Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Well-Stocked Pantry

Yesterday was busy, busy, busy! I started at the Wednesday morning downtown farmer’s market to take photos for my Midwest Life and Cuisine blog—and of course bought tomatoes, corn and onions! Then it was off to a lunch meeting with my fellow teachers at Discovery Montessori Preschool to start planning the new school year and celebrate a co-worker’s 50th birthday. Finally it was home to work on a group of newspaper articles whose deadlines are fast approaching.

What to make for dinner on such a busy day? Going to a restaurant or ordering take-out would be a solution, but my sweetheart and I are trying to eat at home more. On the other hand, when would I have time to prepare a meal that didn’t come prepackaged in a box?

It's a time like this when a well-stocked pantry comes in handy. And by pantry, I also mean a refrigerator supplied with the basics. Then everything is readily available to make whatever your heart desires.

In my pantry, I always try to keep on hand:
  • A variety of pastas
  • Canned tomatoes—crushed, diced, whole, and sauce
  • Rice
  • Beans—both canned and dried
  • Chicken and beef stock
  • Olive and canola oil
  • Flour
  • Sugar—regular and brown
  • Baking soda and powder
  • yeast
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, bay leafs, thyme, rosemary, Italian seasoning, and other spices
  • Butter
  • Meats—chicken breasts, bacon, pork chops, Italian sausage and hamburger
  • Basic veggies—onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, garlic
  • Cheese—parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar
  • Milk

Okay, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but you get the idea.

Back to yesterday morning. In 10 minutes, I chopped up onion, celery and carrots and dumped it all into a Crock-Pot. Next I added frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a crushed clove of garlic, 2 bay leaves, a teaspoon of thyme, a little kosher salt, and 2 14.5-ounce cans of low-sodium chicken broth. On went the lid, and I left it set on low all day. When dinner time arrived, I added a little butter and a flour-and-water slurry to thicken the broth. Then I cooked up some rice (you could also use noodles), and presto—homemade chicken stew!

Sorry I don’t have a picture to show you—we ate it all!
What’s in your pantry? Anything I should add to mine?


Alexis Ogg said...

You are surely having all the things that you are going to need in routine for the whole month. It sure seems to be a good idea to have all the things in stock that you are going to need in time.

Anonymous said...

I also like to do the same when I am going out for a shopping to get all the stock that I am going to need for a month. Majority has been doing the same instead of going to mall again and again.