Stocking the Pantry
If you want to be prepared for anything, here’s what you need to have on hand.
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You never know when you'll need to throw together a meal at a moment's notice, and the status of your pantry could determine how successful you are. Here are the essentials of a well-stocked pantry:
• Tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato puree and diced tomatoes. You can use them for making a sauce or adding to a sausage-and-peppers dish.
• Canned beans. They can be added to a salad for an inexpensive protein source. Have a variety on hand.
• A can or two of tuna.
• Canned broth, either beef or chicken. It's great for a quick soup or for deglazing a pan.
• Several types of oils and other liquids, such as olive oil, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and Dijon mustard.
• All-purpose flour in a resealable container with scoop. Add a piece of peppermint gum to the container to keep away mealy bugs. It won't flavor the flour.
• Granulated sugar in an airtight container. Add a vanilla bean for a subtle flavor if you prefer.
• Brown sugar in a resealable bag. Add a fresh apple slice to the bag to keep the sugar from hardening.
• Flavored bread crumbs.
• Powdered sugar.
• Baking soda.
• Chocolate chips.
• Rice in an airtight, labeled container.
• Pasta in an airtight, labeled container.
• Herbs and spices. Salt, pepper, bay leaves and chili powder are key. Keep herbs and spices stored in a dark, dry place.
• Whole garlic bulbs (use immediately if they sprout).
• Evaporated milk, which can be used in many recipes as a substitute for milk.