Quick Recipes and Easy

The Well-Stocked Pantry – A Cook’s Secret Weapon

Doing any job is simpler when you have the right tools on hand. One of a cook’s best tools — and secret weapons — is having a well-stocked pantry.

Cooking is much simpler if you know that you’ve already got what you need on hand, and aren’t going to have to run to the corner market every time you want to fix a meal.

Having a well-stocked pantry is also the secret weapon of every “Hostess with the Mostest” especially when unexpected guests drop by.

You’ll be able to make every guest feel special and welcome because, whether it is appetizers for four or dinner for ten, you can handle it with style and panache. In fact, your reputation — and your sanity — will be assured, because with these things in your pantry, you can place together gorgeous and tasty food that is perfectly presented in just minutes, simply and easily.

Here is a list of basic ingredients that should be in any well-stocked pantry. (One fantastic way to stock your pantry is to buy one or two things on the list each time you go shopping, rather than trying to get it all at once. If you watch the sales and take advantage of seasonal buys, you’ll be able to save money as well!)

Remember to rotate everything in your pantry on a regular basis, and adjust the items on this list to suit your family’s likes and dislikes.

Herbs, Spices, Extracts and Sauces:

Salt (Sea and Iodized)

Pepper (Whole Peppercorns, Black, White and Red)

Nutmeg (Ground and Fresh)

Cinnamon (Ground and Sticks)

Pumpkin Pie Spice (Ground)

Allspice (Ground)

Cardamom (Whole and Ground)

Ginger (Whole and Ground)

Curry (Ground)

Garlic (Fresh and Ground for Emergencies)

Mustard (Ground)

Bay Leaves (Dried)

Rosemary (Fresh and Bottled)

Thyme (Fresh and Bottled)

Sage (Fresh and Dried)

Sweet Basil (Fresh and Dried)

Parsley (Fresh and Dried for Emergencies)

Cumin (Ground)

Oregano (Dried)

Onions (Flakes for Emergencies)

Vanilla Extract

Maple Extract

Almond Extract

Lemon Extract

Orange Extract

Soy Sauce

Cooking Wine or Cooking Sherry

Rice Wine Vinegar

Sesame Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Red Wine Vinegar

Citrus Vinegar

Teriyaki Sauce

Barbecue Sauce

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Tabasco or Other Hot Sauce

Chili Sauce

Steak Sauce

Packages of Salad Dressing Mix

Packages of Dried Onion Soup Mix (Or Other Flavors)

Soup for Sauces (Cream of Chicken, Mushroom, Celery and Cheese)

For Baking:

All Purpose Flour

Self-Rising Flour

Whole Wheat Flour

Pancake Mix



Confectioner’s Sugar

Brown Sugar

Sugar Cubes


Baking Powder

Baking Soda




Cocoa Powder

Unsweetened or Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Butterscotch, Caramel and other flavored “chips”

Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, Hazelnuts and Cashews)

Marshmallow Cream

Vegetable Shortening (Regular and Butter-Flavored)

Sunflower Oil

Maraschino Cherries

For Appetizers or Adding “Something Special” to Meals:

Peanuts in the Shell

Salted Peanuts

Mixed Nuts

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A Variety of Crackers

Black and Green Olives

Canned Mushrooms

Palm Tree Hearts

Bottled Asparagus

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Bottled Salsa

A Variety of Chips and Dips

Cheeses (Traditionally, 3 to 5 are served, from hard to soft, mild to strong. Find flavors that mix well together, and serve cheeses from different animals and different countries)

For Everyday Meals:

Bullion Cubes and Powders (Chicken, Beef and Vegetable)

White Rice

Long Grain and Wild Rice

Brown Rice

A Variety of Pastas


Bread Crumbs


Tomato Sauce

Tomato Paste

A Variety of Canned Tomatoes

A Variety of Canned Beans (Black, Red, Kidney and Garbanzo)

Dried Beans (Pinto, Chili and Kidney)

Canned Tuna, Chicken, Crab and Clams

For Desserts:

Canned Pineapple (Chunks and Slices)

A Variety of Canned Fruits

A Variety of Jams or Jellies

A Variety of Cake Mixes, Brownies and Frostings

A Variety of Packaged Puddings

All the fixings for Ice Cream Sundaes or Banana Splits


In the Refrigerator:


Eggs (Or Egg Substitutes)

Cream (A staple for many Mediterranean Dishes)

Butter or Margarine

Yellow Mustard

Brown Mustard

Dijon Mustard


Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing

Cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss, Feta, Parmesan and Jack)

Cottage Cheese

Sour Cream

Green Onions



Salad Fixings

In the Freezer:

Whole Chicken


Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Beef or Pork Roast

Stew Meat


Pork Chops

Pieces of yellow, red and green peppers (Chop up any leftovers each time you use them and throw them into a bag in the freezer. They will add color and flavor to bland dishes)

Frozen Bread Dough (Make your own or store bought)

Frozen Rolls (Make your own or store bought)

Frozen Pizza Dough (Make your own or store bought)

Frozen Baguette



With these ingredients in your kitchen, the only thing you’ll have to worry about when it’s time to cook is which recipe you want to try!

About The Author
Geoffrey Cook
You too, can manoeuvre in the unfamiliar waters of gourmet cuisine, with just a few well-learned techniques that are simple to master, and build a repertoire of literally hundreds of dishes and deserts. Let Geoffrey set you on the path today, to gastronomical delights! free-recipe-books.com” target=”_new free-recipe-books.com.

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