5 Things I Always Have In My Pantry

This is the start of a series called what else but 5 Things.  These will be short, informative lists of 5 Things somehow related to cooking.  Today it is 5 Things I Always Have in My Pantry.  These are my go to items:  

1. Olive Oil Just don’t call it EVOO.  I’m Rachel Ray girl but even this bugs me.  Acronyms in general bother me.  But I love olive oil.  I love sautéing veggies to go over pasta as this is my go to oil.  It is actually not even in my pantry but rather a cupboard by my oven.  It is used as my healthy fat and I replace butter with this as much as I can get away with it.  It is perfect for roasting, and anything pasta related.  I would say that if you can afford it, go for a good brand, especially if you aren’t adding anything else to the oil.  The light olive taste weird.  I just stick with the extra virgin kind.

2.  Whole Wheat Pasta- J is a carbaholic whether he wants to admit it or not.  This is my feeble attempt to healthify (so not a word!) his addiction.  He actually likes it better.  I buy the whole wheat when it is on sale at my grocery store.  Several months back, I scored an overstock clearance at my Safeway where whole wheat bowtie, elbow macaroni, and fettucini were $.69 a box.  We have just started making a dent in my little stockpile.  We eat pasta a lot and it is a quick and easy meal which leads to…

3. Spaghetti Sauce again an essential for a quick and easy meal in my household.  I could probably make pasta 4 times a week and no one would care.  I buy this as well when it is on sale.  Our favorite brands are Classico, Bertolli, and the Safeway Brand.  Usually, we stick to the basic marinara version, but on ocassion I get sassy and get something spicy for J or alfredo sauce.  This is also great for making mini pizzas.

4. Canned Black Beans What a fantastic source of protein!  A cup of black beans will provide you with 15.2 grams of protein.  And also a fantastic source of fiber.  We have been known to throw them into burritos or chili, wherever I can find them a home.  And usually they about a buck a can if not cheaper.  Much more economically than eating meat all the time.  I drain the can and then rinse the beans before using just to get rid of any residual saltiness.

5. Flour and Sugar Yes I know that is two items but honestly, they are like Siamese twins, you can’t have one without the other.  I like to bake and fry and make Kool-Aid for my kiddi-os.  These are essential.  Best time to stock up is around Thanksgiving/Christmas and Easter which are big baking seasons.  I make pizza dough from scratch which requires both flour and sugar.  I fry things and need to toss them in flour.  Flour helps make a roux for mac and cheese.  And sugar, well, I don’t like the taste artificial sweeteners so sugar it is.  Anyone who is serious about cooking so always have some of this on hand.  I get panicky when my 5 pound bag is half full.  Just sayin’.

And there you go, 5 basics I keep in my pantry that make my life just a little easier, now if I could only teach the 3 year old to cook, I could go get a pedicure while she made dinner.  Maybe not.  Have a great day!

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