Wednesday, January 18, 2023

(My) Pantry Staples - What say you?

 Good day everyone!  Hope this finds you well.  Today I am going to talk a little about things that are just staple products I keep in my pantry (freezer).  I like to be prepared for about anything.  I want to be able to throw a meal together for company.  Give me a couple days to thaw things - and I can fix about anything to feed a crowd.
I like the security having what I need on hand.  IF I run out of something - I like having other things that I can use in place of them.  Knowing and using substitutions is a way of life for me.
Recipes?  LOL - maybe for baking - but for most things, I just THROW things together.  When people ask for recipes - I sometimes chuckle and say "what is this recipe thing you speak of"?
I eat and keep what I like - WE ALL SHOULD.  No need to keep supplies that no one in your house doesn't like.  That is wasteful.  
Use what you have.  Shop home first - know what you have - then go shopping if necessary.  
Make things stretch - use leftovers in new ways.
Do NOT waste.

  • Dried beans, peas and all sorts of legumes - I keep canned as well - but dried last for ages.  They can be fixed for so many things
  • Rice - I use rice a lot.  I use as a side, in soups and in casseroles.  Hubs used to love it for breakfast (with sugar and butter).  Many, many uses.
  • Flour, sugar and baking goods - just many uses.  Not just for sweets and baking.  Flour is used for a thickener, sugar (or subs) can be used in daily things as well as baking (drinks and flavor).  It is nice knowing that you can make sweets, or biscuits (scones), bread, tortillas - whatever you need
  • Tomato products - this has to be one of the most used items in my pantry.  I use tomato paste, sauce and all sorts of tomato products A LOT!  Many uses
  • Yeast - always in my freezer - just in case I want to make bread
  • Peanut butter - such a great protein and pretty darn inexpensive.  There are many types of nut butters - they are good for eating and for add-ins.
  • Pasta - I have a ton of pasta on hand at all times.  All types and sizes and varieties.  It is such a basic ingredient and can be used in so many ways.  A great extender for meals - stretch that meal for pennies!!!!!!
  • Eggs - yes, I will always keep eggs.  I know prices have gone up - but I still see them as a very affordable pure protein.  Do a cost analysis - even if you are paying .50 an egg - it is still a cheap protein.  I have never understood how they were so cheap before (people need to make a living).  If you raise chickens great.  Not something I will ever do.  I also keep egg replacers (dry product) on the shelves - they are great to use when baking

You can also freeze when you get a deal or have a surplus.
  • Potatoes - a basic at my house.  I love fresh - baked potatoes.  Can be covered with anything and a meal is had.  I keep home canned (my brother does these) and store canned as well.  I also have dehydrated potatoes on hand.  It is nice to have a variety.  Another cheap and great extender for a meal.
  • Dehydrated onion and garlic - great for flavoring - love having shelf stable on hand at any time.  Lasts forever.  I keep fresh as well - and I also freeze as well.  Onion and garlic powder is a staple at my house
  • *I need to add cheese as well.  I am a cheese fanatic.  I keep dry cheese (powdered) and a variety of hard cheese.  It can sure change up a dish.*
  • Frozen veggies - all sorts.  Yes some things I like fresh and some I get canned or can myself - but nice to have a variety on hand.  I don't grow everything that I like
  • Broth, stock or bouillon - super necessary in my book!  I use for all sorts of things.  All types and flavors
  • Canned meats - I don't can meat myself (still scares me) - but I keep a nice assortment store bought on hand.  Beef, pork, ham, chicken and fishes and even Spam.  I will have meat even if the freezer doesn't.
  • Honey and molasses - can be used in so many ways.  Honey is essential to me for hot teas and toddies when feeling bad - I truly see honey as medicinal.  Molasses goes with sugar to make brown sugar.
  • Powdered milk - just makes sense.  Maybe fresh is not available - I can have milk at any time for drinking, cooking or baking.  I keep evaporated milk as well - it can be watered down for daily use
  • Spices - important to just jazz life up a little!!!!!!  Foods would get boring if they were bland all the time.  Add a little spice to your life!
  • Tortillas - can make or buy.  They last well on the shelf or freeze.  Not just for use as roll-up, but can sub as a snack food, bread or cracker.  Use as they are or crisp them up.  Very versatile and cheap!
  • Oats - not something I eat regularly. But I keep for baking, for an extender (meatloaf or meatballs), or can be ground into flour.  If I were hungry - you betcha I could eat them (jazzed a little)
  • Chocolate or cocoa.  I am not a chocoholic - so it isn't something I need or eat a lot.  I do keep on hand for baking and for flavoring.
  • Oils - whatever type you prefer.  I keep an assortment for daily use.
  • Pet food - this is a pantry staple for me.  Dry and wet food for the babes  
I also have water.  Jugs I fill myself for washing or flushing - plus I keep rain barrels in the warmer months.  I do refill my own bottles with tap for drinking.  It is important to rotate.  I have a filter as well.

These are my most basic needs.  With these items I can make about anything I could possibly want.  I will not go hungry.
Add things each time you go shopping.  You don't have to go crazy - just keep a little extra of everything.  Check you supplies before going out - IF you are down to 2 - figure you need to add more.  You don't want to run out.  That can change plans and it can cost extra money.

What other BASICS are important in your home?  
Look forward to hearing your needs.  It is always fun to be reminded or learn new things.

A stocked pantry makes for a happy life!

Times will get tough - we can be tougher!  Never give up!


  1. Tea! My world would terrible without tea.

    Tinned fruit also for me. I keep pretty much, with some exceptions, what you do, just seems sensible.

    1. Yes, I do keep tea bags on hand as I like iced tea. That is a great item to have - especially if you are not a coffee person.
      I keep some tinned fruit - I try to do fresh - but it is nice to have on hand.
      Sounds like you have it just the way you like it! Good job.

  2. Even if current events were rosy and sunny, it's still smart to keep a deep pantry and freezer. I buy when sales are on or if there is an item that has been in short supply, then I buy just to be sure we have it. I don't take everything on the shelf, just what we need and leave some for the next shopper.

    Have to tell you about my daughter Erin's bargains. She works part-time at Big Lots and they had holiday items 90% off and she was able to use her 20% off employee discount. She brought me the cutest pair of house slippers.

    My oldest daughter Alana is having shoulder surgery in the morning. Would appreciate a prayer for her and the medical team responsible for her care.

    It's like spring around here!

    1. Yes mam - it is always smart to have a pantry and freezer inventory. We never know what can happen in - it is full of hic-cups! Being prepared makes sense.
      WOW - you can't beat getting those kinds of discounts!!!

      Prayers for Alana that she experiences complete and total healing and prayers for all those who are involved.

  3. Rain, beautiful 🌧️. It's 41° so no freezing. Perfect soaker. Thank you, Lord!

    I saw in the ad this morning that the pasta deal is 79¢. Looks like that's going to be a new price point. Admittedly, new price points are tricky to figure out. I'm used to one or two at a time, not an entire market!! If anyone can figure out cheese blocks, let me know!

    Like Su, I always keep canned fruit. I always have V8, too. I know juice isn't as good, but I've loved the stuff my whole life. I remember being just a wee thing out to breakfast with my grandparents after church. I'd ask the waitress if they had V8 or tomato juice. I'd turn down tomato every time, but she'd always look at my grandparents to see if it was okay! Apparently kids didn't regularly take V8 and decline OJ!!

    I heard this morning that gas prices are going up again. You've been warned!

    Cheryl, how long have you kept things like summer sausage? How do you store them?

    1. Yes, I think there are 'new' price points that we all need to be aware of. Just keep a mental or physical list of what you are willing to pay for things and what they cost at other locations. ie: grocery vs. Ollies or Big Lots, etc.
      I love V-8. I drink tomato juice as well - my brother makes the best and cans it. Add a little dill pickle juice next time for a zing. Sooooo good.

      Summer sausage lasts a very long time. The one I have bought for years has suddenly become shelf stable - which tastes the same, but means they added crap to it!!!!!! Otherwise, I keep in a little frig (dorm style) that stays frigid cold and it has been fresh for 1-2 years out. If you refrigerate unopened you are good for a long, long time.

      Prices have been up here all this month. Much higher than I see other people post. It is a give and take game at this point.

  4. Most everything you mention is on hand at my house with the exception of powdered milk. I've never seen that in the stores, but suspect the health food stores would carry it. I'll be arriving home in the the next 48 hours and will need to take stock. I'm sure my son has eaten some things...he has his favorites too.

    1. Glad to see you post even on vacation! We find the powdered milk generally in the baking aisle here. Yes, I bet health food stores would have it.
      I imagine you will have to replenish when you get back. Guys do love to eat!

  5. Like Su and Maebeme, I keep on hand much of what you do, Cheryl. In my pantry, add nuts and baking mixes. Until surgery sometime this year, I can't be on my feet for long stretched and they make baking much faster for me.

    The only canned meat I keep is tuna. Hmm... have to think about that. For AZ readers, Safeway has lowered beef prices (again) and this week's deals include a digital one for 80% lean ground beef at $1.97 lb. (first 6 lbs.) and London Broil or top round roast for $2.97 lb., no coupon needed, limit of 4. Signature select Clementines are $1.47 each with digital coupon for 3 lb. bag. I notice bread and cereal are up again, even with a coupon.

    Hubs will stop into Walmart today while Blue is at the groomer. He'll price compare there, and also price their eggs. Price comparison is key around here, especially with prices fluctuating as much as they are.

    More snow this morning, but it's stopped and the sun is out now. I'm hoping the roads are clear by the time he heads out. Of course, all this snow means solar project waits awhile longer to finish.

    Our oldest son starts his new job at a new bank in his coastal town; bank supervisor! Prayers he makes a good start there. And prayers, too, Donna, for your daughter Alana's shoulder surgery. May it go smoothly and she heal up quickly. --Elise

    1. Sorry. Couldn't get to my password and had to reset it. Is it Monday?

    2. Mixes are very handy to have on hand, for sure. Yes, they help when in a hurry or in your case, not being able to stand for longer periods of time. Nuts are nice to have on hand.
      I love the beef, chicken, and pork that is canned. It really is tasty. It is nice to have on hand.
      Hope the roads are clear and travels are safe.
      Prayers for your son - hope all goes well.

    3. Some weeks seem like Monday's all week!!!!!

  6. Yes, what a good list! With tomatoes I keep plenty of diced, paste, and Rotel. Must always have coffee beans on hand. Cheese, like you. I like the 2 lb blocks from WalMart. That's the cheapest I've found. Canned green beans. Usually I can them myself but not last year. This year it is my fondest dream to get back to canning......tomatoes, salsa, beans, jam. And freeze other things.
    I also stock up on TP and soap (I make soap, totally utilitarian, no scent).
    I always have a lot of cat litter and buy in the 40 lb cardboard boxes from WalMart. I like to have 5-6 boxes for our 4 cats and 5 gigantic litter boxes. And cat food, we've got to keep our littlest family members well fed!
    I found a recipe for homemade laundry powder - 1 grated bar fels naptha, 2 cups washing soda, 2 cups borax. Use 1-2 T per load. I use 1 T. I really like it. I used to make liquid laundry detergent but like this much better. That will last a very long time.

    1. TP - how did I forget to list that???? YES I have enough soap to last me 2 lifetimes, I think! LOL
      Tomatoes are so versatile - love them in so many things. I get cheese on digital specials at Kroger and otherwise generally buy at Aldi.
      Cat litter - I used to have tons. Now I am slowly using some in the greenhouse when it gets super cold out. Otherwise it stays in the back of my Blazer for slick patrol!
      Thanks for the recipe - I have never made laundry soap.

  7. I keep most of what you listed as long as it meets Husband's dietary restrictions.
    In addition:
    Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup (just bought a case today, great for casseroles)
    Rye bread (in the freezer-for Husband's breakfasts)
    Canned fruit
    Canned refried beans (for burritos)
    Hamburger (at least 15 lbs in the freezer)
    frozen chicken breast (at least 5 lbs in the freezer)
    Banquet chicken patties (my convenience food)
    lunch meat
    Aldi's mild salsa
    Rosina homestyle meatballs (expensive, but Husband's lunch every day)
    Turkey breast (or 2 or 4)
    frozen OJ concentrate
    prune juice (Husband's)

    Needless to say, as much of the above as possible is bought on sale.

    1. Good list. You bring up a good point - you need to buy what you use and according to dietary restrictions. Every single person has different likes and needs and we all need to plan accordingly. Sales are our friend!!!!!!

  8. Cheryl
    I have recently found your blog and love all your tips. My pantry and freezer looks much the same. Do you freeze cheese? If so, any special process. It is not something I have tried. Thank you and have a blessed day!

    1. I will freeze shredded cheese to use in cooking. Most bar cheeses (hard) last for months and months as they are wrapped. I keep in a crisper.
      Glad you found your way here. Nice to have you! Look forward to you giving us a tip or two!

  9. I keep almost all of the items you’ve mentioned, Cheryl. Lots of beans, rice, tomatoes, and potatoes, as they are great extenders. Eggs are just crazy right now. We are not eating them for breakfast but rather using them in things like salmon Pattie’s.

    1. Seems like many of us keep the same basics - pretty much. I am not going to stop eating eggs - I may leave something else go - but I like my eggs! I don't eat them real often - so they last a while.

  10. I think the egg situation will turn around soon (IMO). Many chickens were destroyed because of flu and a whole new group had to be started. Once laying age - more and more production will happen. I think it makes appreciate what we have when we can get it so stinking cheap. I still can't figure out how chicken farmers ever made a dime.
    YES, stock up when the prices are good or cheaper. That is the way to do it.
    I hope there are no late freezes again this year. That really messed up a lot of people. So many folks said last year was a bad gardening year for them.
    I no longer have a grill, it wore out, and with the house generator, I never thought about getting another.
    Yes, things are changing and we must as well. Normal IS whatever is happening in the here and now.
    We have to adjust and hang in there!

  11. I had a doctor appt. this afternoon so I stopped at Walmart on the way home. Hate to admit but I drink a lot of diet cola, walmart brand. They had no 2 liter bottles, darn it. I did pick up some more tuna, another 5lb bag of flour, a gallon of cooking oil, and some evaporated milk for the pantry. I was not out of anything but like to stay ahead of it. I got some fresh produce and fruit as well. Did not go look at frozen goods, meat or cheese as the freezers are packed. It would make you giggle in glee with how far I have come since finding your blog.

    My doctor says I need to do better on my diet. A1C is high. I eat a well balance diet but I eat a lot of toast and crackers. I have upset tummy a lot and that keeps away the nausea caused by my migraines.

    They did find pinched nerves in my neck on both sides. We are going to start with medications and physical therapy/traction. If that doesn't help, then I will have to do injections of steroids. They also want me to go back to regular botox treatments. It will help keep the muscles from spasms. I don't mind being older, wrinkles, gray hair, the normal stuff. I don't like daily pain and having to curtail the activities of life.

    Next up is planning a small garden to start in the spring. Just easy things, okra, tomatos, squash and beans. Be sure to give up lots of tips as you get ready to plant. Best wishes!!

    1. It does make me giggle to hear you talk about how far you have come. I just love that. It makes good sense to stay ahead of things in the pantry.
      I am sorry about the pinched nerves. I hope the physical therapy and/or injections help. My sis has pinched nerves in her lower back and hip it causes her such pain - but the injections are bliss. They sure do help her. She says it hurts to get it - but then she feels better, so worth it.
      Being in a pain is no fun at all. HUGS
      I love you are already thinking garden!

    2. Love your blog Cheryl. Can't wait for gardening time here in ky. I had back surgery a few weeks ago on my upper back and it helped but lower back is not good at all....and I'm only 59. I still hope to get several things canned and in the freezer. Be safe 🙏❤

    3. Thank you for being here. Gardening means warm weather - yep, that is nice.
      Take care of yourself and don't over do it. My mom went through a back surgery and endured a lot of pain - it is horrible. I am sorry you are going through that. I hope you can garden and do your canning and freezing!

  12. I keep the same items as you do. I also keep lentils and yeast.

    God bless.

    1. I keep yeast too - I forgot to put that on the list!!!! Geesh - I even wrote it in big letters on my draft. Thanks!!!
      I have a few lentils - they are good to mix with meat or a substitute.

  13. I notice frozen veggies on your you have ways of fixing them so they taste GOOD? mine generally turn out mushy.

    1. Most times I use them IN something else. With rice or pasta - mixed together, or in soup. Now and then I steam theme alone and not for very long. They usually turn out decent.

  14. Great post! I keep most of these things, too. I used powdered milk for bread machine recipes.

    1. Powdered milk is so much like the egg replacer - it can be used in many recipes. Just smart to keep it on hand.

  15. Except for cat food, I keep the same thing. When olive oil is bogo at Publix, I buy it in the glass bottles and lay it in the door shelves of the freezer. I don't store other oils. I will keep buying eggs! I have Hormel Roast Beef and Gravy bought on Amazon for about half the store price, tuna, and salmon in cans. We could eat meat for a year if we only ate it once a week--not my plan. I do buy vinegar gallons, about a dozen at a time.
    Tommy says we are about of tp, so a sale is somewhere on the horizon.

    1. Never thought to put the oil in the freezer. Oh yes, I keep vinegar too - both kinds. Forgot that on the list as well. Thanks.
      Out of TP? Oh no!!!! That is something I stay way ahead of. I can do other things IF I did run out, but not wanting to.

  16. I knew that would be on some lists!!!!!!

  17. Won't be posting any more. Blogger is removing too many of my posts.

    1. PLEASE don't stop. For some reason you got sent to Spam. I will start checking after all my posts to see if anyone (you) are there. I then mark it not Spam. I have no idea why it does that. We love hearing from you - please stick around and comment. I will work on checking more often!!!!!!!

    2. I agree with Cheryl. Be patient, Frances. Maybe do short posts until it gets better. I had to do that awhile ago. It finally quit irritating me!!

  18. It has done my heart good reading that I'm not the only one stocked up with pantry basics, and that much of what I have is the same as so many others. For baking, I also keep a supply of chocolate chips (various flavors and colors) as well as M&Ms. Post-Christmas, they can be separated into red for Valentine's Day and green for St. Patrick's Day (big celebrations in Chicagoland) baking. Also shredded coconut, pecans, and walnuts, marrachino cherries and other dried fruit. Because I have a side-by-size freezer and no deep freeze, peas and brussels sprouts are the only veg in my freezer; others are kept in my pantry. Tomato products are important to me, and I keep 24+ home canned (marinra, stewed tomatoes, sauce, and paste) on hand. Veg oil, olive oil, red and white vinegar, spices and seasonings ... lots of TP and paper towels, hand soap, shampoo, etc. And then there's the under cabinet storage that is well supplied -- dish soap, dishwasher tabs, disinfecting wipes, cleaning supplies to last forever, and my foil, parchment, cling wrap, ziplocks, etc. Should there be any shortages, I feel I'm well stocked and can make most anything I need, including bread for my morning toast and mid-day sandwiches, and yogurt to enjoy, as well.

    1. Love it! Funny you mentioned the holiday candies. I had a big bowl of candy out for company from holiday after sales. I keep some on the shelf and much in the freezer (for longer times). It was a hit.
      Great on all the baking supplies. Peas and brussels are about the only ones that I can't or don't get canned. I love frozen peas. I do keep broccoli in the freezer too. Can't do without tomato products of all types.
      Gosh I didn't even mention all the non-food quite comprehensive items. Your list is quite comprehensive. Thanks for listing them all - helps others see what they may need to keep on hand.
      I love how we are all on the same page - with just a tweak here and there.

  19. Like others, I want coffee on a daily basis and something to soften it a bit (creamer, canned milk, 1/2n1/2). We also eat fruit every day so canned or fresh.
    The rest is like your list:
    Dairy (cheese, eggs & lactose free milk)
    baking dry ingredients
    canned & dry beans
    canned & frozen veg
    herbs & spices, salt & pepper