your pantry with kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and any other members of the bean and legume family that you fancy. Use them in soups and curries, or blend them with olive oil to make delicious bean dips or hummus.
- Canned fish — Perhaps controversial, but for those who enjoy them, tinned tuna, mackerel and anchovies work well for lunchtime sandwich melts, as pizza toppings or atop a savoury biscuit as an hors d’oeuvre.
- Nuts — Wonderful winter superfoods, nuts are an incredibly versatile ingredient, not to mention a great snack. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios and cashews will all add a nice, rich crunch to salads, sweet breads and curries. You can also blend them into tasty smoothies and dips.
- Rice — An absolute must-have, keep lots of rice stored away for curries, soups and as a side to any featured protein (chicken, fish or steak, etc.). Mix in a tin of tomatoes, a chopped onion, chili powder, garlic, salt and black pepper for instant Spanish rice (perfect for taco night).
- Couscous — When cooked with butter and a stock cube, couscous makes for a nice, fluffy side dish. Transforming it into a couscous salad is as simple as adding veg, dried fruit and seasoning.
- Pasta — Fill the shelves with all types of pasta, from big lasagna sheets to conchiglie shells and classic spaghetti. Having plenty of pasta in the house means you always have options when it comes to last-minute meal planning.
Sauces, liquids and spreads
- Olive oil — Definitely don’t let your olive oil supply run low. You need it for salad dressings, pasta sauces, blending into dips, drizzling over homemade oven chips, sautéing veg and so much more.
- Balsamic vinegar — Mix this Italian favourite with olive oil for an easy salad dressing, or as a dip for fresh bread. Create a marinade for chicken, fish or beef by combining it with soy sauce, olive oil and Dijon mustard.
- Pesto — It’s useful to keep a few jars of pesto on hand for those last-minute meals. Spread it on sandwiches, enjoy it as a pasta sauce or use it atop a pizza instead of the standard tomato base.
- Pizza base mix — Making pizza dough from scratch is time-consuming. If you don’t have time to go the traditional route, using baker’s yeast, waiting for it to rise and flattening it with a rolling pin, a “just add water” pizza base is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
- Brownie mix — Cake and sweetbread mixes have come a long way in recent years, and brownie mixes are the tastiest of the bunch. Just add egg, oil and water, then throw the box in the recycling so your guests are none the wiser!
- Biscuits (both savoury and sweet) — It’s customary to keep a jar of biscuits handy for that afternoon cuppa, but don’t forget to stock up on savoury biscuits and crackers too. When unexpected guests arrive, set out a plate of crackers topped with apple and sharp cheddar, brie and cranberry, soft cheese and smoked salmon, or another classic pairing of your choice.
What foods do you always keep stocked in your cupboards?
Silversurfer's Assistant Editor
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Assistant Editor (see all)
- Weekend brunch muffins - May 21, 2018
- Simple Satay Sauce - May 18, 2018
- Classic First Dance Songs for Weddings - May 17, 2018
- Celebrate National Vegetarian Week 2018 - May 15, 2018
- Should Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stick to tradition? - May 15, 2018
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!