Best Items to Keep on Hand for the Kitchen?

Stocking your kitchen

When you are living frugally, or attempting to live within your means, one of the most important things to keep in mind is how you intend to eat well while on a budget. The list that will follow is my personal take on matters, but I would love to hear what must-haves you keep in your pantry! This list is also an excellent place to start if you are starting fresh or moving out on your own for the first time and need to stock yourself up on essential pantry foods. This is strictly pantry foods 😉

The Basics — Things You Likely Already Have in Your Pantry

  • Salt and Pepper. Because, reasons.
  • Olive Oil (low burning point)
  • Canola or other vegetable oil (high burning point)
  • Various pastas (I keep orzo, spaghetti, and penne on hand)
  • Basic spices: Oregano (or Italian seasoning), basil, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon dried parsley.
  • Less basic spices: Whole bay leafs, curry powder, turmeric (which is actually a natural anti-inflammatory), cayenne.
  • My personal favourite spice that isn’t really a usual staple, but I’ll be damned if we don’t use it at least three times a week: smoked chipotle pepper. Oh lawds. It’s amazing.
  • Canned tomatoes: Crushed, diced, and paste. Great for last minute pizza sauces, tomato-based pasta spices, and curries. Or… Almost anything.
  • Canned coconut milk. Not really an essential, but I’ve been on a bit of a curry binge lately, and these bad boys were on sale not too long ago, so I stocked up.
  • Other canned goods: baked beans, corn… Most other canned vegetables or legumes don’t hold up overly well.
  • Dried foods: garbanzo beans/chickpeas, rice, lentils (red and green), dried beans of your choosing for things, such as chili.
  • Baking goods: All purpose flour (So, so much of this), baking powder, baking soda, white sugar, brown sugar, and oats (I try to stick with old fashioned style).

I grayed out the ones that are more “extravagant”. The remaining items will fare you well if you are trying to kick-start your own pantry or trying to put together a house warming basket for a friend or loved one who has just moved out on their own, or are putting together a care package for that college student of yours.

What do you make sure to keep in your pantry?

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