Kitchen Pantry

Home cooks always have essentials and key ingredients on hand. With a well-stocked pantry, it is very easy to put together a delicious pasta dish with just a few basic ingredients. While I’m a big advocate of eating fresh foods whenever possible, there are certain items that must always be present in a pantry. And while it’s not convenient to eat purely from nature every day, here’s a grocery list of goods that should be in the kitchen pantry, at all times. (My basic pantry items are Mediterranean in style : )

Kitchen Pantry Staples:

* Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

* Vegetable Oil

* Butter

* Balsamic Vinegar

* Salt  (Kosher & Table)

* Black Pepper

* Dried Herbs  (Oregano, Basil, Thyme & Rosemary are the fab four)

* Red Pepper Flakes

* Pasta  (Linguine & Penne are great)

* Canned Tomatoes  (an All-Star pantry item; buy varieties: crushed, sauce, diced, etc)

* Tomato Paste

* Breadcrumbs  (Plain or Seasoned)

* Garlic  (buy lots of it!)

* Yellow Onions  (try and have a few on hand, these last a while on your counter)

* Shallots

* Parmesan Cheese  (I stock up on pre-shredded versions)

* Chicken Stock

* White Flour

* Eggs (not a “pantry” item but always have a carton in your fridge : )

* Honey  (this stuff could outlive you ; )


Other items to have on hand, that have relatively long shelf life, unopened & unused. So you can stock up and when you need to put an emergency dish together, your bases are covered with delicious, (Mediterranean-style) essentials!

Kitchen Pantry Staples (beyond basics & outside the pantry):

* Yellow Onions  (repeated; save money and buy in bulk)

* Shallots

* Garlic (lots of bulbs!)

* Lemons  (keep fridgerated in bottom drawer)

* Sundried Tomatoes  (jarred & in oil is best)

* Marinated Artichokes

* Cannelini Beans  (canned)

* Chickpeas  (canned)

* Red Peppers  (jarred)

* Sweet Potatoes

* Baby Carrots

* Celery

* Tahini  (to make hummus)

* Parmesan Cheese  (repeated from basic; always have this cheese on hand!)

* Romano Cheese  (wonderful for topping pastas)

* Goat Cheese  (a little gourmet here but I LOVE the taste of goat’s milk)

* Mayonnaise

* Cream Cheese

* Heavy Whipping Cream

* Canned Tuna

* Canned Sardines

* Polenta  (ready-made tube)

* Frozen Spinach

* Frozen Pizza Crusts

* Frozen Pie Crusts

* Pita Bread  (can keep frozen to extend life)

* Crackers

* Olives  (contained with brine, will last a while in fridge)

* Nuts  (variety, I like Walnuts, slivered/sliced Almonds and Pistachios)

* Ground Flaxseeds (not Mediterranean but a very healthy, versatile ingredient)

* Salad Greens (not a “pantry” item but packaged greens are a healthy go-to; earthbound farm is a trusted and organic brand)

**Don’t forget to have a few bottles of wine on hand. I, for one, cannot be without at least two bottles of red at any given time.

Want to go all-out and “Mediterraneanize” your kitchen like you mean it? Go to the Mediterranean Kitchen Pantry page for my list of items commonly found in Greek and Italian home kitchens.



Tip: I’m a little OCD on keeping track of when I open perishable goods. I keep a handy basket of pens and markers on my fridge and whenever I open anything – yes anything – I mark the product with that date. That way, I don’t risk eating something spoiled. Also, if you purchase meat from your butcher and remove packaging, you might want to take note of the “Enjoy By” date so you don’t chance eating food prone to growing bacteria, like chicken. Don’t ever risk taking a bite of something that might be bad… it is simply not worth getting ill over food. And those food-borne illnesses can be dangerous.
Always: when in doubt, throw it out!