If you’re lazy like me, which I assume you are because you’re on the internet reading blogs rather than doing something productive, like SHOPPING, then it’s safe to assume that you despise grocery shopping like I do.
I hate shopping.
- Hate browsing the aisles, trying to find one particular item when I have a dozen other coloured logos, the words 98% FAT FREE! and NEW & IMPROVED! popping at my poor eyeballs.
- Hate the unflatteringfluorescent lighting. It makes me squint and shows off my imperfectly blended make-up.
- Hate the grubby trolley with its’ grubby dirty handle. Hate being looked at like a FREAK when I pull out my sanitizing hand spray from my bag and spray like crazy.
- Hate people who won’t move and hog the whole aisle, especially when standing there reading the MAGAZINES! Just buy the damn thing you fricken tight-arse!
- Hate the grotty fruit and vegies that are left over at the end of the day.
- Hate finding a tray of beef minute steaks stashed on the taco shell shelf because some fat-arse couldn’t be bothered putting it back.
- Hate, hate, hate the stench of the pet food aisle.
- Hate having to pretend to be nice to the cashier, when in reality, I’m annoyed, my feet hurt, I’m hungry and having heart palpitations over how much of a dent this trolley full of shopping is going to put in my bank account.
- Hate cringing while cashier gets a price check on something embarrassing like KY Jelly/condoms/supersized tampons/Family-size block of chocolate.
Okay, so I hate shopping. I could go on, but I will spare you.
The point is, having a well stocked pantry can help you avoid having to go the horrible supermarket as frequently.
So here are the top ten things you should have in your pantry at all times- with these lifesavers, there will always be something to make a meal out of.
1. Tinned Tomatoes
These are essential to any pantry. I cannot imagine my
pantry, or my life for that matter, without tinned tomatoes. They are perfect to whipping up yummy pasta sauces and they’re good for you. I read that they also contain high amounts of lycopene, a powerful anti-cancer antioxidant.
You can throw in a can of tomatoes with some olive oil, chopped onion and garlic, a few sprigs of basil, a bay leave and some salt and pepper and have yourself a delicious sauce for your pasta in no time. You can also use it to make soups, like tomato soup, lentil soup, bean soup and minestrone soup.
Pasta is not an option. YOU MUST HAVE PASTA! Even poor people have pasta.
I don’t care what shape, what colour, whatEVER, just make sure you always have a few reserve packs of pasta waiting for you in case you catch a bad case of toolazytoshopitis. Apart from
the fact that dried pasta seems to keep forever, it’s a good base for a hearty, filling meal.
You can make a gazillion different pasta dishes with the variety of sauces out there. Tomato based sauces are easy to make or alternatively, you can do a cream based sauce. Chuck in some vegies, a few herbs and voila. Lazy mans’ dinner. Pasta like penne, orichette and other cute little shaped pastas are also great for pasta salads. Just mix in with some vegies like chopped capsicum or sweet corn kernels and mix with your fave dressing.
3. Chicken stock
You can add stock to give any meal flavour- everything from your lovely creamy pasta sauce to your minestrone soup, pumpkin soup, whatever soup! You can boil your pasta or rice in some stock to give it extra flavour and don’t forget it is the staple of a good risotto! You can sprinkle powdered stock over vegetables and roast in the oven for a pop of flavour or use as the base of finishing sauce for your chicken or vegetables.
This stuff can turn something drab into something edible.
4.Canned corn & canned beans.
These ingredients are very important to always have in your pantry. If you tend to suffer from Icantbebotheredshopping Syndrome, then the only vegetables you will have around will be part of the rotting sludge on the bottom of your crisper section of the fridge. An organised cook with always have canned corn and beans in their pantry…or suffers of paranoid schizophrenia (where they’re sure aliens are going to kick start Armageddon next Wednesday and have started stockpiling the rations in their bunker).
You can get almost any vegies in cans these days. I didn’t say they were any good however. I mean, potatoes out of a can will never be right. Ever.
Stick to the corn and beans because they’re probably the only ones that are any good.
You can use the corn in everything from chowders, minestrone, as a side, in fritters or patties with other ingredients, as a dip,slices, in quiches and muffins, in a salsa or if you’re really lazy and really desperate, you can eat it out of can while you watch American Idol. I have done this. Wearing fluffy blue slippers.
You either love tuna or you hate it. There is no in between.
Tuna is a great addition to always keep in the pantry if you’re okay with fishy flavours.
You can use tuna in almost everything, from salads to sandwiches, to dips, to patties, to pastas. Tuna casserole or tuna mornay are a must for tuna lovers. My mum makes an easy, yummy comfort tuna casserole and I will have to get around to sharing the ridiculously easy recipe.
And nowadays there’s those fancy pants tunas with gourmet flavours, like chargrilled and with lemon pepper and red chilli pepper and sun-dried tomato and onion and BLAH BLAH! It’s fricken FISH, in a CAN, with oil or brine. Goes good with stuff. Staple amongst the poor uni students and working schmucks who stink out the office at lunch time with their little tin of stench and then throw the empty can into a wastebasket under their desk, where it CONTINUES to stink until the unforunate cleaner has to get rid of it.
Tuna is a good supplement for any recipes where you don’t want to use chicken. Just be sure to brush your teeth afterwards. Not to mention, its lean and healthy.
Breadcrumbs are a fatties’ pantry essential.
With their potential for so much greasy evil, why wouldn’t you want to keep some in your pantry?
Breadcrumbs are great when you have some meat to crumb and fry up (HELL YEAH!) or if you want to make some patties, meatballs, rissoles, fried with some garlic and shallots and served with oil over pasta or even make some potato croquettes (mashed potato and chopped flat-leaf parsley rolled in egg wash and breadcrumbs and fried until golden and delish!) or even arancini, which are Italian rice balls. They are really yum. Which brings us to our next pantry life-saving item.
It isn’t just for Asian people anymore, okay?
Rice is a great staple to always keep in the pantry. It’s filling and can be used in a variety of ways.
The type of rice you want to keep in there is up to you, however for diversity, I think just regular long grain rice is the best.
Now I’m not usually one to endorse packet foods, but we live in a day and age where people waste most of their live chained to a desk at work and come home and don’t have a lot of time, or will to live energy and just want something quick. So those little packets of instant rice that you zap in the microwave are a solution for these situations. They may be a ridiculously overpriced rip off, but for the time poor, they are a heavensend.
With rice, you can do risottos, add it to soups, make sushi, fried rice, arancini, rice salads, rice pudding, eat it plain with butter and cheese (another whilst watching American Idol moment) or use it to stuff vine leaves or make cabbage rolls. YUMMO!
For those nights when pancakes seem like a good dinner. Yep, you guessed it, during American Idol.
If you’re too proud to sink down to the level of having pancakes for dinner (and I can guarantee almost EVERYONE has done it ONCE!), then flour always comes in handy for making batters for fritters and patties, deep frying anything you can find or baking a cake, muffins, making pastry for a pie or quiche or baking a slice. It can also be used to thicken stews and sauces, used as the base of a roux for a cheese sauce or just toss it at your kids if they are giving you the shits, that ought to shut the little turds up.
If they haven’t gotten to the point where they’re sprouting alien-looking lifeforms, potatoes can be your saviour. They come in handy for everything from potato croquettes, to helping make tuna or salmon patties, to delish mashed potato. Alternatively you can keep them whole and bake them in the oven and split them open, slather them with garlic butter and eat with coleslaw and sour cream.
You could also top a baked potato with slices of avocado, beans, salsa, Cheddar cheese and sour cream. Yummity yum!
Slice em, fry em and make your own chips.
Cut them into wedges, give them a good toss in some olive oil and seasoning and bake.
Dice em up and cook em with some capsicum, garlic, tomato paste and onion for a yummy dinner to dip some bread into. The smell is DIVINE.
And last of all….
10. A box of your favourite cereal.
For when American Idol is on.
Like pancakes, eating cereal for dinner is something we’ve all done at least once in our lifetimes and really, it’s not so bad. It’s a healthy, complete meal (I keep telling myself that). There’s grains, rice, fruit, nuts, vegetables like corn….and you’re getting a dose of dairy from the splash of milk….Okay. I wouldn’t recommend eating cereal for dinner as a long term solution. Especially the high fibre ones. But for those nights, where the thought of cooking dinner is enough to make you wanna get all emo and start writing death poetry, a bowl of cereal isn’t the worst thing you could sit down with.
You can also use certain cereals to make muesli bars, muffins, slices, cookies or eat it straight from the box as a snack…